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.