Shinmyoken Dojo

Westchester | New York

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Sunday, January 1, 2023

Martial Arts: Isshi Soden

How are the martial arts learned?

How are they passed to the next generation?

In studying the Japanese martial arts, often in a classical manner, we often come across the concept of isshi soden- meaning direct transmission.

Isshi soden: The complete transmission of a school’s methods and principals of movement, often passed to a select few, or a direct heir in the martial arts.

Far from a relic of the samurai age, this concept is vital in understanding the possibility of how the martial arts are transmitted.

How are the martial arts learned?

Certainly there is a physical aspect to the ‘arts. We can explore philosophy, spirituality, and strategy, but being physical, martial arts are practiced and learned through physical interaction. This kind of transmission is what most people think of regarding the martial arts.

Copy the moves, practice the moves, and refine the moves, the idea of shu-ha-ri. Put in the time and dedication to build a base. This base in the Japanese martial arts is known as the kihon, the foundation of movement, and certainly every martial art, regardless of school, style, or tradition has these foundation moves.

They are the moves, the building blocks that teach distance, timing, and rhythm- how the art you are studying does things.

In the martial arts, these are the things that you can see with your physical eyes, and copy physically, but they are only half of the transmission.

This is where many students stop in training- make sure in your own martial arts journey that you don’t stop at this point in the training.

The second half is feeling, which is why one needs to train under a teacher, under a master, to have a chance to experience and capture the feeling.

When a martial arts technique is done correctly, there is a feeling behind it, and if one is able to truly experience this feeling, one can use the feeling in applying the technique. One half of the martial arts is being able to do the techniques, the other half is allowing them to be done to you correctly, accepting the outcome, so one can (try) and capture the feeling.

Isshi soden is where the martial art you are studying has both of these parts given and transmitted to you, with the ability to at least reach an understanding of the experience and feeling.

Which is why, isshi soden, also implied training one to one.

One to one in that the teacher, the master, the one transmitting it, needs to be working with every student, physically working with them, not academically teaching.

Both sides need to be experienced.

Finishing with a question.

An honest question.

In your own training, in each class at the dojo, are you working on or at least trying to be open to the experience? Allowing techniques (waza) to be performed on you without trying to counter, resist, or interject the ego?

Each class is a chance to be receptive to being open, to a possibility.

Shiken haramitsu daikoumyo!

See you on the mat!

The aim of the Shinmyoken dojo (school of the life giving sword) is to understand nature and the movement of being zero through taijutsu. The school exists to create and transmit this through the experience of isshi soden.

Located in Westchester New York, the Shinmyoken dojo is a martial arts training group founded in 2005 with the aim of coming together as martial arts friends to study the Japanese martial arts of Masaaki Hatsumi through the lessons of the Bujinkan dojo. 

As friends (buyu) we come together to grow, learn, and share our individual potential in this wonderful martial art. In our group there is no beginner or advanced classes, as we all have the capacity to learn the martial arts in great stride. 

No previous martial arts experience is needed, new members, and out of town or traveling Bujinkan buyu are always welcome. 

The focus 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. 

Training is supervised by Fred Feddeck who has been studying the Bujinkan dojo martial arts since 1993. 

In 2003 he was honored to take the godan shinsha with the training group later forming as a vehicle to study what he has been taught and experienced in the Bujinkan dojo martial arts. 

Joe Maurantonio, dai-shihan, is and continues to be his teacher and mentor. 


Training in budo taijutsu through our dojo is offered in three class formats. 

The first is our weekly Saturday morning classes from 9-11 AM at a local park in Yonkers which is accessible by car, bus, and Metro North train. 

Second is our regular weekly zoom class as a way to build on the physical practice-paired movements explored in our Saturday classes. 

Third is our monthly discussion class exploring martial arts philosophy, history, tactics, and kuden. 


Membership in the dojo is open to those eighteen years of age or older and who can abide by the rules of the Bujinkan. 

Those interested in joining the dojo will be asked to fill out a brief questionnaire as an introduction and meet with the head instructor before an invitation to watch a class will be extended, general martial arts questions and other training inquiries are also welcome. 

Questions, comments, feedback, and inquiries may be emailed here:


In that moment of action, regardless of style, technique, or application in the martial arts there is only movement. 

The point in time when action takes over and there is only you and the other person- will you know what to do? 

What are the martial arts?

How are these arts transmitted to the next generation? 

How does one “learn” the martial arts?  

Our martial arts are about movement and understanding how the human body works mechanically.  

There are no techniques or set forms- the transition of the art is in understanding the manipulating of distance and timing. It is the passing of eternal ideas and strategies from teacher to student as it was done by the Japanese samurai for hundreds of years before. 

Our practice is about illustrating the concepts so one can better understand them and begin to see them in the day to day movement of people. 

First you understand yourself and how you move, then how others move, and finally by combining the two one arrives at the transmission of the art. 

Our art is about creating opportunity in the moment, an opportunity to put yourself in a better situation, an opportunity to neutralize a situation, and opportunity above all others to escape a situation and make it back home safely. 

These are the questions we explore in each class, and the solution to that moment of action- in that moment of critical decision there is only movement.  

Training Principals:

Control the distance, timing, & rhythm.

Movement will open up opportunities for techniques. 

Always keep moving! 

Self-defense is NOT about fighting, it is about escaping and extracting yourself from a dangerous situation.

Forget the notion of beginner or advanced, every moment in training has the opportunity for a personal breakthrough.

The most important martial arts skill is not about fighting, it is awareness of the situation before, during, and after.

First you become aware of how your own body moves in the martial arts, then how your training partner’s body moves, and then you prevent them from moving with the awareness of how you move.

Training incorporates a variety of movement skills, including strikes, throws, locks, and immobilizations, along with studying a number of traditional Japanese training tools such as the sword, stick, and spear: kenjutsu, bojutsu, sojutsu.

These martial arts lessons are used as a way to understand human movement, how the individual moves, how other people move, and how they all move when it come together, allowing for the practitioner to adapt appropriately for the situation at hand.

Shinmyoken Dojo

Westchester | New York

Email Contact: