The Tsuki Kage Dojo was founded in September of 1997 as a conservative minded, not-for-profit, non-competitive dojo. We have never deviated from this mission, and as a result, we have been able to maintain our focus solely on providing quality training for those who wish to train with us. Following is a brief overview of the arts we offer (Sorry, but we do not provide a kids class):
AIKIDO - The techniques of Aikido were originally derived from the art of Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu, and are believed to date back as far as 900 years. The teachings are said to have been passed down through the famous Seiwa-Genji line of the Takeda family in Japan (kaden), and later popularized in the early 20th Century through the Daito ryu tradition. Ueshiba Morihei Sensei, a senior instructor of the art, further spread the teachings in Japan and internationally through his own art, which was eventually called Aikido.
The root teachings of these arts were developed during the Azuchi-Momoyama period (1568-1600) as a combat-effective method to be used on battlefields against other samurai (bushi) in close quarters while wearing light armor (kogusoku). Later, in the Edo period (1603-1868), the teachings were adapted into self-defense / arresting methods to be used within the inner chambers of the Shogun's palace (Edo-jo Honmaru Goten). In the Meiji Period (1868-1912), Takeda Sokaku - a blood line successor in the Seiwa-Genji Takeda family line - combined these two sets of teachings with his own training and experience, and propagated what is now known as "Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu". Though Takeda is believed to have given instruction to some 30,000 students throughout his life, only a handful of them became close disciples and developed their skills to a noteworthy level. The founder of Aikido was one of them. In the last hundred years, Aikijujutsu and Aikido have both greatly influenced a number of martial arts, most notably Judo, Hakko-ryu Jujutsu, Kyokushin Karate, and Shorinji Kempo.
The teachings of our dojo are based on the Yoshinkan Branch of Aikido, as founded by Shioda Gozo, who was a pre-WWII student of the founder. These teachings were imparted to us primarily through one of Shioda Sensei's most senior uchi-deshi, Obata Toshishiro Sensei. Obata Sensei later founded his own branch of Aikido that combined his accumulated knowledge and experience in martial arts with historical reconstruction of the older pre-Aikido techniques and teachings.
Aikido practice involves breakfalls, rolling techniques, wrist locks, throws and immobilization practice, as well as a variety of exercises and techniques that are cardiovascular and aerobic in nature. Students advance at their own pace based on the amount of energy and time they put in to the training.
In addition to the unarmed aspects of this class, students can expect to be introduced to Jodori (short staff capturing), Tantodori (knife capturing), and Tachidori (sword capturing) - as well various philosophical, historical / modern day, and strategic theories and concepts. Furthermore, the study of Aikido offers fascinating insights into human physiology and psychology.
Traditional arts such as these offer the serious student literally generations of invaluable research, development, trial, and error. Because of the effectiveness of Aikido, law enforcement organizations have largely based the development of their arrest and control programs on sections of this art. As such, Aikido is still a popular choice among the men and women in security, law enforcement, and military communities as a form of supplemental training.
In addition to arts like Aikido, swordsmanship was considered the core of samurai martial training, and as such is offered in the form of an independent art called "Toyama-ryu". The study of swordsmanship is highly recommended for those interested in rounding out their training and expanding their foundation. There is a significant amount of crossover between the two arts, and we believe that one is not truly complete without at least some experience in the other.
TOYAMA-RYU - This unique traditional Japanese swordsmanship art is offered independent of Aikido, and contains practical swordsmanship teachings that reach far beyond the scope of the Tachidori training found in Aikido. The sword has deep rooted tradition in Japanese culture, dating back to the earliest written records (Kojiki and Nihon Shoki).
Toyama-ryu (the "Mountain Door Tradition") was originally a small compilation of combative sword drawing techniques developed for use by the officers of the Japanese Imperial Army. Toyama-ryu evolved, and was eventually preserved by former military personnel as an independent martial art, typically associated nowadays with the larger iaido organizations and events as a form of "iai". While expertise in swordsmanship is not necessarily required in modern times, the benefits of swordsmanship training can include:
We believe these benefits to be as important today as they were hundreds of years ago to the warrior class of feudal Japan.
The original seven Toyama-ryu techniques were compiled and standardized (seitei) in 1925 in response to concern that officers would not be able to effectively draw and employ their sword (gunto) should the need arise while operating in hostile environments. Toyama-ryu represents the last traditional Japanese weapon art to have been employed in war, and as such, the war time feedback and teachings have been well preserved.
Following WWII, the Japanese Imperial Army was disbanded, and three major lines of "Toyama-ryu Gunto Soho" (Military Sword Manipulation Methods) were adapted and taught independently through the Morinaga line, Yamaguchi line, and Nakamura line. Nakamura Taizaburo Sensei's line was the most popular, and is the branch our dojo is derived from. Obata Toshishiro Sensei was one of Nakamura Sensei's most senior instructors, and received the "Keisho Denju" (Initiation into the Secret Teachings of Succession) certification, as well as the position of Toyama-ryu Battojutsu United States Chief Instructor. The teachings of our dojo are derived primarily from Obata Sensei, and are distinctly pragmatic and effective.
The Nakamura line of the Toyama-ryu curriculum consists of solo conditioning methods, combative drawing methods, kumitachi & tachiuchi (pre-arranged partnered sparring), tameshigiri (test cutting with live blades), classical sword tactics and strategy, history, and sword handling etiquette. However, since the military officers at the Imperial Japanese Army Rikugun Toyama Gakko were already cross trained in Kendo (free sparring), paired training was not emphasized in the original Gunto Soho. As such it was necessary to embellish the curriculum as follows in order to produce a more well-rounded swordsman:
Our line of Toyama-ryu is unique in that it emphasizes the original, founding principles of accurate, rapid deployment of the sword combined with a strong expression of kiai.
Wearing a hakama (black split pant) is optional, but preferred in this class, and can be worn at all rank levels. While a bokken (wooden sword) will also be needed to train, the dojo can provide additional equipment such as tachiuchi bokuto (sparring swords), fukuro shinai (padded bamboo swords), iaito (unsharpened steel swords), and katana (live swords) when necessary.
Cross training in Aikido and Toyama-ryu will greatly improve understanding of the other art, and will give one not only a strong body, but also a calm, clear and focused spirit. We hope you'll join us.
In November of 2008, our dojo formally resigned membership from Obata Sensei's organizations due to conflicts of interest. In May of 2009, Dojo Founder Nathan Scott, a former senior instructor (Honbu Kyoshi) under Obata Sensei, transferred ownership of Tsuki Kage Dojo to his most senior student Kenji Oshidari due to ongoing conflicts with work scheduling. Currently, we are conducting training independent of any organizations under the direct leadership of Oshidari Sensei and the teachings / authority of Nathan Scott.