Posted On:5/21/2014 2:20pm
Style: Jujutsu, Karate
Hi all. First time poster. I'm a longtime TKD practitioner transitioning away from a large commercial dojang to a small karate school run by a seventh-dan, one Michael Mason of North Carolina. The school is called Budokan USA, and claims to teach the style Heishin-Ryu Sogo Bujutsu. I'm really impressed with what I've seen, but I'd like to know if any of you know anything about the style, about Michael Mason, or about Budokan USA (of North Carolina, not wherever the other one is).
Here's why I'm impressed:
It doesn't seem like Mr. Mason is in it for the money. He owned an independent, free-standing dojo, but rented it to/shared it with an MMA/BJJ teacher. He somehow lost control of this dojo (which seems fishy, given that he was doing fairly well, but I believe that could have been the result of signing a bad contract or something), and now teaches out of a community center room. He has nine students that I know of, if you count me, and charges each student approx. 80 a month (no contracts). A friend of mine who's known him longer said that he made his money on a previous job that he did well at, and is teaching because he enjoys it.
There aren't any claims of lineage tracing back to the ninja or anything like that, or claims that he'll turn me into a death machine capable of killing a hundred men barehanded.
I've seen him and the people he's taught do very impressive things. He personally is a rather large 50-year-old man, and he moves faster than he has any right to. My friend, who he's been teaching for about ten years, won some major competitions back when he had time for competing. The things he's already taught me are basic, but fascinating, and there seems to be a strong emphasis on combat-effectiveness.
Why I'm skeptical:
It's not very alive. Although Mr. Mason trained in Kyokushin (which I am extremely, extremely interested in), what I've seen so far is about a five on the aliveness scale provided in the review section. This could be accounted for by the fact that they lost a lot of members in the move to the community center, and there aren't many people that heavier contact sparring, in earnest, would be fair or safe between.
I can't find information on Heishin-Ryu Sogo Bujutsu.
There's some talk of/ allusions to "ki" and what have you. It's referred to as energy, but I've seen him demonstrate some more esoteric stuff like running his grip down my arm and stopping at the wrist to "dam the energy." It seemed to work, so maybe there's another explanation (apart from just the power of expectations), but talk of "energy" like that sets off some warning bells.
Can anyone give me advice or information?
Posted On:5/21/2014 5:44pm
Style: Judo, Muay Thai
I would expect a traditional sogo bujutsu to be a koryu (not always, but 99.9% of the time) . It does not appear on this list:
The term "heshin" doesn't feel right as a japanese term - most common variation would be "hesshin" or "henshin". There is a group in the UK under the Henshin name:
To have dan grades in "bujutsu" and "kick-boxing" seems a little off - this is not a traditional dojo.
Back to Henshin-ryu:
Karate is not a koryu art. This makes it sound like various arts have been cobbled together to make it seem more "old-school".
A number of koryu will not appear alive as majority of training is in kata. Don't get me wrong - you will sweat and be mentally drained, but it won't look like alive fighting to the untrained eye.
So, depends on what you're after - if you're after something traditional, ask the guy a few questions (lineage etc).
If you're after training for training sake, try it and see.
Last edited by traversnz; 5/21/2014 5:45pm at .
Reason: didn't finish last sentence
Posted On:5/21/2014 6:01pm
OK, also found this link:
So, the heshin thing was a typo. Again, looks like a modern adaptation grouping various things together and applying japanese terms to make it sound traditional. As per previous post, depends what you're after...
"kaizen mentoring" has nothing to do with martial arts. Kaizen is to do with constant monitoring and improvement, particulalrly in manufacturing. In the 1980's there was a whole "self-help" industry built around this - you saw all sorts of management books such as "Book of Five Rings for the modern day warrior in business" and "The Art of Strategy in Business" etc. Lots of middle managers joined up martial arts classes for a few years.
Your martial arts teacher will not usually become your spiritual guide. Personally, I wouldn't study here, but again it all depends on what you're after.
My dog is cuter and smarter than yours.
Posted On:5/21/2014 6:02pm
Style: Kodokan Judo
After looking at their web page, I suggest that he has created his own "martial art" by putting together other "martial arts" he has studied. The Facebook page frankly looks more like a commercial dojo than a traditional Japanese koryu school. Not necessarily a bad thing.
The questions to ask are who his teachers/lineage and "ranking" in the Japanese arts he has studied are/were. Legit koryu disciples will have the information readily available.
Falling for Judo since 1980
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