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Students get a kick out of jujitsu

by Archives September 25, 2002

If you’re one of those people that would just rather be able to walk away from a fight knowing full well you could have that fouled-mouth chump on the ground faster than he can say “mommy”, then there’s a good chance Jujitsu’s for you.

So read on.

It’s been five-and-a-half years since Davis Owen, a Concordia history major, went into business with Sensei Sean Muncaster to provide teaching lessons in Ninpo (also known as Ninjutsu) and Jujitsu.

The Genbukan Akakage Dojo in Ville St-Laurent, which opened a month and a half ago, already had a loyal following of students from past schools taught by Muncaster and has quickly been gaining popularity in the new area.

“We have been received well in the community,” says Owen, a brown belt in Ninpo.
The Dojo looks like it might only be able to contain the energy of fifteen students at once but Muncaster says that the room fits over thirty on Tuesday nights when there is a full class.

Muncaster, a Concordia grad who played goalie for the Stingers hockey team for four years, has been fortunate enough to teach both traditional Jujitsu and Ninpo in the same school because his grandmaster, Shoto Tanemura, is president of both federations.

This makes the school one of only three of its kind operating in Canada.
It appears that as a Sensei, he demands as much respect as most goalies do, as every instruction he gives out in class is responded to with an Ai Sensei! by every member of the class, who then proceed on performing the exercise.

The former wearer of the Maroon and Gold has been studying various martial arts for the past 19 years, including Karate, Tae Kwon Do and Kung-Fu among others.
Muncaster says that his real passion lies with Jujitsu because other arts weren’t as complete and had a weaker lineage.

“Many modern martial arts can’t trace back very far but Jujitsu goes back about a thousand years,” Muncaster says.

It is for the above reason that he has spent the last 12 years teaching his favourite martial art to anyone willing to endure the lessons.
“Many people can’t handle the training, which is quite rigorous but the die-hards are there five or six days a week,” says Muncaster.

Although the endurance aspect of Jujitsu might be difficult for some to bear, Owen insists that there is very little chance of anyone getting hurt during a training session.
“In my five years doing this, the worst I’ve seen is somebody break a finger. And that was by fluke,” he said.

The traditional Jujitsu taught by Muncaster is the same that was used by ancient samurai warriors around a millennium ago.
They had lost their weapons in battle, so a combat method was developed in order to survive.

Muncaster stresses that the martial arts he teaches are meant to help improve people and not teach them to get into bar fights every night.
“Ninpo is designed to help in the evolvement of a person’s character and teach self-control and self-restraint,” he says.

“A ninja is like a candle in a dark room that is trying to spread warmth and goodness,” he adds, quoting one of his grandmaster’s philosophies.

As for Owen, he has trouble remembering exactly why he started studying, but has a theory nonetheless.
“I believe in my heart that I was meant to do this, there’s no other way to explain it,” he said.

Simon Khoury, from the John Molson school of business, is another Concordia student at the school.

He started a month and a half ago and is wearing a white belt.
“I was looking for something to do to get back in shape,” says Khoury, who attends class three days a week.

“I just really like the intensity and it’s very traditional. You learn from Sensei and everybody here is friends,” he adds.

Thanks to his martial arts experience, Muncaster has had the opportunity to be a bodyguard for various celebrities and VIPs including former president Rosie Douglas of Dominica.

Despite having credentials that would make you think twice about getting within ten feet of his face, Muncaster reaffirms the importance of understanding the peaceful nature that makes up the core of Jujitsu.

“The goal of Jujitsu is to make the body as sharp as a knife and have a heart as beautiful as a flower,” another one of his grandmaster’s philosophies.

The Genbukan Akakage Dojo is located at 290 Decarie near Du College Metro. For more information call 748-7557 or visit www.genbukan.ca.

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