Seminar Review: Shihan Michael Pearce

Attendees with Shihan Pearce at the BTSD Raku Rai Dojo

Ah, where to start?

“Eye opening” might be the best way to describe this seminar’s training. We spent the bulk of the two days covering the Tenchijin Ryaku no Maki (Book of Heaven, Earth, & Man). This is Hatsumi-soke’s old instructor manual for the Shidoshi in the Bujinkan which forms the fundamental techniques and principles of everything else we practice in these arts.

Most of us, even those of us with many years of experience in training, quickly discovered that we really couldn’t do the basics as practiced in Japan. What we had practiced up to this point was practical and effective, but not even close to the level of skill and precision that Shihan Pearce taught. This is why I say that it was “eye opening.” For those of you training in the Bujinkan – you need to go to Japan as often as possible! Trust me.

Many of my own questions about technique and more importantly, about training methods, were answered. Some of the newer black belts began to experience their first dose of training frustration. “I feel like a white belt again”, was a common phrase heard over the weekend. I personally like the critisisms and corrections Shihan Pearce made over the weekend. It means I have a starting point to continue improving. That process of improvement and refinement never ends.

One of the many things that Shihan Pearce talked about was that many folks training outside of Japan often find a way to “cheat” in a particular technique, or “do their own version” as a way to rationalize the fact that they cannot do the basic form correctly. He went on to show how the basic form, when performed correctly, will naturally overcome the strength and pressure of a real fighting situation.

It’s always a good thing to be put back on the correct course in training.

Beyond the excellent training, everyone just had a great time and a lot of fun. We had barbecue and beer, had some laughs, talked about Budo and what’s currently going on in Japan. Everyone made new friends and got to see old friends again.

In my opinion, besides being able to go to the Honbu dojo in Japan, Shihan Pearce brings the best training possible during his seminars around the world. I highly recommend attending his seminars whenever you get the chance.

A little shameless plug…

Shihan Pearce films training in Japan and uploads the videos on the internet. You can subscribe to the training videos at

Also, if you are planning your first training trip to Japan, you can hire Shihan Pearce to be your personal tour guide. For more info, please visit his website at

Until next time…

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