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Martial Arts

Traditional jujutsu martial arts in the East Bay

The Sennin Foundation Center teaches Saigo Ryu, a traditional and non-competitive martial art. While many Westerners use "jujutsu," "jujitsu," or "jiu-jitsu" to describe their art of self-defense, most of these methods bear little resemblance to the original jujutsu, Japan's oldest martial art. Aikido and judo stem from jujutsu, and our dojo is one of few in the USA to offer authentic Japanese jujutsu. Our system emphasizes aiki, "harmony with the life energy of the universe."


Our classes feature a wide variety of powerful throwing, pinning, and grappling techniques stemming from older methods (kobudo) originating in the Aizu-Wakamatsu area of Japan. Saigo Ryu is a sogo bujutsu, an "integrated martial system." It also features training in the martial arts of the sword, spear, staff, short stick, iron fan, and others. It's different from more well-known martial disciplines (like karate-do, kendo, and iaido). While training is vigorous, and our self-defense techniques effective, the emphasis is on subduing an opponent without unneeded injury. Students improve their health while learning martial arts as meditation, which helps them to remain calm under pressure. Some have likened training in our dojo to "moving Zen."

Our instructors also teach methods for cultivating ki (chi in Chinese). Ki is the life energy that animates human beings, and an understanding of it is useful in martial arts and life.


H. E. Davey Sensei, the primary instructor at the Sennin Foundation Center, is the author of numerous books, including Unlocking the Secrets of Aiki-jujutsu and The Japanese Way of the Artist.  He began studying the Saigo Ryu tradition at five years old. He received the rank/title of seventh-degree black belt and Kyoshi from the Kokusai Budoin, which defines Kyoshi as a "Master's certificate." Kokusai Budoin was founded over 50 years ago in Japan, where it's affiliated with the Japanese Imperial Family. It functions as an international federation for most budo, or martial arts. In 1995, Davey Sensei and his students became the first Westerners permitted to give their own demonstration of Saigo Ryu at the Kokusai Budoin's annual All-Japan Martial Arts Exhibition. He is also on the Board of Directors of the Shudokan Martial Arts Association, which has given him a eighth-degree black belt and a Shihan teaching license.


Instruction in the Shin-shin-toitsu-do system of Japanese yoga and meditation is included at no extra charge. Japanese yoga training makes it easier to master the martial arts, and it helps us to realize our full potential in other activities as well.


Our Japanese yoga and martial arts classes for beginners are on Tuesday and Thursday from 7:00 to 9:15 PM and Saturday from 8:45 to 11:00 AM. These are small, semi-private classes, and private lessons are available. Membership fees for Japanese yoga and martial arts range from $84 to $105 per month (with unlimited classes). Call 510-526-7518 to make an appointment to visit and learn about the Sennin Foundation. Click the FAQ button above for even more information.

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