Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Final Photos from the SMAA Utah Seminar

These are the final photos from the SMAA Utah Seminar, the first event in the SMAA's 15th anniversary seminar series. The next event is coming up soon in California:

SMAA California Seminar (1)—Dates: June 27 and 28. 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: “Unification of Mind & Body in the Martial Arts.” Contact: H. E. Davey (Telephone: 510-526-7518, E-mail: hedavey@aol.com).

Spaces are filling up fast for this seminar, so be sure to contact Mr. Davey soon to be able to participate.

Suino Sensei Teaching Kodokan Judo at the SMAA Utah Seminar

Even more SMAA Judo in Utah

A Few More Judo & Iaido Photos from the SMAA Utah Seminar

Even More Images from the SMAA Utah Seminar

Still More Images from the SMAA Utah Seminar

More Images from the SMAA Utah Seminar

Images from the SMAA Utah Seminar

Above are some neat photos taken at the recent SMAA Seminar in Utah. The event featured Nicklaus Suino Sensei of the SMAA teaching iaido and judo with aikido sixth dan Cyndy Hayashi Sensei of the California Aikido Association (Aikikai).

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Wasatch Academy Dojo

Wasatch Academy in Utah has developed the first iaido dojo in American high school education, and it is headed by an SMAA certified teacher. Being offered instruction in iaido is a rare opportunity, even in Japan. Here in America, there are only a handful of instructors with a legitimate teaching license and rank from Japanese institutions.

Mr. Max Roach, affectionately called "Roach Sensei," by his students, holds the rank of sandan and Shidoin (third-degree balck belt and official instructor) in the SMAA. Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu iaido, the style Roach Sensei practices, is the classical Japanese art of drawing the sword. Its roots can be traced back nearly four hundred forty years, making it one of the oldest Japanese sword styles still being practiced.

At Wasatch Academy, students can study this classical Japanese sword-drawing art. Prospective Wasatch Academy iaido students are carefully screened, must commit to arduous training, and undergo lengthy pre-instruction/acceptance rituals. Academic and cultural study is a prerequisite. Training is demanding. WA students, with the help of the SMAA and Roach Sensei, are now beginning their commitment to preserving this important cultural property of Japan. You can visit Wasatch Academy on the web at http://www.wasatchacademy.org/Default.asp?bhcp=1.

SMAA Utah Seminar

On Friday, April 11, two prominent martial arts teachers joined Max Roach Sensei, SMAA certified iaido and aikido teacher, at the Wasatch Academy Dojo for an all-weekend martial arts seminar. This was the first event in the SMAA 15th Anniversary Seminar Series, and it was sold out and incredibly successful.

“We had two of the most famous martial arts teachers in the country here... at our little school in the mountains,” says Mr. Roach. “It was great!”

SMAA members, as well as Utah and Colorado martial arts students of all ages, converged on the Wasatch Academy campus to learn from Ms. Cynthia “Cyndy” Hayashi, a sixth dan (degree) black belt in aikido, and Mr. Nicklaus Suino, a seventh dan in iaido and sixth dan in judo. Ms. Hayashi is the Administrator for the California Aikido Association (CAA), one of the largest aikido affiliates outside of Japan. She is also Mr. Roach’s teacher. “More accurately,” Mr. Roach humbly notes, “she accepted me as her student.”

Mr. Suino is the founder of the Japanese Martial Arts Center in Michigan and serves as a Division Director in Iaido and Judo for the Shudokan Martial Arts Association (SMAA). Wasatch Academy martial arts students eagerly participated in the seminar.

“We offered lessons in aikido, iaido, and judo, and we had a lot of fun,” says Mr. Roach. The success of this weekend’s seminar opened the possibility for a longer week long SMAA seminar on the Wasatch Academy campus in the summer of 2010, with intensive daily training and open to students from around the world.

“Because of this,” explains Mr. Roach, “Wasatch Academy is on the martial arts map. I anticipate students applying to Wasatch Academy because we offer world-class instruction here in the middle of Utah.”

Suino Sensei, Hayashi Sensei, and Roach Sensei received special certificates of appreciation from the SMAA. The SMAA would like to acknowledge their efforts in making the SMAA Utah Seminar another successful SMAA event. We're looking forward to seeing many of you at the second event in our 15th Anniversary Seminar Series:

SMAA California Seminar (1)—Dates: June 27 and 28. 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: “Unification of Mind & Body in the Martial Arts.” Contact: H. E. Davey (Telephone: 510-526-7518, E-mail: hedavey@aol.com).

Monday, April 6, 2009

SMAA Divisions

The SMAA has a number of separate divisions for many of the traditional Japanese martial arts. Each division is lead by one or more Directors, each of whom have 20 years or more martial arts experience and the minimum rank of sixth dan (or a classical equivalent).

