Tuesday, June 30, 2009

July SMAA Michigan Seminar

The third seminar in the 15th Anniversary SMAA Seminar Series will take place in Ann Arbor, Michigan on July 25, 2009. Nicklaus Suino Sensei, SMAA Iaido Division shihan and seventh dan, will be the senior ranking instructor at the event. He is also the seminar host.

The theme is "SMAA All-Swords Day," and instruction will be offered in Muso Jikiden Eishin
Ryu iaido (Nicklaus Suino Sensei), kendo (Charlie Kondek Sensei), tameshi giri--cutting objects (Andrew Bryant Sensei), and Aikikai aiki ken--aikido swordsmanship (Max Roach Sensei).

The cost is $45 for SMAA members and $55 for nonmembers. Space is limited and early registration is suggested.

You can get additional registration information by contacting Suino Sensei at shudokan@smaa-hq.com or calling 734-645-6441. Act now to reserve your place for a fun and informative introduction to several unique ways of practicing with the Japanese sword.

June SMAA California Seminar--Part 10

These are just a few miscellaneous photos of SMAA members practicing Japanese yoga and Saigo Ryu martial arts at the June SMAA California Seminar. Shown above are Boris Faybishenko, PhD, Troy Swenson, John Gayton, William Kelch, H. E. Davey, Ohsaki Jun Sensei, Ann Kameoka Sensei, Kevin Heard Sensei, Wesley Keppel-Henry, and others.

Below is information about the next SMAA California Seminar. Space is extremely limited for this event, so act quickly to reserve your place.

SMAA California Seminar (2)—Dates: November 21 and 22. Location: San Francisco Bay Area (Albany, California). Featured Instructor: H. E. Davey (SMAA Primary Director and jujutsu Shihan/seventh dan). Attending Instructors: Kevin Heard Sensei (SMAA Senior Advisor), Ohsaki Jun Sensei (SMAA Senior Advisor), and Ann Kameoka Sensei (SMAA Senior Advisor). Subjects: Japanese yoga/meditation and Saigo Ryu aiki-jujutsu. Theme: “Meditation in the Martial Arts.” Contact: H. E. Davey (Telephone: 510-526-7518, E-mail: hedavey@aol.com).

June SMAA California Seminar--Part 9

The images above are of SMAA officials Ohsaki Jun Sensei and Kevin Heard Sensei at the June SMAA California Seminar, along with SMAA members William Kelch, Jenness Hartley, John Gayton, Troy Swenson, and Wesley Keppel-Henry.


Ohsaki Jun Sensei offers a knowledge of traditional budo and Japanese cultural arts that is of great value to the SMAA. He brings over 50 years of martial arts experience to our association.

Ohsaki Sensei was born in 1948 in the Shibuya section of Tokyo. He was interested in budo as a child, and at the age of seven he began to study Kodokan judo. His instruction began at the Hatagaya Keisatsu Dojo, one of the numerous dojo sponsored by the Tokyo police department. These keisatsu dojo, or police dojo, are infamous throughout Japan for the severity of their training. His initial training began with soji, the ritualistic cleaning of the dojo. For some time, he was only allowed to clean and watch his sempai (seniors) practice. Eventually, having proven his sincerity, he began learning safe falling techniques (ukemi) and later throwing and grappling methods.

In time, he completed college, became an automotive technician, married, and had two sons, one of whom has trained for many years in kyudo (the martial art of Japanese archery). He is presently the owner of an automobile repair facility. His judo training continued successfully throughout most of his life.

Eventually, Ohsaki Sensei also began a comprehensive study of traditional jujutsu and classical Japanese weaponry, which he has excelled in for many years. A member of the Kokusai Budoin's prestigious kobudo, or ancient martial arts, division, he has demonstrated Nippon jujutsu at the Kokusai Budoin Sogo Budo Taikai. This important budo exhibition takes place early each spring at Otakumin Plaza in Tokyo. (Japan's Kokusai Budoin promotes all traditional Japanese forms of budo and bujutsu, and it is active in a large number of countries throughout the world.) Besides budo, Ohsaki Sensei has extensive training in Japanese forms of meditation and healing arts, along with a comprehensive background in shodo, the art of Japanese calligraphy.


