Thursday, December 1, 2011

December Updates

Can you believe it's December already?  Here's what's new at Sword Class NYC!

The class schedule will changing a little bit starting Monday, December 12th:
Beginner Class: Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays at 6PM at Joria Productions at 260 W. 36th St. 3rd floor.
Intermediate Class: Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays at 7:30PM at Ripley-Grier Studios at 520 8th Ave.16th floor.  Check the monitors by the elevator to see which room we're in.
Advanced Class (by invitation only): Thursdays at 8:30PM at Ripley-Grier Studios.
*There will be no classes between December 26th and 29th.  We will resume training on January 2nd and there will be no Intermediate class on January 3rd.

On Sunday, December 18th will be the annual Sung Moo Kwan Holiday Party at our dojo in Dumont, New Jersey.  It will feature the first ever Siljun Dobup tournament!  The cost of participation is $20 and you need to register ahead of time, so just ask for a sign up form at your next class. After the tournament will be a kumdo competition and a pot luck dinner complete with karaoke!  It should be a great time and friends and family can come for free!

Finally, sword classes make a great and unique gift!  If you're interested in purchasing a gift certificate for the holidays, just let us know. 

Happy Holidays!

Friday, September 30, 2011

October Class Schedule

Starting October 3rd, our weekly class schedule will be:

6 PM- Beginners at Joria Productions
7 PM- Intermediate at Joria Productions

 6 PM- Beginners at Joria Productions
7:30 PM- Intermediate at Ripley-Grier Studios

 6 PM- Beginners at Joria Productions
7:30 PM- Intermediate at Ripley-Grier Studios

Joria Productions  is located at 260 W. 36th St. (between 7th and 8th) on the 3rd floor.  You can ask which room we're in at the front desk.

Ripley-Grier Studios is located at 520 8th Ave. (between 36th and 37th) on the 16th floor.  Check the monitors by the elevator to see which room we're in.

Keep an eye on our Facebook page and Twitter feed, as well as this space, for any changes or updates to the schedule.  Feel free to e-mail us with any questions!

See you in class!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Level Test September 24th

The next level test will be on Saturday, September 24th at 2:30 PM at the Dumont dojo.  If this is your first test, it can be a pretty intimidating experience.  Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Don't forget to kiap!  Seriously.  You could do everything else perfectly, but if you forget this, you're going to fail.  No one expects you to be perfect at this level, but as long as you can demonstrate your spirit and commitment, you'll be fine.
  • Maintain Zanshin ("remaining mind" or focus).  Even if you end up on the wrong foot or don't cut properly, don't let it show.  Don't make faces or heave heavy sighs.  Make any small adjustments you need to and just keep going.  Try not to let anything break your focus.
  • Tap into your chianshim (power).  Make sure to engage your core.  A good cut comes from speed and  chianshim, not brute muscle.
  • Relax and breathe!  Easier said than done, I know, but try.  Make sure to move slower than you think you need too.  When you're nervous, you'll speed up and make mistakes you wouldn't ordinarily make.  Practice going slower than you think you need to so that on the day of the test, you'll move at the proper pace.

Check in with the instructor if you're not sure what you need to do on the test.  Remember that you need to have your own sword and a uniform before you can take your first test.  It's best if you can practice in your uniform at least a few times first- hakama can take some getting used to!  The cost of the test is $40 and is due before the beginning of the test, along with the testing application form.

The dojo is easily reached by New Jersey Transit, but we are also arranging a car pool from the city.  Please let us know ASAP if you'd like to get in on the car pool.

If you can't make it to the test on the 24th, we will be offering an opportunity to take a video test on Monday, September 26th during regular class.  Send us an e-mail if you'd like more information or have any other questions about the test.

Good luck!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

First Cutting Practice

This past Saturday, I tried my hand at tameshigiri (target cutting) for the first time.  This is an exercise for more advanced Siljun Dobup students.  We use (very!) sharp swords (shinken) to cut rice or bamboo mats (tatami) that have been soaked in water overnight.  The mats are rolled up and they are about as dense as human flesh.  Kind of freaky?  Maybe.  Harder than it looks?  Definitely!

I've been studying Siljun Dobup for just under two years and have been managing Sword Class NYC since last summer, but this was a brand new experience for me.  I had practiced the techniques hundreds of times, but holding that sharpened blade in my hands took my training to a whole new level.  Going into this training session, I was reviewing all the minutia of making a good cut in my head: Relax the shoulders; cut forward, not down; make a big circle; make a strong stance; don't overextend the wrists etc.  I was sure that if I could just make a good cut, this would be simple.  Definitely not the case.

Grand Master Seong complemented my form and posture, but when it came time to actually cut the mats, my blade actually bounced off.  I had this super-sharp katana and two years of training and I couldn't even cut a rice mat?!?  How embarrassing, especially in front of my teacher and fellow students, let alone the grand master and creator of the form!  I was frustrated with myself and immediately began running through the list again- Relax the shoulders; cut forward, not down. . ."  I couldn't figure out what I was doing wrong.  Master Seong told me I needed more "power".

