Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Who we are and What we do

Information & Certification in Legitimate Heritage Japanese Martial Arts
by Nicklaus Suino Sensei

Information for Prospective New Members

Do you want to belong to a prestigious group of top martial artists? Do you want to earn reputable certificates of rank? Are you having trouble finding a reliable source of information and resources for legitimate historical Japanese martial arts?

You’re not alone in wishing you could find a source for legitimate, historical martial arts. Many of our members tell us they’ve been searching for a credible source of information and training resources for years. It’s a common problem to join a dojo or group only to find that the leaders lack real credentials or any actual ties to Japan. And when it comes time to seek out certification of your martial arts rank, these less-than-legitimate organizations are only too willing to take your money without ensuring that your rank means anything to the people who matter.

Imagine being able to learn more about the traditional Japanese martial arts without the hype, commercialization, and scams. You’ll know that the information you receive is prepared and reviewed by serious martial artists, interested only in preserving and sharing the most essential aspects of heritage martial arts. You’ll be able to trust the certification process, knowing that your rank isn’t simply a fancy piece of paper. You’ll have access to seminars taught by instructors who are deeply concerned about passing along their deep knowledge of budo, and deeply concerned about your continued development as a martial artist. 

We constantly seek out the most legitimate representatives of the arts to ensure that what we share with you is thoughtful and well grounded in Japanese historical fact. The typical martial arts association is more concerned about promoting its own aims, whether that means increasing profits or hyping a “martial art” with little or no connection to real Japanese budo. The SMAA is a 501(c)(3) non-profit association of internationally acclaimed experts in Japan, Europe, and the USA that endorse SMAA ranks and activities. The leaders of the SMAA never stop trying to better themselves and the organization, and that means you’ll have access to real knowledge without having to put up with fantasy martial arts or the personal agendas of the instructors.

* Be part of a prestigious group of elite martial arts experts.

* Get information and advice on martial arts that you can trust.

* Attend seminars taught by SMAA’s world class officials and instructors.

* Get your rank certified by an organization with a worldwide reputation.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Do I have to be a martial arts expert to join the SMAA?

No. Getting started with the SMAA as an associate member requires only that you have a fascination with the Japanese martial arts and want to learn more. Complete the application for new members and send it to us with your first year’s dues, and get started on your quest for knowledge today.

2. What will I get with my associate membership?

You’ll get a beautiful certificate of membership, regular copies of the SMAA Journal (digital edition), access to news and information about SMAA seminars, seminar discounts, and the knowledge that you’re part of an association of elite traditional martial artists who are deeply concerned about preserving and sharing heritage Japanese budo.

3. Do you certify ranks in non-Japanese martial arts?

No. The SMAA is strictly concerned with the legitimate, heritage Japanese martial arts. We don’t certify or provide information on martial arts that aren’t from Japan or that don’t have a verifiable Japanese lineage.

4. Can I communicate directly with SMAA officials?

Yes. While SMAA officials are very busy and serve in a strictly voluntary capacity, most are happy to answer your questions. Once you join as an associate member, feel free to send an email with your request. We’ll do our best to get your questions or comments to the right SMAA expert.

5. What do I have to do to get my rank certified by the SMAA?

You must provide us with sufficient information to show that you have valid training within a verifiable lineage in one of the Japanese martial arts that we certify. Usually, this involves providing copies of your past certificates, a written history of your training, a video of you performing the techniques of your art, and the testing fee (if any). Please see our Membership page for more information. Depending on the rank you seek and your past credentials, an in-person examination or further training may be required.

Apply for your associate membership today! Download the application for new members, compete the form, and send it to us (either via the postal service or as an attachment to your email). We’ll review your application and process it as quickly as we can. Just go to www.smaa-hq.com for more information.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

H. E. Davey Promoted to 8th Dan

Recently, H. E. Davey was unanimously approved for eighth dan in the SMAA Jujutsu Division. Stephen Fabian Sensei, a Director for the Jujutsu Division, and Nicklaus Suino Sensei, an SMAA Primary Director, recommended him for this promotion. The recommendation then went to the SMAA Board of Directors and SMAA Board of Advisors for consideration, which is the case with all promotions to higher dan within the SMAA. It was ultimately approved.

