Friday, December 20, 2013

December Newsletter

Happy Holidays!

Christmas is just around the corner, and it's been a good year for our dojo!

Some highlights from 2013

  • Membership increase from open enrollment. We're now up to eight regularly practicing students - the highest we've had since the dojo was founded in 2007. I anticipate another one or two more will rejoin or join in the next open enrollment in 2014 as well. 
  • Advancement. We've now got a Shodan (1st dan - black belt equivalent), three 2kyu, and one 4kyu student. I anticipate everyone will be ranked or jump a rank within the next 4 months or so. We've got some people who began in July who are almost ready to attempt their first test - 4kyu.
  • CoreCon demo. Several members participated in the CoreCon event in Moorhead last May. We performed seitei, Musoshindenryu, and Tachi-Uchi-no-Kurai kata. It was our 5th appearance there, and we're already looking forward to next year's event!
  • Pangea Culture Festival booth and demo. This was our 4th year there, and there was a huge number of people who watched the demo given by Erik, Andrew, Tyler, and Andy. See the following article for more information on that.
  • Volunteering at the Emergency Food Pantry. Several members of the dojo took one of our practice sessions and volunteered at the Emergency Food Pantry here in Fargo. They serve families in the community by providing a week's worth of food for families in emergency situations. We volunteered there to sort through several pallets of food that they had received from the recent "Fill the dome" event. I appreciate everyone who could make it and the positive spirit of donating time for this very worthwhile service.
  • Crystal Lake, IL seminar. I traveled to Crystal Lake, IL to give a two day seitei iaido seminar for several people at the Abiding Spirit Aikido Center. The Abiding Spirit Center is one of the few places in the Northwest suburbs offering training in Iaido. It was a great seminar and I really enjoyed going there and meeting some new folks. I hope to return in 2014 if possible.

Looking forward to 2014
We've got a few big things coming up this year, and I'm very excited!

  • AUSKF Educational tour - Iaido seminar. We will be hosting our third annual iaido seminar here in Fargo, ND on Feb 4-5. This year will be extra special, as we are also an official stop on the AUSKF Iaido Educational Tour. We will be hosting Chihiro Kishimoto sensei, Kazuma Okuda sensei, and Shozo Kato sensei. Simply stated, it's going to be awesome! Details and registration for the seminar can be found at
  • Open enrollment - sometime in Feb after the seminar.
  • Iaido seminar - Visit to Des Moines to present a small seitei iaido seminar for Ric Flinn's members at the Des Moines Iaido dojo.
  • CoreCon Demo - May 2014
  • AUSKF Iaido Summer Camp - June 2014
  • Pangea Culture Festival - Nov 2014
I'm hoping to see our dojo continue to mature and some of the senior 'kyu' ranks test up and continue to advance in seitei. I'm also starting to introduce more people (as they're able) to the koryu Musoshindenryu. We're going to continue working through those kata, and also continue polishing our paired Tachi Uchi no Kurai kata.

It's going to be a great year!

The following article was submitted by senpai Erik Ness. Erik currently holds the rank of 2kyu, and led the demo at the Pangea Culture festival held here in Moorhead last month.

2013 Pangea Moorhead, MN

The 2013 Pangea Culture Festival was held November 9, 2013, at the Hjemkomst Center in Moorhead, MN. The Pangea is a celebration of the community’s traditions and cultures in a multi-ethnic showcase of music, dance, culinary arts, and children’s activities. This event was free and open to the public.

The Musoshindenryu Agassiz Dojo presented the art of Japanese Swordsmanship. This demonstration was well-received as evidenced by the number of people in the audience.
The demonstration started out with kata from the koryu style of Musoshindenryu. The members then introduced the audience to some of the etiquette (reishiki) and seitei kata. A brief history of Musoshindenryu was next followed by tachi-uchi no kurai, a paired kata in which the practitioners use bokken, or wooden swords. The demonstration ended with more seitei and koryu kata.

Seitei iaido is “standard” iaido which is taught and studied by members of the All Japan Kendo Federation. There are 12 kata that originate from three major styles of iaido. Seitei allows practitioners from different styles and countries to practice the same kata consistently.

Following the demonstration, the audience was invited to view the member’s iaito (dull swords), bokken, and hakama (traditional uniform). The younger members of the audience had an opportunity to hold the iaito and have their pictures taken with the demonstrators.

In addition to demonstrating kata, the Musoshindenryu Agassiz Dojo had a booth in which people had an opportunity to view videos of high level practitioners showcasing their kata and hold iaito and bokken with assistance. Another interesting aspect of the Pangea was that the children were given a ‘passport’ and at each booth they visited, the children got a sticker to put in the passport. The sticker that the Musoshindenryu Agassiz Dojo passed out was Japan.
Member participating in the demonstration included: Erik Ness, Tyler Wilson, Andrew Mueller and Andy Ryan.

