Zen and Ki for the Martial Artist … An AZC Workshop


Due to low registration, we are postponing this workshop for a few weeks. If you have registered, you will be receiving  an e-mail to this effect as well. If you have submitted payment, we will be making arrangements to get your payments back to you.


  • zazenConquerHave you read accounts of Zen monks possessing remarkable levels of concentration, discipline and focus?
  • Have you wondered why the samurai, the world’s most respected warriors, also practiced Zen?
  • Have you heard about ki, read about ki, wondered about ki and always felt you’d like to experience it firsthand?
  • Do you realize that the Zen concept of ki is quite different to what is traditionally taught in martial arts classes?

Of course, it would be hard to find a martial artist who isn’t intrigued by both Zen and ki. But as martial artists, we do have to ask ourselves  “Is it real and how will it benefit me?”

First, because the samurai consistently practiced Zen, we must acknowledge that it was very, very relevant to them (a matter keeping their sanity and a matter of life and death?). But second, we should also want to know “Is Zen training still relevant today?” And to answer that for yourself, check out this video …

So it seems the US Army feels there is a place for Zen training … relevant to the samurai, relevant to the GI, and you?

Join us in this six-week workshop and experience for yourself how Zen and ki can apply to your martial arts training, to your martial art, to your life.

What you will learn …

First and foremost, you will learn zazen – seated meditation – the heart of Zen practice. Next you will learn kinhin – walking meditation. And you will learn the traditional Zen tea ceremony and some basic Zen chanting. And finally you will experience the concepts of Zen ki (true aliveness).

bowlSetRealize that our purpose here is not to indoctrinate you into Zen, but more to have you examine your training, and perhaps have you question its completeness. Put another way, do you ever get the sense that while  your training has made you very comfortable in one-on-one  encounters in the dojo … that there is still something missing, say in multiple attacker scenarios, or perhaps in situations outside the structure of the training hall? Could Zen practice be the answer?

The Instructors

seiju-formalSeiju Bob Mammoser will lead the first 3 weeks of the workshop, which consists of all Zen instruction and practice. Seiju is the resident Osho (priest) at AZC and 2014 marks his 40th year since his first Zen training with Joshu Sasaki Roshi, 35 years as an ordained priest and his 25th year as founder and resident Osho here at AZC.

jim-in-gi1_smallThe second 3 weeks of the workshop will merge the ki concepts of “Sitting with Ki”, “Standing with Ki”, “Walking with Ki”, and will be led by Jim Redel. Jim has studied both Zen and the martial arts since 1989, teaching aikido, the Japanese sword and the Japanese short staff since 1994.

The Workshop

Workshop classes are scheduled for Mondays and Wednesdays: 7:15PM – 8:45PM
The workshop runs for 6 weeks. for a total of 12 classes.
The workshop is limited to 15 students.


The fee for the workshop is $85, and includes the text “The Unfettered Mind”.  If you are currently an AZC member, the fee is $65.

Note: This is a great discount from our regular workshop fee of $185!

To register, follow this link to the workshop registration page. There are only 15 slots available, so register early.

The Text

unfettered_mindBetween class sessions, we encourage you to read the supplied text, “The Unfettered Mind”. Realize though, that the text is strictly supplemental and the thrust of the workshop will be Zen practice and ki training.

Naturally, if time permits and interest demands, we will discuss any questions that come out of your readings.


I study a martial art, which does emphasize ki, is this the ki you are referring to? Ki-hanjaProbably not and here’s why. In the Zen vernacular, nearly all martial arts that teach ki, teach it as an ‘abiding ki’ – a ki directed by intention. For example, an instructor may say “Imagine a stream of water shooting out your arm.” Morihei Ueshiba, the founder of Aikido, called this “ordinary ki.”

The Zen concept of ki is that it results naturally from the ‘activity of zero’, or emptiness – a will-less ki. There is no need to direct it from the mind. Again, Ueshiba also recognized this state of emptiness and called the ki resulting from it … ‘true ki.’ This ‘true ki’ will be the focus of this workshop.

And in defense of martial arts classes, there is seldom enough time or interest to teach and  investigate and train in the understanding of the ‘activity of zero’ or emptiness. But here at AZC, zero is everything.

What should I wear? You will need loose-fitting clothes for the zazen. And as you will be sitting cross-legged for up to 30 minutes at a time, avoid clothes that bind at the knees and hips. Sweats are good, you can change into shorts, jeans are usually a no-go.

What if I can’t sit cross-legged for 30 minutes? Your obligation is only to sit quite still for 25-30 minutes, and while cross-legged is definitely the preferred posture, there are alternatives:

  • sitting seiza (the martial arts kneeling position) with a cushion between the legs
  • sitting on a seiza bench.
  • sitting in seiza chair.
  • sitting in a standard chair.

What if I can’t make all the sessions? The first session is the most crucial, but you can attend a Saturday beginners instruction before the workshop and your are good to go. For the rest of the classes, check the bonus discussion below … you will be able to make up a class in any of our regularly scheduled zazen sessions.

I’m not a martial artist, would I benefit from this workshop? Everyone can benefit from this workshop. However, you need to be aware that the second half will be really geared towards martial artists … first, from the sense of using dojo training as a common vocabulary and second, that the last couple classes may involve some pushing and pulling, so it will get a little physical (but just a little). If you are comfortable with this, then happy to have you.

A Bonus (saving the best for last)

After receiving all the Zen instruction (by end of week 2), you are then able (and encouraged) to attend any of our regularly scheduled zazen sessions, which includes every weekday morning, Monday-Thursday evenings and two sessions on Saturday. That works out to … about all the zazen you can handle (over 65 hours available)! Check exact zendo  times here.

How About a Flyer?




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Last, Have an Idea for a Custom Workshop?

We are always looking for ways to support the martial arts community.

  • Do you own a martial arts school and were wondering how to incorporate Zen into your curriculum?
  • Do you teach a martial arts class and were interested in developing an on-site seminar or workshop to integrate with your particular style?
  • Would you and a circle of friends like to get started with your own sitting group?

We are very happy to work with you, drop us a line …