Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!

We hope all of the fans of the Shudokan Martial Arts Association Facebook page and the SMAA Blog have a very Happy New Year!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Happy Holidays!

Thanks to all the SMAA members throughout the world for their interest and support in 2010. Thanks as well to all our friends for supporting this blog. We hope everyone has very Happy Holidays and a great New Year.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

2011 Dues

SMAA members:

Membership fees need to be renewed on or before January 1. Please send your yearly contribution to our headquarters in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Members receive discounts at SMAA events, our quarterly journal, and they are eligible to receive kyu/dan rank from our various divisions.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

New Book

SMAA member Max Roach recently had a book published called Japanese Swords: Cultural Icons of a Nation. We just got a copy of the book, so we haven't had a chance to read it yet, but the photos and presentation are great. You can check out the book's Facebook page here:

Thursday, November 11, 2010

I'd like to have one of the leaders of the SMAA come to my dojo to teach and/or conduct testing. How do I do this?

Just contact the SMAA HQ, and let us know which teacher you would like to study with. We will then pass your request on to that instructor.

Many of the Directors and Advisors are willing to teach seminars an...d conduct testing for low fees--in some cases just for the cost of their expenses--to help spread high quality traditional budo. Each teacher has his or her own ideas about payment, but it is often easier to bring a top SMAA sensei to your dojo than you might think.

Members find that belonging to the SMAA offers many important and tangible benefits. However, perhaps the most important benefit is a chance to experience genuine Japanese budo, budo that has not been watered-down or Westernized, and such opportunities are more rare than the public might imagine. Moreover, competent teachers of these classical disciplines are equally rare to find outside of Japan, and we hope SMAA members will take steps to learn from the accomplished sensei in our group.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

I'm a member, and I have not received a copy of the journal in some time. Why is this?

Did your home address or e-mail address change? Did you let us know well in advance that you would be moving? If not, this can easily explain why you are not receiving anything from us. If your e-mail address changes, please promptly ...send the new address to

Have you made your annual donation to the SMAA, which is due on January 1 of each year? Since we are a small, traditional, and fairly non-commercial association, we cannot send copies of the journal to members who are not contributing to the financial maintenance of the SMAA.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

July 2010 SMAA Michigan Seminar

Nicklaus Suino Sensei, SMAA Judo Division Director and sixth dan, offered a special summer event focused on traditional Kodokan judo. He taught the following judo throws:

• Seoi Nage (“Shoulder Throw”)
• Harai Goshi (“Sweeping Hip Throw”)
• Uchi Mata (“Inner Thigh Throw”)
• De Ashi Barai (“Advancing Foot Sweep”)
• O Soto Gari (“Major Outside Reap”)

Suino Sensei showed how these techniques can be used effectively in competition, but also in self-defense. Instruction was offered for both beginners and advanced judoka.

Where: Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA

Who: Nicklaus Suino Sensei—

What: Kodokan judo

When: July 16, 17, and 18, 2010

Theme: “Judo: Five Throws You Absolutely, Positively Can’t Live Without”

Schedule: July 16 (7:00 to 9:00 PM), July 17 (11:00 AM to 1:00 PM, 5:30 to 7:30 PM), July 18 (11:00 AM to 1:00 PM, 3:30 to 5:30 PM, Dinner/party from 5:30 PM on)

Thanks to the SMAA members that participated. SMAA Seminars are always a great way to make new friends and learn from some of the top budo experts in the world. And as always, SMAA members receive special discounts at these events.

Do you have dojo charters or dojo memberships?


We deal with every member as an individual, and we collect only modest dues from each member. Members need not pay any sort fee, annually or otherwise, to have their dojo registered with the SMAA. In short, we recognize individuals not schools.

I visited the dojo of a person claiming to be affiliated with the SMAA. Can you help me verify his level of teaching certification and rank?

Yes. We have accurate computer records of our various members, past and present, as well as the ranks that each person has received from us. We cannot, on the other hand, verify ranking that one of our members may have received from another organization.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Help Briana Campbell

One of our young SMAA members, Briana Campbell, has been selected as a competitor to represent the USA at an international judo competition in Lima, Peru next month! The competition is the 2010 Jita Kyoei Cup and International Regatas Lima Cup, November 12-14.

The cost to send Briana and her father to Peru will be substantial. We hope you'll consider helping to support Briana's efforts by making a donation toward her travel expenses. You can donate to the Shudokan Martial Arts Association [SMAA], which has agreed to support this fund-raising project.

To donate, please visit and click on the "donate" button under "Donation for Briana Campbell."

The SMAA is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation, so your donation is tax deductible. To receive a letter from the SMAA acknowledging your donation (for your taxes), please be sure to include your complete name and address in the "special instructions to the seller" field.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Who can qualify to be a Regular Member of the SMAA?

Otsuka Yasuyuki Sensei, Soke of Meifu Shinkage Ryu
and SMAA Senior Advisor

Regular Members are individuals that have received dan or kyu rank from our group. To receive such rank, you can be tested by an SMAA certified teacher that you are studying under, who will help you submit the necessary paperwork and fees to the SMAA HQ, where a final determination will be made regarding your rank and/or teaching certification. This is the simplest way to join the SMAA as a Regular Member.

If you are not studying directly under an SMAA teacher, you can visit the membership information section of to learn about the qualifications for receiving rank and/or teaching certification. While there, you can download a membership application, which you will need to send to the SMAA HQ, along with an examination fee, a resume, photocopies of past rank certificates, and information about yourself and your training history. A DVD or videotape of you performing budo will also be needed.