Unlike some associations, promotions within the SMAA are not based on the opinion of a single person. All members of the SMAA Board of Directors and SMAA Board of Advisors have an opportunity to comment on and discuss the merits of a proposed promotion. Video demonstrations and in-person examinations are frequently required.

If a group consensus is reached, the promotion is issued. This means that an international panel, made up of some of the world’s top martial arts teachers, is behind the ranks that members receive in the SMAA. Both Japanese and Western experts in modern budo and koryu bujutsu consider each application for ranks above third dan. (Ranks of sandan and below are determined by the Director, or Directors, in charge of a division within the SMAA.)

The SMAA’s thorough approach to rank examinations guarantees that rank is not obtained too quickly or easily, thus ensuring that certified SMAA teachers will not be embarrassed by another SMAA instructor’s lack of competency. In the case of Mr. Davey, the time between his last promotion and his new rank of hachidan was 19 years.

Look for a complete write-up in the next issue of the SMAA Journal. To find out more about this journal and the SMAA's international coalition of Japanese and Western budo experts, visit www.smaa-hq.com.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Teachers of SMAA Officials & Senior Members (playlist)

Suino Sensei Promoted to Iaido 8th Dan

Big news! Recently, the SMAA Board of Advisors and Board of Directors unanimously voted to award Nicklaus Suino Sensei an eighth dan in the SMAA Iaido Division. Suino Sensei is one of the founding members of the SMAA, one of three SMAA Primary Directors, and the general manager of our headquarters. He is the author of Budo Mind and Body: Training Secrets of the Japanese Martial Arts, Practice Drills for Japanese Swordsmanship, The Art of Japanese Swordsmanship: A Manual of Eishin-Ryu Iaido, Strategy in Japanese Swordsmanship, and other works. He is also the Director of the Japanese Martial Arts Center in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He has been deeply involved in traditional Japanese budo since 1968.

More information will follow in the next issue of the SMAA Journal. Congratulations to Suino Sensei!

Monday, July 15, 2013

2013 SMAA Kentucky Seminar!


The SMAA Kentucky Seminar will take place in Louisville, Kentucky on August 17 – 19, 2013. The featured instructors are Stephen Fabian Sensei and Cyna Khalily Sensei. Fabian Sensei will teach Hontai Yoshin Ryu jujutsu and related weapons, while Khalily Sensei will offer instruction in Chito Ryu karate-do. This U.S. event is going to be a lot of fun, and it offers our members a chance to study two martial traditions that are rarely taught outside of Japan. Here’s all you need to know to start the registration process:

What: Hontai Yoshin Ryu is an ancient martial system that focuses on jujutsu. It also includes training with the three-foot stick, six-foot staff, and the sword. It is infrequently offered in a seminar format, and it is not easy to find instruction in authentic forms of Japanese jujutsu in the West. This is a great chance to learn from one of the world’s best teachers of Hontai Yoshin Ryu and an opportunity to study dynamic throws, joint locks, and grappling techniques that date back to Japan’s feudal past. Time permitting, Fabian Sensei will also present instruction in Toyama Ryu iaido.

Chito Ryu is a distinctive and powerful form of karate-do that is not widely practiced in Western countries, and it has unique, interesting, and effective features that separate it from other karate-do styles. Chitose Tsuyoshi Sensei founded Chito Ryu, and it has strong Okinawan influences. Signature aspects of Chito Ryu include an emphasis on kime—a contraction of the muscles in the lower part of the body to generate additional strength and stability in stances. The use of shibori, which means "to squeeze"—twisting contraction of the muscles in a specific area (often the arms) aimed at generating strength; rapid rotational movements; and frequent use of movement off the line of attack at advanced levels are also important.

Who: Stephen Fabian Sensei has been involved in the martial arts for most of his life. Mr. Fabian lives in New Jersey and teaches Hontai Yoshin Ryu. He resided for several years in Japan and is a disciple of Inoue Soke, the 18th generation Headmaster of the Hontai Yoshin Ryu. He is the first American licensed to teach this ancient ryu in the U.S. Fabian Sensei is a Director for the SMAA Traditional Jujutsu Division. His current SMAA title/rank is jujutsu Shihan/seventh dan and SMAA Iaido Division fourth dan. He is also author of Clearing Away Clouds: Nine Lessons for Life from the Martial Arts, in which he shares insights gained from years of practicing martial arts.

