Nin Tai, Something More than Not Giving Up

articles podcast Feb 24, 2020

About 15 years ago, I was at a martial arts seminar in Virginia that Manaka Sensei  was teaching. 

Following the seminar, the host kindly invited us back to his house for a small party, barbecue and a get together. While there, Sensei had been relaxing on a couch and flagged me over, asked me to sit down next to him. He told me he wanted to teach me something.
He began to explain an important principle in our art, in fact one in all Japanese martial arts; Nin Tai.
He wanted me to understand not only it's meaning, but also what he wanted it to mean to me and going forward and how he wished I teach it to the students of my dojo community.
Sensei explained that there will come a time in every student's training career, whether it be in martial arts or any discipline, that they will question their teacher, their teacher's knowledge and their depth of true understanding of what they teach. Maybe...
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Testing Expectations, What's Beyond the Curriculum

articles blog podcast Jan 15, 2020
We just completed a new cycle of rank testing here at the Dojo, and I gotta tell you ... there's some blood on the floor. Well not really, but metaphorically.
A lot of students just didn't make it through their first or even second cycle of testing, so I want to take a step back and share some of my personal reflections on this topic.
It's important for people to understand that rank testing (shiken) is not necessarily a rite of passage per say. It's actually the maintenance of the standards here at the martial arts school, and within the martial art that we study. This is what comes first. 
It's also an expression of the expectations that the ranking instructor has of each student.
You see, there are going to be times when I must judge a student based on where they are in life. A student who is an athletic twenty four year-old is most likely going to be much different than a student who has been...
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Reflections on Giri, our obligational duty as written by Inazo Nitobe

culture Apr 15, 2019

I want to continue the discussion about the fundamental difference between right and wrong. If you listened to the first episode, we talked about Bushido The Soul of Japan, written by Inazō Nitobe.

I’ll be sharing each one of the (8) tenets that Nitobe presents as the tenets of warriorship as defined in his work, Bushido: The Soul of Japan. The first one as we already discussed being gi, which means rectitude or justice.

As a Martial Arts teacher, the most important principle I teach a student when they first come into the dojo is gi. Yes, there are truly elements of primitive combat, self defense, etc… but ultimately those skillsets are secondary for me. I could teach close range fighting in a concrete room with a pair of khaki shorts and a T-shirt on, and could get the same thing done; to learn to fight.

What's most important for the traditional Martial artist is the first step is to understand the fundamental difference...

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Gi, The fundamental difference between right and wrong

podcast Apr 07, 2019



Much of how I teach is centered around topics that I first present to the children’s class, and then I kind of carry that same sentiment throughout into my evening class making it more contextual for the adult students.


So, for example, right now we’ve begun a whole new course with the kids where, after they do their warm-up and about 15 minutes of rolls, striking drills and exercises - I’ll group them together and we’ll do a quick mat chat. The group talks -bout some specific life lessons, but I don't really make it a motivational speak, per se. I actually tie in the warrior culture, especially the warrior culture as it relates to the martial art that they're studying.


In this particular class we began the tenets of Bushido, as written by Inazō Nitobe in Bushido: The Soul of Japan.


The first tenant Nitobe presents is Gi, or the principle of rectitude and justice. To understand why this is important for the...

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First Training of 2019, Hastu Keiko

events Jan 03, 2019

On January 1, 2019 at 5:30 a.m., the first class of the new year bowed in and training began. The topic was centered on the Jinen Ryu Bikenjutsu kata, Hiryu. 

Following, the tradition of cutting tatami as the new sun began to take over the darkness of early morning. 

Enjoy these images of Hatsu Keiko, 2019. 

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Adam Mitchell receives Rokkudan from Unsui Sensei

announcments Nov 10, 2018

During the 2018 Tokubetsu no Keiko, (special training) at the Jinenkan Honbu Dojo attended by instructors from around the world, Adam Mitchell received promotion to Rokkudan, 6th degree, by Unsui Sensei. 

