Sensei Brian Simmons Kids Martial Arts Instructor

Sensei Brian Simmons in Sparks - Shin Gan Dojo

Sensei Brian Simmons

I have been training in the art of Ninpo for over 20 years under the direct guidance of Sensei Chadwick Minge. In 1994, I was awarded the rank of Sho Dan by Sensei Chadwick Minge and, after joining the Genbukan, was honored with the rank of Sho Dan directly from Tanemura Sensei during one of his visits to Yamato Dojo.

During my tenure as Dai Sempai (Head Assistant), I have since achieved the rank of 4th Degree Instructor’s License (out of 5 levels). Because of the all-inclusive nature of Ninpo, the 4th Level Instructor’s License is comparative to having these ranks in the following arts:

  • Asayama Ichiden Ryu (Ju Jutsu) - 4th Degree Black Belt
  • Takagi Yoshin Ryu (Ju Jutsu) - 4th Degree Black Belt
  • Shinden Fudo Ryu (Ju Jutsu) - 2nd Degree Black Belt
  • Kukishin Ryu (Daken Tai Jutsu / Karate) - 3rd Degree Black Belt
  • Koto Ryu (Koppo Jutsu) - 3rd Degree Black Belt
  • Gyokko Tyu (Kosshi Jutsu) - 3rd Degree Black Belt
  • Kukishin Ryu Bo Jutsu (Stick Fighting) - 2nd Degree Black Belt
  • Kukishin Ryu Ken Jutsu (Sword Fighting Art) - 2nd Degree Black Belt

In 1994, I was given the honor of assisting Sensei Minge with teaching first children’s classes, then adult classes. In addition, after being awarded the rank of Ichi Kyu, I was allowed to teach students in private lessons. I eventually began teaching children’s and adult classes solo, and have been teaching students both privately and publicly for over 10 years.

I began the study of armed arts under the mentorship of the nationally recognized firearms instructor Michael Harries, creator of the Harries Flashlight Technique – a technique that is universally employed today by law enforcement agencies and the military. Under Mr. Harries, I learned the arts of pistol craft and rifle craft. I currently hold the rank of Marksman I in the basic pistol course of Gunsite, one of the world’s most prestigious shooting schools. I have been a member of Southern California’s Tactical Combat (SCTC) group for over 6 years, and train on a regular basis in different scenario-based shooting exercises. In addition, I have a broad understanding of realistic weapons retention and removal.

Because the term martial arts encompasses both unarmed and armed combat and defense, I continue to further my study in both fields. I am currently working towards 5th Level Instructor’s License, as well as furthering my knowledge of armed combat and tactical defense.

In addition to providing students with a comprehensive knowledge of martial arts at Shin Gan Dojo, I also lend my tactical and defense expertise as a security consultant to private individuals.

My interest in Ninpo began over 20 years ago. Lost in a world of confusion, I came to believe that the discipline of a martial art might help me find the direction and clarity my life so sorely needed. Through books and conversations with various martial arts practitioners, my research led me to conclude that the ultimate martial art was Ninjutsu. As I sought the opportunity to train in Ninjutsu, I was luckily guided by a friend to a genuine Ninpo dojo in North Hollywood, California that was associated with one of the only two organizations in Japan teaching authentic Ninjutsu, or Ninpo Tai Jutsu: the Yamato Dojo headed by Sensei Chadwick Minge.

I made an appointment to observe a class and, after seeing the rolls and falls, knew I was in the right place. Unfortunately, I was financially unstable at the time and remained hesitant to join. Finally, a voice spoke to me and comforted me – a voice so loud it crowded out all other thoughts and fears, a voice I knew not to be my own. I knew then that I was to train in what has since become a sacred place for me. I joined Yamato Dojo and gave myself over to the guidance of Sensei Chadwick Minge.

My personal circumstances at the time I joined Yamato Dojo prevented me from keeping a full-time job. Much of my early attendance was on Sensei Minge’s good graces. As a result, during my first six years at Yamato Dojo all of my time was dedicated to training. Having no other previous martial arts training, I had nothing to unlearn. I attended every class the dojo offered and often found myself training with Sensei Minge alone. Being tossed around for an hour by Sensei Minge rewarded me with the rare opportunity to truly learn the rolls and falls of Taihen Jutsu – often out of sheer necessity!

Through my continuous attendance and devotion, I gained Sensei Minge’s confidence as an upcoming martial artist and was soon trusted as his Uke. As Sensei Minge’s Uke, my devotion continued to grow as I learned to commit to an attack, i.e., to attack for the sake of attacking, and without the fear of hurting my opponent or retaliation. Once assured this lesson was learned, Sensei Minge entrusted to me the duty of cutting him with the Katana. Using the Katana requires maintaining strong spirit while learning the delicate balance between cutting for the sake of the cut.

As my abilities in Ninpo grew, my responsibilities at the dojo grew. Some time after being awarded the rank of Ichi Kyu, I was allowed to teach private lessons. Although I had already been assisting Sensei Minge with children’s classes, I was now able to teach both adults and children, both as an assistant to Sensei Minge as well as conduct classes—privately and publicly—on my own. I soon learned that there is no better way to learn than to teach.

After being awarded Sho Dan by Sensei Minge, I joined the Genbukan organization. I had met Tanemura Sensei before on his frequent visits to Yamato Dojo, and have been used as his Uke during the Hanbo portion of a Ninpo seminar—a position for which only trusted students are used. Tanemura Sensei honored me by awarding me the rank of Sho Dan himself, and further honored me by commenting on my quiet nature and strong spirit, calling me an American Samurai.

From 1995 to 1999, I incorporated my gifts for teaching and Ninpo into my Ninja Karate Party business. Providing entertainment and education at children’s birthday parties, I was able to introduce Ninpo to a wider demographic. Thanks to the improvisational nature of the Ninja Karate Parties, my understanding of freeflow movement and Ran Dori was greatly enhanced as well.

Teaching both privately and publicly has gone far in compounding my own understanding of Ninpo, as well as given me the opportunity to work with students from all walks of life, including the very young, the very inexperienced, the mentally challenged, the physically handicapped, the elderly, and the overweight as well as those students who have a natural aptitude for the art.

Under the care and guidance of Sensei Minge I have learned the power of Ninpo, as well as discovered my own natural gift for teaching and natural talent at this art.

Following in the footsteps of my teacher, I am now ready to make my own way in the world, to share the gifts bestowed upon me with others, through the will of the Divine Spirit and Shin Gan Dojo.

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