Palm Bay Martial Arts School Seibukan Dojo to Host Sword Master From Japan
By Space Coast Daily // November 30, 2022
Seibukan Dojo operates in the Tony Rosa Community Center at 1502 Port Malabar Road
With international borders opening up after more than two years of closures and caution, one martial arts class in Palm Bay is eagerly making plans to welcome back from Japan the president and teaching master of the All Japan Toyama Ryu Sword Federation in early 2023.
Since 1993, Seibukan Dojo in Palm Bay has been training students in Toyama Ryu Batto Jutsu, or the art of Japanese swordsmanship. Directly descended from the Japanese military academy in the early 20th century, the art form dates to ancient Samurai practices.
Students train in kata, patterns of facing one or many battlefield opponents and tameshigiri, targeted cutting techniques for experience in the actual use of the sword.
“It’ll be three years since Hataya Yoshitoki Sensei, 9th Dan, came to Florida to oversee training seminars and testing for dan ranks,” said Tom Smyth, founder and head instructor of the Seibukan Dojo.
“Because it’s such a rare opportunity, dojos that train in this style gather here from across Florida, the Northeast, and mid-West. We are also planning a trip to Japan in 2023 to celebrate the 30-year anniversary of this dojo.”
Many of the current students will accompany Smyth Sensei on his seventh trip to train and compete in Japan.
Training in this dojo (school), students learn how to wear, draw, use and re-sheath the katana without self-injury and while maintaining situational awareness. Aspects of traditional Japanese manners, behaviors and culture are an integral part of all classes.
New students start by learning basic dojo etiquette and how to safely handle a wooden sword or “bokken”, until they demonstrate adequate safety and skill to handle an “iaito” or unsharpened practice sword. Senior students who have trained for many years use “shinken” or sharp real swords in their weekly training.
In a typical class, all levels of students train in the patterns and techniques, novice students alongside those with years of experience. New students are always welcome and may observe a class at any time.
No previous martial arts experience is required, and students must be at least 15 years old. No equipment or uniform is required to begin classes. A week of free lessons is available to all those interested.
Seibukan Dojo operates in the Tony Rosa Community Center, 1502 Port Malabar Road in Palm Bay. Class times are Tuesdays, 6-7:30 pm, and Thursdays, 6-8:30 pm.
For more information, please email Seibukan@cfl.rr.com or visit the Seibukan Dojo Palm BaY in the Tony Rosa Community Center, located at 1502 Port Malabar Road in Palm Bay.