Friday, November 2, 2012

Warren Agena Becomes SMAA Senior Advisor

Warren Agena Sensei is the head instructor of the Northglenn Judo Club in Colorado. He has decades of traditional judo experience, having studied with many top judoka, including Otaka Shuichi Sensei, Kodokan shichidan. Northglenn Judo Club has been in existence since 1965 and is the longest continually operating judo dojo in Colorado.

According to USA Judo, Inc., Agena Sensei’s dojo is the fifth largest judo dojo in the
USA.  In addition to judo practice, the club participates in local, state, national, and international competitions. They also sponsor social events for the whole family and participate in fundraising to benefit judo players. Northglenn Dojo is also the home club of two Olympians: Craig Agena, 1984 Los Angeles Olympics and Jo Anne Quiring, 1992 Barcelona Olympics. Moreover, Northglenn Dojo is the club of Lance Nading, former number one ranked judo athlete in 100 kg division and current President of USA Judo, and Agena Sensei has many junior elite athletes practicing at his club as well. Under Agena Sensei’s direction, the Northglenn Judo Club won the team championship at the 2003 USA Judo National Junior Olympics. Agena Sensei was also a successful competitor, having won his division in many tournaments, including the US National Junior Olympics in 1977. 

Agena Sensei has a Masters degree in geophysics, and he is a geophysicist working with the prestigious US Geological Survey. More specifically, he is Geophysics Group Leader - Central Energy Resources Science Center 

He is ranked as rokudan with the Kodokan Judo Institute in Japan and the United States Judo Federation. He is also a member of the Intermountain Yudanshakai, Colorado Judo League, and USA Judo, which is affiliated with the US Olympic Committee. He has taught at the USJF National Teachers Institute. He is one of the judo seniors (sempai) of Richard Burkland Sensei, SMAA Senior Advisor, who has known him for years and who contacted him about joining the SMAA. 

Agena Sensei has a detailed knowledge of classic judo kata, in particular Kime no Kata. Kime no Kata is a self-defense oriented kata developed at the Kodokan around 1888. The series is composed of eight techniques from a kneeling posture and 12 techniques from a standing position. Both sets of techniques contain defenses for both armed and empty-handed attacks. Agena Sensei has presented clinics on Kime no Kata at various locations in the USA, including the US Department of Commerce Judo Club in Colorado.

We'd like to welcome Agena Sensei to the SMAA Board of Advisors. He joins many other top martial artists in Japan, the USA, and Europe that are SMAA officials.



Thursday, September 20, 2012

SMAA Workshop for Children

H. E. Davey and SMAA member Martha Gayton
The Sennin Foundation Center for Japanese Cultural Arts will host the first SMAA Workshop for Children in November. The instructor will be H. E. Davey, a Director for the SMAA Jujutsu Division and a seventh-degree black belt. The workshop will be open to children age five and above, and instruction will be offered in Saigo Ryu aiki-jujutsu, a traditional Japanese martial art.  
Here’s all you need to know to have your child participate the SMAA Workshop for Children: 
What: Traditional Japanese martial arts for children age five and above
When: Sunday, November 18, 2012 from 10:45 AM to 12:15 PM
Where: The Sennin Foundation Center for Japanese Cultural Arts
1053 San Pablo Ave.
Albany, CA 94706
Who: The workshop will be taught by H. E. Davey, one of the founding members of the SMAA and Shihan/shichidan in the SMAA Jujutsu Division
Cost: Children, who are current SMAA members, can participate for just $15 using their SMAA member discount
Contact Information: Participants must be registered two weeks before the date of the workshop. Parents can contact the Sennin Foundation Center for registration forms and additional details. E-mail: Telephone: 510-526-7518. 
About the Workshop
The SMAA Workshop for Children will present training in Saigo Ryu aiki-jujutsu, a traditional martial art. While many Westerners use "jujutsu, jujitsu, or jiu-jitsu" to describe their art of self-defense, most of these methods bear little resemblance to the original Japanese jujutsu, Japan's oldest martial art. Both aikido and judo stem from jujutsu, and the SMAA is one of few associations outside of Japan to offer authentic Japanese jujutsu.
Saigo Ryu features a wide variety of powerful throwing, pinning, and grappling techniques stemming from older methods originating in the Aizu-Wakamatsu area of Japan. Saigo Ryu also features advanced training in the sword, spear, staff, short stick, iron fan, and other weapons. It is unique and distinct from many more well-known martial disciplines. While training is dynamic, and the practiced self-defense techniques effective, the emphasis is on subduing an opponent without unnecessary injury. Workshop participants will learn to improve their health while studying martial arts as meditation. Children will receive valuable training that can help them to remain calm under pressure, a skill that they can use at home and at school. 
About the Instructor
H. E. Davey began studying Japanese martial arts as a child, and he is one of the highest ranking traditional jujutsu teachers outside of Japan. This background made him ideally suited for creating the program for children at the Sennin Foundation Center, a program that has been offered since 1981. Under his guidance, and with the help of his staff of expert teachers, young people from the San Francisco Bay Area have discovered their true potential and hidden talents for many years. He is now offering the same instruction to SMAA members at the first SMAA Workshop for Children. Contact the Sennin Foundation Center soon to register for an event that can help your son or daughter to become healthier, safer, and more confident.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

SMAA Kentucky Seminar

Fabian Sensei

SMAA Kentucky Seminar!

Sorry for the late notice, but Stephen Fabian Sensei will be teaching a special SMAA Seminar in Louisville, Kentucky on Saturday, August 4, 2012. Fabian Sensei holds the ranks of Shihan and seventh dan in the SMAA, and he is a Director for the SMAA Jujutsu Division.

He will be presenting basic instruction to the public in Hontai Yoshin Ryu jujutsu, an authentic and ancient version of Japan’s oldest form of martial art. People attending the seminar will need some prior experience with falling safely (ukemi), but Fabian Sensei is willing to work with people with all levels of martial arts ability. SMAA members will receive discounted training and have a chance to learn dynamic throwing and grappling techniques from one of the SMAA’s best teachers. 

Fabian Sensei is the author of Clearing Away Clouds: Nine Lessons for Life from the Martial Arts. He learned Hontai Yoshin Ryu in Japan, where he studied with the 18th and 19th generation headmasters of this ancient martial art. People outside of Japan rarely have a chance to study an authentic form of Nihon jujutsu, and we hope SMAA members will attend this important event. Here’s all you need to know:

WHEN: August 4, 1:00 to 4:00 PM
WHERE: Taka no Ko Dojo, 299 Brent Street, Louisville, Kentucky 40212 USA
COST: $30 general public, $20 SMAA members
CONTACT: Brian Barnes Sensei,, 502-338-1338 

You can read more about Fabian Sensei here: and you can see him in action here:

This is a great opportunity to practice with one of the highest ranking teachers of classical jujutsu living outside of Japan. We hope to see everyone on August 4!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Michael Donnelly Sensei

On Friday, July 20, SMAA Senior Advisor Michael Donnelly passed away suddenly from heart-related issues. He was 61 years old.

Donnelly Sensei was one of the first people to join the SMAA. He actually paid for our newsletters and partially funded the SMAA for the first couple years of its existence. He also hosted the first SMAA Seminar, bringing the late Walter Todd Sensei to his dojo to teach aikido.

He used his experience as an attorney to offer the SMAA free legal advice. He also helped with the design of the SMAA logo and patch. And at one point, when we really needed someone to take over as General Manager, he took on this role for about two years. (Nicklaus Suino Sensei succeeded Donnelly Sensei as SMAA General Manager.) Donnelly Sensei did all of this for free.

His interest in Japanese culture began with his exposure to aikido at the New Jersey School of Aikido in 1976, while in the U.S. Navy. He eventually became an aikido yudansha and operated his own dojo for many years. Mr. Donnelly lived in New Hampshire with his wife Jayne. He worked as a New Hampshire attorney and, in many hospitals in multiple states, as an ASCP certified pathologists' assistant.

Eventually health problems made it difficult for him to teach aikido, but he remained passionately devoted to the SMAA and budo. Even after his dojo closed, he encouraged his students to remain in the SMAA, and several of them are SMAA members to this day. SMAA membership was a requirement for anyone joining his dojo.

When Donnelly Sensei's daughter discovered he had passed away, her first thought was that her father would now be able to practice aikido again. Everyone in his family knew how important our association and budo was to him. After relatives, SMAA Primary Director H. E. Davey was one of the first people to hear of his death, because Jayne wanted his extended SMAA family to know that he was gone.

Flowers were sent to his wife and daughter on behalf of all of us in the SMAA. We will have a tribute to Donnelly Sensei in the next SMAA Journal, and information about his passing will appear shortly on our blog and website.

Not every SMAA member knew Donnelly Sensei personally, but all of us have benefited from his contributions to the SMAA. The SMAA has lost one of its most devoted members, but his vision of a budo fraternity, a worldwide martial arts association without politics or conflict, will live on. In some ways, the SMAA is part of his legacy. Let's all work together to further this unique international organization that fosters friendship among budoka, regardless of martial arts style or nationality.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Sato Tadayuki & John Gage U.S. Seminar

Great news! On August 17, 18, and 19 Nicklaus Suino Sensei, SMAA Judo Division Director, will be offering a special seminar at his Michigan dojo featuring budo experts Sato Tadayuki Sensei and John B. Gage Sensei. Both teachers are coming direct from Tokyo to the U.S., and they’ll be offering instruction in three important Japanese martial arts:

• The Kodokan judo of Kano Jigoro Sensei
• The Shod
okan aikido of Tomiki Kenji Sensei
• The Nihon jujutsu of Sato Shizuya Sensei

Sato Tadayuki Sensei is an expert judoka and a direct student of the late Tomiki Kenji Sensei, founder of Shodokan aikido. He teaches Tomiki-style aikido at the Japan Police University, and he lives in Tokyo.

