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

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

swordclassNYC featured on

swordclassNYC has been featured on! They are a social deal website focusing on the NYC region. For this deal, we are offering a package of 3 classes, heavily discounted at $25. One correction to what is listed on the site: I am NOT the founder of this martial art (I'm no where near bad-ass enough yet). Grandmaster Jin K. Seong is the founder of Siljun Dobup and received his training in iaido and Korean sword arts from his master, the late Grandmaster Young Dal Kim.

But welcome, visitors from theDealist! I hope that you'll have a fantastic experience and broaden your understanding of this fantastic and ancient martial art. Please contact me if you have any questions at I look forward to teaching you!

Sab Bom Nim Raab Rashi

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Comic Con demonstration time announced!

SwordClassNYC and our parent company, the Sung Moo Kwan Kendo Academy will be demonstrating Kendo and Siljun Dobup ("Real Sword Training") at New York Comic Con on Friday, October 8th at the Variant Stage from 6:15 - 6:45 PM. That's not a lot of time, but I hope that you will be able to join us. At the panel, we'll be demoing:

- A brief history of the katana and the evolution of Kendo
- Kendo techniques presented by Kendo Academy students
- An introduction to Siljun Dobup and iaido
- Sets Jee, Su, Poong, and Hwa, or Earth, Water, Wind, and Fire, presented by Siljun Dobup practitioners

It should be a fantastic event, and I hope you can make it!

I can't wait to see all the costumes!

Buy Your Tickets for NYAF

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

SwordClassNYC to perform at NY Comic Con!

SwordClassNYC (and our parent company, Sung Moo Kwan Kendo Academy) will be hosting a panel demonstration of Siljun Dobup and Kendo at NY Comic Con 2010! I've loved Comic con ever since living in San Diego, and can't wait to participate in this fantastic event. This will be our 4th (and certainly the largest) convention performance this year, and is a great opportunity to promote these martial arts and inform the NY community about Samurai Sword classes. I will post more details when I get them, including the time and location, but I wanted to share the good news!

See you at NY Comic Con! I'll be the one dressed as a samurai. :P

“Do nothing which is of no use.”
- Miyamoto Musashi

Monday, August 2, 2010

Midsummer Magick Renaissance Faire sword workshop

For those of you who don't know Jeff Mach (if that's possible), let me tell you that this guy knows how to throw a party. Let me back up a little. Jeff is an event organizer extraordinaire, and his events range from alternative bridal expos to renaissance faires to steampunk conventions. But one common thread through all his events is that it always feel like it's a huge party, and you have been specially invited. I have the good fortune of being able to call Jeff "friend" (and many other things, if I think about it), and am often asked to perform workshops at his events. Samurai sword training at a Renaissance faire? Sure! Why not? That's what makes his events different... special. At a Jeff Mach event, it will never be your typical {whatever}. It's not an event, it's an experience.

I performed a workshop this past weekend and it was fantastic! Even contending schedule-wise with the indomitable, fantasmigorical Daniel Greenwolf, the workshop was still well attended. The participants were interested, focused, and enthusiastic. What more could a teacher ask for? Oh right... 82 degree weather and busty lasses in corsets. Check out the pictures below, but more importantly, check out a Jeff Mach event!

Facebook | Michael Whitehouse's Photos - MMRF 2010 Week 3

Friday, July 23, 2010

New class in August!

I'm very pleased to announce that beginning Thursday August 5 Samurai Sword Classes will be adding an additional class from 7-8:00 PM. This will be an intermediate class, for people that are interested in attending regularly and really training intensively. The 6-7 class will continue as a beginner class, and will be open to first-timers, beginning students, and more advanced students that want to practice the basics and/or assist the first-timers.

Also, very soon we will be rolling out the new class website. Once the website launches (sometime in August), we will be referring to the class as swordclassNYC (website will be Good things are happening, and I'm happy that you, dear reader, are there to share it with me!

Classes are held from 6-8(!) at 260 West 36th St. 3rd Floor (Joria Studios). See you there!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Star Wars samurai art!

As you may or may not know, I am a huge Star Wars fan. I've always known about Star Wars art, and I remember when I was young it was always an incredible treat to see other artist's fresh take interpreting Star Wars. But then the future happened, and with the internet, Star Wars art became mainstream, and I'm glad it has! There are a few shining examples of how artists have reached back into the source materials of Star Wars, emphasizing its Samurai-esqu feel, but sometimes there are really fantastic creations. Here's one.

Check out Steve Bialik's blog to see more examples!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The kendo lifecycle | [ ]

Check out this fantastic bog post about the lifecycle of a Kendoka (kendo practitioner). I started Kendo in my 20’s, and now that I’m in my 30’s I feel I’ve entered a new stage of my training. There wasn’t so much a conscious choice to alter how I approached practice, but my mentality has developed, matured as my skill increases. I practice Kendo less as a competitive sport, and more as an expression of my spirit.