Aikido Division
Aikido is a dynamic martial art and form of spiritual training that was created by Ueshiba Morihei Sensei (1883-1969). It focuses on nonviolent throwing and pinning techniques, and in some systems the use of the sword and staff is included as well. In many aikido schools, it is practiced in a noncompetitive environment.

Since Ueshiba Sensei’s death, a number of high ranking aikido experts have created their own versions of this martial art. The SMAA Aikido Division is open to all genuine forms of aikido with an authentic lineage that can be traced directly to a Japanese founder.

This popular division is lead by Karl Scott Sensei, SMAA Shihan and sixth dan. Scott Sensei studied aikido for many years under a number of notable and talented teachers, including Tohei Koichi Sensei (tenth dan), Kai Kuniyuki Sensei (ninth dan), Shiohira Hideki Sensei (seventh dan), Toyoda Fumio Sensei (sixth dan), and Walter Todd Sensei (sixth dan).

Goshin-jutsu Division
The SMAA Goshin-jutsu Division is focused on modern forms of self defense training (goshin-jutsu), which evolved from traditional Japanese martial arts like judo, jujutsu, karate-do, and aikido. Many martial systems today, which often indentify themselves as “jujutsu,” do not actually have a lineage traceable to this ancient Japanese martial art, and in Japan they would be known as goshin-jutsu.

The SMAA Goshin-jutsu Division allows SMAA members and the public, who have created a modern form of self defense, to receive ranking and teaching certification. Individuals offering rape prevention courses, military combative training, and police combat training classes may qualify for SMAA Goshin-jutsu Division certification. The SMAA, however, does not certify individuals practicing forms of goshin-jutsu derived from non-Japanese sources.

Iaido Division
Iaido focuses on the drawing and use of the traditional Japanese sword. It is widely regarded as a form of moving meditation, and it’s practiced in several different nations.

In the Bugei Ryuha Daijiten, Hayashizaki Jinsuke (Minamoto no) Shigenobu is credited with establishing an art in the sixteenth century that is practiced as iaido today. However, about a century before his birth, iaijutsu was developed by Iizasa Ienao, creator of Tenshin Shoden Katori Shinto Ryu. Both older and modern forms of iaido and iaijutsu can be found within the SMAA Iaido Division, which is lead by Nicklaus Suino Sensei (Shihan and seventh dan) and Guy Power Sensei (Shihan and seventh dan). Suino Sensei and Power Sensei both lived in Japan for several years, where they studied under top iaido experts.

Suino Sensei’s background is in Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu, while Power Sensei practices Nakamura Ryu and Toyama Ryu. The SMAA Iaido Division, however, is open to any form of iaido with a legitimate lineage that can be traced to a Japanese founder. Among the prominent members of the SMAA Iaido Division are Mr. Dave Lowry (Yagyu Shinkage Ryu), Hunter Armstrong Sensei (Yagyu Shinkage Ryu), John Evans Sensei (Toyama Ryu and Nakamura Ryu), Wayne Murumoto Sensei (Takeuchi Ryu and Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu), Nyle Monday Sensei (Tenshin Shoden Katori Shinto Ryu and Toyama Ryu), and Stephen Fabian Sensei (Hontai Yoshin Ryu and Toyama Ryu).

Judo Division
Kodokan judo, meaning “gentle and pliable way,” is a modern Japanese martial art and sport, which originated in the late nineteenth century. It was created by Kano Jigoro (1860-1938).

Its prominent feature is its competitive aspect, where the objective is to either throw the opponent, immobilize the opponent with a grappling technique, or cause the opponent to submit via locking the elbow or a chokehold. Strikes (with the hands and feet)—as well as weapon defenses—are included, but only in prearranged forms (kata), and they are illegal in competition.

Traditional judo, as advocated by the SMAA, encompasses all of these elements, along with a study of judo’s spiritual basis and its philosophical application to daily life. The SMAA Judo Division is lead by Nicklaus Suino Sensei, who began judo as a child, and who studied in Japan under several leading judo exponents. His judo lineage can be traced from Sato Shizuya Sensei (ninth dan) to Ito Kazuo Sensei (tenth dan) and Mifune Kyuzo Sensei (tenth dan), and finally to Kano Sensei himself.

Suino Sensei’s present SMAA judo rank in Shihan and sixth dan. The SMAA Judo Division has members throughout North America and in Japan. Prominent members include Mark Colby Sensei of the Kodokan and Ohsaki Jun Sensei, who has over 50 years of budo and judo experience.

