Nami Ryu's March 2006 Instructor Seminar

Walter Wong

Green Belt
Nov 4, 2005
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Courtesy of Jim O'Connell who wrote a fantastic review of these 4 days of intense training.

Jim O'Connell writes:

On March 2nd through 5th, a number of men (alas we have no lasses instructing….yet) attended the 2nd annual Nami ryu Instructors Seminar led by our sensei, James Williams. This is a 4 day event where the curriculum of Nami ryu is taken apart, analyzed, practiced, and taught to be taught at the schools throughout the United States. We have a school in Africa now as well, where our instructor there teaches and practices the art as an extension of his security service in a place where security is always in need, and always in short supply. The seminar was held at the hombu dojo in Encinitas (Leucadia), CA; just a few short blocks away from Moonlight Beach, famous for its surf culture and Classic Woody Rallies. During the seminar, the out of state instructors were able to observe the two hours of Winter that strike this northern San Diego county coastal community which is also famous for its flower growing.

On Training in Nami ryu

• Nami ryu is classical Japanese martial arts training including kenjutsu, iaijutsu, and aikijujutsu.
• System of Strategy is modern application of Nami ryu and Systema principles and training.
• Core principles of Nami ryu, System of Strategy, and Systema are basically the same – and are integrated throughout all training at the school.
• The Schedule of classes at the hombu dojo is listed on the school site at
• There are Nami ryu dvd’s (An Explanation of the System of Strategy, Nami ryu Iai Jutsu, Ken Jutsu, & Aiki Ju Jutsu) available at The videos give a representative sampling of what is taught, how it is taught, teaching method, interaction of students with one another, and with James Williams sensei. They also make important resource material after begining training.

How we approach training:

"Real" kenjutsu schools (those that are part of a tradition from Japan that comes from the time when people wore, fought, and killed with swords) teach not only how to fight with a sword, but also a complete way of life and death for the people that come to learn. We teach this in all our dojo. We apply this thinking to everything we do there; whether practicing with swords, empty hand, knives, or guns. We attempt to apply the principles we learn throughout all of our lives. There is a lot of work and study, for the students and the teachers that go in to every class or practice. We consider it life and death, and have a tendency to be serious about the subject, even though we laugh a lot and really enjoy being there.

Day 1 of the Seminar: started with rolling from seiza with shinken as well as responding to attackers (kata) with bokken. (Justin Britton - – brought me the most awesome custom bokken to join my now large collection) From there we went on to working the basic cuts and learning over and over again the connection to principles that allows us to move energy from our center out through the kissaki of the blade. The day was finished with an outing to the Japanese restaurant/sushi bar that sits on top of the promontory that overlooks Moonlight Beach.

Day 2 of the Seminar: Down to business. The big knives came out and we worked on how to “free the blade from the saya”. Not content with putting pieces of our body in the path of incoming swords, we practice saya biki as an absolute requirement for learning and practicing our style. When the shinken were on the rack, we picked up our bokken and spent the rest of the day on iai kata, kenjutsu kata, and tanto jutsu. We consider edged weapons to be the teacher of the difference between fighting and combat, or “veritas est”; and practice all movement with the understanding of cutting. We teach our bodies to move with the necessary lack of contention to force vectors that allow us to realize the nature of aikijujutsu is embodied in sword and knife work. Dinner on Friday night was at Leucadia Pizzeria. Food, fun, and comraderie.

Day 3 of the Seminar: we went over breathing exercises, ground combatives, mindset, and kenjutsu. ‘We listened to our heartbeats, practiced ne waza, suwari waza, modern applications and rolled, rolled, rolled. We practiced rolling along the wall, granby rolls, rolls to facilitate firearms usage, rolls to live by and keep supple as we get older. James demonstrated and practiced every roll with us (non stop), and demonstrated tameshigiri from seiza along with naginata tameshigiri. In Nami ryu, we test cut to challenge the quality of our waza and demonstration of the principles we base the work on. We are continuing to refine our cutting to accurately reflect the application of what we learn in kata, and strive to avoid extemporaneous movements that would leave gaps when facing an opponent in mortal combat. Since there are three outcomes to sword combat that is complete; we are trying to make sure our tameshigiri reflects action that would allow us to win. We eschew being first loser in that environment. No silver medals for us. Dinner at Ki’s in Solana Beach looking at the surf that demonstrates the natural laws of energy traveling in waves.

Day 4 of the Seminar: aikijujutsu kata and basic waza. Aikijujutsu is kenjutsu, Aikijujutsu is tanto jutsu. Striking for us is cutting. throwing for us is kiri otoshi. Nami ryu movement, waza, and heiho all come from the sword, are the sword, are because of the sword. We participated in lots of discussion and practice on how to teach our students.
I am sure I am forgetting much more than I can remember to write about, and perhaps have some of the chronology a bit out of order. Hopefully, some of the other instructors will follow up with important details I have omitted. My work schedule is extreme right now, so my personal follow up on forums to questions or the silly cyber challenges may be slow or non existent. If you really want to know what we are about, stop by our hombu dojo, come to an open seminar, or come to one of the venues we demonstrate/participate at like the Aiki Expo; or visit one of the instructors at their satellite dojo noted below:

Other affiliated Nami ryu instructors and dojo are:

Rick Robinson
River of Life Martial Arts Center, Fort Washington, PA

Damian Gonzalez -Clifton New Jersey

Dale Beaman -Rancho Cucamonga, CA.

Dale Gundersen -Rye, New Hampshire

Jeff Greene Inquire at Hombu dojo - Africa

Matt Stano -Rye, New Hampshire

Garry Riedemann
Masa Katsu Dojo in Ames, Iowa

Garron Billick -Seattle, WA

Bob Hubbard

MT Mentor
Founding Member
Lifetime Supporting Member
MTS Alumni
Aug 4, 2001
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Land of the Free
Wonderful write up. :cheers: I wish we got more indepth reports like these. :)


Senior Master
May 30, 2005
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Isn't there another Nami Ryu seminar in Pennsylvania this weekend? Just wondering...

Walter Wong

Green Belt
Nov 4, 2005
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Hi Jennifer. Yes, there is a Nami Ryu seminar in Fort Washington, PA this weekend on April 8th & 9th.

If you have a chance, please come by and visit and say hi. Nami Ryu seminars are opened door to everyone and we're always pleased to meet people. And it's always nice to meet people in person that you see online. We will be there all morning and afternoon on both days.

I know you are currently active in Yagyu Shinkage Ryu training, but if you are interested in trying out Nami Ryu you can still fillout the application and send it in with your payment. Otherwise if not, then please come by and say hi. :)

If I recall correctly, I believe Rick who is hosting the seminar practices Yagyu Shinkage Ryu himself. I'm not sure what the details of his involvement in that is, but you can sure talk about Yagyu Shinkage Ryu in person with him if you come by. Hope to see you there and meet you.:asian:

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