James Williams Sensei of Nami Ryu Aiki Heiho shares his path from boxer to teacher in the samurai tradition and trainer to numerous elite special operations units.
Williams Sensei is someone I have long thought of as a model and mentor in my own approach to samurai related martial arts. His system of teaching begins with edged weapons combat and builds into an entire corpus of technique, tactics, and strategy from this underlying truth. In this way, Williams sensei offers a comprehensive operating system that is scalable to individual, team, and even nation-wide application.
Another reason that I consider Williams Sensei a model and mentor is his entrepreneurial spirit. He trained and operated a dojo, taught internationally and among top-tiered law enforcement and military units all while managing several businesses. Yes, he served in the military early in life, as you’ll hear during our conversation, yet like a true warrior, in service to liberty, he made his way in the world by offering value to others in the free market and prospered through voluntary trade, not dependent upon the tax dole.
Here is where you can connect with Williams Sensei's work:
Nami-ryu Aiki Heiho and affiliated dojo:
A great article by Williams Sensei on the Eye and the Mind:
Special Mission Knives by Sensei Williams:
Bugei Trading Company: All Things Samurai
Taking the entrepreneurial path requires dealing with risk, uncertainty, and fear. Overcoming these natural human impulses, which keep us trapped in destructive patterns, is at the heart of Williams Sensei’s training methodology. You’ll hear more about this during our conversation and even learn how facing the razor’s edge empowers skillful aging since Williams Sensei has now entered his 70’s and he has better posture and movement than decades ago.
He describes how his training, again focused primarily on prevailing in edged weapons combat, helps ‘shine the light of consciousness’ on the fears hidden within that actually manifest as immobility, poor posture, and dysfunction.
So, while Williams Sensei puts martial art squarely within the realm of war, which he describes as breaking things and killing people and being able to do so without having your opponent doing so to you, the ultimate purpose of this training is about personal empowerment, expanding the range of choices available to the individual, who in turn then has the capacity to make larger contributions to their loved ones and community.
This potential for social contribution is why everyone training in weapons based martial arts is "necessary to the security of a free State". Williams Sensei offers a model of what success looks like while telling the story of his own path to the samurai tradition.
This is the first part of a longer interview.
Stay tuned in for more.
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