Jujutsu Division
Jujutsu, the “art of yielding and gentleness,” is a collective name for Japanese martial systems including unarmed and armed methods. It is often regarded as the oldest Japanese martial art.

Jujutsu developed among the bushi, samurai warriors of feudal Japan, for defeating armed and armored opponents, predominantly without using weapons. Due to the ineffectiveness of striking an armored attacker, methods emphasized immobilizations, joint locks, chokes, and throws. These techniques used an attacker's energy against him, rather than fighting it.

There are numerous variations of jujutsu, with a variety of different approaches. Jujutsu ryu (“systems”), however, all utilize grappling to a greater or lesser degree. Along with jujutsu, many older styles (koryu) use weapons. Many jujutsu ryu also include philosophical and meditative aspects.

The SMAA Jujutsu Division is lead by Stephen Fabian Sensei (SMAA Shihan and sixth dan) and H. E. Davey Sensei (SMAA Shihan and seventh dan). Fabian Sensei lived in Japan for several years, where he studied Hontai Yoshin Ryu jujutsu directly under the 18th and 19th generation headmasters of this system. Davey Sensei began Saigo Ryu as a child and trained in Japan and the USA under top jujutsu experts. The SMAA Jujutsu Division is open to bona fide forms of traditional and ancient jujutsu, which have a lineage that can be traced to a Japanese founder. Senior members of this division include Wayne Muromoto Sensei, Kevin Heard Sensei, and Ohsaki Jun Sensei.

Karate-do Division
Karate-do is a martial art developed in Okinawa from indigenous fighting methods and Chinese martial systems. It is primarily a striking art using punching, kicking, as well as knee and elbow strikes. Grappling, joint locking, throws, and chokes are also taught in some styles (ryu). Karate-do means “the way of the empty hand,” although its original meaning was “Chinese hand.” Traditional karate-do contains elements of physical, mental, and spiritual training in most systems.

It was introduced to Japan by Funakoshi Gichin Sensei (1868-1957), where it developed sport aspects. Today, karate-do is practiced in nearly every nation, and a large number of Okinawan and Japanese versions have been developed.

The SMAA Karate-do Division is open to any form of classical karate-do, which has a linage that can be traced to a Japanese founder. This division is lead by Karl Scott Sensei (SMAA So-shihan and seventh dan). Scott Sensei has a lifetime of experience in Shorin Ryu and Shudokan karate-do. He trained in Okinawa under Shimabukuro Eizo Sensei (Shorin Ryu tenth dan), and in the USA under Ichikawa Isao Sensei (Doshinkan tenth dan) and Walter Todd Sensei (Wado Ryu, Shotokan, and Shudokan). Among the notable members of the SMAA Karate-do Division are Tom Kosslow Sensei, who holds as seventh dan in Wado Ryu, Joseph Rippy Sensei (Wado Ryu sixth dan), and Hunter Armstrong Sensei of the Goju Ryu.

SMAA Judoka Win in Michigan

Members of the Japanese Martial Arts Center and Institute of Traditional Asian Martial Arts judo classes attended the Michigan Open Judo Championships in Lansing, Michigan, on Sunday, March 21, 2009. Several of the JMAC and ITAMA students are SMAA members. JMAC is lead by Nicklaus Suino Sensei, Director SMAA Judo Divison and Shihan/rokudan in that division. ITAMA is lead by Daniel Holland Sensei, SMAA Judo Division shodan.

The tournament was held at the IM-West Intramural Sports Building on the campus of Michigan State University, hosted by the MSU Judo Club. The sponsoring organization was the United States Judo Federation (USJF), with its president, Neil Simon, in attendance. JMAC and ITAMA members competed in many of the divisions and did well in both individual and team competitions.

Results for the JMAC and ITAMA groups were as follows:

Stephen Morris (Sandan, SMAA Judo Division) and Daniel Holland (Shodan, SMAA Judo Division) - First Place, Nage no Kata Competition

Stephen Morris - First Place, Masters - Lightweight

Mark Altomare - Second Place, Masters - Lightweight

William Robinson - Third Place, Masters - Heavyweight

Lawrence Gross III - Third Place, Senior Men - Heavyweight

Erik Barbara - Third Place, Senior Men - Middleweight (6th Kyu, SMAA Jujutsu Division)

Andrew Bunker - Second Place, Senior Men - Lightweight

Raymond Pressley - Third Place, Junior boys 11-13

Briana Campbell - Third Place, Junior Girls 10-13

Tristan Butler - First Place, Junior Boys 11-14

Tanner Butler - First Place, Junior Girls 7-9

The SMAA would like to congratulate all of the tournaments participants and winners. To find out more about the SMAA Judo Division, drop by www.smaa-hq.com.