Shihan Andrew Young Shinnen Keiko-Kai Review Part I


I picked up Andrew Young at the Airport around 10:30am. I also picked up Charlie Points  a few minutes earlier. The weather was beautiful, and everyone arrived on time. The feeling for this weekends training was already looking good. We arrived at the dojo around 11:30am and mostly everyone had arrived. When I opened up the door to the dojo, there were a couple of people standing in front. I had a wonderful surprise when my good friend and student James Menphee pop out from behind the crowd. I had no idea that he was coming up. Andrew Young showed us a great book called Ninja To Ninjutsu (I think). It had various aspects of the Ninja’s way of life, weaponary, and more. This book is written in Japanese, but it had some really beautiful and useful photos. Andrew Young read a few things from the book regarding the Seven ways of walking. This is a very important aspect of both Ninpo and Budo.


This seminar was focused on the 8 techniques of the Santo tonko no kata. This was the theme for study as annouced by Sensei at DKMS 2007. Andrew Young started off by showing us the proper way to move into Hachimonji no Kamae. This is the stance that is used in the first two techniques of the Santo tonko no kata. The particular way the stance was shown, really set you up for the fight.


Andrew then took us through the first couple of forms. We looked at these forms from various aspects: wearing shuko, using shuriken and metsubushi. Andrew also taught us about some hidden weapon techniques. 


 Andrew shared with us some techinques that were taught to him by Sensei in the 80’s. It was very good and practical information. I have also seen this same technique showed by Sensei in 2003 when I was living there.


This is why it is even more important to receive Kuden. Kuden is the key to understanding this art. No matter how many techniques you may have written down, or in a densho. Without out the Kuden, it may not be very effective, and it may also get you killed! It is good that we have books and videos of these techniques, but unless you are taught them by someone who knows them, you can be teaching yourself as well as your students information that will get them killed! This is why it is important to train with a well qualified instructor to get the proper information.


I really enjoyed the walking method of the techniques. I think that this was definately the hardest part of the technique. There are many ideas hidden in the three steps that are taking in these techniques, however, the most important thing is to remember not to drag, or cross your feet. Remember that these techniques are escaping techniques, and should be done without making any noise. Andrew said “If I could hear your foot steps, then so can the enemy.” I really had fun working on these points. One thing for everyone who attend the seminar: Don’t forget to practice what you learned! Too many people go to seminars and then never practice the information that they learned. We have enough information to last us a lifetime. However, if we do not continue to study and practice we will not be able to develop good taijutsu. There is not just one way of moving. There are many ways of taijutsu. However, they all have key points: bend your legs, use your hips, use your spine, etc. I see that too many people are missing these key elements and that is why their taijutsu looks incomplete. James Menephee really is a good example of how much he cherishes his training. James just came back from Japan with us, but saw the value of coming to this seminar. James said: “It is important to start off the year right.” “I flew out here to get the right information to teach my students.” Everyone should think this way about their own training. Andrew Young lived and trained in Japan for 18 years. He has probably some of the best knowledge about the art. We were very fortunate to have him come out and train with us. We should all take advantage of these special training opportunities, no matter where we train, or who we train with.


After the first day we had covered the first four techniques of the Santo tonko no kata. Andrew explained that this is the year of the rat, and it is very convenient for us to be studing this school. He also made a good point that in order to study Togakure Ryu, that you had to have a foundation in all of the other schools. This was a very important point for me. Andrew also wrote down the meaning behind the kanji of Togakure Ryu as well as the meaning behind martial arts. He mentioned the important of balance between martial and art.


Thank you to everyone who made this seminar possible!


Chris Carbonaro

Bujinkan Shihan


%d bloggers like this: