Archive for the Why We Train category

June 2nd, 2012

Spring 2012

Its been awhile since our last posting, a lot has been going on, births, weddings and job related issues, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Ive been busy recently looking after various people cant say who, only kidding.

We have been busy training away in the local park here in Queens, with the way the economy has been the last few years it didn’t seem financially or fiscally prudent to incur the monthly strain of renting a Dojo space in the city.

Our  for training schedule is the same, once week in the park weather permitting, if you haven’t heard about it, that’s because we didn’t tell you!

I’m still teaching and hosting seminars when possible, but in the present climate I don’t think its fair to ask anyone to put their hand in their pockets when they are having a hard enough time making ends meet themselves.


In Jan I was hanging with the crew/posse in Baltimore MD, as always its a great pleasure to train with such enthusiastic practitioners of the art.

I hope to be headed down that way again for the last Thur in June first W/endin July on the way to NC then on to TN (roadtrip),  if your interested in training or simply hanging out just let me know.

In my humble opinion  its only thru constant peer review and introspection that we can fully become not just  good teachers but good human beings, its a cathartic process and a humbling process where-by you let complete strangers see your art for what it really is, either its the embodiment of a life’s work of self expression and art, demonstrated as a free unhindered mindfulness, our simply some inane and arcane esoterica practised behind closed doors while wearing black  pajamas.

I feel personally the time is coming when our art will have to bear the full scrutiny and test of modern times and its inherent constraints (legal, ethical and moral) or simply evaporate into the haze as many  of the students of the past have done, are we practising a live/life strategy , or marketing a strategy for life.

I hope everyone is well and managing/coping during these stressful times, it wont be long before were out of the darkness/ tunnel and back on the straight and narrow and into the light, and making a decent wage, lets start looking forward again, we need to take responsibility for our lives our happiness and our own futures.

June 8th, 2008

“The Silent Killer”

Posted in Why We Train by Mark

The origin of hemochromatosis (iron overloading) is steeped in mystery, well not really but there are a few theories about its origins, one being that due to the many famines in Ireland throughout her turbulent history, some of the  population developed the ability to retain iron, this genetic ability was a life saver in the iron deficient populace but today the ability to retain and not shed it, can be a death sentence.

 The irony of this title hasn’t escaped me, Hemochromatosis has been dubbed the silent killer because it is rarely  found at first glance to be the culprit of the various maladies that afflict us today. Some symptoms of this disease can be chronic fatigue, decreased liver function, congested heart failure, arthritic pain in various joints(some very particular), cholesterol issues and pigment changes in the skin to name but a few.

 I myself was diagnosed with this a few years back, but the emphasis then was not  as it is now. Back then it was simply a hassle, an inconvenience that needed to be dealt with, but it was simply put on the back burner, the laxness was not of my own making, several years ago it didn’t seem as urgent as it seems now, the diagnosis was never fully explained to me in real terms, in fact I was never informed of it officially, comments like “liver biopsy” would be mentioned as the definitive form of diagnosis.

 For those that know me the chances of getting near me with a biopsy needle are incredibly slim to nonexistent, joking aside the level of seriousness that this disorder is due was never really imparted to me,  it wasn’t until several years later when I decided to become more proactive with my health that things took a change in direction.

A busy work schedule and a hectic home life took a hand in the re-prioritizing of my health issues, two children and 3 years later I made the decision to get more involved with my health, being a moderate to heavy drinker, I found it harder and harder to overcome the effects of alcohol on my body, the constant tiredness, the lack of direction other than the direction in which I was pushed or pulled by others, such is the way of our lives, and the constant stress of not knowing what exactly was going on in my body let alone my mind, one of the other symptoms of this disorder apparently is depression, who knew.

With my renewed interest in my health, I made an appointment with my health care provider, on seeing me they at first didn’t seem to be in too interested in treating me, in fact I met my doctor face to face for the first in three years having never met before , not deterred by this lack of enthusiasm I pretty much talked my way into getting treatment and follow ups, it was on one such visit that I met another Doctor, who was attending to my own doctors patients, I was one of them, it was like night and day, a complete 180 degree change of attitude and direction. In the following hour I had received treatment,was in possession of far more information and awareness of what the future held in store, It felt as if a weight had been lifted off my chest and my mind, it was the relief of knowing and coming  to terms with something that I simply could not deny, outrun, or ignore. I was now armed with information ,capable of making changes in my day to day habits, and now better prepared to outlive this disorder. 

At this  present moment in time I am not in possession of the statistics relating to this disorder other than apparently 1 in 9 Canadians suffer with/from it,  more details can be found at  Based on my own experience of the health care system it pays to be informed, in the end you are responsible for your own health and well being, while we put our trust and faith in a system of health care that seems to be struggling to reach its  own goal of “doing no harm” which the vast majority  of medical practitioners strive to achieve. They are  pitted against special interest groups, the pharmaceutical industry and the bare bones reality of modern medical commercial practices, simply put there seems to be a lot of money to be made from the treatment of illness not the curing of it.

