Sunday, December 11, 2011

A Note from Ecuador

The image above is of the iaido group of Neil Estrella Avecillas, an SMAA member in Ecuador. You can click on the image to enlarge it.

Mr. Avecillas writes, "The training here with my sensei and my partners always begins by paying proper respect to the martial tradition we practice. My sensei is strict about not allowing us to do something that disrespects the dojo or anything else. Courtesy is the most important thing during the practice, and our practice always begin with kihon ("basics"): footwork, arm work and leg work, which are important forms of fundamental training for beginners. "

"The style that is practiced by all beginners, intermediate, and advance students is the Seitei iaido of the Zen Nihon Kendo Renmei. The intermediate and advanced students practice forms of koryu iaido ("ancient iaido") in addition to this style. The practice of kata is very important, and during the kata we always keep in mind that the technique has to be done perfectly. We avoid repeating kata mindlessly like a robot; before beginning a kata we visualize an imaginary opponent, and that opponent is the manifestation of one of our defects that we want to eliminate. For this reason and others, kata requires all of one's concentration and strict attention to details."
Thanks to Mr. Avecillas for the information about his iaido practice in Ecuador and the photo. We welcome SMAA members to submit their own images of budo training for this blog.


Happy Holidays

Thanks to all our members for supporting the SMAA in 2011. We hope you have great holidays and a Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Missing an Issue of the Journal?

If you do not receive the new issue of the journal within the next week or so, please write to There are usually two reasons members fail to get the journal: forgetting to pay annual dues and forgetting to let us know about a new e-mail address. Please remember that dues should be paid on or before the first day of each year, and we can't send you seminar information, newsletters, and our magazine if we don't have a working e-mail address. Your help with both issues is appreciated.

Swenson Sensei

Congratulations to Troy Swenson Sensei! Swenson Sensei, assistant editor of the SMAA Journal, just received nidan in the SMAA Jujutsu Division. Swenson Sensei devotes quite a bit of his time to editing and formatting the raw text he receives into what members eventually see in the SMAA Journal. He does this for free, and this is true of all SMAA officials as our group is a federally tax-exempt nonprofit corporation.

SMAA officials donate their time to the organization (although they may receive honorariums for teaching at SMAA events and be reimbursed for expenses). None of the leaders of the SMAA profit financially from their involvement in the group--a distinction that sets the SMAA apart from other martial arts associations.

As the result, the public and members can be assured that SMAA rank cannot be "bought" as is sometimes the case with other groups. They can be certain that the Directors and Advisors are working for the SMAA out of a genuine love of budo and koryu bujutsu.


SMAA members will be receiving the new issue of the SMAA Journal any day now. This issue features a great article on the SMAA Europe Seminar that took place a few months ago. Suzuki Kunio Sensei, 8th dan in Nakamura Ryu swordsmanship and SMAA Senior Advisor, came from Japan to teach in England.

This issue also has part two of Teaching Karate-do to Children by Joe Rippy Sensei and Bill Kelch Sens
ei, along with Nippon Jujutsu: Origins, Myths, and Misconceptions by H. E. Davey. Jay Mijares Sensei contributed part one of a fine article called Shu Ha Ri, a fascinating account of his experiences studying Nakamura Ryu and Toyama Ryu iaido with Guy Power Sensei. And Wayne Muromoto, a 6th dan in the SMAA Jujutsu Division and Takeuchi Ryu jujutsu expert, wrote Niko Niko Sensei about Takenouchi Tojuro Sensei, the 13th headmaster of the Sodenke Takenouchi Ryu.

The topics covered in the SMAA Journal and the information offered, along with the way in which articles are presented, is different from what is found in most mainstream martial arts magazines. If you want to read hard to find information about truly classic koryu bujutsu and gendai budo, join the SMAA and start receiving this important magazine today. Associate membership is just $20 (US) per year. Membership information can be found at


Your SMAA dues for 2012 should be paid on or before January 1, 2012. Please send a check or money order to our headquarters in Michigan. You can also pay online with a major credit card. Drop by and you can conveniently make your 2012 payment. All dues go to sustain the operation of our nonprofit organization. 

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Free Japanese Yoga & Martial Arts Classes!

On Thursday, November 3 the Sennin Foundation Center for Japanese Cultural Arts will offer an introductory class in the Shin-shin-toitsu-do system of Japanese yoga and meditation, along with an introduction to Saigo Ryu martial arts. This event is FREE to SMAA members. The classes will take place at 1053 San Pablo Ave. in Albany, California, right across the bay from San Francisco.

The martial arts class is not required, and i
t will follow the Japanese yoga program, which starts at 7:00 PM. Since the Saigo Ryu aiki-jujutsu training will refer to principles of mind and body unification covered in the Japanese yoga class, everyone will want to participate in this first part of the evening. You can read more about both subjects at

Wear loose clothing and bring a notebook. Preregistration is needed and easily accomplished. Just leave a voice mail at 510-526-7518. Give us your name and phone number, then indicate that you would like to participate in one or both classes. Let us know if anyone else is coming with you, and we'll see you on Thursday. Please arrive a few minutes early for general registration.

The classes will be taught by Troy Swenson Sensei, who has been studying and teaching at the Sennin Foundation Center for several years. He has teaching certification in Japanese yoga, and he received a black belt from the Shudokan Martial Arts Association Jujutsu Division. He is also the assistant editor of the SMAA Journal.

Don't miss your chance to learn how Japanese yoga and/or martial arts can help you realize better health, deeper calmness, and enhanced concentration in everyday life.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

New Issue of the SMAA Journal

The new SMAA Journal is out and packed with fun articles and photos. We’ve got some great excerpts from Strategy in Japanese Swordsmanship, Nicklaus Suino Sensei’s latest book. You’ll also find a report from London about SMAA Senior Advisor Paul Martin Sensei’s seminar on the art and appreciation of the Japanese sword, and a detailed article about using the esoteric aiki principle in aikido, jujutsu, and other martial arts. 
If you have not yet received the latest issue of the journal, it probably means we don’t have a current mailing address for you. Please send your correct e-mail address to 
Not yet an SMAA member? You’re missing out on a great quarterly journal, one that’s  packed with hard to find information about rare martial arts. Membership is just $20 (US) per year, and you can easily join at

SMAA Europe Seminar with Suzuki Kunio

Friday, October 7, 2011


 "Martial" or "military." The Chinese character for "bu" has two components. One indicates a weapon, while the other means to stop or lay aside. Thus, bu has a different connotation than the direct English translation.--H. E. Davey, Shihan/7th dan and Co-director of the SMAA Jujutsu Division

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Hayashi Sensei Teaching Aikido in Utah

Cynthia Hayashi Sensei 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.

She is seen here teaching aikido in Utah (USA). Click on an image to enlarge it.

Thanks to Max Roach Sensei for the photos.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

SMAA Europe Seminar

The SMAA Europe Seminar is currently taking place under the direction of Suzuki Kunio Sensei, SMAA Senior Advisor. Suzuki Sensei, a resident of Yokohama, is a direct student of the founder of Nakamura Ryu swordsmanship, and we're happy to have him in the UK. Thanks to the SMAA members in London for their help with this important event. We should have photos and an article an upcoming issue of the SMAA Journal.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Discover the World of Authentic Japanese Budo and Koryu Bujutsu

Don't miss your chance to be associated with some of the top teachers of modern budo and koryu bujutsu in the world today! International seminars, a great quarterly journal, membership certificates, rank certification, and member discounts are just a few benefits of SMAA membership. Dues are very reasonable and go to support our nonprofit organization. Drop by for more information.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

SMAA Journal

The latest issue of the SMAA Journal has been sent to members. If you do not receive this issue, it's most likely because your e-mail address has changed, and we don't have your current information, or you have not paid dues. If you fail to receive the new issue, send e-mail to If you'd like to get our quarterly publication, join the SMAA at Associate membership is just $20 (US) per year.

Articles on classic judo in Japan, how to study budo, the esoteric principles behind kiai, the art of the Japanese sword, and ancient martial arts in Aizu are featured. Authors in the new issue are Wayne Muromoto, H. E. Davey, Nicklaus Suino, Paul Martin, and Mark Colby.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Free Japanese Yoga & Martial Arts Classes!

On Thursday, July 14 the Sennin Foundation Center for Japanese Cultural Arts will offer free introductory classes in the Shin-shin-toitsu-do system of Japanese yoga and meditation, along with a free introduction to Saigo Ryu martial arts. The classes will take place at 1053 San Pablo Ave. in Albany, California, right across the bay from San Francisco.

The martial arts class is not required, and it will follow the Japanese yoga program, which starts at 7:00 PM. Since the Saigo Ryu aiki-jujutsu training will refer to principles of mind and body unification covered in the Japanese yoga class, everyone will want to participate in this first part of the evening. You can read more about both subjects at

Wear loose clothing and bring a notebook. Preregistration is needed and easily accomplished. Just leave a voice mail at 510-526-7518. Give us your name and phone number, then indicate that you would like to participate in one or both classes. Let us know if anyone else is coming with you, and we'll see you on Thursday. Please arrive a few minutes early for general registration.

The classes will be taught by Kevin Heard Sensei, who has been studying and teaching at the Sennin Foundation Center for nearly 30 years. He has Soshihan teaching certification in Japanese yoga, the highest level possible, and he received a sixth degree black belt from the famed Shudokan Martial Arts Association's Jujutsu Division. He is also a member of the elite SMAA Board of Advisors.

Don't miss your chance to learn how Japanese yoga and/or martial arts can help you realize better health, deeper calmness, and enhanced concentration in everyday life.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A Note to SMAA Members

We have recently become aware of at least one other martial arts group that uses the acronym “SMAA.” Please note that the Shudokan Martial Arts Association is not affiliated with any other group or organization that uses SMAA to identify itself. Though we do not believe any careful observer would confuse our thoughtful, traditional approach with that of another organization, we suggest that you be sure to type in “Shudokan Martial Arts Association” when seeking information about our association. Our website can be found at, and our Facebook page at

Thursday, June 9, 2011

JMAC Celebrates Five Years

Nicklaus Suino Sensei's Japanese Martial Arts Center will be celebrating his fifth anniversary, and SMAA members are invited to attend. Suino Sensei is the SMAA General Manager. Here's all you need to know to take part.

Where: Japanese Martial Arts Center
3853 Research Park Drive, Suite 110
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48108

When: Saturday, June 25, 2011
Starts at 3:30 pm

What: Celebration of five years at JMAC
- Promotion ceremony for successful test candidates
- Activities
- Potluck

The JMAC annual potluck has become world famous among those "in the know." Each year, the JMAC members have raised the bar by bringing better and more exciting dishes from their home cultures or old family recipes. Drop by and visit with other SMAA members. You can contact Suino Sensei for more information at

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Iwasaki Soke

Iwasaki Hisashi Sensei, SMAA Senior Advisor, is the Soke (Hereditary Headmaster) of Kobori Ryu suiei-jutsu. One of the highest ranking martial artists in Japan, he teaches and preserves a very rare and esteemed form of ancient bujutsu.

Suiei-jutsu is the age-old Japanese martial art of combative swimming. Unlike modern budo, such as judo, karate-do, or iaido, the old martial systems (koryu) were often sogo bujutsu. A sogo bujutsu incorporates a number of martial disciplines that are linked by a set of unifying principles as espoused by the art's founder. While not all bushi, or "warriors," studied every one of them, generally speaking there are 18 classical martial arts that often comprise bujutsu. Although the exact arts that made up the bugei juhappan, or "18 martial arts," varied according to martial system, and sometimes according to historical period as well, suiei-jutsu is often described as being one of them.

While not as widely practiced as swordsmanship, samurai swimming was often a part of the bushi's training. It was natural for the Japanese warrior to develop swimming skills in that the sea surrounds Japan, and combat could therefore potentially take place in water. Eventually, swimming and engaging an opponent in water reached a high level in certain clans of warriors. Depending on the speed, size, and depth of the water that was near a particular clan, different skills were developed. For example, some ryu of suiei-jutsu featured methods for swimming under water, while others focused on swimming in fast moving rapids.

Suiei-jutsu served various purposes, ranging from allowing the bushi to silently sneak up on an enemy, to floating for long periods, to fording strong rivers. Bushi needed to be able to swim while wearing armor, carrying flags, weapons, and banners; and they needed to be able to use a bow and arrow while almost submerged. Some ryu also featured grappling while in the water.

At present, suiei-jutsu is seldom taught in Japan. Most of its contemporary practitioners are studying it as a means of recreation, as a way of maintaining their health, and as a method of disciplining their minds and bodies. But make no mistake, the small number of suiei-jutsu teachers that are still extant have not forgotten the martial origins of this rare art form, and they are also preserving it as an important cultural property of Japan.

Iwasaki Soke is one of the people responsible for preserving suiei-jutsu, and he lives in Kyoto.

Ohsaki Sensei

Ohsaki Jun Sensei
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 started 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 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.

