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.