Inner Dharma 內法

Essays & Updates

Inner Dharma hosted a series of essays I maintained from 2004 to 2019. They described a portion of my journey as a martial artist: from leaving a group I had trained with for some time, discovering deeper pursuits, forcing myself to choose a path that would work for me instead of attempting to embrace all opportunities, and then focusing my training and continuing refine my skill after moving cross country.

After fifteen years, it has largely served its purpose. I have collected the older essays and made them available below, as well as provide some updates on my current training and teaching activities in classical and traditional martial arts.

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  • essay : Flying Swallow

    We write a bit about the relationship of the kata of different surviving lines of Shinkage-ryu and how they stem from and relate to Shinto-ryu practices.
  • update : Pandemic Update

    The Gassankan is not currently accepting new students.
  • essay : Jiki Shinkage-ryu at the Gassankan

    I provide some information on the organization, goals, and overal training context of my efforts at preserving a practice of Jiki Shinkage-ryu kenjutsu (heiho) and related arts as part of the Gassankan.
  • update : Perspectives and Priorities

    More sometime can be gained by walking further along fewer paths. An examination of some of the important questions raised by a practice of traditional historical martial arts.
  • update : Semiotics Internal

    One of the challenges I face when I hear the word internal used in reference to Japanese jujutsu or taijutsu is that the spread of internal schools of Chinese martial arts seem to post-date the major influx of martial theory from China to Japan.
  • update : Is It Still Aiki?

    The question of what internal power is and how it relates to other arts and their practitioners that want to add it to their practice, especially if it may have been common in the practice amongst their founders, but not successfully transmitted to later generations at scale, is a complicated one that touches on several different models of identity. Semiotics meets the sword.
  • update : Winter Light

    I'm happy to be hitting the tail end of winter. Reflections on recent discussion on internal training, Shinkage-ryu and Shinto-ryu, and the merits of walking a long, slow, path to excellence in physical culture.
  • update : In Memorium

    Saturday, 30 July 2016, an enbu was held in Potomac, Maryland, dedicated to the memory of Karunakaran, who recently passed away. Karunakaran was Donn Dreager's most senior jodo deshi and David Hall's mentor in Shindo Muso-ryu jo. Koryu demonstrated included Shindo Muso-ryu jo, Isshin-ryu kusarigama, Yagyu Shinkage-ryu heiho, Kashima Shinden Jiki Shinkage-ryu kenjutsu, and Masaki-ryu manriki.
  • update : Kagami Biraki 2016

    I had the pleasure of attending the 12th annual Kagami Biraki hosted by the Masakikai and Hoboykai in Sterling, Virginia.
  • update : Kagami Biraki 2015

    Sunday I traveled to Sterling, Virginia, to participate in the annual Kagami Biraki (Opening the Mirror) enbu held by the Masakikai and Hobyokai. A number of different martial arts were demonstrated as part of the gathering, including: Yagyu Shinkage-ryu heiho, Kashima Shinden Jiki Shinkage-ryu heiho, Shinto Muso-ryu jo, Ikkaku-ryu jutte & tessen, Isshin-ryu kusari-gama, Masaki-ryu manriki, Daito-ryu Aiki-jujutsu, Hakko Denshin-ryu jujutsu, and Tomiki Aikido.
  • essay : Are you connected?

    I was talking with a colleague about what it means to be connected and I felt like sharing some of my thoughts on the topic here.
  • update : Demo of Araki ryu and Toda ha Buko ryu

    A brief review of a demonstration of Araki-ryu and Tenshin Buko-ryu at the NAMT 2013 Night of Budo.
  • essay : Aiki and Internal Training

    The first martial art I practiced for a length of time (and on might say the one I remain best at today) was modern jujutsu. Specifically, a self-defense oriented amalgam of Aikido, Judo, Jujutsu, and Kempo/Karate. I have since transitioned from practicing modern jujutsu as my primary martial art and instead have spent a good amount of time learning internal martial arts ideas via the route of baguazhang, taijiquan, and xingyiquan. This has illuminated my striking and grappling practice, offering a glimpse of the higher levels of martial arts training that was suggested but ever elusive in my original jujutsu school.