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.