Shinmyoken Dojo

Westchester | New York

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Thursday, February 2, 2023

Zanshin: Martial Arts Awareness


When does a martial arts technique end?

Often learning in the dojo will follow this format, with the instructor or a senior student demonstrating a technique (waza) a few times, back and forth, left and right, followed by the class partnering up an practicing the movement back and forth.

One student taking the role of the attacker, and the other student taking the roll of the defender. After some time of practice, the instructor might add a few points to consider or move to the next training topic for the class.

In this set practice, focusing on the technique being shown is important.

Do it the best that you can, don’t change it, resist it, or go off doing your own stuff- that is not the point of the dojo. The idea is to train in specific sets of skills, vital to the bigger picture of your own movement.

So when does a technique end?

Often what one will see, or ideally always see, that when a partnered technique ends, there is a brief pause of awareness. Both training partners will pause for a moment, perhaps returning to fighting posture (kamae), and wait for a moment.

This is working on developing zanshin- martial arts awareness.

By pausing for a moment, both training partners are aware of the distance and surroundings about them, they are working to be in perfect timing and balance, in case something was to happen next.

Zanshin is a mindset that needs to be cultivated and exercised.

While this martial arts awareness exists in the dojo and during training, it also exists outside of it- being aware of one’s surroundings and what can happen next.

Imagine this scenario.

One is exiting a store, about to cross through the door to the sidewalk, street, and parking lot outside. As one exits the store, there is a brief pause of awareness, taking sight and stock of what is outside.




Where are the places to move if needed?

Over time this martial arts awareness become second nature, allowing one to change in complete harmony with nature.

Are you developing zanshin martial arts awareness in your own training?

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: