Testimonials

Photo By Alberto Lung
Photo By Alberto Lung

Adult Testimonials: 

The Niji No Hashi Dojo is the best Dojo in North Carolina. This Dojo has a unique Sensei (Teacher). He teaches traditional Japanese martial arts. Tonight at the dojo I watched two students take their level test and they both passed with success! It was exciting to watch sensei and two other senior students review and critique their moves and traditional dojo etiquette. Sensei has changed my life, he has taught me strategy, compassion, optimism, clarity, and flexibility. Every week sensei challenges me to be the best me I can be. I read more, train more, and enjoy the simplest things in life. The best part is I am happy all the time! This dojo may not be for everyone but if your serious about living the best life and most successful you can everyday come learn how. Remember the only time you will find success before work is in the dictionary! Steven Gladin
Recommendation of a friend and fellow student and I’ve been hooked ever since. I’m still excited to go to classes every week. I have more confidence that in a bad situation I would be able to defend myself and/or my family. I feel stronger and more agile due to the techniques we practice and the exercises’ we perform so my overall confidence has improved as well. When you’re in class, you’re not just learning self-defense techniques; You learn the history and traditions of Ninpo; You learn patience and discipline; and you learn to speak some Japanese. You also teach. As you advance you help to guide the newer students in their training. Sensei says the other students are my brothers and sisters, and I feel that very strongly when I’m in class. We train hard together and I respect them all. We don’t compete but we encourage each other, and no other student has ever made me feel awkward for messing up or taking a little longer to learn a technique. Sensei Ismael is a fantastic instructor and he always makes every class fun even when we’re covered in sweat. He has something new to show us every class and I enjoy his stories about the history of Ninpo. Sensei Ismael has my utmost respect and loyalty and I hope to continue training with him for years to come. Daniel Callahan Age 31
This dojo is one of the few where practical martial arts are taught. Within the first 6 months of training here I felt more self-confident both in terms of self defense in a fight and as a person. One of the philosophies taught here is that the best way to win a fight is to avoid it. The techniques range from subduing (for use on your drunk cousin whom you do not wish to injure) to causing serious injury or death (for use on violent aggressors in an inescapable situation), so the confidence to walk away from or diffuse a hostile situation without needless injury is extremely important. Sensei Rodriguez is an excellent teacher of both physical technique and the non-aggression philosophy. Self-control, awareness, and self-esteem are all heavily emphasized during training. The physical techniques are extremely effective for anyone of any size. My belief on this subject was reinforced empirically one evening during a smaller class. I was around 17 at the time and in good shape (I had taken fencing for a few years prior). During the class, I was paired with a girl who was half my size and around half my age. There are normally separate classes for the younger kids, but this girl was well beyond her peers, and frankly myself, as well. The technique we were practicing was breaking a hold. One second I’ve got her in the hold, next second I’m flat on my back. In short, I would recommend Sensei Rodriguez’s dojo to anyone interested in learning responsible self-defense techniques. ————————————————————————————————————————- I’ve been going to Niji No Hashi Dojo for about two years now, I think. It feels weird to think about that, because I’ve become so at home there. When I went, it was because my mom and I had been talking about going off to college, and how campuses are sometimes dangerous to be on. At the time, I had developed interest in martial arts through a kickboxing class at our local gym, and I mentioned to my mom that I had seen a dojo (Niji no Hashi Dojo) in the area. The nice thing was that it was within walking Distance from our house, and after one visit there, I knew that this is what I wanted to do. So I signed up. My goals for going have changed over time, and I’m sure they may change again. However, every goal I’ve had there, I’ve been able to fulfill, and that does amazing things for somebody’s mind and confidence, especially when confidence has been hard to come by in the past. It’s not easy, and it’s not always fun. Don’t mistake me on that. It’s hard work, and sometimes the time drags by. But it’s always worth it. Hardship is really the only way for anything to be worth it, from martial arts to the ‘art’ of life. I don’t want to make this extremely long, so let me wrap up by saying that the instruction, the people, and the art itself, are all incredible. I have no intention of leaving, ever. Everyone there is motivated and determined to learn, and getting to know them is one of the most valuable things I have ever experienced. Arigato Gozaimashta, Sensei, for everything you do. You’ve changed my life, as I’m sure you’ve changed many lives before me. ~Veronica ——————————————————————————————————————– This dojo is one of the few where practical martial arts are taught. Within the first 6 months of training here I felt more self-confident both in terms of self-defense in a fight and as a person. One of the philosophies taught here is that the best way to win a fight is to avoid it. The techniques range from subduing (for use on your drunk cousin whom you do not wish to injure) to causing serious injury or death (for use on violent aggressors in an inescapable situation), so the confidence to walk away from or diffuse a hostile situation without needless injury is extremely important. Sensei Rodriguez is an excellent teacher of both physical technique and the non-aggression philosophy. Self-control, awareness, and self-esteem are all heavily emphasized during training. The physical techniques are extremely effective for anyone of any size. My belief on this subject was reinforced empirically one evening during a smaller class. I was around 17 at the time and in good shape (I had taken fencing for a few years prior). During the class, I was paired with a girl who was half my size and around half my age. There are normally separate classes for the younger kids, but this girl was well beyond her peers, and frankly myself, as well. The technique we were practicing was breaking a hold. One second I’ve got her in the hold, next second I’m flat on my back. In short, I would recommend Sensei Rodriguez’s dojo to anyone interested in learning responsible self-defense techniques. Sam Volstad ———————————————————————————————————————   My time spent training at the Niji No Hashi dojo with Sensei Rodriguez, marks some of the best and most influential years in my martial arts training. The technique, etiquette, and knowledge that are passed down in the Niji No Hashi Dojo have become a part of my daily training, mentality, and life style. I am twenty-three years old, a professional instructor and sponsored athlete, a student in college, and I practice martial arts seven days a week, the majority of which comes from the curriculum of the Niji No Hashi dojo. I’ve studied and trained in Taekwondo, Hapkido, and kick boxing, and taught Taekwondo and Parkour professionally. The Niji No Hashi Dojo’s techniques are some of the best techniques that I have ever learned and I recommend the Niji No Hashi Dojo for anyone who is serious about self-defense and true martial arts training. In each class, students are required to follow a set of dojo rules known as Dojo Rei or the Dojo etiquette, which includes many things involving how to bow correctly and speak and communicate using various Japanese phrases. This dojo rei not only teaches students self defense but it also helps one to become more familiar with Japanese culture. The various Japanese phrases which are taught in the dojo helped me deal with the language barriers I would face when I visited Tokyo, Japan in 2013. It was a great feeling to realize that even on the other side of the planet, I could put my training from the dojo into use and that my training was still with me even in a way that I hadn’t imagined. More specifically there was a time during that trip when I was completely lost and no one around me spoke English. I used the terminology I had learned in the dojo to communicate enough to find my way to my destination. I’ve been training at the Niji No Hashi Dojo for about four years and I hope to continue training here for many years to come. When I have children they will be learning the same material that I was taught inside the Niji No Hashi Dojo. Sensei Rodriguez is one with his art, he knows the real world, and he has a truly strong and compassionate heart. He has spent years training in various martial arts and dedicated himself to the curriculum that he teaches within the Niji No Hashi dojo. He provides students with some of the best teachings and self defense techniques that I have ever come across and he is one of my greatest friends. If you are interested in learning true Japanese martial arts, the Niji No Hashi Dojo is where you should be. J.James   ———————————————————————————————————————

My name is Prema Narayana, and I have been in Martial Arts ever since I was six years old. I am only fourteen years old currently, which kind of ruins the inspirational sentence I said previously.

Anyways, I joined a regular karate school that taught TaeKwonDo, and I never liked it. My father just put me in it so he can be able to feel safe when I grow up into the real world. At first, he thought it was okay, because they had sparring matches and I would get the feel of what it is like to fight. But the thing is, we are covered up in gear from head to toes in pads, we were restricted to hit certain areas, and then as years went by, we were only allowed to punch lightly. This made no sense! This wasn’t going to help you in the real world, because people won’t magically pop into padded suit that makes you look like the Stay-Puft Marshmallow guy, yell at you if you punch them in the face (because it is off limits) and start “attacking” you lightly. Who wanted to punch a marshmallow man anyways? In other words, it wasn’t realistic. I still continued it for years anyway, until I reached a second-degree black belt. Once you got into higher levels, all you do is learn how to do a couple “forms” which is when you have a sequence of punches and kicks you have to do, and everyone does the same thing at the same time so it looks like synchronized dancing with some yelling here and there. I still didn’t like it, and begged my dad for him to stop making me go. He later agreed that this wasn’t the place where I would know how to defend myself.

I found the Niji No Hashi Dojo when I was twelve years old. I have enjoyed everything about this dojo. I have learned how to defend myself (correctly) and how to end the fight as quickly as a couple seconds. Why continue the fight? Just end it as quickly as possible before you or someone else gets hurt. In this dojo, you will know simple little tricks that will inflict a little pain to help you escape the fight, or overcome the attacker. I hated martial arts with a burning passion, until I found the dojo. I wish I could of trained here from the beginning so I wouldn’t have those horrible memories of me dressed up as the Stay-Puft Marshmallow man and being punched to the ground. Oh, and so I could have Ninjutsu (and other types of real karate) shape me into a fighter so I can make my father proud.

Prema Narayana

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My son and I have been training at Niji No Hashi Dojo for several years and thoroughly enjoy it.  At every class we get great training and a very good workout.  Sensei is very careful to make sure we do the techniques safely and with a variety of partners.

B.Purvis

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I crossed paths with Sensei at a very difficult time in my life. I had been shuffled around, worried about, and misunderstood. I was on the verge of giving up and letting other people direct and manage my life for me. When I spoke to Sensei about my past and my troubles, you know what he said to me? He said “thank you for being a real person.” Sensei loves his students, and has complete patience and understanding for us. The first day he showed me his family, and I could tell he cared about each one of them as his own. Sensei has an uncanny ability to see and bring out the best in every person. And if the dojo isn’t for you? He sincerely wishes “that you find what you are looking for.” Eternally grateful, Arthur Freeman ——————————————————————————————————————— Louis Schroeder, Deep in the rural region of Matsubusi, Japan there lives a man named Shoto Tanemura. His name literally translates to the law of the sword. Mr. Tanemura is the 34th grandmaster of Ninpo and ancient martial art with roots that date back over 1000 years. For centuries this art was kept secret from all outsiders, but their came a time when Grand Master Takamatsu Toshitsugu decided that the martial art of Ninpo came from the world and therefore it must be given back to the world. Grand Master Takamatsu was born in 1887 and died in 1972. After his death his legacy has been carried out by Grand Master Tanemura. Tanemura has since brought the art of Ninpo from a small region of Japan to almost every continent in the world. Perhaps, you may ask why this art based around an ancient Japanese religion and culture has been so widely accepted in the modern world. I believe that it is because of the underlying ethics, principles, and philosophy involved in the art. To give you an idea of what philosophy and principles I am referring to I will provide you with a small example. Ninpo when broken down translates to Nin – patience and perseverance, and Po – which encompasses a much more complex meaning, translates to ultimate and eternal reality; together they can be understood to mean the ultimate and eternal reality of patience and perseverance as stated on Shihan Roy Rons Web Site. This name suits the Ninpo practitioner because; in Ninpo unlike in the samurai arts it is believed that the ends justify the means. In Ninpo if your goal is pure how you accomplish this goal does not matter. You must use all that is at your disposal to persevere over what ever obstacle is in the way of achieving that goal. In order for one to understand this belief you must first understand the ninja as a person. The character Nin can be separated into two parts as well; these two parts are the heart and the blade. When this was first explained to me by my teacher He said that means one who practices Ninpo should have a heart and mind that is as sharp and pure as a blade, he also continued to say that you should always use the heart before the blade because a person that trains in these potentially dangerous arts must have compassion even toward his attacker. It is this pure and compassionate heart that allows the ninja to use his abilities for universal good. Ninpo is not used to achieve self serving goals; it should be used to defend others who are weaker then yourself, your country, and then yourself.  “If an expert in the fighting arts sincerely pursues the essence of Ninpo, devoid of the influence of the ego’s desires, the student will progressively come to realize the ultimate secret to becoming invisible – The attainment of the “mind and heart of god.”” Grand Master Toshitsugu Takamatsu. A Scottish man named James Wright, who is one of Tanemura top students, was asked why he chose to move to Japan and train with Tanemura. He responded that Tanemura was a great man and that he saw it as an opportunity to grade up his life. I believe this is the reason many Americans and foreigners all over the world have accepted this martial art. The unwavering dedication to self and global betterment is intriguing to all people, because people know how hard it is to dedicate your life to constant physical and mental betterment and I believe it is seen by many to be honorable. However, though the reward is great the sacrifice is also high. There have been many days when came home from training with bruises covering my legs and arms, broken toes, sprained thumbs or pulled joints. Other days I might come home so physically exhausted that I would feel like vomiting. From this type of training I have grown mental strong. By denying my body what it wants I have learned what it needs. Physical and mental training in Ninpo is not enough. Spiritual training is also necessary. You must learn to sense murderous intent. For example to test for one of the very high levels in Ninpo ones teacher will tell the student to sit in seiza, (a Japanese kneeling posture), with his eyes closed, the teacher with then leave the room after waiting an undetermined amount of time the teacher will return being careful the student does not hear him and will attack the student with murderous intent (sakki) using a razor sharp blade. Sitting in seiza is something that is done all the time in Ninpo, therefore the student who is not aware he will be tested will have no idea that he soon will be attacked. The student must sense the murderous intent emitted by his teacher and evade the blade if not he will be killed. It is this type of spiritual development that separates Ninpo from other martial arts. This mystical aspect may attract people toward the art of Ninpo, but as you train your motives change from trying to attain skills to show off in front of others to wanting self betterment and a greater understanding of your own body, mind, and spirit. If your Motives remain unchanged then you can only go so far in the system of Ninpo.  I have seen many students who came to my school looking to learn how to be a “ninja”, as they know them from movies, most of these students do not last very long when they find out the amount of dedication, spiritual refinement, and sacrifice needed to accomplish their goal. Ninpo is not a hobby it is a way of life that requires discipline, dedication, and sacrifice. This way of life was brought to New York by a man named Ismael Rodriguez. After practicing martial arts for 20 or so years Ismael was in search of something that could take his training to the next level. During his search he found the martial art of Ninpo. As he learned more about the spiritual refinement and discipline of Ninpo he became captivated by the art. Ismael who at that time was a Brooklyn native decided to travel to Ohio, were at that time there was one of very few Ninpo schools. There he met a Japanese man named Haguchi who taught him the discipline of Ninpo. Through constant training and spiritual refinement Ismael, began to uncover some of the mysteries of Ninpo. When Ismael’s training with Haguchi had come to an end, Ismael left Ohio and returned to New York. After he returned, Ismael decided that he wanted to teach the many skills he had learned to others. After a rocky start financially, Ismael was finally was able to open up his own school in Brooklyn, which after 20 years is still is there. It was at this school that I began my training. The First thing I remember before I signed up was Ismael correcting my etiquette; I was standing with my arms folded and he told me that, “in Japan to stand with your arms folded means that you are the strongest and most skilled person in the room”, Then he grinned at me as I nervously put my arms to my sides. From that day on I was obsessed with Ninpo; I attended every class that was available and still do. In the beginning I wanted to learn techniques I could use in fights; which due to my neighborhood in Flatbush Avenue Brooklyn were all to frequent, however as I progressed I became more interested in the deep spiritual aspects of the art. As I continued to advance even further self defense was so natural I no longer needed to think about it. It was at this time I learned the importance of showing mercy toward your attackers. At the Beginning of each class we recite a prayer in Japanese this is the prayers English translation as it is written on the Genbukan website “The essence of the Ninja spirit is fortitude: Perseverance of mind, body, and consciousness. Endure Shame, forget jealousy. The origin is patience. “Nin” is not the blade over the heart to hurt others “Nin” means “kajo Waraku.” A truly strong and compassionate heart, pure as a tender flower, such a heart shall enjoy peace. Hence, attain the wonder of the changing strategy. Your body shall naturally evade the opponent’s sword. In defense against the enemies of justice, societies, and our country, utilize nature’s earth, water, fire, wind, and air. This is the fundamental principle of the ninja.” This prayer sums up the beliefs of a Ninpo practitioner. Another Symbol used in Ninpo is the lotus flower. This flower is significant because though the surroundings it grows out of are dirty and swamp like, the flower is still beautiful. We are told that we also should but be like the lotus flower and regardless of what may be in our environment grow up to be internally beautiful. Though we may learn techniques which have the potential to be deadly, the art of Ninpo is about preserving life and becoming at harmony with nature. We are taught that because human beings have the ability to take life it is there responsibility to preserve life, no matter how small or insignificant that life may seem. It is highly forbidden to kill anything in our training area, weather it is a mosquito or a water bug they will be captured and immediately released outside. Once I absentmindedly swatted and killed a mosquito on my arm, my Teacher stopped class and yelled at me never to kill anything again. In the same way that all people should care for nature’s disadvantaged, Ninpo practitioners are taught that we should help others who may be more vulnerable then us. There is a saying in Ninpo that is also common to Americans, this saying is, “if someone witnesses an injustice, and does nothing that is a greater injustice.” This does not mean that you should try to take on 12 men with knives robbing a store; rather what it means is that you should due what ever you possibly can to help the victim. Not all cases can be solved by violence. If you were to stop a robbery buy attacking the people committing the injustice and put them into a hospital, perhaps the next time they see the man you helped they will stab and kill him, who then have you helped? That is why the Ninja Must develop his mind and learn to solve problems without confrontation. Perhaps, deception will best serve your goal. Only as a last resort, will a ninja use force, the ninja would much rather fool or distract his opponent to achieve his goal. These types of tactics are why the ninjas are often portrayed as ruthless assassins with magical powers. “Rather then face battle with a very strong adversary the ninja would rather throw an object so that he can escape” James Wright. When fighting is concerned the Ninpo practitioner had no set ethics. Whatever the ninja has to do to protect what he thinks is just and good he does. To be a student of Ninpo on must also be a student of life. Learning everyday from everything he does. He has to keep an open mind and a pure heart, however that heart must also be as sharp and cold as a blade. Due to the secretive nature of Ninpo most of the teachings are passed down through Kuden. Kuden means oral teachings or heart to heart. It is said that these oral teachings are more important then techniques. “A teacher’s goal is to plant inside his student a seed. Hopefully the student will grow up to be a plant and have seeds of his own” Shoto Tanemura, this will ensure that Ninpo lives on forever in the hearts of its practitioners ————————————————————————————————————————- I have done martial arts for about 8 years (on and off). Like most others, I did Taekwondo as a child. In highschool I found about the Niji No Hashi Dojo and decided to check it out. My first impressions of the dojo were that it was quite traditional and more intimate than the place where I did Taekwondo. I also found the instructor very sincere and humble. I started going to the Niji No Hashi Dojo my senior year in high school and have been going for 3 years now. The instruction in the dojo is very balanced and does not force you to move at any particular pace. If Sensei Rodriguez thinks you are ready to advance to a new level he will test and if he does not he will not test you. This results in people advancing at different paces, which I believe to be a good think since not all people learn at the same pace. Sensei Rodriguez’s instruction is great; he is neither too strict nor too lenient. His emphasis is that proper etiquette be practiced at all times. As long as you treat everyone and everything with respect, Sensei Rodriguez will treat you in kind. Overall, I think my experience at the Niji No Hashi Dojo has been thoroughly pleasing and I will most likely continue going there , whenever I can, for the foreseeable future. Vinny ——————————————————————————————————-

I’ve been attending Niji No Hashi Dojo since 2010 and it has been very fulfilling and I never once regretted joining. This school represents the way martial arts should be taught which is through practical self-defense. You will be truly amazed by the amount of knowledge and skill you will attain during your first level of training. Sensei Rodriguez is very keen and patient, he observes you and critiques your technique even when you think he’s not watching. He then gives you immediate feedback so you can perfect your technique and master your level. After joining Niji No Hashi Dojo I’ve made a commitment to study this martial art for a long time under Sensei Rodriguez

– Jamal

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I drive 42 miles one way and pass 4 Dojos to train under Sensei Rodriguez. As a prior Tae Kwon Do student I can tell you that Ninpo is way more challenging and satisfying. I’ve spent the last 22 years in law enforcement and Ninpo clearly beats Tae Kwon Do when it comes to actual self defense and having the warrior mindset. Sensei Rodriguez cares about his students and has a special heart for children. This is not your production line martial arts with a test every 3 months and an instructor that only talks to you when it’s time to pay money. Sensei Rodriguez has made my life better and through him I’ve done things I never thought I could. Sensei Rodriguez has taught me more about self defense and having a warrior mindset than my Tae Kwon Do and law enforcement training. He’s like family to me and the other students. -J. Scott ———————————————————————————————————————– I’ve always been interested in taking martial arts classes but didn’t like the theatrics and acrobatics that I’ve seen with some programs. I was looking for a program that focused more on self-defense. This is particularly important for women these days. A friend told me about the traditional Japanese martial arts of Ninpo and Jujutsu that are taught at the Niji No Hashi Dojo under Sensei Ismael Rodriguez. She assured me that the training is more practical for self-defense. And I totally agree. I’ve been training at the dojo for almost 2 years and have learned so much. I am now trained to have a constant awareness of my surroundings. Even though I can’t do all the techniques and patterns perfectly due to limitations from an old knee injury, I have built my confidence and feel assured that if I am attacked, I will have a fighting chance to defend myself and escape my attacker. You don’t need a lot of physical strength to train in this program (although you will become stronger as you train). There are so many simple techniques (as well as advanced techniques) that you can learn and apply that will inflict enough pain on your attacker to buy time so you can escape. If you practice them over and over, the techniques become part of you and you can automatically react to your situation. I highly recommend this discipline for all women who want to learn self-defense and build their confidence, strength, and stamina. Kathy W. Age 44 ————————————————————————————————–

Have you ever heard the old saying “When the student is ready, the master appears”? Well, that has proven true for me. I searched for a martial arts center where I could learn both self-defense and get some good exercise. There were plenty of options, but I wasn’t interested going to a fancy chain with a prescribed experience that emphasized competitions and belts. I wanted to find a place that would help me increase my physical strength, but would also speak to my spirit. I consider myself fortunate to have found the Niji no Hashi Dojo, which specializes in aspects of both the physical and spiritual martial arts.

Genbukan Ninpo Bugei is a wonderful mixed martial art developed by Grandmaster Tanemura. It combines Jujutsu, Karate, judo, and Taijutsu disciplines to teach you how to defend yourself (while also exercising good judgment and self-control). Classes are conducted in Japanese and focus on striking techniques (including blocks and kicks), throwing techniques, joint manipulation, locks and chokes, pressure-point attacks, disarming moves, and bone-breaking techniques. Strong character, service to one’s family and community, and spiritual growth are also values deeply upheld by this school. If you are looking for an authentic experience, this Dojo is for you.

Sensei Rodriguez is one of the most nurturing and invested teachers I’ve ever had; he cares for his students as a father would for his children, and he customizes every class to each student’s individual needs. The Dojo is a spiritually healthy place that attracts people of all ages who possess integrity, kindness, and the sincere desire to learn. Respect abounds at the Niji no Hashi Dojo. Whether you are new to martial arts or very experienced in various disciplines, you don’t want to pass by an opportunity to check out this school. I can personally attest to the fact that everyone who visits comes away with a deeper understanding of martial arts and themselves, as well as a greater feeling of self-worth.