The Musoshindenryu Agassiz Dojo was honored to present during the Pangea festival and are hopeful for a return in 2014.



Congratulations goes to Tyler Wilson on achieving his 2kyu ranking.
Congratulations goes to Shawn Johnston on achieving his 4kyu ranking.

Our dojo rank system starts with 4kyu. Students who have completed at least 6 months of practice and can show a competent level of understanding of basic reishiki (etiquette), and the first five kata in the seitei series can test for 4kyu. After that the ranks progress as 3kyu, and 2kyu. After achieving 2kyu, students must then attend a regional/national AUSKF event and test in front of a board of judges. First kyu (1kyu) is the last of the kyu ranks, and then it starts with Shodan (1dan) and on up. Currently the highest "dan" ranking that can be tested for in the IKF is 8th Dan. The two sensei that are coming for our seminar in February both hold this highest ranking.

Food pantry photos

So, we've got a lot coming up.

I'd especially like to thank the senpai Kelly and Erik for helping out over the last few months especially. It's great to see them and everyone else grow in the art, and personally.

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

2014 Iaido Seminar Announcement in Fargo, ND

2014 Iaido Seminar Announcement

The Agassiz Dojo will be hosting a stop on the AUSKF Iaido Educational Tour.

The tentative dates are either Tuesday, February 4th or Wednesday February 5th.

The seminar will be held in Fargo, ND and will feature two visiting sensei from Japan.

More details with specifics to follow!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Open Enrollment - Come on in and Visit Us!

Open Enrollment

We'll be having Open Enrollment again in July. This will give you a chance to come in and see what we're about, and us a chance to meet and greet you.

We only offer open enrollment for about a month, twice yearly where we may take on additional students during that time. This allows us to continue to focus on the program of study with the regular members, but also give some specific instruction to beginners who join us.

We welcome visitors to the dojo at any time, not just during enrollment, but would encourage people who are interested in joining our dojo (school) to come during this time.

Time: Classes are Wednesdays from 6:30 to 9:30 pm. People wishing to visit should come around 7pm after we've had a chance to warm up and start our routine a bit.

Location: We're in a warehouse-type building in the alley around 506 Oak St N., Fargo ND 58102.  It's basically at the end of Oak street before you hit the train tracks. We share the space with the Hidden Teachings karate school.

If you have any more questions, don't hesitate to ask.

Please do not expect to participate on your first visit.

Have a great summer!
Head Instructor

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Seitei Iaido Seminar - May 18, 19 in Crystal Lake, IL

Seitei Iaido Seminar - May 18, 19 in Crystal Lake, IL

The Abiding Spirit Center, with assistance from the Midwest Kendo Federation, will be hosting a seminar on AUSKF Seitei Iaido on May 18 and 19, 2013.

Instruction will be given by Brad Anderson, 4th dan, from Agassiz Dojo in Fargo, North Dakota.

The Abiding Spirit Center is located in Crystal Lake Illinois, and is one of the few places in the Northwest suburbs offering training in Iaido. Please join us for training and exchanges of Iaido friendship.

Students of all styles of swordsmanship are welcome. Please visit the web site for registration and further information.

Though registration is available the days of the seminar, pre-registration is appreciated.

CoreCon Demo - May 4th, Moorhead, MN

The Agassiz Dojo will be doing our annual demonstration at the CoreCon 2013 event on Saturday, May 4th.

More details about scheduling will be forthcoming, but I believe we're tentatively scheduled for 10am on Saturday.

This is our 5th year attending and doing an iaido demonstration, and it's always a lot of fun to showcase our art.

Hope to see you there!


Thursday, January 17, 2013

2012 Agassiz Dojo Iaido Seminar Photos

We've got a lot of nice photos of our annual Musoshindenryu Iaido - Agassiz Dojo / Midwest Kendo Federation  2012 Iaido seminar.

Held in Fargo, ND with guest sensei Tatsuhiko Konno and Pam Parker instructing.

Thank you Gary Haynie for the images.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

New Year Iaito Sale!

New Year Sale! 

All Merchandise on Sale!

Get a new Nosyudo iaito or other iaito-related gear for your late Christmas or New Year's present!

All in-stock iaito - reduced $200 off the original price. 
To clear out existing inventory, I've reduced the price of all in-stock iaito by $200.

Save 20% on all in-stock Sageo! 

The savings price will be reflected in the shopping cart.

