Tuesday, December 15, 2009


Kan Geiko means “Winter Practice,” and it’s a long-established exercise in traditional Japanese budo. Often involving periods of extended and intensive training during the coldest time of the year, it’s designed to challenge, strengthen, and purify both mind and body. The SMAA Kan Geiko will offer high-level instruction in Kodokan judo, Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu iaido, and Sato Ryu Nihon jujutsu. You can experience all three arts or choose to focus on just one.

Sato Ryu Nihon jujutsu training will be offered on December 16, 17, and 18. Practice will take place from 6:00 to 9:00 PM each day.

Kodokan judo training will be offered on December 21, 22, and 23. Practice will take place from 6:00 to 9:00 PM each day.

Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu iaido training will be offered on December 28, 29, and 30. Practice will take place from 6:00 to 9:00 PM each day.

The Japanese Martial Arts Center (JMAC) in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Nicklaus Suino Sensei will be the featured instructor for all three martial arts. Suino Sensei is a well-known budo author, the leader of JMAC, and the General Manger of the SMAA. He holds the following SMAA ranks: seventh dan iaido, sixth dan judo, and fourth dan jujutsu. He received extensive training in these three martial arts while living in Japan for several years.

How Much:
SMAA members will receive special discounted rates for this event. The SMAA member cost is $60 per subject. You can choose to practice all three arts, two arts, or just one art.

You can get more information about the SMAA Kan Geiko by contacting Suino Sensei at (734) 645-6441 or via the SMAA website.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

November SMAA California Seminar (6)

These are the final images from the SMAA California Seminar. It was one of the last events in the SMAA 15th Anniversary Seminar Series, a special series of seminars offered across the USA and Europe to commemorate the 15th birthday of the SMAA. It was very successful, and everyone that participated had a great time, while they learned more about traditional Japanese budo.

November SMAA California Seminar (5)

Kevin Heard Sensei, SMAA Senior Advisor, was presented with several awards at the SMAA California Seminar. First, he received a plaque and piece of Japanese calligraphy in honor of his 25 years of studying Saigo Ryu aiki-jujutsu and related weapons arts under H. E. Davey. Mr. Davey is the author of Brush Meditation and The Japanese Way of the Artist, and the brush writing he gave to Heard Sensei can be seen above. It is the character mu, "nothingness," painted in abstract sosho script on handmade Japanese paper. (You can click on any of the images in this blog to get a bigger picture.)

Second, Heard Sensei, SMAA Jujutsu Division fifth dan, received a special plaque from the SMAA honoring him for his many contributions to our association. Mr. Heard is the past webmaster for our home page, the former assistant editor of the
SMAA Journal, a leader in our jujutsu division, a past instructor at various SMAA seminars, and he continues to help with the production of certificates and various administrative tasks within our group.

Kyle Kurpinski Sensei, SMAA Jujutsu Division third dan, was presented with a SMAA Jujutsu Shidoin teaching license. Kurpinski Sensei is a past contributor to the
SMAA Journal.

November SMAA California Seminar (4)

H. E. Davey taught a Saigo Ryu technique called Katate Tori Aiki Nage. As students became more proficient in the technique, he showed how the size of the movement could be reduced to result in a more difficult, but much faster, throw. At an advanced level, aiki nage requires only minimal movement to knock an opponent to the ground. It is a sophisticated technique that allows the neutralization of an attack without the use of great strength and without producing severe injury to the attacker.

Want to learn more about traditional Japanese jujutsu as depicted above? Visit www.smaa-hq.com. The SMAA has a number of prominent teachers of authentic Japanese jujutsu in the SMAA Jujutsu Division, including Stephen Fabian Sensei (Hontai Yoshin Ryu), Kevin Heard Sensei (Saigo Ryu), Nicklaus Suino Sensei (Sato Ryu), Mr. Wayne Muromoto (Takeuchi Ryu), and others.

November SMAA California Seminar (3)

More images of the second SMAA California Seminar. Besides the chief instructor for the seminar, H. E. Davey, the following SMAA Senior Advisors were in attendance:

* Kevin Heard Sensei
* Ohsaki Jun Sensei
* Ann Kameoka Sensei

November SMAA California Seminar (2)

The photos above are from the second SMAA event held in California in 2009. Both SMAA California Seminars were part of the successful SMAA 15th Anniversary Seminar Series. The November seminar was held in conjunction with the 28th anniversary of H. E. Davey's Sennin Foundation Center for Japanese Cultural Arts in Albany.

In addition to the meditation instruction pictured above, students studied a Saigo Ryu technique called Katate Tori Aiki Nage. In aiki nage, the opponent's mind is lead in such a way that they lose their balance and fall. If done properly, this can be accomplished without the use of pain or leverage. Timing and momentum, however, are needed.

November SMAA California Seminar (1)

In November 2009, the second SMAA event in California took place. It was hosted by the San Francisco Bay Area-based Sennin Foundation Center for Japanese Cultural Arts (www.senninfoundation.com). The chief instructor was H. E. Davey, SMAA Jujutsu Division seventh dan.

Instruction each day began with training in the Shin-shin-toitsu-do system of Japanese yoga. More specifically, students studied one of the forms of sitting meditation taught in Shin-shin-toitsu-do. Through learning to coordinate the mind and body via meditation, participants had an opportunity to experience deeper levels of calmness, relaxation, and concentration.

Later, Mr. Davey presented classes in the Saigo Ryu system of martial arts. Training focused on one of the Saigo Ryu aiki nage techniques, which allowed students to throw an opponent without struggling and without the use of great physical strength. Mr. Davey also explained how many of the principles of mind and body unification that were outlined in his Japanese yoga instruction could be applied to throwing an attacker with aiki nage.

More of the SMAA Europe Seminar (3)

Students with more advanced training in swordsmanship were allowed to practice the Nakamura Ryu techniques that they'd been learning using full-contact. Fortunately kendo armor was provided to protect participants from injury.

The excellent photos in the last three posts were taken by American SMAA member William Kelch Sensei, who traveled to London with other American members to participate in the SMAA Europe Seminar.

More of the SMAA Europe Seminar (2)

At the SMAA Europe Seminar, John Evans Sensei offered instruction in Nakamura Ryu battodo, a traditional form of Japanese swordsmanship. Evans Sensei is a member of the SMAA Board of Advisors and a seventh degree black belt in Nakamura Ryu.

Want to learn more about the use of the Nippon-to, the "Japanese sword?" The SMAA has several top teachers of iaido and kenjutsu in its ranks. Leading authorities like John Evans Sensei (Nakamura Ryu), Guy Power Sensei (Nakamura Ryu), Nicklaus Suino Sensei (Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu), Mr. Wayne Muromoto (Takeuchi Ryu), Mr. Dave Lowry (Yagyu Shinkage Ryu), and others can help you learn about the art of the Japanese sword.

Associate membership in the SMAA is inexpensive, and members receive an informative quarterly journal as well as discounts at SMAA events. You can learn more about the SMAA by visiting www.smaa-hq.com.

More of the SMAA Europe Seminar (1)

Training at the SMAA Europe Seminar in London began with daily exercises for increasing awareness of the tanden, a natural center in the lower abdomen that is important in the Japanese martial arts. The classes were lead by John Evans Sensei, an expert in Japanese swordsmanship and Hatha yoga. The exercises he taught emphasized tanren, "forging" of one's mind and body. They were derived from his background in Hatha yoga, Mikkyo esoteric Buddhism, and various yamabushi ("mountain warrior") practices. He later showed how these exercises could not only benefit one's health, but how they could also improve performance in Nakamura Ryu swordsmanship.