View Full Version : Yamate ryu Aikijutsu/ Fredrick J. Lovret

29th July 2002, 06:41
hmm...yes can of worms..can of worms...thats what people will say when i say something about yamate ryu..which i am no longer a part of..and havent been for a while..but what is the status on it now...i want to see if other people know or what they think. Besides the face that i was called by my sensei and told not to post anything else on this site about it otherwise i would be kicked out the art, which i thought was kind of weird, does anyone have any other weird things that happened with them and this art? if so please tell..thanks

F. Beshara:cool:

Amos Smith
9th August 2002, 23:01
Not much time to visit the discussion groups. Would rather spend my free time on the mat. I only train 14 hours each week in addition to my studies outside of class. Having a great time. Training with good people.

Wish you the same.

Amos Smith
Chicago Budokai

Ron Tisdale
16th August 2002, 14:58
As someone who has had some rather choice words with some of the members of this group in the past, I will say this...I do know personally some rather fine budoka who have come out of this group. They now train with people who have absolutely no blemishes at all on their integrity and skill, and they are doing very well.

I'm not sure it benefits anyone to rehash this subject again. The past discussions are available to all...why not read them, and make up your own mind.

Ron Tisdale

J. Sabella
27th December 2002, 00:11
I have been searching far and wide about this man and these arts. Anything I find is either 100% good or 100% bad. I've read as many posts of this site as I could regarding this subject but all I could find were posts saying to read other posts that I could not find.

If someone could finally give me the "low-down" on this ryu or direct me to someplace that would have information about them it would be much appreiciated.

I apologize in advance if this subject has been done to death but I'm just curious and perhaps I'm missing something with with this crazy internet thing. I just cannot find the threads many of you were talking about concerning Lovret and his ryus. Most just vaguely alluded to something with no concrete info.

Thank you.

Nathan Scott
27th December 2002, 01:25
J. Sabella,

I hope you don't mind, but I merged your thread with an existing one in this forum. Not only does this help me consolidate subjects, but it will also increase the possibility of getting responses from those inside the group who have posted to the original thread.

It will be tough for you to find an authoratative answer to your question. Those who follow Lovret will defend him, regardless of what the public opinion of him is. Those who do not like Lovret will often slam him just for the sake of slamming someone they don't like (I'm guilty of that as well).

The following is from my own experience (I've never met/trained with Lovret or his people):

The arts taught by Lovret have "very questionable" lineage claims, as boasted by Lovret. To my knowledge, nothing has ever been provided by him or his group to substantiate these claims. A well known Western Budo-ka, Donn Draeger (a student of Tenshin Shoden Katori Shinto ryu under Otake Risuke Shihan), once sent to Lovret at Otake's request a cease and desist letter to stop using elements of their art name in their own sword art name (now simply called "Tenshin ryu" or maybe "Itto tenshin ryu").

I have a copy of Lovret's book "The Way and the Power" (Paladin Press, 1987 - OOP), and in it there is a kakejiku photo found on pages 44, 135, and 196 says (in bad Japanese shuji) "Itto tenshin katori shinto ryu kenjutsu". Katori shinto ryu is the root name of the art, and that is why Otake asked Lovret not to use it since he was not authorized or qualified to do so.

The entry in Aikido Journal's Encyclopedia of Aikido (ca. 1991) says:


(b. 1 July 1941). Hiden Mokuroku, Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu-Kodokai [rank authenticated]. Menkyo Kaiden, Yamate-ryu Aikijutsu. Teaching certificate in Itto Tenshin-ryu Kenjutsu. Martial arts instructor and writer. Founder, editor, and publisher of Bujin, a magazine published in the 1970s. Founder, and present editor and publisher of Taseki Publications. Author/publisher of numerous books on martial arts training (see bibl. ). Taseki Publishing Co. , P. O. Box 33305, San Diego, CA 92103 USA.

I seem to remember hearing that Lovret had some Aikido experience as well, but I can't confirm that. The Daito ryu Hiden Mokuroku he received though was awarded by Yonezawa Katsumi, and ex-Kodokai instructor who issued a number of unauthorized Hiden Mokuroku outside of Japan to people who he thought might be important. From what I understand, the Kodokai honbu reluctantly acknowledges these awards since they were issued directly by a representative of theirs at that time.

No idea who may have awarded the Menkyo Kaiden or "teaching certificate" he claims, or if there are any photos of these that have ever been offered.

Lovret has written a few books, including a "Budo Jiten [Dictionary]" (1993, Taseki Publishing - OOP), and I will say that there is a lot of good information provided in these as well as his defunct newsletter. Unfortunately, there is about an equal amount of somewhat misunderstood/not-quite-right information in them as well, and as such, a substantial amount of budo experience is required to properly filter the good stuff from the slightly off stuff.

As far as technical curriculum and ability goes, I only have his video "Hiden Aikijutsu" to go from. Suffice it to say that this is in the top 3 videos I have in my collection of special videos that are offered during various drunken budo-con screenings. Interestingly, Mr. Lovret appears to have a tendency to speak like Cain from the series "Kung Fu".

Great series - I have some of the episodes on tape still. Love the flashbacks with Master Po.

Anyway, that is about as fair and objective as I can get about this. FWIW, I have heard that some of Lovret's students are nice, serious, sincere individuals.

One of our moderators here either is currently or used to be affiliated with Lovret, and I know that Neil Yamamoto, who is a student of Bernie Lau, also has first hand knowledge of Lovret as well. Bernie Lau produced three videos about "Aikijutsu", that featured three different groups. Lovret's was one of them (Hiden Aikijutsu), and Lau appears in two of these videos as well as in "The Way and the Power" book. I suspect he has detailed files.

If any of ya'll want to discuss, correct or expand on this subject, feel free to do so. We should have a thread in AJJ to cover this subject. But keep in mind that I'll lock off and/or delete posts if anyone gets too out of hand - which is easy to do with this subject.

Mr. Beshara - here you go. Enjoy the publicity!


Dan Harden
27th December 2002, 02:22
I echo Nathans comments in that I don't want to discuss the man or his students- just the art.
The art which he called by two different names in one title. Katori shinto, and Itto ryu is in fact neither. OK so what?
Heres the what.
There is no Japanese art known to anyone on the planet with that name.
Katory shinto ryu is a world apart from Itto ryu in approach, execution, intent and technique. Only a very ignorant man would ever lump them together, or not laugh out loud at the idea.
And- the photos in the book were all Omori ryu.
The photographer who took the pictures stated that Lovret was using a book to pose from. He had the photographer actually verify certain poses for their consistency with the book.
The body arts
Many of the mokuroku and gradings from Yonozawa on the East coast were bought or handed out with little training. Unfortunately many exprienced artist were tipped off and knew that about him.
Others were most certainly earned through diligent training and they get justifiably angry when they are lumped in with the possiers!
It was a rather sad era in Daito ryu here for a while. That has been fixed.
At any rate go train in Daito ryu then watch Lovret. We won't have to say a word to each other.
If you sum it up and add in several stories of the people who trained with Lovret you will arrive at your own opinion.
Good luck in your training

J. Sabella
27th December 2002, 04:29
Mr. Scott,
I do not mind at all, I probably should have just posted this question in this thread in the first place. Thank you.

The information both you and Mr. Harden present is very interesting, thank you very much. While I do not want to encourage wars of words, I welcome your opinions as well as facts, however opinions backed up with facts sure are nice. ;). It seems like that blind samurai loyalty still exists in the 21st century and sometimes that is a nice thing to see, but in our pursuit for the truth...

At any rate, from what I gather from your posts and vague references from other posts in different threads, it seems the real beef with Lovret and his arts is lineage and certain "stories" that I keep hearing about...

All I can say is do tell.

Thank you all very much.

Nathan Scott
27th December 2002, 05:35
Everyone has a right to be "less than impressive" as a martial artist goes. Critisizing such a thing publicly is not necessary in my opinion (except when specifically discussing the subject).

However, the topic of credentials and "truthful advertising" is of concern to anyone seriously involved in martial arts. Being a trained martial artist is not the same thing as being a trained teacher. Technically, these skill sets are different, and require direct or indirect experience in order to become adept at them. These days, most arts have a teaching license that is seperate from their rank, or at least, a letter from their teacher authorizing them to teach (isshoku-jo). This type of formalization is something that needs to be increased and encouraged in modern times for those that intend to teach "the public". Studying martial arts is dangerous enough without adding the risk of studying under someone who is not qualified specifically to teach them.

Also, the curriculum and historical claims of the art (including who your teacher is/was) are of concern. There is an implied trust, as well as I suppose a perceived "pedigree" in studying an art that has a proven background of some kind. To claim such a thing falsley is considered fraudulent, and "false advertising".

All these things take advantage of a generally uninformed public/consumer in a field that is not regulated by any governing body (yet). That is why I don't mind documenting these types of discussions in forums such as these for interested parties to research easily.

However, lets keep this semi-professional. I really don't want to encourage people to sling dirty laundry just for the sake of trashing someone who is easy to trash - whether they have it coming or not. Take it off line or to a local pub or budo gathering (and don't forget to invite me!).


27th December 2002, 05:56
One other thing of note is that Lovret was “out and about” very early on. Long before many of us sophisticated types showed up. As many old timers will sometimes attest. Back in the day it was a small bunch indeed and if one sticks around long enough one sees just about everything - both bad and good.

Nathan Scott
27th December 2002, 20:00
Yeah, I've heard that kind of angle before. People like him enabled more of us to hear of the terms and ideas of arts like "aikijutsu" and "kenjutsu", so in a way we should feel some degree of indebtedness. Maybe without "pioneers" (with varied ethics), the arts might not have reached the US during the periods that they did.

On the other hand, deception is deception. Sometimes good can come from bad, but usually people don't feel that such a by-product justifies negative actions.

BTW, I have received confirmation that the moderator here I was referring to is in fact NOT affiliated with Lovret's groups anymore. Don't bug him.


Cady Goldfield
27th December 2002, 20:44
Regarding the references that were made to the kenjutsu system promoted by Mr. Lovret, here are links to some discussions that were held on the subject on a sword list a few years ago.



28th December 2002, 08:48
In the second link to a post by Meik Skoss, he describes a technique called tsubame gaeshi (Swallow Counter). There is a taijutsu nage-waza by this name, interestingly in the shinmeisho no waza of Kodokan wajutsu. Skoss says "supposedly" when he speaks of the possibility that Sasaki Kojiro devised it, but the discription is remarkably similar to the Kodokan nage-waza. The difference would be a zzzt forward and than back and then to the side as tori is helplessly sweeping air and getting his own foot swept followed by the body caught for the moment in mid-air. It looks like a Curly-jutsu of stepping on a banana peel, too, but it fits Meik's description as well. Sorry to put them both in the same sentence but I think both are considered to have been done early in their ryu.

Anyway, I thought the description fit the throw really well even if done with a sword. The mental picture is there, anyway.


28th December 2002, 12:31
There is also a Karate torite throwing technique called by the same name, illustrated in Funakoshi's Karate Do Kyohan,One intercepts a punch to the face area with an x block, then steps back and around into a kneeling stance with the captured hand firmly held while the other hand as a fist chops down along the inside of the captured ar, result, opponet is spun and flalls helplessly on back right in front of now kneeling position, ready for backfist atemi coup de grace to point between eyes(metsubushi).

Technique works dandy for real, too.Especially if attacker does not expect it or does not even know it exists.Easy throw to do.

Makes you wonder about the connections here betwen the arts, doesn't it?

But, hey, is it Aiki?

Cady Goldfield
28th December 2002, 12:54
Originally posted by kusanku
Makes you wonder about the connections here betwen the arts, doesn't it?

But, hey, is it Aiki?

Not aiki, but maybe good ol' jujutsu. ;)

J. Sabella
30th December 2002, 16:17
So it is probably not worth training with Lovret's group if one had the chance....

Nathan Scott
30th December 2002, 22:03
Mr. Sabella,

If after reading through these comments you feel inclined to go train in Lovret's group, by all means, go ahead. These comments are offered to educate the public, not necessarily to deter them. If this sounds like cup of tea - and it is for some people - then more power to you. But if your looking for advice on what you should do, I think the internet is not the way to go. Trust your own judgement and/or ask trusted family and friends for advice.


Interesting about your reference to tsubamegaeshi (as well as the later reference in tori-te). We have this sword technique in Shinkendo as well, and it is a great technique. But there is a good chance that this technique was originally created by the imagination of the author of the fictional novel "Musashi". The fact that it now exists in other arts is not all that compelling as far as supporting evidence goes, as this is something that could very well have also been the origins of the ever-controversial "yama arashi" technique (referred to in old Saigo stories originally). Some day there may be legendary techniques borrowed from "old" manga/anime that will be incorporated into future arts.

Some obviously think that to suggest such a possibility is offensive to the memory of great teachers like Kano, but interestingly, it is not unthinkable to native Japanese who grew up in the culture and have knowledge of these types of issues.


J. Sabella
2nd January 2003, 00:39
Mr. Scott,
Once again, thank you for your help. I am just starting to get acquantained Japanese koryu so my knowledge about such is very limited. I was not aware of the severity of Lovret's fraudulent claims. I am currently looking for a traditional Aiki school in my area and found only the Lovret's group, which is why I previously asked about training with him despite his swindles. Perhaps I should have phrased my question as whether or not his Aiki was better than no Aiki at all.

But after reading your recent posts and other posts from the past on this forum, I beleive I will start out with an Aikido school until I find a koryu school that can be trusted.

Once again, thank you and everyone else for the information.

Ellis Amdur
2nd January 2003, 01:04
Yoshikawa surely incorporated the name in his novel (given we have no makimono from the perhaps mythic Sasaki Kojiro, that's not surprising). But Yoshikawa didn't invent the name. It is the name of a kata in Maniwa Nen-ryu. Out of New Years too-much-time-on-my-hands, a few connections.

Jion is the claimed founder of Nen-ryu (Maniwa NR, being the the only surviving subset - sort of, because about 150 years ago, a leading student Homma Sengoro, formerly of Araki-ryu, was the strongest man in the ryu, but because he wasn't a family member (Higuchi), he couldn't succeed in the lineage. So the Higuchi's gave him an ichi-dai menkyo (one generation menkyo), the implication being that he could not pass Maniwa Nen-ryu to another generation. It gave acceptance to him then opening up a dojo of Homma Nen-ryu in a nearby town. That ryu, almost identical to MNR, still has one or two old guys, who now, practice/demonstrate with the Maniwa people.) Anyway, in essence, MNR is the only survivor.

One of Jion's leading students was Chujo Nakahide, a successor of the Chujo-ryu family art, which he then renovated into a "new, improved" Chujo-ryu. Among his leading students was Toda Seigen (Toda-ryu) , who taught Kanemaki Jisai who definitely taught Ito Ittosai (Itto-ryu, multiple permutations, ending up a kendo) AND, by legend, Sasaki Kojiro. All of which means absolutely nothing important, except if Sasaki existed, there is a faint connection to a real technique (which interestingly, is done by Maniwa much like people imagine Sasaki did tsubame gaeshi).

And, as a final connection, as you have mentioned, Mr. Obata studied Maniwa Nen-ryu in his youth. If he's the answering questions kind of guy, you might find out that the Shinkendo technique, in fact, has roots, over 600 years deep.


Ellis Amdur

Nathan Scott
2nd January 2003, 04:20
Hi Ellis,

Thanks for the info. I had heard that the origins of Sasaki's tsubamegaeshi were unknown, and quite possibly fiction (which it still could be, if he did exist at all), but was unaware of the MNR technique. I really should read what I have on it.

BTW, Obata Sensei did not formally study MNR. This has been a misunderstanding that has been circulated for some time, and MNR has even confirmed that his name does not appear in their books. He did grow up in the area though, and I believe his father had some degree of experience - possibly informal. We did visit the dojo in Maniwa while visiting Obata Machi (town), but we did not train there. But growing up in the area, it is quite possible that he had some exposure to it, and that he borrowed the tsubamegaeshi technique. Sensei has mentioned MNR to me, but has never claimed to study it to me. There are a number of arts that he studied to a smaller degree, or informally, and he typically does not mention them if he is not higher ranked in them.

Thanks for the information - Happy New Year!

Gene Williams
4th January 2003, 12:18
I am not a student of Mr. Lovret's, but I have attended a number of his seminars and have had him in my dojo twice for several days at the time. I was a subscriber to his magazine, Bujin, and to his on line magazine, Budo Shinbun. I have read his books. I know many of his students and associates.This all began back in
94 when after 25 years in Shito-ryu karate I decide I needed to broaden my martial arts knowledge a bit. Having been a subscriber to his magazine and books, I contacted him and attended a seminar. I have never been treated better, even at seminars which I taught myself! I met a number of accomplished
martial artists from arts and ryu totally unconnected with Mr. Lovret who, like myself, were curious. Among them were members from Goju-ryu (Higaonna's organization), World Shorin-ryu, JKA, Seishin Kai, Muso Shinden-ryu, JKF (Demura),and a number of other senior martial artists who are not fools. I notice that through the years, many of these people still train with and
maintain contact with M. Lovret. When I attend his seminars, I am always around many high-achieving people who, in business life are doctors, lawyers, military officers, engineers, etc. If nothing else, Mr. Lovret certainly has enough knowledge and charisma, not to mention martial arts ability, to draw and hold high level traditionalists from many arts and ryu. About the seminars and training sessions, they were long, intense and, at times, painful. There was no boasting on Mr. Lovret's part, no BS, no long lectures and flashy demonstrations about his own techniques or abilities, and I saw nothing taught that looked like it was being made up as he went along, which is more than I can say for some whose seminars I have attended (even in my own ryu!) and whose lineage and credentials are Budokan quality.
I know nothing of Mr. Lovret's training history or credentials. Lineage and legitimacy have always been important to me, though I have never obsessed about it quite as much as some in your forums are prone to do. I read the word "phony" in reference to Mr. Lovret in one of the letters to your forum. I believe that is incorrect, unfair and, perhaps, a bit hypocritical. Mr. Lovret is not in he class with Sarchonoski, Finn, Ashida Kim, Dillman and some of the other idiots that you all spend way too much time worrying about. I think that Mr. Lovret is like many other westerner's who have not been blessed with a long history with just one Japanese or Okinawan sensei. He obviously has had quality training in several different ryu with clearly accomplished instructors and has produced a number of very good students. His credentials, while perhaps controversial, make no outlandish claims. They are believable, certainly more so than many of the pretenders your forum mentions. He does not brag, strut, claim super-human ability. AND, he has demonstrably better than average and, at times, superior, technique.
We all tend to attack in others what we fear most in ourselves.
"Know your enemies well, they are who you will end up most like."

Dan Harden
4th January 2003, 20:51
Mr. Williams

I have no wish to speak about the man on a personal level. I will not say anything about his character or personal relationships. Lets hope and assume that he is a fine gentleman who has many friends and people that love him.
I would like to address your attempt to validate his abilities based on "your" observations and others of various arts you have claimed train with him and his abilities to maintain friendships with "professionals" as some sort of indicator of his skills.

Experiential validity
There are several people here who know him and have attended seminars who have a very different story to tell than you do. They stated their own opinions based on their own experiences. If you are asking us to accept yours -then certainly that means we need to accept theirs as well-yes?
Now, that said, lets talk about the level of each persons experience. You have mentioned many different artists from different karate backgrounds. You have not mentioned anyone from any established Aikijujutsu school, nor have you mentioned anyone from any established Koryu either?
Why is that?

I am far more interested in the opinions of those who train in the "type" of arts this man claims to teach. Not one of which I have met who has trained with him who has anything good to say. In fact, every single person that I know in the arts of the type that Mr. Lovret teaches think he is not qualified in those fields.
I have met two of his sword students who did not have a clue. He claims to teach a weapon art based on Katori shinto ryu and some Itto ryu as a mix. First I will tell you that those two arts do not mix well ...AT ALL. But lineage aside lets just talk about the styles. I do know Katori Shinto ryu when I see it. It is somewhat unique and its Kata, cuts, kamae and movements can be identified by people who know the Japanese sword arts. His guys had no clue as to stance, cuts, methods, kata sequence etc. In fact what they did know had nothing at all to with Katori Shinto ryu or Itto ryu. It looked like a made-up sort of sword art with several different Kendo and Iai thingy's thrown together.
So, as beauty is in the eye of the beholder so is technical skill.
The Koryu Japanese arts he wishes to align with and express are small in number and their methods are known enough to be identified by seeing and feeling. Hang a shingle and tell people you teach them, and sooner or later you are going to run into someone who knows them. Try to impress them any sort of jujutsu, Aiki-jujutsu, grappling art or Koryu weapon style you could name and you are probably in for one very cold, detailed, challenging review. If we see things that are just simply "not right" for those arts- is that not going to set off alarms in our heads?
His Dojo attracting and maintaining excellent people who are professionals in their fields means little or nothing. None of that qualifies him to teach Budo does it?
He has not attracted anyone from Katori Shinto Ryu, Itto ryu, Daito ryu or Yanagi ryu or any of the established Koryu for the simple reason that he cannot do anything that would attract them in the first place. On a personal level I can tell you that I have impressed Karate and Judo adepts with extensive experience in Japan who have come to my Dojo. I could tell you stories till you fell asleep. Their opinions of my fighting skills are nice and were I a lesser man I would allow them to give me the credit rather then the art itself. But in the coldest, most objective way, I must consider that their ability to judge those same skill sets comparatively to other Sword arts, Jujutsu or Aiki-jujutsu schools lacks any meaning at all. Those are two, very different subjects.
I hope this makes a bit of sense to you and helps you to understand that our assessments of skill-sets, the purported Koryu lineage or lack thereof, and then the people of the arts themselves can be looked at as separate topics.

For your comments about "the idiots we spend too much time worrying about."
You allude that we are Budo busy-bodies. Most here a far above that nonsense. If we don't worry and ask for truth-in-advertising who will? Do you want States like New Jersey to succeed in its bid to control the Martial arts through regulation? In some cases there is wrong-doing and misrepresentation-these are pointed out not to hurt individuals but to “help” unsuspecting ones.
We all recognize that there are talented men in the arts who suffer for lineage. No one cares about that, and many experienced people have offered that they will judge if they like it or not by its own merits. However, tell us it "is" something it is not and you are in for some strong opinions by those who love Budo.


Gene Williams
4th January 2003, 21:40
Thanks for your response. My assessment of Mr. Lovret is that of a Shito-ryu practitioner attempting to learn about sword arts and a deeper level of jujutsu than is incorporated into the general karate practice. Your point is well taken, nor was I trying to validate his lineage; I have no training in those arts and very little experience of those who have. I also agree that if you accept my account of my experience, then you must also accept others' opinions of their's. Mr. Lovret is obviously someone who generates many and varied responses. So, I was learning techniques and not the essence of any particular art. You probably feel about Lovret like I feel about the many karate types who mix and match a little Goju, a little Shotokan, a little of this and that and start teaching.
I am left with a couple of thoughts. What I learned from him are valid techniques( I've demonstrated them to senior jujutsu practitioners and they polished them but did not change them. They are called by several different names.) I have learned a lot about kenjutsu generally and on a very basic level which has not been contradicted by those in other sword ryu. I'm not sure I was really looking for anything else. I have been in Shito-ryu for 30 years. I hesitate to consider training in other arts because I know that I would never be able to achieve in those arts the same skill level I have in Shito-ryu. I believe it takes pretty much a life time to master one art, if we master it then.
Mr. Lovret has skill and spirit, dignity and intelligence. He does attract high level practitioners from other arts though, you are correct, not from those you named upon which his are supposed to be based. I think the attacks upon him are a little over done. There are pedigreed dogs, and then there are those mixed breeds who can really hunt. Maybe he helped me kill a few birds, even if he won't make Westminster. Thanks or your time. GENE

Nathan Scott
5th January 2003, 07:06
Mr. Williams,

Welcome to the forum. Thanks for offering your experience and opinions.

I have to say that Dan has a good point though. The contributors to this forum and the thread in this forum regarding Lovret are exponents of the arts, and as such, are rather uniquely experienced to evaluate what they see, hear and feel. With your experience, , for example, I'm sure you would have no problem identifiying a good, bad, and/or self-taught karate-ka - even within just a few moves. It really is no different for arts like Aiki and Kenjutsu. There may be many ways of doing such arts, but when you look at the history and development of the arts, the methods are either logical or illogical. Some people simply move as if they had not received adequate corrections and instruction while developing their basic body movements in a given art (ie: self taught). When you've been teaching for a while, you recognize such things very quickly, as I'm sure you'd agree.

Anyway, speaking for myself, I've been in the aiki arts and sword arts for a number of years now. In fact, I've chosen to specialize in these arts, and as such have the most experience and credentials in them. But regardless of what skill I may or may not have acquired over the years, if nothing else I can say with confidence that I've seen, felt and researched a great deal of the related branches and arts, and while they often have significant differences, they have more in common than not. At least on a very fundamental level, and this fundamental level is where I for one take exception to Mr. Lovret's methods. Regardless of the major discrepencies in alledged background that he has claimed. In short, it just doesn't look authentic, based on my experience and research. Apparently my opinion happens to be in the majority with others who share similar experiences, FWIW.

But all politely worded opinions and positions (such as yours) are welcome. If you don't mind though, we already have a good thread going on this subject a couple threads down from this one, so I'd like to merge this one with that one. If there are no objections, I'll do so in the next day or two.

BTW, arts like Aiki, Kenjutsu and Jujutsu are goldmines full of great tricks and principles. There are many people who conduct themselves unethically who have varying levels of skill. Background and credential issues are should not be automatically associated with skill issues. Though, are you comfortable with training under someone who may not be licensed by anyone to teach you?


Gene Williams
5th January 2003, 12:48
Thanks for your reply. No, I would not be comfortable training under someone without proper credentials or receiving rank from them. As I said to Dan,you guys probably feel about this like I do about all the karate types who mix and match different styles and call themselves a legitimate ryu. What about that acknowledged certificate from Yonezawa that was mentioned...can you enlighten me on that situation. I know that several very respected Japanese instructors in my art have issued menkyo in this country
which, though based upon the appropriate skill level and training, were frowned upon by the Hombu more for political reasons than anything else. This has caused a great deal of recrimination, name-calling, and divisions in various karate ryu. Is Lovret's certificate of that nature, or did Yonezawa just give rank for money, or do you know? I have been one who, over the years,
has been very critical of what I call the Hunky Dunky-ryu in karate. I therefore respect very much your's and Dan's concerns over Mr. Lovret. I think I should just go back to my own dojo and do what I know. There is plenty in Shito-ryu and ryukyu kobudo to keep me busy. As to Mr. Lovret, I experienced him as an intelligent, polite, and matter of fact individual with some skill in the techniques he has mastered. I am reminded of Pope's maxim, "A little learning is a dangerous thing..." Thanks. Next time I'll write about something else. Gene

5th January 2003, 14:25
Is Lovret's certificate of that nature, or did Yonezawa just give rank for money, or do you know?

From what I know from people who do know these things, Yonezawa issued certificates for money, and to people he viewed as important, and perhaps other reasons.

Those certificates, at the time, were given or sold, and as Mr. Yonezawa was a representative of the particular style of DR AJJ, they are admitted as awarded by a legitimate rep. from the style. They are also now embarrassed by this but they do not deny it.

As Nathan alluded to, this fact is discussed in another thread. Lovret wasn't the only one who received this certificate with little training or experience from Yonezawa.

The thing is, he could have stuck with the license from that DR line and limited his teaching to that, but he didn't. That is probably his biggest problem, and it did become an issue for the DR AJJ community at large for some time.


Gene Williams
5th January 2003, 15:19
Thanks Mark. There are a lot of guys in karate who came along during the sixties (probably Lovret's time of getting in the arts), especially in California and Hawaii, who rubbed shoulders with some Japanese and Okinawan instructors. They began with good intentions,i.e. to learn this great art, and were misled by Japanese who were eager to please/impress Americans or who liked American money (probably both). We have tended to place Japanese/Okinawan instructors on a pedestal, but human nature
is fairly evenly distributed around the globe. Then, there are the Camp Hanson one year wonders like Joe Lewis, et. al., who just came home and claimed a bunch of rank/knowledge they didn't have. Ho,hum. This all gets so wearying after a while. Gene

Dan Harden
5th January 2003, 16:16
The sad truth is that there were men who REALLY trained under him and recieved earned rank. We have to ackowledge THEM and separate them out from amongst the men who "bought" it and/or got it with little training time.
So, while Mark is right and it was a sad period-it was taken care of by the "home office."
In fact perhaps it was a blessing in disguise, for he was replaced in U.S. by one of the most stunning and capable martial artists in the world today- Kiyama Hayawo Shihan. This man is V-E-R-Y conservative, will not show technique, will not present much of anything to the public, won't be interviewed and continues to train himself while he teaches, continuing to do his "research." At a stage when men who are his lessors resign themselves to teach-he is still a student. His knowledge of Judo, Daito ryu, and other Koryu and the way he expresses technique is a modern marvel.
Stanley has tried to bring this art with its magnificent teachers out into the world but it refuses to go. They are a group of the most quiet, devoted, behind the scene studious people you will ever meet. There is almost nothing in print, or video about them.
I have seen and felt technique from this man that no man I have met can touch. In fact the technique I have felt from some of Aikido's highest people pales in comparison. Further, as we all know and have seen, every person brings a uniqueness of their vision and combination of training to their Budo. Thence no art is "the same" in the hands of each man in a single art. How many of us have seen a line-up men in a given art and yet we all know that only this or that guy have "it." Everyone else is sort of doing the kata with varying degrees of success. This mans Budo with his unique training history is stunning in vision and in execution. What he has mixed and learned is for many reasons unique and will one day pass from the earth. To see Koryu jujutsu, done with highest forms of Aiki in Daito ryu, from a man with a VERY serious knowledge of Randori in Kodokan Judo is really quite something. I have watched his sutemi waza shock experienced martial artist who have not seen anything like it before. His control of an Uke is magnificent.
I would only add that his words, his lifestyle, and his writings are a treasure.
For some of us when we see some of the guys who are out and about who are excellent as well- we are saddened that no one gets to see some of the best Budo in the world that rests in this mans hands.


Brooks Snider
6th January 2003, 01:41
This diatribe has been interesting but completely moot. I believe the reference below applies.

From "Hagakure",- Yamamoto Tsunetomo, Translated by Willaim Scott Wilson, Pg 140 - 141.
A certain person said, "In the Saint's mausolem there is a poem that goes:If in one's heart
He follows the path of sincerity,
Though he does not pray,
Will no the gods protect him?"
What is this path of sincerity?"
A man answered him by saying, "You seem to like poetry. I will answer you with a poem.
As everything in the world is but a sham,
Death is the only sincerity.
It is said that becoming as a dead man in one's daily living is the following of the path of sincerity.

Brooks Snider

Cady Goldfield
6th January 2003, 02:14
Diatribe? I'm not sure where you see a diatribe. All of the people who have participated in this thread have been very gentlemanly and sincere, and they are speaking from first-hand knowledge.

You are seeing comments here from a couple of people who are experienced in the arts being discussed here; in fact, one of these gentlemen is a longtime, highly experienced exponent of the arts which Mr. Lovret claims to teach. To dismiss their insights and comments as "diatribe" is an unfounded presumption. I should think that they would have the right (certainly the credentials) to comment on the matter, and to have their opinions be respected.

Here are some discussions that were had on a classical sword forum a few years back. You might recognize the names of some of the participants. The one making the bulk of the comments is one of the most highly-respected longtime practitioners of a koryu sword art and several other traditional arts in the US. Just because the wording may be intense, doesn't make it diatribe -- just the voice of experience.



6th January 2003, 04:25
Hi Cady,

As usual you bring a glimmer of sunshine to the thread. While I tend to agree with your comments, I can not locate the url's you listed. When I click on them I get error 404, object not found. As I am interested in these comments, could you sugest any solutions?


Cady Goldfield
6th January 2003, 12:03
Sorry 'bout that. Looks like they were removed at the source. Possibly because the authors didn't want to be referenced out of the context of their forum, even though they were publicly accessible and visible on the Internet (which is the only reason why I provided the links in the first place. I had made copies of the texts, but as I'm assuming that the links were removed for a reason, those will be kept private).

Cady Goldfield
6th January 2003, 14:53
Just checked. The pages are still there, I just provided the wrong links.

Here is one:


Here is another:


Nathan Scott
6th January 2003, 20:17
Mr. Williams,

I would say that, if you are simply looking to pick up a few tricks and/or movement principles to supplement your current training, then you might continue to benefit from training with the Lovret group - given that the training is conducted with reasonable safety in mind. Just be careful about telling others that you are "doing methods as once used by the ancient samurai"! ;)

But if you are looking to seriously train in these arts, then I would suggest asking yourself how important the study is priority wise in your life. Upon concluding your own research, you may find that it is necessary to fly elsewhere (or host instructors) in order to get the kind of training that you desire. This can be quite time consuming and expensive, but may very well be worth it. Depends on how much the experience is worth to you at this point in your life. I mention this partially because I've recently become married and am pursuing a new career field, and it will be tougher to juggle my various studies. But for me, I'd rather not train in an art if I can't train under a branch and an instructor that really suits me and my goals.

I'll look forward to your future posts.


Cady Goldfield
6th January 2003, 20:52
Nathan wrote:

..."I've recently become married"

Sounds like someone who has fallen into a different state of being, such as "I've recently become enlightened," or "I've recently become allergic to shellfish." :laugh:

Sorry for the digression, Nathan. I couldn't resist. The wording just tickled me. :)

Gene Williams
6th January 2003, 21:44
I remember back in the seventies when everyone was " becoming"...not anything in particular, just "becoming." It was kinda' funny seeing all these dreamy eyed people joining growth group after growth group. Many of them took up martial arts of various kinds and tried to impose some kind of "peace and harmony" philosophy on to combat arts. This lead one of the Japanese instructors at a big seminar to shake his head and say,"You have too many granola people." Just hearing him pronounce granola was worth the seminar. Anyway, Nathan, congrats and best wishes for a long, happy future.

7th January 2003, 13:04
Mr Scott:

Congratulations to both your and your bride! For myself last June found me enjoying a similar rite of passage, but not as a Groom. Instead I was "Father of the Groom," a day you may perhaps experience many years from now! [Be advised that boys are cheaper to raise than girls, but I do have a good extension ladder if you ever need it.]

In closing I would humbly offer only one other thought with regard to your marriage, more specifically when both you and your bride become parents. With each child you have please remember you have only one chance at being a parent - so be the very best you can, for all of your efforts will come back to you in later years! And once again Congratulations!

L Fitzgerald

Brooks Snider
7th January 2003, 14:17
Pardon me for not being completely clear, diatribe - archaic : a prolonged discourse.

I am sure the participants are all well trained and respected in their arts. However, in the good ole' days discourse between ryu or individuals was settled on the battlefield or in a clearing at the edge of town.
It seems that Mr. Sabella may have been influenced by this discussion and this may not be in his best interest.
Please refer to my previous post and read the poem and its answer.

Thank You,
Brooks Snider

Dan Harden
7th January 2003, 15:40
I am sure the participants are all well trained and respected in their arts. However, in the good ole' days discourse between ryu or individuals was settled on the battlefield or in a clearing at the edge of town.


Mr. Snider
Settling things on the field? That is not nearly close to the truth-then or now.
Questions of lineage have nothing at alll to do with competence. Why?
There are highly competent people with lineage
There are highly competent people without lineage
There are inept people with lineage
There are inept people without lineage.

Being competent means your competent thats all. If someone is fairly confidant in their abilities and were to arrive at your door falsly claiming to be Menkyo Kaiden in _________ryu and nailed you over and over- how or where would that justify any claim they could make that they were menkyo Kaiden of _________ ryu?
If they won or lost would it matter? It is still a lie.
It would be nice if all of our senior teachers in every art were martial giants. But they are not. The art is.
We all get old-the art remains.
This is a reasonable statement and most people understand and agree with it.


Ron Tisdale
7th January 2003, 17:08
[Cough]...most **reasonable** people Dan....[cough]. Me Thinks you might be asking a lot...

Congrats Nathan! Best wishes!

Ron (doing reasonably well) Tisdale

7th January 2003, 17:46
Originally posted by Brooks Snider
Pardon me for not being completely clear, diatribe - archaic : a prolonged discourse.

I am sure the participants are all well trained and respected in their arts. However, in the good ole' days discourse between ryu or individuals was settled on the battlefield or in a clearing at the edge of town.
It seems that Mr. Sabella may have been influenced by this discussion and this may not be in his best interest.
Please refer to my previous post and read the poem and its answer.

Thank You,
Brooks Snider

Mr. Snider:

I have read both the poem and its answer. I am also somewhat familiar with the history of the Hagakure.

With all due respect, my advice to Mr. Sabella would be to be leery of advice from anyone who thinks that the Hagakure is anything other than the romantic posturing of a bitter and aging bureaucrat which has about as much to do with the core values of Budo as the novels of Sir Walter Scott had to do with the reality of the European Age of Chivalry.

In the latter instance, one can make a fairly good case that it was just this kind of romantic claptrap that led the best military minds of the South to lead their men to inevitable slaughter against the better armed and equipped armies of the North during the War Between the States. And as for Hagakure -- we need only look to the life of Yukio Mishima. Once considered a serious candidate for the Nobel Prize in literature, he is now generally regarded as a right wing crank who botched his own seppuku in an ineffectual and ultimately pointless act of political theater.

More to the point, in the "good ole days," members of the buke were essentially property of their daimyo, and the penalty for risking one's life in an unauthorized engagement on the battlefield or in a clearing at the edge of town was often dispossession of one's entire family -- even if one was victorious.

All of the above said, Mr. Sabella may decide to look for himself rather than taking anybody else's word as gospel; my view is that that is always a good policy.

But it is difficult to understand how one could conclude that it is not in Mr. Sabella's best interest that he be aware of such concerns; even if it is only to help him avoid unknowingly repeating some of the more, let us say, "controversial" claims which have attached to the gentleman in question.

