|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, and I
might add quite heartily. 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,
|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 I was worried 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 finest.
|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 defense techniques.
|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
|In time I received an invitation
to come train in Japan. Upon arriving at Narita
airport 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. During the trip to Japan I had a
falling out with my former instructor (non-Japanese).
|Upon arriving home I informed all
of my students of what had transpired and told them I would
understand if any of them left the dojo to go train with my former
instructor (reasoning that he had more overall experience).
To my bewilderment and honor not even one of them left.
Over time students from my ex-teachers camp would come train at my
dojo, giving 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 family. Because of this as well as my
personal devotion to the arts I chose to call the school "Shinden"
which means "from heart to heart". These same
students as well as my own started imparting the name "Broz"
to the teachings. I felt that I had no right to call it so
and told them not to use that title. Yet "Broz"
still kept coming forth from their mouths. After much
discussion it was decided that the name would be "Shinden
Broz Dojo", to honor our Japanese lineage as well as
my personal interpretations (seishin) . I
don't in any way claim to have re-invented the art or improved on
900 years of knowledge. I'm only saying that I did it my
|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 taught
and presented 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 (CANADA)", which is the name Hatsumi sensei told
him to call his dojo.
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 knowledgeable instructors.
No one person
can have a claim on knowledge.