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