The Ocean as a Muse

Becoming Like Water

After my freshman year of college, my Dad and I went on a 7,000 mile road trip across the northern United States. One of our stops was Yellowstone where, for the first time as an adult, I got to see a large waterfall (Upper & Lower Yellow Stone). And man, oh man... it deeply inspired me to try and imitate the feeling of the waterfall. I wanted to train myself to crash, to flow, to absorb dispassionately and with no regard for the obstacles placed before me. I wanted my arms, legs and body to act as a single entity but with each part being completely independent. I dreamed of receiving and attacking in hand-to-hand combat while my spirit stayed serene and my composure dispassionate. At that time, I started modifying my training to include more styles, more information, more training methods, more meditation. I called it Taki Jutsu, or Art of the Waterfall.

In the 10 years since that moment I have explored this idea and tried to incorporate it into everything that I do. The experiences on this journey led me to realize that becoming like the tide was not about techniques. Across the globe the techniques of applied martial arts have long been explored, recorded and codified. Thereby I do not profess to have created a new system, or even to do something radically different. I simply have my style, my emphasis and my methods of training like any other martial artist. In my opinion, what makes Nami bujutsu worth differentiating is the inspiration of the ocean combined with the selection of training methods, techniques and concepts incorporated into the curriculum. 

Note: When I speak of curriculum I refer specifically to the method that I use to train students from a complete beginner into a competent martial artist. At all stages, students are encouraged to make the concepts their own, cross-train, and explore how they can best protect themselves. 

The ocean is serene and


powerful while being soft.

A Deep Impression 

As a child we made trips to the beach every year. Whether it was a lake or the ocean, these large bodies of water and their tides struck a chord deep inside me. At first, its resonance was one that inspired competition. "Waves and the tide are strong, but I will be stronger," I would think. My favorite game was to stand in the tide, take a rooted stance, and hold against the surf as long as I could. (Remember, I started training before kindergarten... so this isn't that weird.) Playing in the waves always left me feeling energized but also in awe of this force of nature.

As with all things, time changed my perspectives and waves, actually wild water in general, took on new meanings. The energy and awe that I felt of the ocean remained, but I also began seeing how water was soft and hard, projected serenity but could also be dispassionately violent. Wild water (rivers and waterfalls) shapes the world through its undaunted, relentless and unceasing flow. 

Power comes in many forms.

The stro‚Äčngest project

it without conscious effort.

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A crashing wave. A roaring waterfall. The slow erosion of land by the flows of rivers and ceaseless tide. A storm at sea. To me these all represent power without thought or effort. They simply are powerful because it is their nature. The power doesn't originate from ego, brute force, or hardness. The power comes from the unrelenting, mindless nature of a substance that goes ever forward without concern for any obstacle.

A deep sense of confidence and self-awareness combined with the knowledge that one can always overcome is how I attempt to project and cultivate this power. When in a situation, I attempt to flow and crash over the opponent (enemy). I want them to feel as though they are drowning and their spirit is being crushed because I am a relentless, mindless force. 

Serenity is a state

of mind that leads to

many positive outcomes.

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Has anyone seen the ocean surf and not felt a sense of calm? Carrying this calm throughout the day is a difficult challenge. Let alone maintaining it during a combative situation. The concept arises again and again in all manner of literature, psychology and self-protection as a cornerstone of happiness and success. It is also the goal of many meditative rituals and one of the benefits of devout faith. Serenity is a universal positive. This is exactly the goal of martial arts practice and a key to mindfulness practices. 

It is my objective to put this concept to work for me in my daily routine. When facing an opponent (or enemy) I focus on protecting my serenity. Applying this principle allows combative situations to "slow down", which increases the effectiveness of both offense and defense. When dealing with day-to-day stress we can rest in the serene deep, unmoved by the tempestuous waves. 

To train serenity we must combine rigorous physical practice with appropriate thought exercises and focused training sessions. Gradually increasing the level of stress we train under culminates in the ability to stay calm, confident and maximize the benefits of adrenaline. The union of mind and body, which are not two, reveals an inner light that brightens the whole world. 

Separate, yet whole. Complete

harmony is found

in the ocean's ebb and flow.

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The center is found at the point between motion and stillness. The ebb and flow of tides, the cresting of the waves. To me, this natural phenomenon is the definitive view of harmony. Each individual droplet comes together as a whole or separates according to the circumstances.

There are many ways that this manifests itself in my life, so it's hard (like the rest of this page) to put into words. However, I decided to try, so...

Everything influences everything, but each event is by itself. I try and live my practice every day, and each day my life gives me experiences to take into my practice. Non-action, in the sense of not striving, is the order of the day. Just like the water, I don't seek to try and achieve anything, but by following a path with perseverance and dedication achieve everything. Appreciating and learning from the extremely negative while fully living in the extremely positive. Whether it's a clear, sunny day with a gentle surf or the turbulent chaos of a massive storm each day the ocean shows us that it just is. And so, in martial arts and in life, we too should just be. 

Natural, present, ourselves in all things. That's what practice is for me and, I hope to help others discover a method of achieving the same for themselves.