Otsuka Soke

Otsuka Yasuyuki Soke

Otsuka Yasuyuki Sensei, the current Soke (Headmaster) of Meifu-Shinkage Ryu, is a member of the SMAA Board of Advisors. Meifu-Shinkage Ryu is based on Katori Shinto Ryu, one of Japan's oldest forms of koryu bujutsu. Meifu-Shinkage Ryu specializes in the use of shuriken (throwing stars and darts) and the fundo kusari, a weighted chain. Otsuka Sensei, a published author of budo books, is one of the highest ranking martial artists in Japan and one of very few people in the world teaching an authentic system of shuriken-jutsu. His desire to join the SMAA points to the value of the work our group is doing internationally to promote and preserve genuine Japanese budo and koryu bujutsu. He lives in Ichikawa-Shi, Chiba, Japan and teaches throughout Japan, Europe, and the USA.

The SMAA is active around the world and lead by both Western and Japanese martial arts experts. Otsuka Sensei joins a number of prominent martial arts teachers in Japan, who actively support our association and validate the ranks issued by the SMAA. Their presence in the SMAA speaks volumes about the importance of our group and the degree to which it is respected in Japan, the birthplace of budo and koryu bujutsu.

Suzuki Sensei

Suzuki Kunio Sensei
Suzuki Kunio Sensei, Nakamura Ryu swordsmanship Hanshi, eighth dan, and SMAA Senior Advisor 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 have him on 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.

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.

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.

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.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

SMAA Journal

We hope everyone is enjoying the latest issue of the SMAA Journal. However, some of the e-mailed journals bounced back to us. Please make sure we have your current e-mail address. If you have a new e-mail address, send it to We want all of our members to receive every issue of the journal.

What is the SMAA?

About the Shudokan Martial Arts Association

The Shudokan Martial Arts Association (SMAA, Shudokan Budo-Kai) was founded in January 1994 by a group of martial artists who were concerned with promoting and safeguarding Nihon budo and koryu bujutsu--the traditional martial arts and ways of Japan. The original members of the SMAA were Karl Scott Sensei (karate-do seventh dan, aikido sixth dan), Nicklaus Suino Sensei (judo sixth dan, iaido seventh dan), H. E. Davey Sensei (jujutsu seventh dan), and the late Walter Todd Sensei (judo eighth dan, aikido sixth dan). From the original core group, the association has grown to include many of the preeminent practitioners of martial arts in and outside of Japan such as:

Otsuka Yasuyuki Soke (Headmaster of Meifu-Shinkage Ryu shuriken-jutsu)

Iwasaki Hisashi Soke (Headmaster of Kobori Ryu suiei-jutsu)

Sawai Atsuhiro Sensei (Kobori Ryu suiei-jutsu)

Suzuki Kunio Sensei, (Nakamura Ryu and Toyama Ryu iaido, Wado Ryu karate-do)

Ohsaki Jun Sensei (Kodokan judo and Saigo Ryu aiki-jujutsu)

Cynthia Hayashi Sensei (Aikikai aikido)

Stephen Fabian Sensei (Hontai Yoshin Ryu jujutsu, Toyama Ryu iaido)

Hunter Armstrong Sensei (Owari Kan Ryu sojutsu, Yagyu Shinkage Ryu kenjutsu, Shindo Muso Ryu jojutsu)

Guy Power Sensei (Nakamura Ryu battodo)

Herb Wong Sensei (Shorin Ryu karate-do)

Mr. Dave Lowry (Shindo Muso Ryu jojutsu, Yagyu Shinkage Ryu kenjutsu)

Mr. Wayne Muromoto (Takeuchi Ryu jujutsu, Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu iaido)

And many others.

The SMAA is a small, fraternal organization with a decidedly noncommercial outlook on modern budo and koryu bujutsu. It includes separate divisions for karate-do, aikido, judo, traditional jujutsu, iaido, and goshin-jutsu (modern self-defense systems stemming from budo or bujutsu). Both associate membership (without rank) and regular membership (with rank) are available to individuals sincerely interested in researching and training in the classical martial systems of Japan. Regular international seminars, e-mail newsletters, a quarterly journal, a blog, access to this website, and examinations for dan/kyu ranking are benefits of membership. All members are bound by the SMAA Code of Ethics.

The leaders of the SMAA all have close ties to the martial community in Japan, or they live in Japan. Although they are reimbursed for their expenses, they receive no salaries. Their rewards lie in the friendships that are born within the SMAA and the exchange of knowledge that takes place as the result of SMAA membership.


What's in a Name?

