Agedo, or “The Way of the Open Door, is a Japanese family martial art style. Based on Shotokan Karate, it contains many of the hard, linear movements that exemplify the karate styles. However, it also contains many elements from the softer styles: turning of another’s energy, energy conservation, strategy and circular movements. Every technique is practical in application and the bunkai (reasons behind the moves) are taught to make the art a useful part of the student’s abilities. Agedo also challenges the mental aspects of students: study is involved and books are assigned for reading and to gain knowledge. “Breaking” challenges the spiritual parts of those in Agedo, and is an integral part of one’s learning to focus, learning to use proper techniques, learning how to concentrate their energy and put aside one’s fears. In Agedo, we break boards, rocks, blocks and more. The art of Agedo is appropriate for all ages and physical abilities, as instructors work with students on an individual level and do not lead classes as just a herd!
Our Children’s classes are designed to help children improve focus, concentration skills, listening skills, the ability to follow directions, increasing self-confidence and develop their discipline skills. Children enjoy traditional karate and kendo classes, which are taught at their level by expert instructors with over 35 individual years of teaching experience!
Naginata Class - for Adults Only!
Once a student has attained a sufficient level of proficiency in Kendo, they may be invited to join the Naginata class. The Naginata is a traditional battlefield weapon of Japan that is part bo, part spear, and part sword, with a reach of 6’10”. The shaft is wood, topped by 21” of bladed steel. This class is very formal and traditional: the Naginata is a beautiful weapon that is very rewarding to learn, but it requires great skill and concentration to use. The stances, cuts, positions and terminology are identical to the Kendo classes, but the flexibility of the Naginata is what makes it so challenging and fascinating.
Today, Naginata is regarded primarily as a woman’s weapon and is relegated to sport competition, where a bamboo replica is used. At Arts of the Samurai, we take the Naginata back to when it was a useful weapon which men used on the battlefield and which women used to defend the home. Because we work with live weapons, the Naginata Class, (just like the Kendo Class) is very formal in its etiquette. This ensures safety for the students. Students must develop a certain proficiency in Kendo with a live blade before applying to the Naginata class. Upon approval, they may enter the class – and join in the training and fun!
Adult Grappling and Self-Defense Class
The main purpose of this class is to drill each student in the various techniques of self-defense and grappling that are found in martial arts. Within the scope of their studies, students will learn techniques that originate from: Japanese, Korean, Thai, Chinese, Philippine, Okinawan, and U.S. Military Hand-to-Hand Combat techniques. The lessons will consist of the following:
- Stances and Guard Positions;
- Introduction and Negotiation to the Ground: Falls, and Rolls;
- Hand Techniques: Strikes, Kicks, Blocks, Pressure Points, Chokes, and Grabs;
- Heaven to Earth Techniques: Throws, Takedowns, Sweeps, Trips and Pinning;
- Escape Techniques: Evasion, Reversals, Counters and Countering;
- Setting Boundaries: ABC's of Self-Defense;
- Strategies and Breathing: Know yourself and your Enemy, Know your Surroundings, Know and trust your techniques, and Deceptions;
- Dark Hand Techniques.
Promotions are awarded through testing, (written, oral, and or demonstrated). The test is administered when a student has accumulated a total of four (4) months of lessons (24 classes). The first test is given after 24 classes, the next test is given after the 48th class, the 72nd and so on. The Rank Structure is as follows:
- White Belt – 7th Kyu
- Yellow Bar – 6th Kyu
- Blue Chevron – 5th Kyu
- Green Chevron – 4th Kyu
- Purple Chevron – 3rd Kyu
- Brown Chevron – 2nd Kyu
- Red Chevron – 1st Kyu
- Black Belt Rating – Dragon Wrestling a Tiger Patch
Although this system teaches self-defense skills, each student will also learn techniques to prepare them for competition (MMA and non-MMA). Competition is encouraged but not mandatory.
Weapons: Kendo (Samurai Sword) Class
Our Kendo classes are safe, fun, and educational. Toyama Ryu is taught, although technically, we do more kenjitsu, because it is a cutting class. However, trying to define the difference confuses folks here: there is not much knowledge of Japanese arts around these parts. So we keep it simple and use “Kendo” as the nomenclature for all the sword art classes that we teach. Students begin with bokken and learn classic stances, positions and cuts.
After some time (typically at least 6 months to one year) students are introduced to the sword. At that time, students begin learning strategy, the history of Japanese Swordsmanship, and culture. This is when students also begin simple “test” cutting. Breaking is also integrated into these classes to help students develop focus, breathing and strength. Forms or “katas” are a base for Kendo classes.
Eventually students learn to make their own cutting targets and begin working with bogu and shinai as part of advanced training. Both beginning and advanced kendo students utilize Chanbarra (a state-of-the-art, soft weapon) to practice and hone their skills during a variety of sparring situations. This unique workout is both safe and fun.
The Isshinryu class currently meets on Saturdays. This class will no longer cost an additional fee. If you are an Arts of the Samurai student in good standing and wish to also learn isshinryu from Sensei Mark, you may do so on Saturdays for free; please see the Calendar for times.
Sensei Mark also offers specialty weapons classes that have included the bo and tuifa/tonfa. Current and future specializations will include Eku bo (boat oar), escrima and tekko (brass knuckles). Please see Sensei Mark if you have any questions about his classes.