Archive for the ‘Seminar reports’ Category


Thanks to Doug Wilson Shihan!

May 26, 2008

Thanks to Doug Wilson Shihan from Japan for an excellent three days training this past weekend. Doug covered material taken from Togakure Ryu Ninpo Taijutsu and the sword, rokushakubo and kyoketsu shoge of Happobikenjutsu over the weekend, with a pervading theme of ‘keeping it real’, ‘ninpo ikkan’ and working towards kieru no kankaku, or the feeling of disappearing.

I know I had a great time and it was a pleasure to welcome visiting budoka (and shihan instructors) from EVERY club in Ireland as well as visitors from the UK (David Oliver, David Webb, Andy Whalley, Chris Caulfield) and Shihan Gillian Booth from Australia.

Thanks are also due to Rex Dunlop for being so incredibly helpful with the organising of this course, as well Quintin Ahern for filming and Jason Coleman, Richard WeldMoore, Mat Harvey and the others from the Rathmines Dojo who also mucked in. Thanks guys!

We recorded enough material to put out a DVD of this seminar, so watch this space for news of when it will be available.

There are loads more pictures on the dojo webforum, for those registered to view it.

– Alex Meehan


UK Kukishin Ryu seminar report

November 19, 2007

Just a quick note to report that the Wiltshire Seminar at the end of October went extremely well. David Oliver and his students from the Koshin Dojo did a fantastic job organising this seminar and in particular David, Gary and Ollie went above and beyond the call of duty to look after all of us that made the trip over.

Everyone was picked up from the airport, put up for the weekend and ferried around fantastically. In particular, David and his lovely wife Ginette really were very hospitable and looked after us really well.

The seminar itself was well attended over the two days and enough people made favourable comments directly to me to allow me to conclude that it was a success. Content wise, we spent some time on Saturday morning looking at basic ukemi and the mechanics of the Oni Kudaki joint reversal in all its variant forms before moving onto to some techniques from the Kukishin Ryu for the afternoon. These techniques are very interesting and quite challenging, as they are longer than the waza we typically practice, with the attacker launching four and five attacks in quick succession before being taken down.Day one finished with some sword stuff and then on Sunday morning we did lots of sword basics – looking at tenouchi, correct cutting form, the construction of kamae, and some drills for hammering home the points made. For the rest of the day, we covered more Kukishin Ryu kata interspersed with variations and more swordwork.

It was nice to see students from lots of different dojos came, and some new connections were made. Some people had never met me or David and so it was interesting that they choose to take a chance to attend a seminar with someone new, but hopefully they had a good time and I certainly made some new friends. It was great also to have Norman Smithers and a few other senior teachers drop by.

Anyway, I really had a fantastic time and it was a good experience for me to see and meet lots of new Bujinkan students, so thanks for having me David, and thanks again to all my guys who made it over – in particular Rex, Ali and Jason. We’ve been invited back next year, and somehow I think time will fly.

– Alex Meehan


Kihon Gata Workshop

September 10, 2007

Time: Saturday 8th September

This full course covered the basics or foundational techniques of the Bujinkan as thought at the Meehan Dojo. Attendance was made up of a healthy cross section of  grades and so attention was given to each level’s requirements.

The foundation techniques are the fundamental physical skills that each member of the Bujinkan is required to practice throughout their training lifetime. This isn’t because of a stylistic rule but rather is as essential to understanding natural movement. Everything makes physical sense, in terms of natural movement in accordance with the human skeletal structure.

 So we all got corrected over and over on our footwork, body alignment, power generation, balance, posture, positioning etc. This was done through the vehical of ukemi and kata practice. So when we were studying ukemi, the Sanshin and Kihon Happo, we’re really just studying the above things in a structured way.

Its important to note that everything studied needs to be taken by each student and integrated into their own training. Open-mat is an excellent time to do this. Why not partner up with someone form the course and help with the basics. It’s very clear that the students who do this progresse further.

 Congratulations to everyone who achieved a rank too.

Don’t forget to keep studying your syllabus whether you took exams for it or not. Every ranked person should continuously revise their rank requirements and all the ones before them – especially the earlier ones as you could call these the foundations upon which your current rank is built.

