Zen Martial Arts Center

Sacramento Martial Arts and Karate

It seems like there hasn't been an introduction on the discussion boards since 2014, so I thought I might help get some new activity on here.

I've been studying Isshin-ryu at Zen Martial Arts Center, now, for just under two months, and have been enjoying my time immensely.  I am originally from Boston, MA; but I've lived all over the US, with some time spent in the United Kingdom.  I moved here 4 months ago, so pretty new to Sacramento.  Not having a social system, or knowing too many people here yet, I'm very grateful for the dojo, and how friendly and welcoming both Sensei, and my fellow student-practitioners have been.

I don't have any substantial martial arts experience, beyond a few classes in which I explored Kendo.  But, as a child of the 80s, karate was what all the "cool kids were doing."  Even though I never studied until recently, there were those little seeds planted by Mr. Miyagi!  Of course, my understanding of martial arts are a bit deeper in my older age, and my rationales are far more mature.  Self-Discipline; finding a good outlet to maintain fitness; meditation; and an appreciation for both the history and culture(s).  Personally, I've been a bit surprised to find a good amount of compatibility in the Isshin-Ryu ethos, and the martial arts in general.  Most of this comes from the fact that I am at heart a pacifist, convinced over many years of reading history, watching politics, studying conflict, and personally seeing the detrimental effects of war on the world (mostly effecting the poor, the disenfranchised, and women/children).  For the past five years I have embarked on a path of peace.  This has become a way of life, stretching to many aspects of my life.  I'm a Quaker.  I'm a social activist.  And apparently, now I'm a martial arts practitioner?

Trust me, it's confusing to me as well!  But, all I can say, is that there are many kinds of warriors, and that neither are mutually exclusive.  After a couple of weeks, of coming to class,  I heard Sensei Oliver speak that, "if you have to use what we are teaching, you've already failed." The ethos was comforting.  The emphasis on mediation, mindfulness, seeking non-violent solutions, have resonated deeply.  One cannot deny that the ancient roots of our art are steeped in a culture of combat and warfare, of a different sense of honor, in some aspects a very violent past.  We only need to turn to the writings such as Master Funikoshi and Master Ueshiba, both of whom documented fellow peers and masters who craved combat and vanquishing their enemies.  Certainly, a discipline such as Akido may ultimately be more aligned to my own path; however, at present, for the immediate time being, I feel impressed to continue my studies of Isshin-Ryu. 

I look forward to studying with you all, and getting to know you better.  


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