Kara 


 

When I was in college, about twenty years ago, I trained in a traditional Tae Kwon Do school. I enjoyed the exercise, gained self-confidence, and felt like I was part of an extended family. When I moved away from that town, I began my search for another school to replace it. Most martial arts schools, regardless of style, were fight schools—interested in earning trophies or rapid advancement to claim a particular rank or title. Most places had little or no connection to a larger organization, never mind foundations rooted in Asia.

Then I discovered Niji No Hashi Dojo in Cary. Sensei Rodriguez is an instructor in Genbukan Ninpo and KJJR Jujitsu. The Dojo’s courses are tough, but fair. Classes are taught in a traditional Japanese manner, using the Japanese language as much as possible. Sensei Rodriguez and Sempai Young work with us, and they push us—but there is no expectation that we must keep up with the others in the class. The only competition is within—to better ourselves. The school is very traditional, with ties to an international organization based in Japan. Sensei is a personal student of Grandmaster Shoto Tanemura. He and Sempai Young frequently go to Japan to continue their own training.

At this point, I am seriously overweight. Sensei and Sempai work me hard, but with compassion. At times when he thinks I am too tired, Sensei stops me and makes me take a break so that I don’t hurt myself by being sloppy due to fatigue. Because of my size, they also have been very careful to only introduce me to techniques they think I can do without hurting myself. I’m taking small steps, but each step brings me further down the path in my journey to better fitness and health. After class, I walk to my car and I’m absolutely soaked in sweat, but I feel better and have more energy than when I left my house earlier that evening.

Part of the reason for the feeling I have at the end of class is due to the spiritual nature of the art. The heart and soul are important components to training—it’s more than just physical. I feel tired, but my mind feels sharper, and I feel enriched spiritually at the end of each class. Another reason for that feeling is the camaraderie of the other students. As I mentioned earlier, there is no competition with anyone other than yourself. As such, the other students are more than willing to help you during a training session. The Dojo Rei (etiquette) reinforces this as we bow-in together, workout together, and bow-out together in ceremonies and patterns that are repeated around the world.

Mike


 

I joined Niji No Hashi Dojo in the hopes that my being there would help my son stay interested. And so far, that has been successful, and I pray he continues to attend classes. But now, I go for myself.

I had always wanted to try a martial art, and now that I’ve found Sensei Rodriguez, I’m glad I did. I’m 37 years old, and even though I’ve been training for less than a year, I’m already in better shape than I have been in 15 years. I’ve never been one to exercise, but the joy I get from Genbukan Ninpo has me working out even on days when I’m not at the dojo.

I’d like to thank Sensei Rodriguez and everyone at Niji No Hashi Dojo for everything they’ve done for me, and everything I know they’ll continue to do. I highly recommend this discipline for anyone who has ever been interested in martial arts.

Arrigato Gozaimashita!

Joseph Bell


 

My name is Ritu Prasad, I’m seventeen years old, and I am finally writing a testimonial!

It’s hard to describe in so few words all that the dojo and this martial art have done for me, even in just the two years I’ve been here. But to begin, I’d like to give Sensei my utmost thanks; it is because of him that I am able to write this now as a changed person.

What initially drew me and my best friend to this martial art was our love of all things Japanese. What made us stay was our awe and admiration for the art of the ninja—something we had never truly heard about before, but something that captivated us completely. By training with other dojo members (Sensei fondly refers to them as our “Dojo brothers and sisters,” and it’s true that we do seem to be part of a large family here), I began to notice that as my interest grew in the martial arts, I was growing as a person. When I walked down the street, I was keeping an eye on who was around me. When I went out with my family at night, I was running through patterns in my head. After a hard day of school, when I felt lazy and worn out, I’d get up and practice my blocks and strikes, or maybe even pick up my wooden bokken (sword), and instantly, I’d feel that much better. I’m not scared to take a walk alone anymore. I’m not the weak, lazy thing I was when I first walked into the dojo. I’m forever changed for the better.

It doesn’t matter how old you are or how young you are, joining the dojo and training in this martial art is still going to be a life-changing experience that could save your life one day. I encourage anyone and everyone to visit the dojo at least once or twice. I guarantee that what you find won’t disappoint.

From my experience with other martial arts places, Niji no Hashi Dojo has the best environment and most useful teachings. This dojo is not a place where just anyone can achieve a high rank by paying money or just sticking around long enough. Well, you do have to stick around long enough, but you’ve got to also work, work, and work! You won’t find any black belts with only three years of training. There is also no sense of competition, either. Everyone is here to help each other and become the best that they can be. I’ve worked with several higher-ranking members and none of them has ever been anything but extremely helpful and kind.

In conclusion, if you have read this, I hope you are considering joining us at Niji no Hashi Dojo. I know that one of the things I’m going to miss most when I leave for college is training at the dojo, as it has given me a sense of strength and calmness that can’t be found anywhere else.

Ritu Prasad


 

Most martial arts schools that I’ve visited were more into sports and getting to the next level, rather than just taking the time to ensure that students got the techniques right. That’s not true of Niji no Hashi Dojo.

I love that Sensei Rodriguez’ classes teach skills that include quick, precise movements to improve the accuracy of each student’s blocks, strikes, and dodges. It is also a great place to learn how to be a better human being. The people at the dojo are more than willing to share information and help one another learn.

The thing I probably like most about the dojo is how traditional it is. Every time I step into to the building, I feel like I’ve been transported back in time, where I can practice techniques and feel a sense of spiritual refinement. 

Mic


 

The Niji No Hashi Dojo provides instruction and training based on Genbukan Ninpo Bugei. I have found the experience fascinating due to its message that compassion comes first, as well as the completeness of system, a never-ending opportunity to learn, and the quality of the instruction.

Instructors Sensei Ismael Rodriguez and Sempai Marcia Young Rodriguez are extremely talented martial art practitioners with complementary teaching styles. They are excellent teachers who care about each student’s progress, are dedicated to safety, and love passing knowledge on to their students.

