|My introduction to the Asian martial
arts was not much different from most other people. I was six
years old and had just seen Bruce Lee in the martial arts film
classic, "Return of the Dragon". Right then and there I
vowed that someday I too would repeat those remarkable moves I had
seen the late Mr. Lee perform.
|My journey into the world of martial
arts began by asking my parents if I could start learning Kung
Fu. I can still picture themselves laughing. One might
think that this would imprint intself on such a young child's
memory. But it didn't in a negative way, it actually taught me to
steel my resolve and set about the task of finding a suitable
teacher. Asking didnít seem to work to well so I had to do
what was deemed by my as the only alternative, I started to
beg. I begged for more than ten years that they let me start
training. Their answer was always sharply, "No!"
|Most people stop when the come up
against a brick wall. Not I. A way around it had to be
found, and I wouldnít stop until it was clear which way to
proceed. It wasnít easy but Iíd do it again if I could.
I watched every possible martial arts movie that I could, even if it
meant sneaking around a dark house at three a.m. to watch the "Hong
Kong" movies, as my friends and I called them. Classics such
as, "The Five Deadly Venom's" or " Kid with The Golden Arm."
|When I got my first part-time job at
the age of 16. It worried me that my job would interfere with my
martial arts lifestyle (meaning that I would miss watching
"Blackbelt theatre", on the weekends). I convinced the store
manager that I needed my weekends off because I had an important
place to be every Saturday and Sunday at one p.m. (this being home
to watch). I deemed this to be dedication at it's
|Then came the day, my day. It
was the best day in my life up to that time. Iíd ask my
parents no more. I simply signed up for Karate
lessons and told them that it wouldn't interfere with my school work
and that I would pay for the lessons with the money I had earned
from my part-time job. After ten years of perfecting the best
way to say "No", they were speechless.
|I signed up at one of the oldest
clubs in the city, rationalizing that they must be good and
reputable if they had managed to stay in business for so long.
This was my first mistake. At a friends urging I joined the
local Tae Kwon Do club. It was a fine place, but
the teachers gave little instruction themselves leaving us to be
taught by lower ranking students who didnít really know what they
where teaching themselves. The schools curriculum also
centered around tournament fighting, whereas I wanted to learn self
|A few years passed, then one day I
noticed a magazine article advertising a "ninja
seminar". I decided to give it a try and fell in love with it
immediately. The dojo was 450 km from where I lived, but I
never found it hard to drive four hours, train two-three hours and
then drive home another 450 km, all in the same day.
|That first year I wasn't taught much
and was more or less a human punching bag. Afterwards I was
told that because of the distance that I lived from the dojo it was
necessary to test my resolve. Once this initiation period had
passed I was introduced to the gentleman who would become my mentor,
Mel Pyke. Sensei Mel took me under his wing after refusing to
accept all other potential students. He showed me the true art
and helped me see it's essence. To this gentleman I will
always be grateful, in effect he is my martial arts father.
Once I brought my top student to met with Sensei Mel and it was as
if a grandfather had met his grandson.
|In time I received an invitation to
go train in Japan, I felt as if I had been in a dream. Upon arriving
at Naritaairport I felt as if I had come home, so to
speak. The Japanese instructors were very polite, patient and
would always correct our mistakes. As well they would explain
all of the techniques thoroughly.
|Over time students from different
dojo would drop by to train. They gave me the title of
ronin (master less warrior). These visitors told
me that they came to train at my school because they liked the
spirit we all shared in the dojo, that of one happy
|I found myself drifting on the winds
of war and went to my ancestral homeland of Croatia to help use my
knowledge in the bid for freedom from the Serbian communist
regime. I worked in the Croatian Secret Service and trained
the Presidential Honor Guard in unconventional warfare tactics
(ninjutsu). While serving in Croatia I had a chance
meeting with a young man who would change the way I understood the
Bujinkan curriculum. It was Shihan Dean Rostohar.
Shihan Rostohar is one of Hatsumi Sensei's top ranked students and a
very capable practioner. Shihan Rostohar gave me permission to call
my dojo "BUJINKAN SEISHIN DOJO", which is the name
Hatsumi Sensei told him to call his dojo. To this name I added Ninpo
Ronin (BUJINKAN SEISHIN NINPO RONIN DOJO), which I feel accurately
expresses our dojo.
By keeping this
website up I hope that perhaps I can inspire true individuals to
take up the arts (whichever), and find fulfillment and enjoyment as
did I. All arts are good if taught properly by qualified and
No one person can have
a claim on knowledge.