Sandia Budôkan, Traditional Japanese Dôjô

Sandia Budôkan, Traditional Japanese Dôjô

Nationally-respected, traditional Japanese Dōjō known for high standards and classical Budô training.

Operating as usual


While the 2023 Taikai has passed, the experience continues to shape us. On behalf of the deshi of the Ittō Tenshin-ryū, thank you, Sensei, for the wisdom and centerlessness with which you lead this storied tradition into the present and beyond, being the example that a swordsman is more than a man with a sword—allowing deshi to experience the profound and powerful teachings of this tradition directly and openly in a manner that permeates and informs life.
. . If one statement could encapsulate this weekend, it would be the same we have repeated for generations, "We few, we happy few, we band of brothers."
"To us; and those like us!"
The 2024 Ittō Tenshin-ryū Taikai is going to be a big one!


The Way and The Power Podcast will launch in January 2024, Exploring conflict, strategy, and life through the medium of sword and spirit. The fundamental purpose is to realize an orderly, unfettered, and powerful being.
Immediate Impact | Infinite Potential
To receive information about the podcast, join the mailing list here:


2023 Taikai of the Itto Tenshin Ryu Swordsmanship:
I am a deshi (student) of the Itto Tenshin Ryu (Kenjutsu). I am hosting our annual Taikai (Great Gathering) on November 11 and 12, 2023 at the River of Life Martial Art Center, Ft Washington, PA. . . . True Kenjutsu informs and brings accuracy to many arts, such as Daito Ryu and many forms of Ju Jutsu, Hapkido, and Aikido. Since I began studying Kenjutsu almost thirty years ago, it has brought clarity to other arts I have studied. I am confident it will do the same for you. Further, this experience has been very personal. I don't discuss it much because, despite my other martial arts experiences, and while others talk of the "beginner's mind", it allows me to truly maintain "the beginner's mind". Why? Because I am truly a beginner. The sword truly cuts through the ego...
. . Anyone regardless of style or level is invited to join us in this transformative experience. I am looking forward to you joining us. You may register at Or, contact me directly at [email protected], 267-342-5880.
. . Please allow me to introduce my Sensei (Teacher/Mentor), Arvind Rajguru, the current headmaster of the Itto Tenshin Ryu, Menkyo Kaiden of the Yamate Ryu Aiki Jutsu and Goseki Ryu. It is not often that a Westerner achieves this level of mastery. When he shows up, you practice. He will be conducting the upcoming Taikai.

TRADITIONS AND TEACHING — Taseki Publications 09/17/2023

From one of our senior Students . . .

TRADITIONS AND TEACHING — Taseki Publications The Japanese educational methods and means, tested and applied for centuries, were well understood and fully developed when Japan was still in a period of constant internecine warfare. Today there is no mystery about how to go about this form of training. The real problem is having access to an auth


Women welcomed at Sandia Budôkan.
“Let it be clearly understood that no man need hesitate to challenge me because I am a woman, or think he will be called on to show me any consideration for that reason. I grant no favors and I certainly ask none… I hope someone who desires to sustain the reputation of his s*x will challenge me before I get to be an old woman and give the ‘new woman’ another chance to prove she is the superior of man.”
Ella Hattan (1859-190?), known as “Jaguarina,” was one of the greatest swordswomen of the nineteenth century, and perhaps of all time. As America’s champion fencer, and proficient in the use of the foil, broadsword, rapier, dagger, and Bowie knife, Hattan would defeat more than sixty men in high-profile combats on both horseback and on foot; more than half of whom were fencing masters. In 1903, she recalled:
"A woman always labors under a disadvantage in any athletic tournament. Being a woman, she has to do twice the work any ordinary man would have to do to prove ability. In my case the audiences always seemed to take it for granted that there was a certain amount of gallantry on the part of the man fencing against me, simply because he was not fencing with one of his own s*x. If any point was in doubt and was finally allowed to me, the spectators were sure to say; 'Oh, he’s gallant, and has allowed her that point.'
That was why I always put forward my utmost efforts to beat an opponent so hard, fast and decisively that there could be no possible doubt as to my superiority. Some of the scars I carry on my face, sword arm and body show conclusively how much chivalric consideration was shown me because I was a woman."
After retiring around 1907, Hattan completely disappeared from the public record. To this day, her ultimate fate remains a mystery.


Fredrick John Lovret . . . July 1, 1941 - May 17, 2015
On this day in 1941 Lovret Sensei was born. He lived a life of service from the age of 18 until his passing, including 15 years as an enlisted man in the United States Navy.
It is rare to encounter a person where the space between who they are and what they do no longer exists. He was, that he was.


Mr. Adam Schutz (d.2016) and Mr. John Hamilton (Shorin no Tora Dojo) engaged in Myōken (mysterious sword).

The Bujin VOL 2 NO 2 August 1978 — Taseki Publications 06/14/2023

I hope all Students will read this...especially the first article about "giri", honor, etc. . .

The Bujin VOL 2 NO 2 August 1978 — Taseki Publications The Bujin VOL 2 NO 2 August 1978. Includes: Editorial, Budo (part 2) by C.M. Kotlan, Shiai by Sherry O’Sullivan, Uncle Sam's Swords by Fred Tart, Dojo Tales, Readers Questions, Kenjutsu: "Tips from the Pros" by J. Ostrowski, Kata, Nippon-To The Japanese Sword, Illustration by J. Ostrowski


Lovret Sensei & students - San Diego seminar - 1980s de Bernie Lau, Sensei (2nd row, left)


In karate, "mokuso" is a term used to refer to a specific type of meditation practiced at the beginning and/or end of a training session. It is a Japanese term that can be translated as "meditation" or "silent thought." The purpose of mokuso is to help practitioners focus their minds, calm their thoughts, and prepare themselves mentally for training or to reflect on their practice afterward.
During mokuso, karateka (karate practitioners) typically sit in a seiza position (kneeling with the buttocks resting on the heels) with their eyes closed. They focus on their breathing, allowing their minds to become still and their bodies to relax. Mokuso serves as a way to transition from the external world to a more internal state of awareness, helping practitioners to concentrate on their training and cultivate a sense of mindfulness.
While the specific instructions and duration of mokuso may vary among different karate styles and instructors, the fundamental purpose remains the same—to achieve a state of mental clarity and prepare oneself for training or reflection.


The first of the seven principles of Bushido is called "Rectitude" or "Gi" in Japanese. This principle emphasizes the importance of being honest, just, and upright in one's dealings with others.
For a samurai warrior, Rectitude meant not only following a moral code but also being true to one's word, fulfilling one's obligations, and standing up for what is right, even in the face of adversity. It was about acting with integrity and honor, even when it was difficult or unpopular.
In essence, Rectitude is the foundation of Bushido, and all the other principles rest upon it. It is the quality that enables a samurai to be trustworthy, respected, and influential in his community.
Moreover, Rectitude is not just about how a samurai behaves towards others, but also how he behaves towards himself. It involves being honest with oneself, acknowledging one's strengths and weaknesses, and striving to improve oneself continually.
In modern times, the principle of Rectitude can be applied to all aspects of life, not just to the samurai code. It encourages people to act with honesty, integrity, and a sense of duty towards others, and to maintain high moral standards in their personal and professional lives.
Overall, the principle of Rectitude is essential for anyone seeking to live a meaningful and fulfilling life. It reminds us that our actions have consequences, and that we must always strive to do what is right, even when it is difficult or unpopular.


Discipline and Martial Traditions
By Joseph Simms

Discipline is elemental to martial traditions.

It is the ability to act and a condition of existence from which action springs forth, absent of personal preference and appropriate to the circumstance.

Initially, one is a disciple, learning from example until there is no gap between circumstance and action.

Vigilance is required!

If you are considering applying to a traditional dōjō below are three measurements to assess the quality of a dōjō that require no direct experience with the tradition the dōjō teaches:

1. Is the head instructor of the dōjō a living example of the tradition's teachings?
2. Are the dōjō's disciples pursuing the tradition's teachings in a disciplined manner?
3. Does your gut tell you this dōjō is a place to learn what you seek?

