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Overall experience, a current connection to the Grandmaster, a desire to be up to date on current training in Japan, are all indicators of a teacher’s ability.  Having a current teacher for guidance, regardless of rank, shows a genuine desire to learn and improve.

My Dojo

In reference to the above thoughts, I would like to use this space to lay out some of my personal philosophy on training and how I run my dojo.  I hope it provides help and insight to any new students who may be considering my training as an option, or current students who my want to visit and train.

Class Basics: 

Our dojo consists of brand new people and seasoned people of rank.  Everyone trains together – beginners are not segregated or made to attend a separate class.  I feel that knowing the people you train with enhances learning, so prior to class we spend a short time talking about both training and our daily lives.  We maintain an inclusive family atmosphere.  Everyone with a good heart is welcome.

Our Training: 
We currently train in NYC on Sundays from 10:00am to 2:00pm in a traditional Japanese dojo setting.  

I choose not to rely on any dojo funds for personal finances.  There are no contracts or fees outside of standard monthly dues.  Cost of monthly dues are calculated to cover the cost for our indoor space and my travel expenses to and from NYC, (I live near Princeton, NJ).  I maintain a transparent financial system that all students have access to upon request. 

My Experience: 
It's only right that I answer the questions listed above. 

  • I have been training consistently since August 1987. 

  • I’ve been teaching this art since 2001.

  • I received my 5th dan in Japan in November of 1999.  I am currently ranked 12th dan.

  • I’ve been traveling regularly to Japan since 1999.  

  • Larry Turner is my direct and current teacher.

We host, attend, and encourage our students to attend seminars conducted by other qualified Bujinkan teachers.  We

also take trips together to Japan.

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me.
Thanks for your interest in our dojo and the Bujinkan,
-Rob Flanagan

Finding the right training:
Identifying the right martial art for you and finding the right teacher and training group can be difficult.  You may want to research and attend various martial art classes until you find an art and a teacher that works best for you.  It’s important that you find a comfortable setting to learn in – taking into consideration not just the specific martial art, but the teacher, the students, and the dojo training style.  The students attending class can be a good indication of the teacher.  How well do the students move, what feeling do they give off, do you feel comfortable and welcome?

Finding a legitimate/recognized Bujinkan teacher: 
Within the Bujinkan all teachers are 5th degree black belt or above and are required to have a Shidoshi-Kai membership card.  The cards prove a legitimate connection with the Bujinkan, the Grandmaster, and Japan. They also prove that the holder is a qualified teacher and can give out Bujinkan rank.

Some good questions to ask or look for in a prospective teacher: 
How long have they been training?
How long have they been teaching?
How often do they go to Japan?
Do they have a current teacher?

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