Beyond that, I have no further comment.

Fred Little

Nathan Scott
7th January 2003, 19:15

Thanks for the kind wishes. Somebody had to do it. Mr. Fitzgerald, your last post may have contained the best advice yet.

Mr. Snider,

I'm not sure what you are offended over. This is BY FAR the most restrained and fair thread I've ever seen regarding Mr. Lovret and his arts. We have provided facts, and encouraged others to consider what they want from the training, to do their own research, and to draw their own conclusions based on the evidence found. Do you wish to debate the facts and observations presented in this thread?

A much smaller percentage of this thread has contained personal opinion, which has been clearly qualified as such. I have encouraged those who have had positive experiences (Mr. Williams) to feel comfortable posting them here, so that we may have balance and something to discuss.

However, if you don't agree with our opinions and observations, that is your right. Feel free to present your own opinion and observations. But don't threaten us because you don't agree. Offer a qualifed statement or fact instead and really impress us.

PS. I'm sure Mr. Sabella is a big boy and can think for himself.

Don Cunningham
8th January 2003, 19:19
I have seen this behavior before from the Lovret crowd. One follower posts some innocently worded question, enquiring if anyone knows more about Lovret and his martial arts skills or experience. Then another responds with a gushing account of how much they have learned or how their training is very effective, etc.

It seems like this is some sort of recruiting technique when they need more cult members. The fact that Amos Smith joined in nearly immediately only confirms my suspicion.

We are all pretty aware of the fabricated linage. Frankly, I am not that convinced of the effectiveness of their martial art, either. It certainly didn't prevent me from disarming Mr. Lovret of his bokken --TWICE!--before chasing him across the mat after he attempted to intimidate and bully me.

From his writings, he certainly doesn't seem to have much actual knowledge of Japanese culture or tradition. It's hilarious to read his armchair analysis of historical battles. All this excellent military strategy expounded by a mediocre sailor who never went above E-5 during a 10-year career watching radar screens. (Don't pay attention to the stories promoted by his students about his time with special forces, deep in the jungle behind enemy lines and armed with his katana.)

What really concerns me is their fascination with death imagery. I've read Mr. Lovret's comments regarding the "beauty of death." I've heard one of his most ardent supporters tell others, "If someone attacks you, they have forfeited the right to live." Certainly not a legal defense for murder, but also a bit morally deficient as well.

I've met many of his students and proponents of their particular brand of martial arts. They may include many "professionals" in their ranks. But if I read in the newspaper that they had all decided to join their samurai soul brothers in a spaceship hidden behind a comet, I wouldn't be too shocked.

All of this is their own personal decision and I respect their right to believe whatever fairy story they choose. Please don't ask me to share the kool-aid with them, though.

Nathan Scott
8th January 2003, 20:15

I think I'm going to lock this thread off for the time being. We now have three pages of contributions, and the thread has not gotten too out of hand yet - aka: it is still a useful resource.

If Don is right about some of Lovret's students doing a tag-team publicity campaign on the net (the original post and the first reply were a few days apart, but the individuals are in the same neck of the woods - "Lovret country"), then they got some publicity and got off easy in my opinion.

That being said, I'd like to make a couple more observations if I may:

1) Ellis pointed out to me in Las Vegas at our Budo video screening that teachers that are generally considered "fake" will always have a following, because people are attracted to budo for different reasons and there is a type of student who is looking for this.

After some concideration, I believe that there are, in the broadest sense, three basic types of budo student - those looking to live a fantasy (role playing), those interested in budo and the related culture in general, and those looking for practical combative methods for application professionally.

There is definitely a type of student that becomes emotionally defensive when presented with doubt or contrary facts - much like some people get when their faith in religion is questioned or debated. I believe this is because they are operating on faith, and perhaps, a blinded desire to participate in a fantasy that cannot be argued as real using logical or factual reasoning. In other words, for some types of students, this type of thing is exactly what they are looking for, and they may not "need to be saved" by us - whether they dream of being a samurai, ninja or shaolin monk. I may open up a thread about this subject soon if anyone is interested in analyzing this further.

2) As of right now, this thread has enjoyed 1208 unique views, which is considerably higher than most of the educational (non-drama) threads in this forum. Interesting.

In Los Angeles, many of us get really annoyed by all the rubber-necking on the freeway. If someone is changing their tire on the side of the freeway, traffic will be backed up for miles by drivers who are hoping to see some blood and gore from a possible accident. It would seem that this type of mentallity is typical of our current social culture. Human nature is interesting. A little drama is exciting, while too much is considered distasteful.


Anyway, if anyone else has anything useful to contribute to this subject - in particular facts or first hand experience - feel free to open a new thread here and post it. If the content is politiely worded and appropriate, I will merge it with this thread for archive purposes. But in the meantime I will lock this thread off to dissuade inflamation.

Those still undecided about this subject are urged to read the following articles (linked from koryu.com and furyu.com):

Real or Fake? Is Your Martial Arts School Legitimate? (http://www.koryu.com/library/wmuromoto4.html), by Wayne Muromoto

Are You in A Martial Arts Cult? (http://www.furyu.com/archives/issue8/zanshin8.html), by Wayne Muromoto

The Whole Legitimacy Thing (http://www.koryu.com/library/kfriday1.html), by Professor Karl F. Friday

Confessions of a Navy SEAL (http://www.furyu.com/wayne/Dave%27sF/Confess.html), by Dave Lowry

The Classical Japanese Martial Arts in the West: Problems in Transmission (http://www.koryu.com/library/dlowry4.html), by Dave Lowry

I think this thread has served its purpose. Move along, there is nothing more to see here!