As I watched other students take their turns, I started to see what I needed to do.  I am certainly no master of the blade, but I have the technical skills to make this cut.  My problem wasn't in my shoulders or wrists or even in my feet, but in my head and my heart.  I was simply using muscle to make my body do what I wanted it to.  Sure, my form needed some tweaking, but the real problem was that  I wasn't mentally or spiritually invested.  My desire to perform well and demonstrate my skill had derailed my focus.

On my next try, I shut down my litany of "Cutting To-Dos".  I narrowed my focus to only include my blade.  I gathered as much Chi (Qi ) as I could and trusted my muscle memory to get the sword where it needed to go.  It certainly wasn't perfect, but I cut that mat!

I orginally started studing this art partially for the physical benefits, but more so for the mental and spiritual ones.  In a city as fast-paced and busy as New York, we are all constantly multi-tasking.  We have our smartphones in one hand and our grande lattes with an extra shot in the other (I do, anyway.) and bounce from task to task to task all day.  Siljun Dobup gives me an opportunity to focus my energy on one thing and one thing only- my blade.  While this has always been something I am aware of while I train, my main focus has been on perfecting the cuts and forms themselves.  Of course this is important, but it can only get you so far.  I will continue to practice and refine my skills, but it is time to concentrate more on my chi.  It is a muscle like any other and can only get stronger with exercise.  It is difficult to apply the ability to cut tatami mats to your job or relationships, but strong chi will benefit every aspect of your life.

Watch out tatami mats!  I'm coming for you!

Check out the video of my cutting practice below and see more videos here. 

Sara is the manager of Sword Class NYC and a 2nd Geup in Siljun Dopub.  You can contact her via Sword Class NYC's  e-mail, Facebook or Twitter.  Keep your eye peeled for more of her blogging here!

Sunday, August 28, 2011


Hello there!  Long time, no see!

There has been a lot going on at Sword Class NYC!  We have been been steadily growing and expanding our class schedule.  Here's what it looks like now:

Beginner Classes
Monday, Tuesday and Thursday at 6 PM at Joria Productions
**Please email to make a reservation.**

Intermediate Classes
Monday & Tuesday at 7 PM at Joria Productions
Thursday at 7:30 PM at Ripley-Grier Studios (8th Ave. Location)
**On Tuesday September 6th, Intermediate class will be at 7:30 PM at Ripley-Grier Studios**

We are still on the lookout for a space to call our very own.  Get all the news and updates on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and keep an eye on this page.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Welcome Yelpers!

$140 for Samurai Sword Class 3-Pack & Take-Home Sword (reg $240) at Samurai Sword Classes

Buy Now for $140
  • Reg. Price$240
  • Discount42%
  • Savings$100

Time Remaining

22 Sold so far

Limited quantities available

Yelp Deal photo

What You Get

  • Fierce samurai skills with this Package of 3 Group Samurai Sword Classes
  • Proof that you’re legit - the traditional iaito training sword you’ll use in class is yours to keep
  • 15% off your next group or private class
  • Go with friends - you can buy multiples as gifts
  • Classes held on Tuesday and Thursday evenings and are by reservation only (call or email, 48-hour cancellation notice required

Special Terms

$140 for Samurai Sword Class 3-Pack & Take-Home Sword (reg $240) promotion lasts through 4/30/2012. For another 4 years after that period, your Certificate is redeemable for the amount you paid, less any value that you have already received. Limit 1 Certificate purchase per person for own use, may buy multiple as gifts. Certificate redeemable starting 4/30/2011. One person may not redeem more than 1 Certificate during the promotion period. By reservation only, 48-hour cancellation notice required or Certificate is forfeited. All reservations must be scheduled by phone or email. Not to be combined with other certificates or offers. Subject to the Yelp Deals General Terms.

Monday, November 29, 2010

New Class Schedule!

Starting tomorrow (Nov. 30th), Sword Class NYC will have a brand new expanded schedule! We've added a second Intermediate class on Tuesdays from 6-7 PM and are keeping Thursdays the same- Beginners from 6-7PM and Intermediate from 7-8 PM. Now you can train twice a week! E-mail with any questions and we'll see you in class!

Monday, October 11, 2010 is live!

I'm so happy to announce that is now live! It still needs a few fixes, but it's very close to final form. It was created for me by the very talented and professional Amy Olchowski of AEO DESIGN. If you need a fabulous designer AND programmer who's very receptive to feedback, she's your girl. This is the next step in growing the business, and I hope that you'll enjoy the new layout, and possibly even share the site with your friends! Or even better, sign up for a trial class HERE.


A special thank you to Emily Kelly who put my in contact with Amy.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

To customers... Welcome!

Thank you for your almost overwhelming interest in Samurai sword classes! Because of the large number of purchasers, we've decided to make some changes to our class schedule.

Starting in October, we will be offering Intro classes on Tuesdays from 6-7 and 7-8 and on Thursdays from 6-7 and possibly 8-9. We will start scheduling people into classes once the promotion on The Dealist ends, which is this Wednesday at midnight. Once we start scheduling people, you'll be able to schedule all three of your classes at once, but we would like for you to attend three consecutive weeks (so if you choose a Tuesday at 6:00, you'll be on Tuesdays at 6:00 for the next 2 weeks). The classes will range from 8-12 people. You can schedule them up until basically the day before the class, but the further in advance you book, the better the chances of getting the dates you'd like.

I'm looking forward to meeting you!

Sab Bom Nim Raab Rashi


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