Shinmyoken Dojo

Westchester | New York

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Wednesday, March 8, 2023

Sempai Should Lead In The Dojo

In the Japanese martial arts the understanding of senior and junior (sempai & kohai) is an important dojo teaching to not only promote harmony in the dojo, but also to ensure that each training session is as smooth as possible. 

 As western students we sometimes approach this relationship from a point of misunderstanding as we are used to being told what to do, compared to the eastern model of watching what to do. Different dojo definition may exist for this relationship but for the most part they are or can be a combination of seniority- when did they start training in the dojo, and/or what rank do they hold in the dojo. Equating rank as responsibility. 

Consider that everybody who started before you is a sempai and everybody who starts after you is a kohai- as you are the sempai (senior) to them. 

Senior/junior does not always equate age relationship, but it could be a factor in the definition. Again, look to what is being *done* vs. *said* in the dojo. As martial arts friends we come together in the dojo each week for martial arts instruction, and this time is the most valuable resource in the world. Every moment of time we want to spend training, receiving instruction, movement, feeling, and transmission from the teacher. Sempai are responsible for keeping things running in the dojo. 

Before class starts are the mats set up? 

Are the training weapons out and ready? 

Is everything in order so the teacher can walk in and start instruction? Optimize training. Sempai also mirror how to act in the dojo, based on the rules and tradition of the dojo. 

Show by leading silently, so the junior (kohai) students can learn how to act, so when they themselves become sempai, they can lead.

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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:

Shinmyoken Dojo

Westchester | New York

Email Contact: