Archive for February, 2008


Class Record: Togakure Ryu Ninpo with Marcus Dwyer

February 29, 2008

Just back from Japan, Marcus shared some of the movement and ideas from this year’s theme. I was uke a lot for this class so felt the lightness of touch and potential for devastating throws and strikes that the movement we’re studying wraps you up in.

We studied a particular kind of footwork and angling that exposes the uke to having an open guard and unbalanced position. Mental unbalance was achieved through metsubishi use too, and it all led to a feeling for the attacker of not having any base to fight with. Marcus often would disappear to the blind side….. he just wouldn’t be there, in the fight but yet you ended up beaten. A fight needs two or more people doesn’t it? If one becomes invisible, the fight disolves – thats what it felt like.

We looked at 2 of the Tonso Gata as a way of seeing how this works. This brought us to dealing with attacks from behind and dealing with small weapons. Marcus talked about “fighting” versus “surviving” and the idea of escaping and not engaging. Overall, an excellent reminder of what Bujinkan is all about.

Thought provoker: Did everyone ask Marcus if they could feel the technique?

– Ali Martinez




March 2008 training schedule

February 26, 2008

March 2008 training schedule

Week one
Mon 3rd – 6pm to 7.30pm Beginner’s training (Group B)
Mon 3rd – 8pm to 10pm Intermediate and dan grade training
Thurs 6th – 6.30pm to 7.30pm Beginner’s training (Group A)
Thurs 6th – 7.45pm to 9.30pm Intermediate and dan grade training
Sat 8th – 3pm to 5pm Beginner and intermediate training with Ali Martinez

Week two

Mon 10th – 6pm to 7.30pm Beginner’s training (Group B)
Mon 10th – 8pm to 10pm Intermediate and dan grade training
Thurs 13th – 6.30pm to 7.30pm Beginner’s training (Group A)
Thurs 13th – 7.45pm to 9.30pm Intermediate and dan grade training
Week three
Tues 18th – 6pm to 7.30pm Beginner’s training (Group B)
Tues 18th – 8pm to 10pm Intermediate and dan grade training
Wed 19th – 7pm to 8.30pm Beginner and intermediate training with Shane Duggan (Cancelled!)
Thurs 20th – 6.30pm to 7.30pm Beginner’s training (Group A)
Thurs 20th – 7.45pm to 9.30pm Intermediate and dan grade training
Week four
Tue 25th – 6pm to 7.30pm Beginner’s training (Group B)
Tue 25th – 8pm to 10pm Intermediate and dan grade training
Wed 26th – 7pm to 8.30pm Beginner and intermediate training with Shane Duggan
Thurs 27th – 6.30pm to 7.30pm Beginner’s training (Group A)
Thurs 26th – 7.45pm to 9.30pm Intermediate and dan grade training
Sat 29th – 7pm to 8.30pm Beginner and intermediate training with Rex Dunlop
Week five
Mon 31st – 6pm to 7.30pm Beginner’s training (Group B)
Mon 31st – 8pm to 10pm Intermediate and dan grade training

Of note this month:

1 – Two new classes
As announced elsewhere in this blog, the senior student at the dojo, Ali Martinez, is opening his own dojo and so he won’t be teaching his usual Saturday afternoon slot anymore. Instead, there will be an additional two new classes starting at the dojo, designed specifically for new and intermediate students. Shane Duggan (4th dan shidoshi-ho) and Rex Dunlop (4th dan shidoshi-ho) will take these classes, taking place on wednesday evenings and saturday mornings at the Rathmines dojo. As the dojo continues to grow in size, these classes are designed to make sure students of all grades and abilities get instruction specifically tailored to their needs.

2 – Bank holiday class changes
Due to the two bank holidays in March falling on Monday March the 17th and 24th (Easter Monday), training will move to the following day, Tuesday for the convenience of anyone who plans to be away for these weekends.

3 – Seminar with Sveneric Bogsater Shihan
The Bujinkan Butler Dojo is organising a seminar with Swedish master teacher Sveneric Bogsater Shihan. I wholeheartedly encourage everyone to attend – Sven is a fantastic martial artist and a true shihan (gentleman teacher). You can find out more about the course at this link.

General notes


It’s possible to pay for each class individually – each class costs 12 euro, but if fees are paid for the month in advance on the first training session of the month, each class costs 10 euro instead. It is not obligatory to attend any particular number of classes per month, but training at least twice a week is recommended for optimum progress. Reduced fees are also payable for people in full time education or out of work.

Open mat training
Open mat training is not a class, but rather an opportunity for members of the Dōjō to get time to practice what they feel they need to work on. There is no teacher at these sessions, but senior grades will be on hand to supervise. Sessions are announced in the main classes during the week and on the discussion board. Note: Open mat training is open to all students of the Bujinkan Meehan Dōjō, but only to students of other Dōjōs of 3rd Kyu brown belt and above.

Monthly workshops
A workshop is usually held once a month to allow time to explore a particular topic in depth.

Other classes
Occasionally, weekly classes are offered in particular aspects of Budo Taijutsu – these are announced in class. There are also occasionally classes in Japanese language and culture, first aid, meditiation and more.

– Alex Meehan

Class Record: Musha Dori + Tonso Gata + Koku

February 26, 2008

Class: Mon 25th Feb

Musha dori –  “capture the warrior” – was studied in it’s basic form last night. The idea of setting up the lock with angling and footwork continued with a look at the first kata form the Tonso Gata of Togakure Ryu. Henka included strikes, finger attacks, counters to counters, capturing rythmn and use of the legs to lock the opponents arms. Alex showed a particular sort of tai-otoshi that made use of uke’s avoidance of a punch to throw them in a tight space. Myself and Shane found that this throw really compressed everything.

James, regular dojo guest syudent and just back  from Japan, showed us a version of Koku from Gyokko Ryu that really epitomised the use of good kamae and distancing to break down uke’s kamae and led to some nice gyaku waza. Feeling this technique gave  renewed understanding of the meaning of koku – empty space. James then mentioned  a talk that Soke gave on the concept of “isshi soden” and how it relates to the true heart we should have in training.

Thought provoker: Musha Dori – ever practice this, or other Kihon Happo kata, without a partner?

– Ali Martinez


Class Record: Koto Ryu + Kyoketsu + Hon Gyaku

February 25, 2008

Class: Sat 23rd Feb

Our Koto Ryu study continued with some henka off the techniques we did on Thursday – we added the Kyoketsu to this. We also did some techniques involving an approaching “uke” using some subtle “acting”. I had the guys practice our kyoketsu looping, trying to get 5 each before tea…. I think the hit rate is improving and there were bonus points for looping both the head and arm!

The next kata in out Koto Ryu study, “Hosoku” led us to some direct balance breaking using the entire body. The henka from this needed us to really practice hitting properly – there’s no room for half-measures here – so I talked about the need for uke/tori to agree on levels of contact while they train, and being able to stike hard and safely.

 We ended on a look at how ura gyaku can turn into hon gyaku and how these locks are total body locks and not just on the wrist.

Thought provoker: Do you talk to your training partner about how “hard” you’re comfortable getting hit in the dojo?

 – Ali Martinez


New dojo opening. . .

February 22, 2008

I’m delighted to be able to announce the formation of a new dojo. Alex Martinez Shidoshi will be opening the Bujinkan Jiyu Dojo in March at St Catherine’s Sports and Leisure Centre, Marrowbone Lane, Dublin 8.


Ali has been my student for seven years and a student of the Bujinkan martial arts for close to 18 years. He’s one of the most dedicated and enthusiastic practitioners of this martial art in Ireland and I know he will create excellent students of his own.

He is holding an ‘open day’ on the evening of Friday March 14th, so interested parties can pop along and see what’s on offer. Best of luck to Ali in this endeavour and I know he carries a lot of good will with him both from me and from the other students at my dojo.

His website is located at

– Alex Meehan


Open Mat/Beginners training

February 22, 2008

While I’m still teaching at the Rathmines dojo, I’ve been asked to let those attending the beginners course come along. They’re welcome of course and at this class they’ll be given extra help with what Alex has thought. This will continue when Rex and Shane take over the extra classes. Meanwhile, the classes will be geared for all other levels as usual.

– Ali Martinez 


Class Record: Ura Gyaku + Koto ryu + Muto Dori

February 22, 2008

We had a welcome blow-in last night  –  “Dojocho” from Glasnevin, Glen Nevin, who joined in the class and added some ideas to the teachings himself. We looked at Ura gyaku from the Kihon Happo and explored the basic as thought by Someya Sensei, as well as how it can be used in many directions.

Both myself and Glen were asked to show Koto Ryu’s “koyoku” kata and with this we could see how strikes and tai-sabaki allow throwing to be a result of balance breaking, and not something forced.

The muto dori we did was directly from this years theme, “kote uchi tonsogata” and we played with variations on this, seeing how different ura-gyaku appear. This muto-dori was something we did a lot of in Japan and is an important concept. A wonderful phrase from Japanese swordsmanship expresses it well – (paraphrasing)

“Hell gapes beneath the upraised sword… Step In! Heaven is your reward”

Thought provoker: what does that phrase mean? How does it apply to taijutsu?

 – Ali Martinez