The kendo lifecycle | [ ]

Monday, July 12, 2010

Ancient Martial Art examination held for the first time in the United States

Palisades Park, NJ — Twenty students tested in front of visiting masters from Korea to become the first American black belts in the ancient sword martial art “Chosun Sebup.” The examination was held by the Korean Kumdo Association (KKA) and is the first ever held in the United States.

Chosun Sebup is one of the earliest written sword arts. Transcribed by a Chinese military tactician in the year 1621, Chosun Sebup is a section of codex “Mu-Bee Ji,” a compilation of martial arts and tactics from China, Japan, and Korea. It is separated into three chapters, Heaven, Earth, and Man. Each chapter details different sword techniques for use on the battlefield.

Students of the form are expected to perform the techniques flawlessly and must also complete a written examination to attain their black belt, or “Dan” rank. The prospective black belts are students from two northern New Jersey Kendo schools, Hung Moo Kwan and Sung Moo Kwan. Kendo, or “the way of the sword,” is the modern martial art of sword-fighting practiced by over six million people worldwide. Chosun Sebup, though a traditional Korean martial art, shares many similarities with Kendo including the concept of harmonizing the mind, body, and spirit.

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Friday, July 9, 2010

This weekend there will be a very special event held at the Huang Moo Kwan Kendo school in Palisades Park, NJ. For the first time in the United States, a group of students will test for their 1st Dan (blackbelt) rank in a Korean martial art called "Chosun Sebup." I will be one of these students!

Chosun Sebup is a martial art detailed in the 17th century Korean military codex, 'Mu-bee-ji,’ a compilation of Chinese, Korean, and Japanese martial arts and tactics. Because of its shared border with China and long coastline, Korea has been in external conflict for much of its history. 'Mu-bee-ji' would have been written in a time when Korea was defending it's borders from the Manchu-Invasion, and recovering from the Seven-Year War with Japan. This is of important historical significance because most martial arts traditions of the time were passed down by word of mouth from teacher to student. The manual codifies, describes, and analyzes both friendly and enemy tactics and served as an important reconnaissance tool for the Korean commanders.

Chosun Sebup was the first inclusion in "Mu-bee-ji," and was practiced with a sword that was slung from the right shoulder and hung on the left side of the body, similar to the "tachi" (slung sword). It is unknown if the sword used in this art was a curved sword of Japanese origin (Katana) or a straight sword of the Chinese tradition (Jian). It is likely that both types of swords were used, depending on geographical location and access to trade routes. Another theory is that these two sword traditions were combined as the traditional Korean sword (Jingum) is curved like the katana, but incorporates the hanging tassel similar to the jian.

Chosun Sebup is divided into three sections, each with four techniques emphasizing a different form of attach and/or defense. These are:

Chapter 1. ( Cheon) – Heaven
1. 거정세 ( Guh-jeong-se) - Making high stance as if one lifts a big pot.
2. 과좌세 ( Gua-jua-se) - Cutting from upleft to downright
3. 과우세 (Gua-woo-se) - Cutting from upright to downright
4. 탄복세 ( Tan-bok-se) - Thrusting at the belly

Chapter 2. ( Jeeh) – Earth
1. 표두세 ( Pyo-doo-se) - Cutting the leopard’s head – Straight up to down cut
2. 좌협세 (Jua-hyeop-se) - Thrusting at the left chest
3. 우협세 (Woo-hyeop-se) - Thrusting at the heart
4. 어거세 (Uh-guh-se) - Sword at center position – pushing forward

Chapter 3. (In) – Human
1. 은망세 (Uhn-mahng-se) - Silver Python
2. 전시세 (Jeon –shi-se) - As if one spreads wings
3. 요격세 (Yo-gyeok-se) - Cutting from upright to down left
4. 봉두세 (Bong-doo-se) - Beheading the Phoenix

A demonstration of Chosun Sebup performed by a youth sword team in Korea:

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

I can't wait to see THIS exhibit at the Museum of New York. I especially love this picture:

You can imagine this girl - a New York socialite, young and healthy - and her first experience with these foreign warriors, and what must have been going through her mind. As per most photographs of the time, their expressions are serene, as you had to wait for the camera to capture the image and it's much easier to maintain a placid expression. I suspect this was a much easier feat for the samurai, who were accustomed to keeping their expressions neutral, as was the cultural societal norm for the Japanese. Also, these were more than warriors, these were cultural ambassadors, charged with breaking Japan's self-imposed isolation from pretty much the rest of the world. What do you think they were thinking?

The exhibit begins this Friday, the 25th and runs through October 11th.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Japanese sword action Samurai exercise "TSURUGI"

This guy has some of the best form I've ever seen. I'm actually
going to use his description for the grip for my beginner students.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Good things are coming!