– Ali Martinez


Shidoshi Pol MacFionmhacain Seminar, August 18th 2007

August 20, 2007

Kukishin Ryu Dakentaijutsu: Kihon Happo + Chuden Gata

Pol gave us a fantastic day of Budo Taijutsu with most Irish clubs represented at the seminar. I think there was actually twice the number expected. It was great to see the top guys in Ireland all there as well as our Buyu friend Norman Smithers who flew in especially from the UK.

Pol started off with the Kihon Happo to get us moving. He called on folks from each club to do the basic and then showed us a more Kukishin flavoured version. This often involved closer distances and twisting and dropping uke around the hip. He told us that the Chuden level kata of Kukishin’s dakentaijutsu is all about setting uke up the way you want them to strike, before throwing them. All this made sense with the idea of wearing armour in mind. With this feeling the striking and grabbing done was to areas that could be accessed through the armour.

So we covered the entire level and there were 2 sets of armour available for us to see how this works. Kamae becomes lower, movement becomes very economical and striking is done to effect structure rather than inflict pain. Of course pain itself can do this and Pol mentioned that is often necessary in training to take it that far so that you can get the natural body response necessary to follow through with a lock or takedown. Several Kyusho – “Hoshi” was used a lot for example – and ways of striking e.g. “koppo ken” – were used.

Because a lot of different throws are involved, Pol showed us a paired drill to practice how one can enter in the person’s space before throwing. This was from a kumiuchi style position. Some of the kata had counters to throws too so as well so is was important to get used to being thrown correctly.

Pol took the time to walk the room and everyone I talked to said they experienced something directly from him. The entire seminar was robust and definitely gave everyone a valuable experience in this year’s theme. As Pol is a regular student of the Japanese and Hatsumi Sensei, we were very lucky to have him share his knowledge with us at this stage in the year. He mentioned that he is visiting most of the dojo that were represented at the seminar this week so catch him if you can – and if you can, catch him twice!

I think an important point was made at the seminar by Alex- that kata practice is not fighting so when kata are being done they should look like kata. They should have good form and be done exactly as shown by the teacher. Pol noted that we should all try and do exactly what he’s doing and not what we’re used to.

A number of people got graded too so congrats to all of them.


Seminar report: Kukishin Ryu Shoden Gata

May 1, 2007

Sunday 28th April
This seminar was intended to cover the entire Shoden Gata of Kukishin Ryu Dakentaijutsu. On the recent trip to the Hombu in March, every kata from this level and some from the Chuden level, were taught by Soke and the Shihan. Given that Peter King Shihan ran through the basics of Kukishin movement recently and that this seminar brought with it various shidoshi from Ireland and abroad that have also expereinced the budo of Kukishin Ryu this year, it’s not hard too see why there was such a good training atmosphere on the day


Alex methodically showed the form of each kata before allowing his take on the essential priciples of each to be highlighted. Each shidoshi gave their own understanding of the ideas and a lot of peole had a chance to try on one of the 4 suits of armour available. Looking around me I could see people exchanging ideas freely but generaly managing to stick to the core principle of the kata as demonstrated. Alex also took the time to let the ‘shinken’ feeling emerge to show how form might disappear in reality but how the same ‘feeling’ could be present.

As mentioned at the seminar, each of the kata builds on the one previous such that there seems to be a gradual step up in ‘meatiness’ to the movement. It makes sense that developing sophisticated yet simple movement in armour required a steady introduction to various facets of the movement:

– breaking the kamae of uke

– controlling the weight/axis of yourself, tori

– controling the weight/axis of uke

– efficient and balanced footwork

– ability to use weapons uke’s and tori’s

– sensitivity to the state of uke’s potential

– sensitivity to your own potential

– throwing without throwing

– creating and using openings

– protecting openings

– feeling out the attacker, drawing them into your space, minimising theirs.

At the end, the day went very well and around 40 people attended. It was also a pleasure to welcome David Oliver Shidoshi and his students from the UK to Dublin for the weekend, were we are informed they had a good time!

– by Ali Martinez