Sensei interjects a bit of humor into his classes, while Sempai focuses more on tradition, dedication, and is all business. Both exude passion in their own unique way, and both have an eye for identifying minor flaws in a student’s technique. “Perfection obtained through repetition” seems to be their philosophy. Daily drills provide the repetition to build muscle memory while simultaneously enabling a workout that builds endurance and muscle tone.

Genbukan Ninpo Bugei contains unarmed hand-to-hand techniques, ground fighting, weapons training, and techniques for armed-against-unarmed confrontations. A complete system is taught in this Dojo with the goals and objectives of:

* No competition between students. * Train at your level, capability, and pace. * Safety, improving your health and longevity is of utmost importance because if you are hurt, you are not training. * The training should not punish your body enough to force sedentary golden years. * Perfecting the techniques and quality (not advancing in belt levels) are what is important. * Defending yourself is the last resort, after all other options are exhausted (including running away). * If you must defend yourself in a life-or-death situation, there are no rules or limitations.

Mike Walley


I have been under the tutelage of Sensei Ismael Rodriguez for over two years now, and I get excited each day that I go to the Dojo—even more so than when I first started. Before I was affiliated with the Genbukan Niji No Hashi Dojo, I was always afraid that I would get attacked and be unable to defend myself, but thanks to Sensei’s training, I can walk down the street with confidence.

Sensei has taught me so much over these two years. I’ve learned some Koppojutsu (bone-breaking techniques), Bikenjutsu (swordplay techniques), Bojutsu (staff techniques), and Hanbojutsu (half-staff techniques). There’s more I’m probably forgetting to mention.

Now, I have no fear. I do not fear people on the street. I have confidence, yet I do not feel arrogant. I acknowledge that I am just one person, but I also keep a mantra in my mind: “The worst they can do is kill you.” I love life and want to live as long a life as possible, but I do not fear my potential demise. Sensei taught me that fear is what will get you killed, but luckily Ninpo teaches not only self-defense, but also how to avoid dangerous situations. The best part of this martial art is knowing that you probably won’t have to use it. 

Andrew Torres


I have been a student at this dojo for almost two years and am currently at the fifth level (out of ten) in my training. When I first came to this dojo with my sister, I felt very shy and hesitant to start training; however, Sensei made sure that we felt comfortable coming in. While he effectively taught us new moves with simple step-by-step instructions, he never pushed us to do something we were not comfortable doing or that he felt we were not ready for. Not only did I receive training from Sensei, but I also learned from the other students, especially those of higher ranks. There is never any competition between students, and everyone is so friendly that it made the learning process that much easier for me. Now from all the training I have received over the past couple of years, I feel like I am better prepared to defend myself in a real-life situation. Sensei has taught us many moves and techniques that are practical to use in realistic situations, such as if a person confronted me with a knife. So I know that if ever the situation arises, I have learned numerous moves that I can use to ensure my safety or the safety of my loved ones. —Rachel ———————————————————————————————————————— When I was very young and addicted to Saturday morning cartoons, I dreamed about ninja. My interest in Asian culture continued throughout my life, but somewhere in the back of my mind, I knew I really wanted to take a martial arts class. Instead, I took about 16 years of dance classes. One day, I decided to search Ninjutsu on yellowpages.com to see if, by some miracle, there was a school near me. Imagine my excitement when I discovered this dojo! As soon as I walked in and saw the Kamidana, bamboo accents, and the black uniforms; I knew this was the place for me. I didn’t even bother looking at other schools. I been taking classes for quite a while now and I haven’t regretted it, not even when I suffered a mild shoulder separation during a warm-up roll! Sensei is a very warm person who has never made me feel stupid for making a mistake; Sempai is very strict (sometimes intimidating) but well-meaning; and my classmates almost feel like extended family. It’s wonderful to be part of a place that stresses rituals and etiquette, as well as techniques. It’s even more wonderful to know that everyone is learning at their own pace, so that there is no competition for rank. —A.E. Sheffield ———————————————————————————————————————— After many years of traditional, non-traditional, and military close-quarter combat training, it is refreshing to go back to very traditional martial art roots. Niji No Hashi Dojo provides exactly that: very traditional training environment with a solid foundation and focus on the practical aspects of martial arts. Finding a good martial arts school is challenging; finding a great one is exponentially more so. Having recently relocated to this area, this was a concern, especially after having great instructors in the past. I found Niji No Hashi Dojo after extensive research, checking out schools. The instruction at the Dojo is exceptional, and, coupled with the strong bonds among the students, makes for a healthy environment that fosters solid personal and collective development. —Andres ———————————————————————————————————————— My name is Daniel Murphy. I am 54 years old. In 1985, I as hit by a drunk driver. I sustained a traumatic head injury which affected my eyesight, hearing, and coordination. From 1987 to 1991, I was a homeless indigent living on the streets of Fayetteville, North Carolina. Lots of times, I would be beaten by drunken GIs or gangs of youths looking to have fun at my expense, because I was a homeless bum. I always wished that I could defend myself, but at that time, I was in no condition (physically, mentally, or spiritually) to fight back. I made a promise to myself that one day I would learn to defend myself. Finally, in October of 2008, after looking for a martial arts school for over 2 years, I finally found what I was looking for in Niji No Hashi Dojo, run by Sensei Ismael Rodriguez. I walked in, and I knew right away I was in the right place. I don’t know how to explain it, but I just knew in my heart that this place was right for me. I am interested in martial arts wisdom, not in breaking boards or winning competitions. I asked my wife to get me enrolled as a Christmas present. In January of 2009, I started my training. The first thing Sensei taught me was PATIENCE! Ninpo is a martial art that one does not acquire quickly or easily. I was happy to find out that the students in my class did not think I was nuts for beginning this martial art at the age of 54. They treated me with respect. They treated me an equal, regardless of what their own level of training was. Sensei and my fellow students are always, always, always there to answer any questions I may have or to help me to learn a new technique. Sensei Rodriguez is a caring and sincere man who has the utmost passion for the art of Ninpo. Sensei Rodriguez is always looking out for the safety of his students, and he wants what is best for them. He passes onto us the generations of wisdom that he has learned from his Sensei. I highly recommend trying Niji No Hashi Dojo to train your body, mind, and spirit. If learning a true martial art is what you are looking for, studying Ninpo under Sensei Rodriguez will be the answer to your prayers. —Daniel Murpy (Murph) ———————————————————————————————————————— My name is Dakota S and I am 17 years old. I have been a member of the Ninpo Federation for about 9 months now. My Sensei, Ismael Rodrigez, has taught me techniques very well. When I first started out in Ninpo I was looking forward to learning fast. I soon realized that it takes a lot of patience to become a true warrior, and that if you learn things slower, that your form will be much greater than if you were to learn it fast. When I am training, I feel a lot stronger, and I notice that I react faster when responding to attacks than I did in the past. I would definitely recommend this martial art to anyone who has the patience and wants to experience something great. It gives me great honor to train with and teach others Ninpo. I am looking forward to becoming someone who will learn all these moves and to put them to good use. I am especially looking forward to learning martial arts so that one day I can become a true warrior: physically, mentally, and spiritually. —Dakota S ———————————————————————————————————————— You do not give a child a loaded gun. Martial arts techniques can be very dangerous. However, Sensei Rodriguez teaches my son, Dakota, the importance of a balanced life; he impresses upon Dakota the importance of tempering the rage that many young men feel. I know my son is learning about the true spirit behind what he is doing. He is becoming very powerful and confident, yet he remains humble, so this makes me feel very relieved. —Stephan D. S ———————————————————————————————————————— It started with my 11-year-old son, who had some anger management issues, and after 30 days of training at Niji No Hashi Dojo, I was so impressed with his progress, I joined and I signed up my 13-year-old son. As a former four-sport athlete and a student of three self-defense arts, I can say that the physical and mental part of Genbukan Nipo Bugei training is definitely the most effective self defense art I have ever studied, hands down! And the instructors are as good as any of my coaches ever were. Sensei is truly passionate and caring teacher. His love for his craft fills the dojo. It gives you as sense of belonging. All the students then teach each other with the same passion. The training is long, hard, and intense. But after every class, I feel myself improving in the art of Ninpo, and sometimes the feeling is overwhelming. I especially like to train with the higher ranking students in Sempai Marcia’s advanced class and Sensei’s students from his dojo in New York. The knowledge about the history Ninpo just seems to fill the dojo with a certain ambience. I would highly recommend this school to every one. —Rudolph G. Lamb, Jr., age 55 ———————————————————————————————————————— Since childhood, I have always desired to learn a martial art. Back then, there were few dojo, and saving for college was my parent’s priority; therefore, I didn’t have the opportunity to learn a martial art until I could afford my education. As time passed, this goal slipped to the back of my mind, until one day in my mid-forties, when a friend demonstrated Brazilian Jujutsu. My first training experience lasted approximately 6 months at a dojo where you received instruction from the Sensei until you committed to the school. Next, I trained in Muay Thai for a little over 3 years. I had earned a black belt and remained at that dojo until the school closed. Muay Thai is very physically demanding; it offers excellent conditioning and is focused on striking techniques. Compared to other martial arts, Muay Thai contains only a handful of strikes with your hands, elbows, knees, and legs. These basic strikes form a variety of combinations and the training involves repetition and sparing. The simplicity facilitates proficiency and makes it very effective. When this school closed, I located a dojo where I could continue practicing Muay Thai and learn Combat Hapkido. This is where I meet a practitioner of Ninjutsu, who was kind enough to teach me in the community park on Sunday mornings and sometimes on early weekday mornings. He introduced me to his former Sensei, who invited me to become a student. I drove 50 to 60 miles (one way) 3 times a week to train for a little over 2 years, until I earned a black belt in that dojo. My Sensei joined the Genbukan Federation and contacted Sensei Rodriguez, asking him to take me on as a student. My goal is to study, learn, and practice Ninpo for the rest of my life. The teaching is based on honesty, peace, patience, dedication, and communication, with the goal of avoiding confrontation. I desired to learn and practice