Cyna Khalily Sensei has been studying Chito Ryu karate-do for decades. He trains in the USA, Japan, and Okinawa under top karate-do experts. Khalily Sensei has received a Shihan teaching certificate and a sixth dan from the SMAA Karate-do Division. He is a leading expert in Chito Ryu in the U.S. He is also a medical doctor, and he lives in Kentucky. His dojo is hosting the SMAA Kentucky Seminar this year, just as it did in 2012.

When: August 17 – 19, 2013

Where: Takanoko Dojo
999 Brent Street
Louisville, Kentucky 40204

How Much: $75 per day for four training sessions each day. $225 for the entire event. Both amounts are for the general public. SMAA members will receive a special discount on all training.

Contact: Send e-mail to Brian Barnes Sensei at logician@hyrusa.com for more detailed information. Space is limited, so act soon. Don't miss this important opportunity to study two rarely taught martial arts under leading SMAA experts.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

SMAA Europe Seminar!

Great news! The SMAA Europe Seminar will take place in England, with Paul and Lee Masters Sensei as the featured instructors. The subject will be Tenjin Shinyo Ryu jujutsu, an ancient martial art. This is one of two forms of jujutsu that were central in the creation of Kodokan judo. Tenjin Shinyo Ryu is rarely offered to the public, even in Japan, let alone in a Western nation.

Paul Masters Sensei is featured in the current issue of the SMAA Journal, along with his son Lee, and he holds a menkyo kaiden in Tenjin Shinyo Ryu, the highest possible rank. He is the first non-Japanese recipient of this honor in the over 200-year history of this important martial art. Don’t miss your chance to study classical Japanese jujutsu with him. Throws, joint locks, strangleholds, strikes, and healing methods merge in Tenjin Shinyo Ryu to create a dynamic system of personal development and self-protection. Here’s all you need to know to attend this exciting event: 

What: Tenjin Shinyo Ryu jujutsu, one of the most influential ancient martial arts 

When: July 20, 2013 (11:00 AM to 5:00 PM) 

Where: Komori Dojo 
Drybrook Memorial Hall, GL17 
9JA,Drybrook, Gloucester, UK 

Who: SMAA members and the general public 

How Much: £35 general admission, SMAA members only £25 

Event Registration & Contact Information: Lee Masters Sensei at tenyokaiintl@gmail.com. 

Attendance is limited, so contact Masters Sensei soon to reserve your place. Don’t miss your opportunity to study with two of the world’s highest-ranking teachers of classical Nihon jujutsu. And be sure to ask for your SMAA member discount, just one of the many benefits of belonging to our international nonprofit association.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

2013 SMAA Aikido Camp!

The SMAA and the Aikikai HQ (Tokyo) are co-sponsors of a great aikido camp in Georgia. The instructor will be SMAA certified teacher Max Roach Sensei (aikido sandan and iaido yondan). Here's all you need to know to partcipate: 

Darlington School’s Huffman Athletic Center
1014 Cave Spring Road 
Rome, GA 30161 USA

Ages 10 and above

June 3 - 8, 2013

How much:
$135 – Pre-registration 
$150 – Late Registration (After May 24, 2013 )

$10 - Discount for SMAA members!

Practiced in a spirit of non-competition, Aikikai aikido is fun and practical self-defense. This camp will be beneficial for new and advanced students alike. Instruction will focus on basic and intermediate defensive techniques, including unbalancing and pinning techniques, arm bars, wrist techniques, sweeps, and hip throws. Participants will cultivate balance, coordination, concentration and self-awareness. 

Pre-registered participants who sign up by May 24 will receive a free uniform. Please contact Mr. Roach with your height and weight for uniform pre-orders. Teacher and group discounts also available. Housing may be available if requested in advance.

Questions? Send e-mail to roach.max@gmail.com. We hope to see everyone at this fun and exciting event. And don't forget to ask for your SMAA member discount.

