We are a traditional Japanese sword school near downtown Houston, Texas (Houston Heights).  Our mission is to provide the opportunity for serious study of traditional Japanese sword arts. These include Iaidō, Battō-jutsu, and Kenjutsu including what is known as koryu bujutsu (old school martial arts or pre-Meiji era) both from the Tokugawa period and reaching further back into the warring states times of the Muromachi period.  Our core foundation practice that you will be introduced to initially follows what was transmitted by Mitsuzuka Takeshi Sensei (1925-2008) who was a direct student of Nakayama Hakudo Sensei (1869-1958). The direct roots of which go back over 400 years to the legendary swordsman  Hayashizaki Minamoto no Shigenobu (1546 – 1621). We are the only official dojo in Texas representing the North American San Shin Kai (NASSK). The NASSK members are currently guided by Mitsuzuka Munehiro Sensei (Mitsuzuka Sensei’s son) and Roger Wehrhahn Sensei.

hakudo nakayama sensei doing iaido
Nakayama Hakudo Sensei doing Iaidō
Mitsuzuka Sensei teaching iaido kumitachi sword
Mitsuzuka Sensei on the left teaching kumitachi

All students (and the teacher) are expected to check their ego at the door while paying attention to safety.  Practice is intense but fun. You will never “finish” or “perfect” your art. The value is in the process and that is the gift of traditional Japanese martial arts. By focusing on mindful practice such as this, one can develop a personal path of lifelong study that enriches knowledge of oneself and others.

Those interested in becoming a student should contact the instructor for more information.

Houston Japan Festival 2023
Houston Japan Festival May 2023
Embu at Houston Japan Festival
Everything in life worth achieving requires practice. In fact, life itself is nothing more than one long practice session, an endless effort of refining our motions. When the proper mechanics of practicing are understood, the task of learning something new becomes a stress-free experience of joy and calmness, a process which settles all areas of your life and promotes proper perspective on all life's difficulties.
The Practicing MiND
-T.M. Sterner
Hocker Sensei receiving instruction in Japan (Saitama Prefecture, 2003)
Hocker Sensei receiving instruction from hachidan student of Mitsuzuka Sensei in Japan (2003)
Mark performing during Yondan Shinsa in New York