To learn more about the kenjutsu of the Ittō Tenshin-ryū® or the aikijutsu of the Yamte-ryū®, visit: See less


"It gives me a different view of the same thing. I can see things clearer about karate when I am doing Tai Chi. Before I only had a karate view of things, so I could not see things by myself. I was training hard, so did not have the time or space to see my karate, but now with Tai Chi, I can see my karate." - Master Hirokazu Kanazawa


Have you ever walked into a Dojo, and felt the spirit? The lingering energy, left from those who trained there before? The first time you feel this phenomenon, you'll wonder if your worthy to step on the tetami. For me, who has been in and out of hundreds of Dojos, it happened for the first time in Alberquerque, at the Sandia Budôkan, Traditional Japanese Dôjô about 5 years ago. I remember asking my Kenjutsu Sensei, "how did you ever leave this place." Someday, I want to feel the samething at Tora Dojo!!

Iaido During a Pandemic | Tozando 01/28/2023

Written about Iaido, but applicable to all the arts, as we approach them, nei?

Iaido During a Pandemic | Tozando Iaido During a Pandemic On 2022-07-292023-01-27 By essay-contest-winner The Sword as a Tool for Mental Health -Ron Campbell, You stand in front of your computer, in the center of your living room, sword at your side. You see each of your fellow iaidoka in their separate squares of t...


From my Taiji Sifu, re: concepts we are also working on in Kenjutsu, including Kiri Gaeshi & Suigetsu, etc.
Two fighters are a yin-yang pair. The Taiji fighter meets a yang attack with yin evasion. They’ll simultaneously respond to the opponent’s openings with their own yang attack.
. . . They put the ideals of the Daodejing’s chapter 36 into practice:
• “What you want to draw in, you must surely stretch.” – The Taijiquan fighter will evade a strike and pull on the opponent’s arm, straighten it, and apply an arm lock. – Nobashi.
• “What you want to weaken, you must surely strengthen.” – One could push on the opponent in order to elicit a hardening of their position; once they are briefly rigid, they can be easily tipped over.
• “What you want to end, you must surely make thrive.” – One can make the fight elaborate or “thrive”, until the right opening is found to end the fight.
• “What you want to take, you must surely give.”
One may use an ambush strategy by giving a false opening: give the opponent the illusion of success to counter them. – Suigetsu.
. . Great fighters go beyond the question of winning and losing: they train technique assiduously until they transcend technique. Then their spirit emerges and infuses their form.


Just a Cut – Done Almost Right
On New Year's Eve I was training with Mr. Busan and a few other students of the San Diego Budōkai, and their guest, Mr. Peter Leveque of the Oregon Kenjutsukai. Nice, quiet, class...we didn't do anything spectacular, just worked on the basics one last time, in order to close out our Year of Kihon properly.
So, there I was, going back and forth across the mat with Mr. Busan, practicing kiri-gaeshi, the most fundamental exercise of the Tenshin-ryū. Back and forth, back and forth, "tock tock, tock tock"."Tock tock, tock tock?"
Suddenly, with some amazement, I noted that the kissaki of our bokken were slamming together on each cut. This wasn't just a glancing blow, as is common when students loose proper maai; it was a good, solid, contact and the alignment was so precise that the bokken stopped instead of glancing off each other. . . . Considering the size and shape of the kissaki, for this to happen consistently could not be an accident.It was impressive enough to distract me, which is very hard to do when I'm practicing ken. And, of course, when I started thinking about the weapon instead of the target, the sounds stopped and, no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't make clean contact.
So, back to focusing on the target and forgetting the sword, and there it was again, "tock tock, tock tock."I thought about that a lot after class.
A year ago, both of us had good cuts. Then we spent an entire year working on basics. Now it appears that we both have very, very, good cuts.A year of work, just to be able to clash kissaki in kiri-gaeshi? It may seem like a lot of trouble for something so inconsequential, but isn't that what budō is all about?
Anyone can learn a technique well enough to make it work; the student of budō, however, is after perfection. This is something that the average person doesn't understand. It's something that the average person may never understand. But, as the Tao Te Ching so elegantly states. "When the enlightened person hears of The Way, he accepts it completely. When the superior person hears of The Way, he follows it for awhile. When the average person hears of The Way, he laughs.Without the laughter, it would not be The Way."
Our cuts are not perfect yet, but they're a lot better than they were a year ago, and I think both Mr. Busan and I can say, with honesty, that we're finally doing at least one white-belt exercise almost right.
. . Seems like a good start to a new year. – Fredrick J. Lovret

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