Monday, March 11, 2013

SMAA member Cyndy Hayashi Sensei,
Aikikai aikido 6th dan
The Shudokan Martial Arts Association (SMAA, Shudokan Budo-Kai) was founded in January 1994 by a group of martial artists who were concerned with promoting and safeguarding Nihon budo and koryu bujutsu--the traditional martial arts and ways of Japan. The original members of the SMAA were Karl Scott Sensei (karate-do seventh dan, aikido sixth dan), Nicklaus Suino Sensei (judo sixth dan, iaido seven...th dan), H. E. Davey Sensei (jujutsu seventh dan), and the late Walter Todd Sensei (judo eighth dan, aikido sixth dan).

From the original core group, the association has grown to include many of the preeminent practitioners of martial arts in and outside of Japan:

Otsuka Yasuyuki Soke (Headmaster of Meifu-Shinkage Ryu shuriken-jutsu)

Iwasaki Hisashi Soke (Headmaster of Kobori Ryu suiei-jutsu)

Sawai Atsuhiro Sensei (Kobori Ryu suiei-jutsu)

Suzuki Kunio Sensei, (Nakamura Ryu and Toyama Ryu iaido)

Ohsaki Jun Sensei (Saigo Ryu aiki-jujutsu, Kodokan judo)

Cynthia Hayashi Sensei (Aikikai aikido)

Stephen Fabian Sensei (Hontai Yoshin Ryu jujutsu, Toyama Ryu iaido)

Hunter Armstrong Sensei (Owari Kan Ryu sojutsu, Yagyu Shinkage Ryu kenjutsu)

Guy Power Sensei (Nakamura Ryu iaido and battodo)

Herb Wong Sensei (Shorin Ryu karate-do)

Mr. Dave Lowry (Shindo Muso Ryu jojutsu, Yagyu Shinkage Ryu kenjutsu)

Mr. Wayne Muromoto (Takeuchi Ryu jujutsu)

And many others.

The SMAA is a small, fraternal organization with a decidedly noncommercial outlook on modern budo and koryu bujutsu. It includes separate divisions for karate-do, aikido, judo, traditional jujutsu, iaido, and goshin-jutsu (modern self-defense systems stemming from budo or bujutsu). Both associate membership (without rank) and regular membership (with rank) are available to individuals sincerely interested in researching and training in the classical martial systems of Japan. Regular international seminars, e-mail newsletters, a quarterly journal, a blog, access to this website, and examinations for dan/kyu ranking are benefits of membership. All members are bound by the SMAA Code of Ethics.

The leaders of the SMAA all have close ties to the martial community in Japan, or they live in Japan. Although they are reimbursed for their expenses, they receive no salaries. Their rewards lie in the friendships that are born within the SMAA and the exchange of knowledge that takes place as the result of SMAA membership.

Objectives of the SMAA

1. To promote and aid in the growth of Japan's traditional martial arts and ways.

2. To assist the public in achieving spiritual growth and physical development through budo and koryu bujutsu training.

3. To further friendship and understanding between Asian and Western martial artists.

4. To establish goodwill and harmony among martial artists of various systems.

5. To offer Western martial artists access to legitimate budo and koryu bujutsu organizations and teachers in Japan.

6. To give practitioners of authentic budo and koryu bujutsu recognition for their years of devotion to these arts.


SMAA Online Store

The SMAA is active in Japan, Spain, Italy, Canada, England, United Arab Emirates, Australia, Ecuador, Germany, Sweden, the USA and other nations. It offers its members access to international instructional seminars, a quarterly journal, an e-mail newsletter, a blog, and a website. Internationally recognized teaching certification is also available to qualified individuals.

The SMAA online store, which sells SMAA logo items like T-shirts, mugs, hats, bags, and other fun items, can be found at

Sunday, January 6, 2013

The SMAA Welcomes Richard Yamamoto Sensei

We would like to welcome Richard Yamamoto Sensei to the SMAA! Yamamoto Sensei has been practicing classic Kodokan judo since he was a teenager. At over 90 years of age, Yamamoto Sensei is still a very active senior citizen and a seventh dan with the Kodokan Judo Insitute in Tokyo. One of the pioneers of judo in the Northwestern part of the US, Yamamoto Sensei was the chief instructor of Seikikan Judojo for many years. Seikikan was established in the 1930s, and we'll have a biography of Yamamoto Sensei in an upcoming issue of the SMAA Journal.