Hello blog. I know we haven't spoken in a while, and I guess that's my fault, but you know, you don't make it easy. Twitter, Facebook, Buzz... all these services and how can I continue to.... ok, I know, I know, I'm just making excuses. But maybe we can try this again? Maybe this time it will be different? Iknow I've said that before, but can't you find deep down in your code to give me one last chance? Probationary period? OK, I'm willing to try anything if it means we'll be able to spend more time together. Good, let's give it a try then!

So there's a lot going on in the wide world of Samurai swords. Alright, so maybe it's not that wide, but it's certainly hopping! First of all, we have a Kendo and sword demonstration coming up this Saturday, June 19 at the ANIMENEXT convention in Somerset NJ. We're going to talk about how real sword training has influenced anime, and if we have enough time, might to a hands-on workshop. Hope you can make it to this!

On July 11, I am going to be taking a blackbelt examination for the martial art Joson Sebup. This is an extremely old sword form from Korea predating iaido. It is from a military codex that compiled different fighting styles from the proto-Korean kingdom's allies and enemies, including China and Japan. One of the challenges of this form is that there is no living record on how the techniques were practiced, so all we can do is interpret from illustrations. Here is a video of the form demonstrated by the Korean National Kendo team. These guys (especially the girl in front) are GOOD!

We're also going to have a master's workshop about Josun Sebup and Kendo (Kumdo) on Friday July 9 at 6:30 at the SMK Kendo Academy in Dumont NJ.

Also... I purchased a new sword. The one I currently use is great for general use and repetative swinging but I wanted a new one that:
- Was made of steel instead of zinc-aluminum alloy
- Was a little heavier to feel more like a "real" cutting sword and to bridge the gap between practice cutting (on soft targets) to real cutting (hard targets like bamboo mats)
- I could use for demonstration purposes.

Here she is. Ain't she a beaut?

Monday, April 19, 2010

New Space!

Starting on Thursday, April 22nd, the new home of sword class will be at 36th Street Studios(260 West 36th St. 3rd Floor). Class will still be from 6-7:00PM and are for all experience levels.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Looking for new space for class.

Spring is here, the healthcare bill has passed and change is in the air. Since I started teaching the sword class in September, the class has been at the Workmen's Circle Building on 33rd St. It seems that soon the space will longer be available and I'm going to have to find a new place to hold classes. There are a few requirements for the next space:

- Must have high ceilings. Most pre-war buildings have sufficient ceilings, as do industrial/loft spaces. It's not fun to swing a sword over your hear and have to worry about hitting a heating duct.
- I'd love to find a space near Penn Station. That's where I come into the city, so that would make it very easy for me to hold classes.
- Not more than $30/hour.

Does anyone have any suggestions? Leads? Ideas?

Monday, February 22, 2010

Busy Februa.... Wait, it's March already?

Wow, February was a busy month! Between special classes for NYU students, doing a workshop at Jeff Mach's Wicked Faire (which was a blast, by the way. If anyone ever has the opportunity to attend a Jeff event, especially the Wicked Faire, do it! There's something for everybody and you'll have a great time), and my trip to New Orleans, I haven't had much time. The Thurday class continues as usual, and I'm even considering adding a second class directly after the 6:00 class, or on another day of the week (possibly Tuesdays). Ah if only it didn't cost so much to rent space in NY!

I'm also having a conversation with a mother who is interested in setting up a teen class for her son and some of his classmates. I think this is a terrific idea. I know that if I would have had the opportunity to study the sword in High School, I would have jumped at it! I think that it would have really brought some much needed focus that I seemed to lose, especially in the last year of school.

Oh, and if you've been to the class, I'd love it if you would take the time to write up something about it on Yelp! It doesn't even have to be long, just a few comments and maybe a rating. I've pasted a link below to help speed you on your way.

Samurai Sword Classes

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Schedule updates - FEB 11, 18

There will be NO CLASS ON FEB 11. I will be in the Big Easy, paying my respects to Baccus, and his disciple, Drew Brees.

On FEB 18 class will begin at 5:30, instead of the usual 6:00. The class will run from 5:30 - 6:30. There will be an NYU class coming after that from 6:30-7:30. Any student from the 5:30 class is invited to stay at no cost to continue practicing until 7:30. Please contact me if you have any questions!

Thank you!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Sexy Swords Spies

Hopefully, soon I'm going to be starting a new partnership as a teacher with the Stiletto Spy School, a company that creates kick-ass-and-takes-names spy missions for women (and now for men, too) including small arms training, hand-to-hand combat, sexy dancing, poker playing, and now.... sword training! Even better, there's already a knife class, so I can use the line: "That's not a knife.... THIS is a knife." Check out their website to find out more about what they day, or you can see them on German TV here:


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