Seal Martial Arts Kobudo

instructor, kobudo -

Seal Martial Arts Kobudo

Recently (23/3/2023) I have spent an extensive amount of time entirely rewriting the syllabus for the Seal Martial Arts Dojo. This specifically outlines what we expect from the students in order for them to advance all the way up to 7th Dan. 

This has been necessary for a while as once the students hit Shodan they were confused about the usual advancement in the Bujinkan and being told to study Densho. Whilst there is a wealth of knowledge in the Densho that should be explored i have never found the expectations to be particularly clear for each grade. Simply saying learn all of the techniques in the Gyokko Ryu Densho doesn’t really cut it when for the most part students are only graded on the techniques included in the Tenchijin Ryaku No Maki or the techniques in the Jo Ryaku No Maki.

The Kobudo syllabus has also been changed to have a stronger focus on the more practical techniques and we have removed some of the less effective ones like Ashi Dome. Unfortunately there isn’t really space to keep techniques for the sake of tradition, I would prefer for my students to rely on simple and effective techniques than potentially doing something over complicated that could get them injured in a real fight.

Because of this there is more of a focus on striking, dynamic kicks and combos as it’s important to give the students the fundamental building blocks for further practice at home. I don’t think teaching an over extended Fudo Ken really helps anyone other than Tori when performing a technique. You should be able to strike fluidly in various combinations to throw off your opponents rhythm so simple combos like a left jab, right cross, left uppercut, right jab, left cross, right uppercut can make a big difference in an actual confrontation. 

The core kicks are the same such as Zenpo Geri, Sokuho Geri, Koho Geri, Tobi Keri and using the different parts of the foot but there are also additional kicks added such as Mawashi Geri (Roundhouse) and Yoko Geri (Side Snap Kicks). These have been added for good reason as nobody can say to a Muay Thai fighter a well trained roundhouse to the lower leg doesn’t work in a real fight. 

All of the weapons are included throughout the syllabus such as:

  • Nunchaku
  • Hanbo
  • Kusarifundo
  • Bo
  • Yari
  • Naginata
  • Tanto
  • Shuriken
  • Kunai
  • Katana
  • Jo

Most of these are in the higher Dan grades as you need to master the Taijutsu first to know how to move effectively with a weapon. The Kamae (Stances) are listed but i have not included charts demonstrating them in the book as i can show them to the students while teaching the specific weapon being studied and I don’t really want people trying to poorly replicate the techniques with the weapons as somebody could get injured.

The Seal Martial Arts Kobudo system goes up to a maximum of 8th Dan which is an honorary grade that you cannot grade for. It will be given to students who manage to master all of the techniques and weapons in the syllabus and who demonstrate an exceptional understanding of the art. You must be nominated for the grade!

Becoming at 8th Dan will also mean you will be given Menkyo Kaiden (License Of Full Transmission) entitling you to start your own system should you wish to.

We are now also offering instructor training for study groups who wish to practice our style but might not be able to visit us at the main dojo in Rugby, Warwickshire. 

We also offer a variety of courses to learn specific weapons to enable you to teach them at your martial arts school. The amount of times i have seen people teaching terrible Bojutsu with no logic behind it other than hitting someone with a long stick is ridiculous! 

Seal Martial Arts Kobudo also includes the basics of 2 sword styles, Kukishin Ryu Hikenjutsu and Togakure Ryu Bikenjutsu! This outlines both the typically Samurai and Ninja ways of using the sword.

The weapons have been laid out in a very specific order you have to learn the Bo in order to learn the Naginata for example and it’s the same with Katana and Jo.

Overall I’m extremely happy with the changes in the syllabus and hopefully this will now make everything clearer for the students.