Shudokan means "an Institution for Cultivating the Way." (Do, or "the way," refers philosophically to discovering the right and natural way to live. It is the same character found in budo--the "martial way;" sado--the ""way of tea," i.e. the tea ceremony; shodo--the "way of Japanese calligraphy;" as well as the names of various Japanese fine arts.)

It is interesting to note that no martial connotation is found in the appellation Shudokan, no reference to karate-do is contained in the name, and the name is used on occasion by schools of Japanese cultural arts that have no connection to budo. Actually, any "do" form, ranging from judo to karate-do to iaido, or even fine arts such as shodo, could be considered a vehicle for cultivating the way.


The SMAA Mon

SMAA MonThe emblem on this web site is inspired by the mon, or Japanese family crest. This general design was a collaboration between Michael Donnelly Sensei, H. E. Davey Sensei, and Kevin Heard Sensei. It was eventually incorporated into an official SMAA insignia, complete with English and Japanese lettering, that is used on SMAA uniform patches and other SMAA merchandise that members can purchase at our online store or via the online payments section of this website.

The SMAA mon has symbolic significance. The circle motif represents the martial artist's never-ending progress toward perfection, as once we start to travel on this circle, our path never stops. Notice as well the eight rings surrounding the central circle. Eight in Japanese martial culture has connotations of infinity, while the center circle symbolizes the individual martial artist, who resides in sea of limitless possibilities. He or she can only move in eight fundamental directions, whether attacking or defending (happo sabaki). Attacks can only be launched against the budoka from eight basic directions as well. And one's opponent can also be unbalanced at eight essential angles (happo kuzushi). Moreover, when wielding a sword or other weapon, the path of the sword will travel in one of eight primary directions (happo giri).

From judo to aikido to kenjutsu, the eight-way concept is a common and important idea. Yet, the eight circles are linked, thus indicating possible angles of movement that fall between the eight basic angles.

In this simple design, we're confirming an infinite potential available to individuals on the never-ending path toward perfection via modern budo and ancient bujutsu. In addition, the mon serves to remind SMAA members of the essentially circular movements of the arts they practice and the eight basic angles of evasion, attack, unbalancing, and weapon movement that are universal for most martial studies.


Objectives of the SMAA

  1. To promote and aid in the growth of Japan's traditional martial arts and ways.
  2. To assist the public in achieving spiritual growth and physical development through budo and koryu bujutsu training.
  3. To further friendship and understanding between Asian and Western martial artists.
  4. To establish goodwill and harmony among martial artists of various systems.
  5. To offer Western martial artists access to legitimate budo and koryu bujutsu organizations and teachers in Japan.
  6. To give practitioners of authentic budo and koryu bujutsu recognition for their years of devotion to these arts.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Meifu Shinkage Ryu Seminar in Japan

From May 20 through May 23, Otsuka Yasuyuki Soke taught a special international seminar on Meifu Shinkage Ryu. The event took place in Japan, with participants coming from Japan, the USA, Spain, Germany, Italy, Finland, and Denmark.

Otsuka Soke is a member of the SMAA Board of Advisors and the current headmaster of Meifu Shinkage Ryu, a martial system specializing in the use of ancient shuriken throwing weapons. He is one of very few people in Japan still teaching this rare martial art.

Want to join Otsuka Soke in the SMAA? Just drop by for membership information.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Paul Martin Becomes SMAA Senior Advisor

Paul Martin Sensei has been appointed to the elite SMAA Board of Advisors. Martin Sensei is a Japanese sword specialist. A native of England, he lived in Japan for many years, where he 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 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.

Kevin Heard Receives Sixth Dan

Kevin Heard Sensei, a member of the SMAA Board of Advisors, was recently approved by the SMAA Jujutsu Division for promotion to rokudan. This makes him one of the highest ranking jujutsu teachers in our association.

A San Francisco Bay Area native, Heard Sensei has been studying Japanese cultural and martial arts for nearly 30 years. He holds teaching licenses in Shin-shin-toitsu-do, a form of Japanese yoga, as well as related 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 martial arts.

Heard Sensei and his wife were the first official members of the SMAA, joining not long after the group was launched by the late Walter Todd Sensei, Nicklaus Suino Sensei, Karl Scott Sensei, and H. E. Davey. He is also the former assistant editor for the SMAA Journal and the former webmaster/creator of the SMAA website. He currently holds Fuku-shihan teaching certification from the SMAA Jujutsu Division.