There seems to be many instances of misdiagnosis or the overlooking of hemochromatosis as an underlying  cause ( a completely unqualified personal opinion), maybe it’s lack of awareness on the part of the medical practitioners out there, but  awareness is the best defence in dealing with many disorders of the blood, and in this particular case the simplicity of the treatment belies the severity of the disorder, one might be drawn to the conclusion that; where there’s money there’s interest and where there’s no money there’s no interest.

To anyone that find themselves in the unfortunate position of being told they may have the disorder, take heart, its not a death sentence though it can be if left untreated. There are quite a few websites and articles out there dealing with this disorder, at present it doesn’t seem to be within the common domain of public knowledge, but thats changing. This post is a step in that direction, we need to raise awareness for something whose effects can be reversed or stabilised, through regular treatments and proactive therapy, and simple changes in diet and habits, whereby the quality of life can restored to the sufferer and maintained for the rest of their natural lives.

Life should always be about improvement of the self and the betterment of others, even though we are ultimately responsible for our own actions, we may sometimes inadvertently affect the quality of others lives by our own lack of interest or participation in our own lives.

” Live life, love life , help others. “

August 28th, 2007

4th Annual 9/11 Seminar – UPDATE

Posted in Seminars, What We Train, Why We Train by Eric

Our 4th Annual 9/11 commemorative fundraising seminar will take place on Saturday September 8th. A detailed page with more complete instructions has been posted in our seminars area. Click here to find out more and register.

October 5th, 2006

Debt of Gratitude

Posted in Why We Train by Rob

With the likely coming reduction in the amount of Mark at our weeknight trainings, I want to take a moment to express gratitude for all Mark has done (and no doubt we haven’t seen the last of him). We all have been wildly fortunate to have access to an instructor of his caliber. Don’t get me wrong: our class has outstanding instructors in Theron and Eric, and the black belts (hell, all the belts) in class all rock. But Mark has set a standard for us to strive for.

Much of this martial art seems to be about feeling: feeling your own movement and place in space and in relation to surroundings and environment. The dojo with Mark there has never, not once, been a place that felt dull or repetitive. Mark excels at throwing (literally) us in new directions, mentally and physically. I don’t think he ever showed up for any reason other than to pass the very best of his art on to all who would come and train.

I hope in the years ahead we can continue the dojo in a way that honors the debt of gratitude we owe him for all he has taught and all he has done these past many years. His family deserves him at home, too. But for all his time and effort that he has put in to teaching us, I say my thanks, and plan to show it at the dojo. This art is our own, and benefits from all of us, but for all Mark has brought and given freely and added, THANKS. Be well, bear.

September 11th, 2006

3rd Annual 9/11 Commemorative Fundraiser – Results

Posted in News, Seminars, Why We Train by Mark

GroupI would like to start with a big thank you to all the participants that have contributed to this year’s 9/11 fundraiser. Your efforts both individually and as a group are a testament to what the art of Ninpo can do for the community and in turn, humanity. This year’s final tally was 2,175 dollars, thanks to the generous contributions of participants from as far a field as Albany, Boston, Poughkeepsie, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, along with well wishers who were unable to attend from further away. This venture has raised to date over $5,500; it would not have been possible without the selfless contributions of all the people involved whether it was their time, effort or the generous offering of their own resources.

It has been an honor to have been involved with such great martial artists as Jack Hoban, Matt Hildreth, Bud Malmstrom and Mark Davis over the years, an involvement that I hope continues over the years to come. To have earned the respect of your peers is truly a great honor and a privilege that I don’t take lightly.

To those participants that have attended our annual fundraiser every year since its inception, you have my wholehearted thanks and deep felt appreciation for taking the time to help us when we needed it. Your unwavering support has been an inspiration to us to continue in our charitable endeavor.

BS&RF Humanity AwardThis year the Bear Search and Rescue Foundation honored us with an “extraordinary service to humanity award.” It was presented by Captain Scott Shields himself, the founder of the BS&RF, for our fundraising efforts. This award may have been presented to myself on the day but the fact of the matter is that it should shared equally by those that have contributed over the years-it’s an acknowledgement to all of us for our efforts.

Our goal has been to help our country and our city heal, by helping our community which in turn may help us to heal. For myself the healing process has been ongoing and one I’m not sure will ever be complete, but our efforts to help others through the BS&RF has been of great help in the healing process. We may never really be fully protected but we can be well prepared.

With your continued assistance we will keep going, we now turn and face the next great challenge, to keep going. Our thoughts and prayers go to the young men and women of our armed services, to whom we owe a great debt of gratitude, for their selfless acts of bravery and for placing themselves in harms way to protect us, and finally to the ones we lost on 9/11 who never had the chance to continue living their lives as we have done.

They died in our name, lest we forget.