A San Francisco Bay Area native, Kevin Heard Sensei has been studying Japanese cultural arts for 25 years. He holds teaching licenses in Shin-shin-toitsu-do, a form of Japanese yoga, as well as healing arts. He also holds the rank of menkyo chudan (a traditional teaching license roughly equivalent to fourth through sixth dan in modern ranking systems) in Saigo Ryu aiki-jujutsu.

Heard Sensei serves on the SMAA Board of Advisors. He is also the assistant editor for the SMAA Journal and the former webmaster for the SMAA website. He currently holds the title/rank of Fuku Shihan/fifth dan in the SMAA's Traditional Jujutsu Division. He has received rank and teaching licenses from the Nihon Jujutsu and Kobudo divisions of the Kokusai Budoin, an elite international martial arts federation headquartered in Tokyo. He has demonstrated aiki-jujutsu several times at the Kokusai Budoin Sogo Budo Taikai, held annually in Tokyo.

Mr. Heard earned bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of California at Berkeley. After working in the software development industry, he returned to the University to become Director of Computing and Information Services for UCB's School of Information.

June SMAA Seminar--Part 8

The image above depicts, from left to right, Kevin Heard Sensei (SMAA Senior Advisor), H. E. Davey (SMAA Primary Director and Co-director of the SMAA Jujutsu Division), Ann Kameoka Sensei (SMAA Senior Advisor), and Ohsaki Jun Sensei (SMAA Senior Advisor). (Left click with your mouse on the above image to enlarge.) All four SMAA officials participated in the June SMAA California Seminar.

These four teachers will also appear at the second SMAA California Seminar in November. A few spaces are still available for this significant event that will focus on meditation and martial arts. You can get registration information by sending e-mail to hedavey@aol.com.

June SMAA California Seminar--Part 7

Training on Sunday concluded with the practice of kappo, ancient Japanese methods of resuscitation. Mr. Davey taught that in some cases an opponent may stop breathing as the result of a stranglehold, and that all participants in the seminar should know how to restore breathing and consciousness in such a situation.

Two related forms of kappo were taught, methods that are not often explained these days . . . even in Japan. The images above show H. E. Davey, Troy Swenson, Wesley Keppel-Henry, Jenness Hartley, and Kevin Heard Sensei practicing kappo.

Following kappo training, everyone met at a restaurant next door for a post-seminar party and lunch.

June SMAA California Seminar--Part 6

The final training session on Sunday focused on Saigo Ryu shime waza, strangling techniques. Specifically, H. E. Davey taught a stranglehold that was used in response to a punch. Using the mind-body concepts he had previously outlined in his Japanese yoga instruction, he focused on how an attacker could be easily unbalanced and lead into an effective stranglehold by subtly leading their mind. The basic idea was that the mind moves the body, while the body acts as a reflection of the mind.

With this understating, participants were able to move and unbalance their punching opponents, even skilled members of the SMAA Karate-do Division, with just a light touch. The attackers' momentum lead them into a powerful stranglehold. Mr. Davey also emphasized that in applying this hold, one's body must be positioned so that the attacker cannot strike the face or body with hand, elbow, or foot. He also explained that correctly executed strangleholds allow a martial artist to render an assailant unconscious with little ill effect, introducing a compassionate and ethical dimension into the arts that he taught.

The images above depict Mr. Davey's instruction. He was ably assisted by Kevin Heard Sensei, SMAA Jujutsu Division fifth dan and SMAA Senior Advisor. This June marks Heard Sensei's 25th year of practicing budo.

June SMAA California Seminar--Part 5

Japanese yoga training was the order of the day when the SMAA California Seminar started on Sunday. H. E. Davey, with the help of Wesley Keppel-Henry, taught basic forms of stretching for health. He stressed the importance of unifying the mind and body in motion in these exercises and the value of a correct, relaxed posture. This posture is capable of producing a surprisingly stable mental and physical condition.

SMAA members also studied how to use their bodies in the most natural, relaxed, and coordinated manner while in motion. Since we move about in everyday life, if the state of mind and body unification can only be sustained in stillness, it has little value in daily living. Yet most people still have more difficulty maintaining mind and body coordination in action, one of the reasons Mr. Davey focused on this point.

It was an idea that was well-received by the martial arts students in attendance, since budo clearly requires movement, but coordinated and effective movement isn't always easily attained. Likewise, most budo students can benefit from enhanced flexibility, and the stretching exercises presented proved to be a useful adjunct to their martial arts practice.

June California SMAA Seminar--Part 4

Next up on Saturday was training in Saigo Ryu, a martial art with both armed and unarmed aspects. The seminar concentrated on the unarmed portion of the curriculum, and H. E. Davey started training with ukemi falling drills.

Participants then worked on ki o michibiki, the art of leading an opponent's mind to create effortless throws and pinning techniques. Based on the mind and body unification principles outlined in the preceding Japanese yoga class, the basic premise was that since the mind controls the body, if we can lead an attacker's mind in a certain direction, we can lead their body in that direction as well. By using this principle, students found that they could easily unbalance their training partners with little effort.

Students studied how by applying pressure in one direction, they could cause an opponent to unconsciously move in another direction, all with little or no effort. This is specifically known as hando kuzushi, "reverse action unbalancing," and it is a sophisticated version of reverse psychology as it is applied to jujutsu. This principle is an expression of the Aiki In-Yo Ho concept, which originated long ago in the Aizu clan of feudal Japan.

Finally, participants studied how they could use these same ideas to effortlessly throw an opponent with kote gaeshi, a painful and powerful wrist bending technique. Mr. Davey emphasized the secret to bending a strong person's wrist lies in first quickly creating a circular and downward movement in their mind.

The above images show SMAA members H. E. Davey, Troy Swenson, William Kelch, Ohsaki Jun Sensei, Kevin Heard Sensei, and others.

June SMAA California Seminar--Part 3

On Saturday, the seminar kicked off with training in the Shin-shin-toitsu-do system of Japanese yoga and meditation. Participants studied Nakamura Tempu Sensei's Four Basic Principles to Unify Mind & Body, the goal of which is the realization of one's full potential in any activity. H. E. Davey presented the students with various experiments that are designed to illustrate the power of mind and body unification. The goal was greater power with less effort, and both static and moving exercises were practiced.

SMAA members also learned how these principles could lead to better calmness and confidence in daily life, while they also experienced a deeper sense of balance, power, and coordination that can be applied in martial arts.

The images above show SMAA members H. E. Davey, Troy Swenson, William Kelch, Wesley Keppel-Henry, Mike Zawitowski, and others.

Monday, June 29, 2009

June SMAA California Seminar--Part 2

The June SMAA California Seminar took place at the Sennin Foundation Center for Japanese Cultural Arts in Albany, California. It's just across the bay from San Francisco, and this dojo was established in November of 1981. Above are images of the inside of the Sennin Foundation dojo.

You can learn more about the Sennin Foundation at www.senninfoundation.com. Classes are offered in traditional Japanese systems of yoga/meditation, healing arts, martial arts, and brush calligraphy/ink painting. You can also visit the Sennin Foundation Blog at http://senninfoundation.blogspot.com.

The Sennin Foundation Center will also be the location of the last event in the 15th Anniversary SMAA Seminar Series, which will take place in November. SMAA members still have time to register for this exciting seminar that will focus on Japanese yoga and jujutsu.

June SMAA California Seminar--Part 1

On June 27 and 28, 2009 the second event in the 15th Anniversary SMAA Seminar Series took place in California at the Sennin Foundation Center for Japanese Cultural Arts. This is the first of two seminars that will be held in the San Francisco Bay Area to celebrate the 15th birthday of the SMAA. The next SMAA California Seminar will be presented in November of 2009.

Classes were offered at the Albany dojo in Shin-shin-toitsu-do (Japanese yoga & meditation) and Saigo Ryu martial arts, with an emphasis on jujutsu. The featured instructor was H. E. Davey, SMAA Jujutsu Division seventh dan. Ohsaki Jun Sensei and Kevin Heard Sensei, both SMAA Senior Advisors, also participated in martial arts training at the event. Ann Kameoka Sensei, Ikenobo flower arrangement expert and SMAA Senior Advisor, took part in the Japanese yoga portion of the weekend.

This is the first of multiple posts that will explain, and show in photos, how much fun everyone had at this important seminar. Keep checking back for more updates about the June SMAA California Seminar.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Hayashi Sensei Joins the SMAA

Cynthia Hayashi Sensei recently joined the SMAA, after teaching aikido at our seminar in Utah. She is a direct student of the famed Saito Morihiro Sensei, himself a senior student of the founder of aikido. Hayashi Sensei has received a sixth-degree black belt in aikido from the Aikikai World HQ in Tokyo.

She is one of the highest ranking female aikido teachers in the world. The SMAA is honored to have her as a member.