Hoping to bring samurai arts to life
A new Umina Beach resident is hoping to bring the art of the samurai to life with a new sporting club, the Muso Shugyo Japanese Martial Arts and Living History Club.
The club was launched by Mr Mike Graham who has been studying the samurai arts since 1976.
He hopes his club will provide locals with insight into a culture and way of life often twisted and mystified by western media.
Mr Graham grew up with a martial arts background and became increasingly interested in learning more traditional arts and the history behind them.
This desire stayed with him throughout his young adult life and he finally acted upon it when he visited a Japanese ninjutsu school.
It was here that he learned the basic teachings of the samurai and the shinobi and decided to pursue his education in this practice.
Introduced to Togakure-Ryu Ninjutsu, Mr Graham went on to study many samurai battlefield arts over the next 42 years under many teachers.
He said he fell in love with the philosophy of the practice which focuses on improving one's self through physical and mental discipline.
Upon returning to his home in the United Kingdom, Mr Graham decided he wanted to spread this philosophy and began teaching the samurai battlefield arts himself.
He established the Muso Shugyo Ryu Japanese Martial Arts and History Club in the 1990's and spent over 10 years teaching the arts and history to anyone interested to learn.
"We have helped many people through the training to get promotions, overcome issues as well as become fitter and more self-confident," he added.
Through the club, Mr Graham has been offered many unique opportunities to share his expertise and knowledge of the samurai and the shinobi, including training actors in how to correctly portray a traditional samurai/shinobi, choreographing battles involving traditional Japanese martial arts for film and the stage, performing at Japanese cultural events and demonstrations and being invited to educate school children and community groups on the subject.
Mr Graham moved to Umina in September 2018.
He has spent the past fourth months settling into his new home and is thrilled to be bringing Muso Shugyo to his neighbours.
"We have always been unique in what we do and are looking forward to sharing and growing here on the Central Coast," Mr Graham said.
"It doesn't matter what age you are, we can tailor training to each person as we are all individuals with different strengths and weakness, sizes and shapes," he added.
"One of our recent black belts took up training six years ago when she retired at 65 and has gone from strength to strength in her greyer years," Mr Graham said.
"Understanding yourself is a key part of any training and to truly know what you are doing and why is just as important as the technique itself.
"The history also allows you to understand where it came from and is studied intensively."
Interview, 14 Jan 2019
Mike Graham, Muso Shugyo Japanese Martial Arts
Reporter, Dilon Luke