John B. Gage Sensei is also a high-ranking judoka, and he is a direct student of the late Sato Shizuya Sensei, a judo and jujutsu expert. He is also the current head of Sato Sensei’s system of modern jujutsu. He teaches judo and jujutsu at the American Embassy Judo Club, and he lives in Tokyo.

Not only have we arranged for SMAA members to be able to study with two of Japan’s top budoka, their SMAA membership will allow them to receive a special discount at this event. This is due to Suino Sensei’s close involvement with the SMAA, and it is just one of the many advantages of SMAA membership.

Space is limited for this special seminar, so contact Suino Sensei soon to get more details, and be sure to mention your SMAA membership to receive discounted training in world-class judo, aikido, and jujutsu. He can be reached at or (734) 645-6441.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Mountain Wind Aikikai

The Mountain Wind Aikikai recently opened in Salt Lake City, Utah. It's teachers are Peter Choles Sensei for Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu iaido, Wayne Belka Sensei for Aikikai aikido, and Kent Chapman Sensei for Shotokan karate-do. Choles Sensei is an SMAA member, who has obtained a third dan and Shidoin teaching license from the SMAA Iaido Division. Max Roach Sensei, SMAA Aikido Division third dan and SMAA Iaido Division fourth dan, is acting as an advisor to the new dojo.

The Mountain Wind Aikikai is located in the Salt Lake Institute of Movement studio (

Thursday, March 22, 2012

New SMAA Journal!

The first 2012 issue of the SMAA Journal is out, and members should be receiving it any day now. If you’re an SMAA member, and you do not receive the journal shortly, it probably means that either you have not paid 2012 dues or we don’t have your current e-mail address. If your dues are current, please send your e-mail address to, and we’ll check to make sure your address is correctly recorded in our database. 

This issue of the journal is bigger and better than ever, with great articles, including:

  • Information about SMAA instructor certification
  • An Introduction to Japanese Yoga & Martial Arts—an upcoming special event that’s free to SMAA members
  • The Japanese Sword: Ancient Tradition, Living Culture, Modern Art—a report on SMAA Senior Advisor Paul Martin’s recent SMAA event about the art of the Japanese sword
  • Information about new books by SMAA officials, including Nicklaus Suino, Sawai Atsuhiro, Dave Lowry, and John Evans
  • Be Patient and Flow—an autobiographical article by SMAA Jujutsu Division Director Steve Fabian covering life lessons from his study of Hontai Yoshin Ryu jujutsu in Japan
  • Riai: The Meaning of the Meaning—an article by SMAA Senior Advisor Wayne Muromoto on “the coming together of principles” in aikido and other martial arts
  • Uke: The Receiver of the Technique—an article on karate-do by SMAA Senior Advisor Tom Kosslow, Wado Ryu karate-do 7th dan
  • To Die on the Mat—an article by SMAA Senior Advisor Mark Colby on classic judo in Japan
  • Japanese Words You Should Know—an article by SMAA Iaido Division Director Nicklaus Suino
  • Be Incredible Now . . . If not Sooner—one more great article by Nicklaus Suino on personal growth in budo and daily life 
Not getting the SMAA Journal? Join or renew your membership at, and be part of one of the world’s premier Japanese martial arts societies.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

SMAA Journal

Tom Kosslow, SMAA Senior Advisor

We'll be sending SMAA members the latest issue of the SMAA Journal in a few days. This issue has SMAA news and great articles by top SMAA teachers. Featured is an excerpt from Steve Fabian's book Clearing Away Clouds: Nine Lessons for Life from the Japanese Martial Arts, an article on riai by Wayne Muromoto, important Japanese dojo terminology by Nicklaus Suino, an article on karate-do by Tom Kosslow, judo in Japan by Mark Colby, and other informative works.

An upcoming issue will feature Dave Lowry on aikido in an SMAA Journal exclusive. Not getting our journal? There's an easy fix for that. Join the SMAA at

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Special Free SMAA Event!

On August 23, 2012 the Sennin Foundation Center for Japanese Cultural Arts in California 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.

What You can Experience
Shin-shin-toitsu-do is the form of Japanese yoga and meditation that will be offered to SMAA members. Shin-shin-toitsu-do, “The Way of Mind and Body Unification,” was founded in the early 1900s by Nakamura Tempu Sensei. Nakamura Sensei lived in India, where he studied the art of Raja yoga, the yoga of meditation. After studying medicine at Columbia University, he blended Indian meditation and health improvement with his background in medicine, psychology, Japanese healing arts and meditation, and Japanese martial arts. He taught for many years in Japan, authored best-selling books, and counted among his students a large number of Japan's top executives, politicians, fine artists, athletes, martial artists, and people from every walk of life. But few Westerners have yet been exposed to these extraordinary teachings. 

