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.