Pain & Training In The Martial Arts

Pain & Training Pain is a universal dilemma. Especially for those in sports or martial arts. Is training with pain a proper thing to do? Should we rest or push through pain? There is a lot of advice out there both good and bad about training with pain. We have to discern between pain and discomfort so that we can …

Four Enemies


Four Friends. Four Enemies. One morning while on alms rounds the Buddha gave a heap of advice to the son of a homeowner, Sigala,  whom the Buddha saw praying in the six directions. The Enlightened One touched on the subject of the four enemies. Be aware of these four enemies disguised as friends; The taker. The talker. The flatterer. The …


The Heart

the heart

Budo values reflection and compassion. When these are not present it is hard to develop the heart and character for deeper study. The heart or mind makes mistakes, but mistakes that can be understood and admitted only help to propel you to deeper teachings. In iaido, kendo, kenjutsu practice I am remind myself of the mistakes and difficulties I cause. To myself and …


Martial Arts Breathing


The spirit of the sword is the breath. Breathing Physiology What’s so important about martial arts breathing or just plain old breathing ? For starters our body needs oxygen. Without oxygen, cells begin to die. We begin to die. Breathing also helps remove toxins from our body. Breathing serves important functions for your blood, brain, and tissues. Our body must …

Rei – 礼 – Gratitude In Training Life

Gratitude for our swords and training equipment, and those that made them. To our teachers and those that came before us. To our students. To ourselves. To all those that make learning possible. Towards friends and enemies and opponents. We should have gratitude for many things in a single bow.


Maai Combative Spacing

samurai combat spacing

Maai 間合い Combative spacing or maai is important to investigate early on and come to understand. In weapons combat it is essential. Although at some point it disappears later in training, during the early stages it behooves us to make sure we understand when we can hit and when we can be hit. This seems like common sense. However it …

Shugyō and Keiko Martial Arts Practice

samurai shugyo

Practicing and PRACTICING There are two ideas about learning in the martial arts. I’d like to talk about them: Keiko 稽古, and Shugyō 修行. When I was young, I recall seeing movies where the martial arts master stands under a waterfall in the icy winter morning, focusing on deep breathing and seemingly simple movements of his arms. I thought, “Wow! …

Japanese Martial Arts Creator Myths

Japanese Koryū Creator myths. Becoming enlightened and making up a whole system.   Some martial arts in Japan have origin stories that borderline on the mystical and some dive right into the supernatural. Are they true? If they are, does it matter? What was the purpose of these stories and myths? Some of these stories are meant to glue or …

Waza: Quality or Quantity

Waza Waza Everywhere In our respective martial arts systems we learn many waza, techniques. Some systems have a handful, while others have hundreds. Can a system with a say 60 techniques be triumphant over a school that taught say 6 or 8? I am not sure what the majority of people think. I’ve met a lot that equate the numerous ways …


Is Compassion Important In Martial Arts?

What is compassion? Compassion is a concern for the suffering or problems of others. Coming from its latin roots it means to suffer together. You are in pain, in turn so am I. Think about that for a minute please. Your hand gets stung by a bee. You feel pain. You get offended or yelled at or smacked in the face. You feel pain. …


Kata: Classical Japanese Samurai Training Method

Bujutsu Kata Training in martial arts can be done in some different ways. One of the tried and true methods in Japan is the Kata. Combat systems in Japan have used the kata for centuries as a way to train the bushi or samurai among their domains and armies. There are many combat oriented schools from the time of the …


How To Avoid Training Pitfalls In Martial Arts

Martial Arts Training Pitfalls Beware The Rabbit Holes. I would like to talk about the pitfalls of martial arts training. Training troubles. Waza woes, if you may allow me. I guess mostly students have this problem. Teachers might also have this issue. There is a problem of, What am i doing? Why am I doing it? I was asked, “How do …

Learning Iaido: Art of the Sword

Iaido Kenjutsu Practice

Learning Iaido online is a challenge. Iaido or Iaijutsu can be deceptively simple in its movements but like anything simple in nature there is profound depths to explore. In nature a block of green color, a leaf. Moving closer and inspecting further we can find the details. Drawing the sword, cutting with the sword and returning the sword. Learning the art …

The Start

Beginning Shin Munen Ryu Kenjutsu. I want to spread good teachings of Japanese swordsmanship around the world. Everyone that wants to, should be able to enjoy this kind of endeavor. Learning sword combat is challenging and interesting.