Shin-shin-toitsu-do offers you practical forms of seated and moving meditation, breathing methods for health, stretching exercises, autosuggestion for altering negative habits, stress management, and self-healing techniques that are little-known in the West. Emphasis is also placed on the development of ki (chi in Chinese). Ki amounts to life energy, and its cultivation has a profound effect on mental and physical health. The goal is greatly enhanced concentration, willpower, calmness, relaxation, and physical fitness.

SMAA members will also have a chance to try Saigo Ryu aiki-jujutsu, a traditional and non-competitive martial art. While many Westerners use “jujutsu,” “jujitsu,” or “jiu-jitsu” to describe their art of self-defense, most of these methods bear little resemblance to the original Japanese jujutsu, Japan's oldest martial art. Both aikido and judo stem from jujutsu, and the Sennin Foundation Center is one of few dojo in the USA to offer authentic Japanese jujutsu.

Saigo Ryu features a wide variety of powerful throwing, pinning, and grappling techniques stemming from older methods originating in the Aizu-Wakamatsu area of Japan. Saigo Ryu is a sogo bujutsu, an “integrated martial system,” and it also features advanced training in the martial arts of the sword, spear, staff, short stick, iron fan, and others. It is unique and unlike many more well-known martial disciplines (like karate-do, kendo, and iaido). While training is vigorous, and the practiced self-defense techniques effective, the emphasis is on subduing an opponent without unneeded injury. Students improve their health while learning martial arts as meditation, which helps them to remain calm under pressure. Some practitioners have likened Saigo Ryu to “moving Zen.”

Saigo Ryu also teaches methods for cultivating ki. Ki, “life energy,” animates human beings, and an understanding of it is useful in both martial arts and daily life.

All You Need to Know to Participate
The classes will take place at 1053 San Pablo Avenue 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. Pre-registration is needed and easily accomplished. Just leave a voice mail at 510-526-7518 or send e-mail to Leave your name and phone number, and then indicate that you would like to participate in one or both classes. Indicate if anyone else is coming with you, and then just drop by on August 23, 2012. Please arrive a few minutes before 7:00 PM for general registration.

The classes will be taught by the SMAA’s own Troy Swenson Sensei, who has been studying and teaching at the Sennin Foundation Center for several years. He has instructor certification in Japanese yoga, and he received a teaching certificate 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 as can help you realize better health, deeper calmness, and enhanced concentration in everyday life.

Tax Deductible Donations

The SMAA is a federally tax-exempt, nonprofit corporation. As such, your donations to our association are tax deductible. Send your donations, in the form of a check or money order (made out to SMAA), to our headquarters in Michigan. We’ll send you a letter back acknowledging your contribution, which you can than use for tax purposes. We hope you’ll support the SMAA in our goal to preserve and promote traditional budo and koryu bujutsu.

Sunday, February 19, 2012


The real secret to becoming an expert in martial arts is realizing that training is a process of self-discovery. Further, it is a means of modifying one's personality to make oneself healthier, more well-balanced, and more efficient. Outside of Japan, this idea has for the most part been lost, and the budo forms are typically taught as nothing more than specialized fighting methods. This approach is wasteful, however, for in the short term there are much more efficient ways to teach fighting than the highly ritualized practice of traditional martial arts. Only when an art is considered as a whole system, including its internal aspects, can all the cultural content be justified. - from BUDO MIND AND BODY, by Nicklaus Suino Sensei (SMAA Judo Division Director).

Thursday, February 16, 2012

SMAA Event

The Japanese Sword: Ancient Tradition, Living Culture, Modern Art

February 20, 2012
San Jose, California, USA

SMAA Senior Advisor Paul Martin, a former staff member of the British Museum, author, and acknowledged authority, will present a lecture on the history and construction of the classic Japanese sword. Prized as much for its artistic beauty as for its amazing cutting ability, the Japanese sword is one of the most recognized symbols of Japan and its warrior class, the samurai. The creation of these true works of art has continued to the present through the efforts of a new generation of artisans, many of whom Mr. Martin interviewed and filmed for his documentary Art of the Japanese Sword.

For additional information contact: SMAA Senior Advisor Nyle Monday (408) 808-2041 or Silke Higgins (408) 808-2118

February 20, 2012
6:00-8:00 p.m.
Room 225/229

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library 150 E. San Fernando Street San Jose, CA 95112 USA

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

2012 SMAA Dues

Please remember that 2012 SMAA dues should have been paid on January 1. We hope everyone is having a Happy New Year!