He has also 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. He was, moreover, a featured instructor at the first SMAA Seminar & Conference ever held, and he has taught at SMAA events in Michigan as well.

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. His professional interests include UNIX/Linux system administration, building information systems based on open standards, open source software, and privacy and security in the digital age. He is co-author of Mastering Netscape SuiteSpot 3 Servers (Sybex).

The SMAA Directors and Advisors congratulate Heard Sensei for attaining this high rank.

Monday, April 11, 2011

SMAA Europe Seminar with Suzuki Kunio Sensei

Great news! John Evans Sensei, SMAA Senior Advisor, will host an official SMAA Europe Seminar in London this summer. The featured instructor will be Suzuki Kunio Sensei, Hanshi and eighth dan in Nakamura Ryu swordsmanship. Suzuki Sensei is one of the highest ranking martial artists in Japan, if not the world, and he is a direct student of the founder of Nakamura Ryu. He is also a member of the elite SMAA Board of Advisors and one of several SMAA officials living in Japan. This is the first time Suzuki Sensei will teach at an SMAA event.

SMAA members will receive a 10% discount on this two day August event. Attendance is limited, so get your registration form and fee in early. Don't miss your chance to study the art of the samurai sword with one of the top teachers in the SMAA. Here's all you need to get started:

SMAA Europe Seminar

Subject: Nakamura Ryu battodo

Teacher: Suzuki Kunio Sensei, Hanshi/eighth dan

Dates & Times: 20th /21st August, 10am -5pm (both days)

Location: City of London Academy, Islington
Prebend Street, Islington London, N1 8PQ

 Cost: £120 (including test cutting materials)

Contact: E-mail John Evans Sensei at for registration materials.

The Art of the Japanese Sword DVD

Art of the Japanese Sword
The Japanese sword … prized as much for its exceptional beauty as for it’s deadly cutting ability. It has endured for a thousand years as the pinnacle of Japanese culture. Now you can enter a world rarely seen by outsiders, and experience the true story of the Art of the Japanese Sword. The story is told in the swordsmiths own words, separating the myth from the fact, and following the swordsmiths dream of creating a masterpiece beginning with the quest of making an ancient steel to forging a blade equal to those of the Kamakura, a medieval period that produced the greatest swords in history.

For the martial artist the Japanese sword is a precise cutting weapon and symbol of the samurai. For the collector, it is an art form whose beauty is derived from its deadly function to cut. As our story of the Japanese sword unfolds, we bring together all the artists and craftsmen whose skills turn it into both a modern work of art and awindow into the past. Packed with never before seen footage, filmed throughout Japan with the very best swordsmiths and craftsmen who are the absolute masters of their art … the art of the Japanese sword filmed by Jon Braeley in association with Paul Martin. Paul Martin, a leading Japanese sword expert and SMAA member, was given unrestricted access to film inside the forges, workshops and Shinto shrines and museums. Featuring Japan’s top swordsmiths: Kawachi Kunihira, Matsuda Tsuguyasu and Manabe Sumihira and many more.

Price $24.95 + $3.99 p+p. All regions, 85 mins long. Available from

Friday, April 8, 2011

SMAA Member Wins Silver Medal

Congratulations to Brianna Campbell, a young American member of the SMAA, who recently won a silver medal in international judo competition at the Jita Kyoei Cup in Lima, Peru! Although the SMAA stresses judo as a traditional martial art, members of the SMAA Judo Division are free to compete, and many members are top judo atheletes. Join the SMAA at

Friday, March 11, 2011

Japan Earthquake and Tsunami

Our thoughts go out to our friends and teachers in Japan, which was recently hit by a large earthquake and tsunami. We hope all our friends are OK, and we hope you will donate to help people in Japan. If you’re not sure how to do this, you can go to

Sunday, March 6, 2011

SMAA Karate-do Division

Shimabukuro Eizo, Shorin Ryu karate-do 10th dan
and teacher of Karl Scott,
SMAA Karate-do Division Director

Herbert Wong, karate-do 8th dan and
SMAA Senior Advisor, with his teacher
Shimabukuro Eizo

Suzuki Kunio, SMAA Senior Advisor
and Wado Ryu karate-do expert

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.

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, a seventh dan in Wado Ryu, Joseph Rippy Sensei (Wado Ryu sixth dan), Herbert Wong Sensei (Shorin Ryu eighth dan), Suzuki Kunio Sensei (Wado Ryu), and Hunter Armstrong Sensei of the Goju Ryu.