View Full Version : New York City - Help Deciding

3rd March 2015, 00:53
Hi everyone! New poster here, and I had a couple of questions relating to classes in NYC. The only martial arts I have done was Aikido, and that was for just two or three years in college.

I am looking for a kenjutsu class to take in NYC, and found the following sites. I am wondering if anyone has any words of wisdom that would help me decide which to attend. While schedule and cost is definitely a factor, I am very interested in hearing if anyone has some information that could help inform this decision.


(Also - I really want to help these places redesign their websites :D)

Brian Owens
3rd March 2015, 01:48
My suggestion is to visit as many of the dojo as you are able, observe a class, and talk to the sensei; this will give you an idea of whether or not you will fit in with the group, and if the group will fit with you. To narrow down the list, I'd avoid a "jack-of-all-trades=master of none" school/instructor, or one that does not have a verifiable lineage with licensed instructors and -- in most cases -- current links to Japan.

3rd March 2015, 03:18
I'm with Brian Owens.

Taking the time to check out the schools in question is a good investment. A little time spent now will likely save you lots of time later.

3rd March 2015, 16:42
Welcome to e-budo Aaron,

The only one of those instructors that I am familiar with is Sang Kim of New York Battodo. He is an excellent person and an impressive swordsman. I have no problems enthusiastically recommending his dojo.

Since it's Japanese sword arts that you're interested in, I would suggest that you make it a point to ask about their ties to Japan, and how often you'll have the opportunity to train with the top level instructors from Japan.

Brian has the right idea though. You need to try and observe a class at as many as possible to see which dojo appeals to you most, since you have a choice. As I was told a number of years back, the hardest part about learning any martial art is going to the dojo regularly. If you can master that part, everything else will follow.

Let us know how your search goes.

3rd March 2015, 17:18
The people replying are far more knowledgeable than I and they offer good advice. I would suggest that you actually observe class a few times for each potential dojo. I found that seeing the variety of students practicing on those days was quite insightful in both directions. I have seen class where only the new or the non-committal attended and then the very next week saw a group of committed and inspiring students who had all been away that one week I went. My decision could have been horribly skewed. Similarly I once attended a phenomenal training session only to learn that all of the people who looked like potential sempai were visiting. My instructors have been happy to allow me to watch a few times first to make sure I was signing up a bit more eyes open and also see if I could even make it to watch a few sessions in a row. Mr. Owens' suggestion about seeing if you fit in is a big truth in a simple suggestion. You will (I presume) see these folks a lot. If they train too differently (hard, soft, rough, easy, stern, joking) from what you think you want, it can be friction that reduces your learning. Take the time to find training that meets your requirements and also feels like you could be there for a while. You have not committed for life, but training is long and you should like your training "home". Best of luck and enjoy the search too. Its observation training.

Eric Spinelli
6th March 2015, 01:09
You mentioned kenjutsu but since Toyama Ryu (New York Battodo) made the list, I'll also point out that there is iai available in NYC as well. My personal recommendation is the Ken Zen Institute (http://www.kenzendojo.org/) where Pam Parker teaches Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu. Incidentally, I believe the Yagyu-kai Yagyu Shinkage Ryu also practices at the Ken Zen dojo.