The Most Important Martial Arts Skill

Years ago when I was a kyu student my teacher sent my on an interesting training exercise- meet with each of the three senior black belt students in the class for an hour of training, and in that hour they had to show me the one thing that was most important in the martial arts.

Reflecting back on the experience it was interesting to see what they valued in training at the time, and how I thought I understood it, and now year later understand those lessons from a new angle.

So what if you and I had that one hour?

What would I say today?

And it can only be one thing?

Something of immediate training value, and of value in the future?

One of the first training exercises you learn in class, and one that we practice and build is what I would chose:

You and your training partner stand across from each other, about six feet or so, enough distance in that they have to reach out and take a step to reach you. When they are ready, they are going to step forward and try to touch your right shoulder.

When they do, you are going to step off the line of the attack and put yourself in a position where they can not grab you a second time without changing their footwork.

The lesson is simple ukemi- something is coming at you, get out of the way. Move out of the way first, and put yourself in a safe spot.

Take yourself out of danger.

As you move along in training, more advanced footwork is introduced, different levels of attack, training tools and angles all build as you grow in experience.  

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Located in Westchester, New York we are a martial arts training group dedicated to practicing the Japanese martial arts of Dr. Masaaki Hatsumi and the Bujinkan dojo.
As friends we come together to learn, grow, and perfect our movement drawing from the wisdom, philosophy, and techniques of Japan’s samurai warrior past.
Training is held on Saturday mornings from 10-12 AM at the Malcolm Wilson Park in Yonkers rain or shine.

Classes are supervised by Fred Feddeck who has been studying the Bujinkan dojo martial arts since 1993 at the Bujinkan New York Dojo under Joe Maurantonio. In 2003 he was honored to take the godan shinsha with the Shinmyoken dojo later forming in 2006 as a vehicle to study what he has been taught and experienced in the Bujinkan martial arts.



The Bujinkan Shinmyoken dojo training group had its first class on August 2006, and since then the aim of our group has been consistent: meet every Saturday morning rain or shine to practice the Bujinkan dojo martial arts of Masaaki Hatsumi as friends on the same martial journey together.

As friends (buyu) we come together to grow, learn, and share our experiences as the ways of the martial arts were intended to be transmitted.


There is no beginner or advanced classes, as we all have the capacity to learn and grow in the martial arts, no previous martial arts experience in needed, all are welcome, and out of town or traveling Bujinkan buyu are always invited to visit.


The aim of the group is to make progress each week in learning the martial arts, developing skill, self-defense ability, and an understanding of how and why people move. Classes are also held to discuss martial arts philosophy, strategy, and the mental/spiritual impact of the arts.


Questions about our group, the training, and the martial arts may be made through the contact form at the bottom of this page.