As well, Mario DeMol, Jinenkan Kounryusui Dojo (Belgium) received Nanadan, 7th degree along with Leif Angestam of the Jinenkan Hiryu Dojo (Sweden) and Edy Boy of the Jinenkan Onkochishin Dojo (Switzerland) who both received Rokkudan. 

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Namba Aruki: Or How To Hack Walking To Be More Efficient

historical Aug 07, 2017

Written by koichi

Hate to break it to you normal-walker, but the way you’re walking right now is inefficient, ridiculous, and just plain wrong. You know how you’re overly moving your hips and twisting your body like a pretzel, causing yourself to exert more energy than necessary? What about the perpetual falling forward that you’re doing while you walk? Wait, you didn’t know about those things? Sorry to assume like that, I just thought your mom taught you how to walk. You didn’t teach yourself, did you? Allow me to be a gent and show you the proper way to walk, then. Sure, you’ll be turning heads and look like a weirdo, but you can laugh in their face when their kimono is all rumpled up and yours isn’t. This style of walking/running is known as Namba Aruki (not to be confused with Nanpa Aruki, that would be gross), and it feels great. …Read the article

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Otonashi no Kamae, 音無しの構

technique Jul 21, 2017

While training the The Hanbōjutsu of Kukishin Ryū in Japan during the Spring of 2008, Unsui Sensei explained to me the use of otonashi no kamae.

His lesson was premised on the principle of “be an easy target for your opponent.” But the intention of this kamae can be easily misconstrued with others, or not even understood at all.

Standing with your weapon behind your back as a proficient swordsman is closing distance fast with a strong will to strike you down is suicide. This kamae is not that and to train it based on the posture alone is meaningless.

As I prepared for my yondan testing, I found a considerable amount of difficulty in understanding the true nature and meaning behind this kamae. Like most everything else, it’s purpose is discovered by consistent attention to training correctly for long periods of time. The hand is not seen by the opponent in some cases, the muscles in the legs are loaded in ways not visible and the intention is not ‘heard’...

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A Brief History of the Kusari Fundo

historical Nov 04, 2016

The history of the kusarifundo is quite fascinating. The weapon was developed by the head sentry of Edo castle in the early eighteenth century to disarm and subdue criminals without bloodshed inside castle grounds.

The shedding of blood during this time would be considered disgraceful and therefore the arresting constables may see a punishment beyond that of the criminal arrested. As the use of the weapon became more popular, it was employed by Japanese police forces to defend against criminals of Samurai status.

Prior to the Tokugawa Shogunate, security forces employed the use of mitsu-dogu, to restrain a skilled criminal Samurai. These were three distinct long shafted pole-arms that proved highly effective to restrain the most hardened member of the warrior class turned criminal. These weapons included Sasumata, Tsukubo and the Sodegarami.

Draeger points out in Classical Bujutsu, “The general decline of the Tokugawa bushi’s martial skill may be clearly seen in the...

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On Nure Ochiba 濡れ落ち葉

culture Aug 10, 2016

I got off the train from Kashiwa and rode one of the clunker bicycles back to the Dojo. Actually, they’re not really clunkers, in fact they’re respected machines that provide transportation to students who visit the Dojo from all over the world. We actually like them alot. They are old-lady bikes, pretty rusted up with baskets and squeeky brakes. But we all like them.

As I rolled into the parking lot of the Honbu Dojo, I saw Sensei outside sweeping the lot with take-bouki, a bamboo broom. Chad was helping him with another broom and was excited about how well it worked. He made some comments about how this type of broom could not be found at Home Depot.

Sensei explained that he was sweeping the parking lot because we’d be training outdoors and he wished it to be clean for keiko. He didn’t want me to help as he was enjoying the work. Possibly because there was no other brooms to be had.

The ground was wet with leaves. Sensei took a moment to explain an...

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