Depending on what association certified your past rank, an in-person examination may be required. This is often the case for individuals that have not received previous ranking from a recognized Japan-based association or a Western group that is directly affiliated with these types of Japanese organizations. Examples of recognized budo associations are the Kodokan for judo or the Aikikai for aikido.

Does the SMAA endorse martial arts instruction provided by Associate Members?

Mr. Dave Lowry, Yagyu Shinkage Ryu expert,
author, and SMAA Senior Advisor

We greatly value the support of the Associate Members of our group. Nevertheless, since we have not certified them as teachers, we have not authenticated their backgrounds, examined their technical prowess, or tested their accurate understanding of budo history, philosophy, and theory. As the result, we cannot endorse or vouch for their statements or activities.

Again, anyone can join the SMAA as an Associate Member and learn more about budo and koryu bujutsu from our teachers, journal, blog, seminars, and website. This includes people that have never studied a Japanese martial art and teachers of martial systems of American, Chinese, Korean, or other origin.

Who can qualify to be an Associate Member of the SMAA?

Suzuki Kunio Sensei, iaido Hanshi/hachidan
and SMAA Senior Advisor

The short answer is that anyone who sends in a membership application and yearly dues can join the SMAA as an Associate Member. They will receive our quarterly journal, seminar discounts, access to our website, and an Associate Member certificate. They do not, however, receive (dan or kyu) rank certificates or teaching certification from our group.

About the SMAA

When the SMAA was first created, it was launched with the objective of educating the public about the true nature of authentic forms of Japanese budo and koryu bujutsu. Since accurate information about these Asian arts was (and still is) often unavailable and/or incorrect in the West, we wanted to certify competent, knowledgeable teachers of genuine Japanese martial arts, and we wanted to offer factual written information about the bona fide history, philosophy, and techniques of traditional budo via the SMAA Journal and our website.

Because our objectives are educational in nature, we have always had an open door membership policy--anyone interested in learning more about budo and koryu bujutsu can join our group. However, it is important to note that there are two distinct levels of membership in the SMAA--Associate Member and Regular Member.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

SMAA California Seminar

John Evans Sensei just taught a seminar in the San Francisco Bay Area that focused on Nakamura Ryu sword arts and tanren, a yoga-like synthesis of Japanese spiritual disciplines. Thanks to all the SMAA members that participated, including Bill Kelch Sensei, who came all the way from Tennessee to train with Mr. Evans.

We hope to see everyone at the next SMAA event this November in the Bay Area. It will focus on Japanese healing arts and martial arts, and it will be taught by SMAA Primary Director H. E. Davey. For more information, send e-mail to

Thursday, August 5, 2010

More Photos of Otsuka Soke

Want to see more cool photos of Otsuka Yasuki Sensei demonstrating shuriken-jutsu? Drop by and check out our new Facebook album devoted to Otsuka Soke, SMAA Senior Advisor. We've also got some nice videos of him and his students throwing shuriken and using the fundo kusari, a weighted chain. Become a fan of the SMAA Facebook page and keep up on all the latest SMAA events, news, videos, and photos.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Otsuka Yasuyuki Soke joins the SMAA

Great news! Otsuka Yasuyuki Sensei of Japan has joined the SMAA. Otsuka Sensei is the current headmaster (soke) of Meifu-Shinkage Ryu, a system focusing on ancient samurai weapons. In particular, throwing stars and darts (shuriken) and the weighted chain are featured in this ryu. Otsuka Soke is now a member of the SMAA Board of Advisors.

Otsuka Soke is the creator of Japanese language books and DVDs on this art, and he's widely known in Japan as being one of only a handful of people left that practice shuriken-jutsu. Otsuka Soke is one of Japan's top martial artists, and his presence in the SMAA indicates the value teachers in Japan place on this association. He is one of several revered Japanese sensei that are members of the SMAA.

You can also be a member of this elite association. Join today at

Monday, July 19, 2010

June 2010 SMAA California Seminar--Part 4

Above are miscellaneous images from the June SMAA California Seminar. Attending the seminar were:

* H. E. Davey (SMAA Primary director, Co-director of the SMAA Jujutsu Division, and SMAA Journal editor)
* Kevin Heard Sensei (SMAA Senior Advisor)
* Ann Harue Kameoka Sensei (SMAA Senior Advisor)
*Troy Swenson Sensei (SMAA Journal assistant editor)

You can view a photo album with more and different images at the SMAA Facebook page.

Attendance at SMAA events is deliberately kept small to insure high quality instruction and the prices for our seminars are always reasonable. We've got more events coming up in 2010, in the USA and other countries, and if you've never been to an SMAA Seminar, you're missing out on a lot of fun and high-level budo training. You can read more about upcoming seminars at our Facebook page, on this blog, in the latest issue of the SMAA Journal, and at We hope to see you at one of our future events.

June 2010 SMAA California Seminar--Part 3

Once students at the seminar had a chance to try unarmed Saigo Ryu techniques, H. E. Davey showed how similar techniques could be applied while holding a hanbo. The hanbo is a three-foot stick, and in Saigo Ryu it is used to create additional pain and leverage. Saigo Ryu hanbojutsu techniques are thus related to the art's jujutsu movements and the two disciplines are typically taught in conjunction with each other.

June SMAA California Seminar--Part 2

Students at the SMAA California Seminar practiced Saigo Ryu aiki-jujutsu. SMAA members of all ages participated. Pinning methods (katame waza) and throws (nage waza) were taught on Saturday and Sunday. Sitting techniques (zagi) and standing techniques (tachi waza) were both covered, as were techniques for dealing with more than one opponent.  H. E. Davey, SMAA Jujutsu Division seventh dan, stressed how to yield to an attacker's force for greater effectiveness and how coordination of mind and body can result in more effective martial arts techniques.