Masaaki Hatsumi- Bujinkan Dojo

Masaaki Hatsumi Masaaki Hatsumi

Beginning in childhood, Masaaki Hatsumi (pictured above) studied several popular martial arts. After teaching martial arts to the U.S. soldiers stationed in Japan he noticed that the larger and stronger Americans had an advantage in bouts when using the same techniques. He began to question the legitimacy of modern martial arts training and started to search for an art where persons of equal skill truly were equals, even if the other one was more muscular. It was after this time, while studying the ancient Japanese weaponry of the Masaki Ryu, that he learned of ninjutsu and a martial artist named Toshitsugu Takamatsu who was proficient in this art.

In 1957 he began making regular trips to train with his new teacher, taking a 15-hour train ride from his hometown of Noda in Chiba. This training continued for 15 years until the passing of Takamatsu in 1972. Hatsumi became Soke (head master) of 9 koryu martial arts schools in Takamatsu's possession shortly before his death, the Bujinkan Dojo was founded in honor of Takamatsu shortly after. Takamatsu is generally considered to be the last true ninja.

Dr. Masaaki Hatsumi graduated from Meji University of Medicine in Tokyo, as an orthopedic doctor and specializes in the mending of bones. He has written several books and articles about the martial arts and philosophy. Hatsumi has also consulted and coordinated stunts on several films (Shinobi no Mono) coaching and directing martial arts film stars Sonny Chiba and Toshiro Mifune, he has also starred in a television series, Jiraiya, for 4 seasons. Dr. Hatsumi is also an accomplished artist in the Nihonga style having his artwork featured in art galleries in Tokyo and Paris.

Alex Mordine- Shinobu Dojo

Masaaki Hatsumi presenting Alex Mordine with the Silver Eagle Award
Alex Mordine being presented with the Bujinkan Silver Eagle Award by Soke Hatsumi. Shihan Noguchi is pictured on the left.
Royce Gracie and Helio Gracie with Alex Mordine
Alex Mordine pictured with Helio Gracie and Royce Gracie. Alex was at one point the Gracie representative for Japan.

Alex Mordine is a student of Japanese culture who lives and trains in Japan. He holds several rankings from a wide spectrum of arts to include traditional Japanese dance and tea ceremony.

After graduating from high school in 1977, he entered the U.S. Army Special Operations Forces. Alex's active duty military career spanned 13 years, both as a non-commissioned officer and after graduating from college in 1988, as an officer. A combat veteran who has served as a U.S. Army Ranger and Green Beret instructor, he is now the head of the Shinobu Dojo in Tokyo, Japan. Shihan Mordine was the first foreigner to open a dojo in Japan by authorization of Dr. Masaaki Hatsumi. He was also the first foreigner to attain the rank of Judan whilst living in Japan. He is pictured above being presented with the Silver Eagle Award by Soke Hatsumi for his continuing dedication in the martial arts. Alex is also pictured with Royce and Helio Gracie. He has trained with and provided security detail for the Gracie family for years. Alex was at one time the Gracie representative for Japan.

Alex's style of martial arts is well known for its similarity to dance movement: "footwork" being the key to his agility, "feeling" being the key to his success. His concept of footwork integrated into the tenses of time has changed the lives of martial artists from all walks of life, improving their own timing, distance and balance. Alex is one of the western world's foremost authorities on edged weapons, "Warriorship" and the "Budo Taijutsu" style of movement.

Rick Neilson- Hokushin Dojo

Shidoshi Rick Neilson

Rick Neilson, a Chief Warrant Officer in the U.S. Army, studied under Alex Mordine and operates his own Hokoshin Dojo in Clarksville Tennessee. The Tiger's Den Dojo instructors train regularly with Rick.

Tiger's Den Dojo

Tiger's Den Dojo Instructors with Alex Mordine
L to R: Shawn Cobb, Charles Terry, Alex Mordine, Haylanne Ballinger, Amy Cobb.

The Tiger's Den Dojo, headed by Charles Terry ,Amy Cobb, Shawn Cobb, and Haylanne Ballinger began teaching Mr. Mordine's style of martial arts in 1989 in Cannon, Kentucky. In 1993 the dojo moved to Manchester, Kentucky. In 2003 settled in Barbourville, Kentucky.

The Tiger's Den Dojo instructors train with Alex when he is in the United States.

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"Blessed be the LORD my strength which teacheth my hands to war, and my fingers to fight"
-Psalm 144:1