In stock items include:

#1 Basic 2-4-0 shaku (72.7cm), 745g, Ivy Kashira, Butterfly menuki, Yatsumokko tsuba, Plastic White samegawa, Cotton ito - Black, Black Ishime saya, Plain brass habaki, Notare hamon

#2 Basic 2-5-9 shaku (78.5cm), 950g, Ivy kashira, Butterfly menuki, Shihosukashi tsuba, Plastic White samegawa, Cotton ito - Black, Black Ishime saya, Plain Brass habaki, Notare hamon

#3 Basic 2-4-5 (74.2cm), 930g, Ivy kashira, Butterfly menuki, Mokko Edohigo tsuba, Plastic White samegawa, Cotton ito - Black, Black Ishime saya, Plain Brass habaki, Notare hamon

#4 Basic 2-5-0 (75.8cm), 920g, Ivy kashira, Butterfly menuki, Yatsumokko tsuba, Plastic White samegawa, Cotton ito- Black, Black Ishime saya, Plain Brass habaki, Notare hamon

#5 Intermediate 2-4-5 (74.2cm), 925g, Bamboo kashira, Bamboo Leaves menuki, Bamboo Leaves tsuba, Real White samegawa, Cotton ito - Dark Blue, Black Ishime saya, Plain Brass habaki, Suguha hamon

#6 Intermediate 2-5-0 (75.8cm), 930g, Kikusui kashira, Ichirin Kiku menuki, Sakura/Kiku Sukashi tsuba, Real White samegawa, Cotton ito - Black, Black Glossy saya, Plain Brass habaki, Gunome hamon

I also have a selection of various color cotton and silk sageo.
Vinyl single sword bags, medium and long sized. Double sword bag.
Uchiko powder - 2 grades
Choji oil - 2 grades
Basic Cleaning kits - includes uchiko and choji
Polyester iaido obi - black

Check out our online store at

December Newsletter

Aggasiz Dojo News

This fall and year has flown by! I can't believe it's already December, though an unusually warm and snow-free one, and we're 3 weeks away from Christmas.

Pangea 2012 a good showing

We had an information table at the Pangea Culture Festival that was held in Moorhead, MN in November where we met several people interested in Japanese sword arts, and gave a demonstration of Seitei, Musoshindenryu, and Tachi Uchi no Kurai kata. We had a pretty good crowd watch us, and people especially seemed interested in the paired bokuto Tachi Uchi portion.
Thank you to Sarah and Tyler for helping me mind the booth, and participate in the demonstration. I appreciate it! We'll try again next year to attend this interesting cultural event.

2nd Annual Agassiz Dojo / MWKF Iaido Seminar a Success!

Last weekend we had our second regional iaido seminar. We had a smaller group attending this year, which meant more personalized attention and interaction with the two sensei who attended. We welcomed back both Konno and Parker sensei, who came to our first seminar last year, and had participants from MN and CA.
The program consisted of a Friday practice for new arrivals and dojo members where Parker sensei introduced the first 6 Tachi Uchi no Kurai kata. These kata are paired kata using a bokuto (wooden sword) where one person is the "attacker" and the other is the "winner." It is a great way to learn distance and timing.
Saturday's schedule broke participants into two groups based on experience, who then worked with each of the sensei on kihon and the seitei series kata. There was lots of personal attention, and I could see marked improvement in everyone! Both Konno and Parker sensei provided us with demonstrations of their koryu kata, Musoshindenryu and Muso Jikiden Eishin ryu respectively.
We had an excellent dinner at Osaka Sushi and Hibachi restaurant in Fargo. The teppanyaki show they do is quite entertaining, and everyone had their fill of good food and drink.
Sunday brought more review of kata and kihon (basic techniques) and then some self practice where the sensei offered feedback.
It was an excellent opportunity for learning and quality feedback at a personal level! It was a great prep for people to review before heading to Summer Camp in Omaha next summer for gradings. I can't wait until next year!
The photos are available for viewing at the following gallery:

Upcoming Events

Enrollment Opening and Embu - Mid January

Currently we're not accepting any new students, but in the new year we'll once again open enrollment and will possibly be accepting new students. I'm hoping to have an "open house" Embu of sorts first to have existing members showcase the kata they're familar with and answer any questions people might have. We'll send out an announcement once a date has been decided.

Dojo Grading - Late January to Early February

We'll be having our next dojo grading in the new year after we've had a chance to review some of the seitei points. Currently, we've been working on koryu kata - both Tachi Uchi no Kurai, and the Shoden set of Musoshindenryu.

Iaido Summer Camp June 27-30, 2013 in Omaha NE

Several (if not all) of our members are planning to attend this event in June for seminar, taikai (tournament) and shinsa (grading). It's a big event, and a lot of fun to meet practitioners from around the world. Highly recommended, so mark your calendars and start saving now!

Winnepeg CKF Iaido Seminar - Mid October  

This event is replacing what was Eric Tribe sensei's seminar formerly held in Thunder Bay, ON. It's actually a shorter drive, and easy to get to. Featuring 7dan Kyoshi Ohmi sensei. Put it on your calendars and get a passport if you don't have one!
We'll post the seminar pictures and I'll send another mail once that's up live.
Have a great Holiday and Merry Christmas!