Shinmyoken Dojo

Westchester | New York

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Monday, March 6, 2023

This Is What A Shodan Means In The Martial Arts

What does a shodan- 1st level black belt mean in the martial arts? 

In a previous martial arts post we explored the two elements to black belt, the physical techniques that are required, and the spirit based components that are required.

Regarding the physical techniques these *easy* part in that one has learned them, polished them, and can demonstrate a specific set of movement and ability at a first degree level of black belt.

What this is, naturally will depend on the school, style, and tradition as different arts approach things differently.

Regarding the spirit based side, this is a bit more complicated.

Concepts such as fighting spirit, warrior heart, immovable heart, and other ways of carrying the movement cannot be learned as in techniques, they must be cultivated through direct training and transmission.

Passing that, one arrives as shoden- 1st degree black belt, but what does it mean?

It means that one has a solid foundation of the basic movement and expectations of the art they study.

It means that one *is* a student of the school, and disciple of the training. Past actions and how one carries oneself might have gotten a pass as a kyu student as one was learning and growing, but now…

…the question will be- who is your teacher?

It means the start of more responsibility, seeing more waza, kata, forms, and patterns- now expected to begin mastering and being able to move in that way.

It means a journey of new expectations and viewing the martial arts.

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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: