Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Paul Martin Book

SMAA member Paul Martin Sensei has a new book out on the Japanese sword, its history, appreciation, and appraisal:

The Japanese Sword Guide to Nyusatsu Kantei is a handy little booklet that is beneficial to sword enthusiasts of all levels. It has basic information on sword classification, explanations on the important rules of etiquette and handling, and explains the rules of nyusatsu kantei: a pastime in which participants try to appraise the maker of a sword. It also includes charts listing the mainline smiths (in both kanji and romanji) for easy navigation when taking part in nyusatsu kantei.

$12 + pp

This book should be of interest to SMAA members involved with Japanese swords and swordsmanship. Check it out at Martin Sensei's website www.thejapanesesword.com.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Paul Martin Joins the SMAA

Paul Martin Sensei has joined the SMAA. Martin Sensei is a Japanese sword specialist. A native of England, he has lived in Japan for many years, where he has studied kendo, iaido, and several forms of ancient swordsmanship, including Ono Ha Itto Ryu. But his main area of speciality is the study, history, and appraisal of the Japanese sword as an art object. He is one of the world's foremost scholars of the Japanese sword, and we're honored to have him as an SMAA member.

Martin Sensei has studied under top sword appraisal experts, sword smiths, and sword restorers in Japan for numerous years, and this is to say little of his budo background. He maintains a fascinating website www.thejapanesesword.com and he is the author of The Japanese Sword Guide to Nyusatsu Kantei, which can be purchased at his site. He has been featured on the BBC, BBC Radio 4, the History Channel, Los Angeles JATV, and Japan's NHK TV. He has been interviewed in Tokyo Metropolis Magazine, The Daily Yomiuri newspaper, and Asahi Weekly in Japan. You can see video of many of these interviews at the site above.

Martin Sensei will be contributing articles for the SMAA Journal about the Japanese sword as an art object, its valuation and appraisal, and its history. He provides a unique perspective on the sword and budo, as he is both a martial artist and a sword scholar.

Monday, February 1, 2010


Suzuki Sensei's desire to join the SMAA validates the unique and important work our association is doing to promote and preserve genuinely traditional Japanese martial arts and ways. The presence of people like Suzuki Sensei and Omi Koji Sensei (former Japanese Finance Minster and member of Japan's House of Representatives) among our leaders gives added weight to the ranks that our members can receive from the various SMAA divisions. They also serve to further emphasize the international nature of the SMAA and our group's close ties to Japan and the classical Japanese martial arts community.

The pictures above can be enlarged by clicking on them. They show Suzuki Sensei at a younger age; in several of the photos
he is demonstrating Nakamura Ryu at the famed Meiji Shrine.


In addition to his training in budo, Suzuki Sensei has received high-level teaching certification in the ancient art of the shakuhachi flute. Long associated with Zen meditation, the shakuhachi is one of Japan's most important cultural arts. Suzuki Sensei feels that the study of such arts can aid martial artists in having a deeper understanding of budo. This viewpoint is shared by many of the leaders of the SMAA, which is why experts in Japanese yoga and meditation, flower arrangement, tea ceremony, brush calligraphy, and other disciplines can be found among members of the SMAA Board of Directors and Board of Advisors.

The images above show Suzuki Sensei at an older age in San Diego, California. Click on them to see a bigger image.


Suzuki Sensei first started in budo with the study of Wado Ryu karate-do, training under legendary experts in Japan. He rose through the kyu ranks, eventually earning black belt degrees in Wado Ryu before deciding to devote all his efforts to Japanese swordsmanship. He has become one of the highest ranking teachers of iaido (battodo) in the world.

The images above are of Suzuki Sensei and Guy Power Sensei in Japan many years ago. Power Sensei is one of two Directors of the SMAA Iaido Division, and he has received a seventh dan from the International Iai-Battodo Federation in Japan, and a seventh dan and Shihan teaching certificate from the SMAA.

You can click on the images above to enlarge them.


Suzuki Kunio Sensei, Nakamura Ryu swordsmanship Hanshi, eighth dan has join the SMAA as a Senior Advisor. Suzuki Sensei is one of the highest ranking teachers of traditional martial arts in Japan, if not the world. He is a direct student of the late Nakamura Taizaburo Sensei, founder of Nakamura Ryu, tenth dan, and a former Living National Treasure of Japan.

Suzuki Sensei lives in Yokohama, and we are honored to welcome him to our board of advisors. He joins many other prominent martial artists in Japan, Europe, and the USA, who serve the SMAA without pay. Their devotion to budo and koryu bujutsu is the hallmark of the Shudokan Martial Arts Association.