a martial art that was physically and mental beneficial; not harmful to the point of limiting the longevity of training and the quality of life in my senior years. I sought an art where the size of the opponent was not an automatic handicap, and where the variety of training incorporated all potential aspects of a real-world encounter, such a standing, ground, and knife defense. I love to learn, and with over 2,500 techniques for hand-to-hand combat, ground fighting, and weapons training, I will continue to learn until I decide to stop. Sensei Ismael Rodiguez and Sempai Marcia Young Rodiguez are passionate about teaching Ninpo. They are extremely talented practitioners and teachers, dedicated to the safety of their students. They are patient, demand integrity, have an unbelievable eye for minute detail, and ensure your proficiency at your level before advancing you to the next level. My goal is no longer measured by rank. My goal is now to be considered a friend and a good martial artist by Sensei and Sempai Rodiguez. This can only be accomplished through dedication, loyalty, honesty, patience, and perseverance. If you do not visit this dojo and give the training a chance, you are missing a valuable opportunity. —Mike W. ———————————————————————————————————————— As a former corrections officer at a maximum security jail, I can say that the training at the Niji No Hashi Dojo is extremely efficient. The school is very traditional; respect for ourselves and our school is a top priority. Sensei Rodriquez cares deeply for all of the students and is constantly reminding us that we are not there to impress him or the other students. We are there to train at our own ability level. The school offers real-life traditional training for children and adults. I am very confident that the techniques that we learn in the dojo would be very effective in real-life situations. There are several students that have prior experience in other martial arts, and we have all expressed a similar feeling that when we found Ninjutsu, we felt that this was what we were always expecting the martial arts. Give it a try and you will understand! —Jim Howell ———————————————————————————————————————— Having been subject to the training in a Tae Kwon Do dojo, my black belt counts for nothing compared to the realism this school offers. It’s traditional, committed, and beneficial training that stays true to real martial arts. Unlike the day-care/gym-like atmosphere of other martial arts organizations, what Genbukan offers is real training. It’s nothing fast or flashy, but if you keep at it, it works. It’s unparalleled in what it offers: true self-defense for real-life situations. I’m but a beginner at this organization, but I feel the discipline, guidance, and help of the instructors add to an already nearly flawless martial arts experience offered by this dojo. —Nick Scavo ———————————————————————————————————————— Being in my late forties, I am one of Niji No Hashi Dojo’s older students. I studied other forms of martial arts in my twenties and thirties, but I became discouraged with the lack of practical, real-world techniques. I also experienced some long-term effects to my knees from some of the stances and the emphasis on frequent, high kicks. So I dropped out of practice for about fifteen years. A couple of years ago, upon noticing that I was becoming an old guy, I realized that I needed to start some regular exercise. I have tried various things: the gym, treadmills, etc., but I never stayed with it. I found myself bored. I realized that I needed to do something that incorporated my mind as much as my body. From experience, I knew that martial arts could meet both needs. So I started looking for a new school. I quickly realized that I needed something that old guys could do. I also wanted a school where I got individual attention from the Sensei and wasn’t just a number on a balance sheet, being trained by other students. I was considering Aikido when I noticed a new martial arts school on my drive home from work. I decided to see what it was all about. I didn’t recognize the style at first, but as soon as I walked in, I knew I was on the right track. No flashy technology or gadgets. No high-pressure sales pitches. Instead, I found a traditional Japanese dojo and a Sensei whose first question was “What are you looking for in a dojo?” I signed up the next day, and, two years later, I am still quite sure that I made the right choice. The style is practical, adaptable, and based on centuries of practice and refinement. Sensei and Sempai are incredibly helpful. They are understanding of my challenging work schedule. Our school is disciplined and orderly, but the students all care about one another; progress and well-being. The physical and mental challenges I sought are still being met. It would take decades to learn all they have to teach at this school. Due to the adaptable style, I am also confident that I can continue to train through my fifties and beyond. If you are looking for a way to exercise your mind and your body; a way to increase your confidence and improve your sense of inner balance; a place of order and tradition; and a way to learn practical self-defense, then I encourage you to join me at the Niji No Hashi Dojo. —Mark Eggleston ———————————————————————————————————————— When I was in college, about twenty years ago, I trained in a traditional Tae Kwon Do school. I enjoyed the exercise, gained self-confidence, and felt like I was part of an extended family. When I moved away from that town, I began my search for a school to replace it. Most martial arts schools, regardless of style, were fight schools, interested in trophies or rapid advancement to claim they had many students of a particular rank or title. Most places had little or no connection to a larger organization, never mind roots in Asia. Then I discovered the Niji No Hashi Dojo in Cary. Sensei Rodriguez is an instructor in Genbukan Ninpo and KJJR Jujitsu. The dojo is tough but fair. The lessons are taught in a traditional Japanese manner, using the Japanese language as much as possible. Sensei and Sempai Young work with us, and they do push us, but there is no expectation that we must keep up with the others in the class. The only competition is within, to better ourselves. The school is very traditional, with ties to an international organization based in Japan. Sensei is a personal student of the Grandmaster, Shoto Tanemura. He and Sempai Young frequently go to Japan to continue their own training. At this point, I am seriously overweight. Sensei and Sempai work me hard, but they also train me with compassion. At times when he thinks I am too tired, Sensei stops me and makes me take a break so that I don’t hurt myself due to fatigue. Because of my size, they also have been very careful to only introduce me to techniques they think I can do without hurting myself. I’m taking small steps, but each step brings me further down the path in my journey to better fitness and health. I walk to my car after class absolutely soaked in sweat, but I feel better and have more energy than when I left my house earlier that evening. Part of the reason for the feeling is the spiritual nature of the art. The heart and soul are important components to training… moreso than just physical exercise. I feel tired, but my mind feels sharper and I feel enriched spiritually at the end of each class. Another reason for that feeling is the camaraderie among the other students. As I mentioned earlier, there is no competition with anyone other than yourself. As such, the other students are more than willing to help you during a training session. The dojo etiquette reinforces this as we bow in together, workout together, and bow out together in ceremonies and patterns that are repeated around the world. —Bill V ———————————————————————————————————————— Sensei Rodriguez is a wonderful, compassionate, knowledgeable instructor with decades of experience. He travels to Japan regularly to train with Grandmaster Tanemura of the Genbukan Federation. I have seen Sensei working with kids, adults, seniors; both men and women. He’s wonderful with all ages, genders, physical sizes, and ability levels. —Bill ———————————————————————————————————————- I came from Norway to train at the Niji Dojo for the month of July. I have been studying Wado Ryu , which is a form of Karate for three years in my country. Niji Dojo is not a big dojo, but the people are very nice. The first few days were a little hard for me since I was not used to this art, but in a couple of weeks when I got more comfortable, I started to participate more and enjoy the class. In the 5 weeks I trained with Sensei Ismael, I learned some Biken Jutsu (sword techniques), Hanbo Jutsu (3 foot stick techniques), Hojo Jutsu (rope techniques), and a lot of Tai Jutsu (unarmed self defense). I was tested for the first level in Ninpo and passed. I was very happy to have had a chance to come to America and train with Sensei Ismael and his students. Niji No Hashi Dojo is very different than the other martial arts I am familiar with. They do not spar or compete, but the techniques taught are very realistic for self defense purposes. Ninpo is truly self-defense and not a sport. Sensei Ismael is very nice and he really wants his students to learn self-defense. A lot of peoples that starts with martial arts think they will be good in an art if they just join a school, but you really have to work hard to be good. It is very important to work hard and never give up.inpo Sigve R. Tverodd ——————————————————————————————————————— Hi, my name is Kurtley smith and I am 16 yrs old. I have been a member of Niji Dojo for 2 yrs and 4 months. I always wanted to take martial arts but I never came around to actually looking for a dojo. I wanted to practice a style of martial arts that would benefit me phsycially and mentally. I went to numerous dojos in the city but none of them appealed to me. When i entered the niji dojo that first day, I knew that this was the martial arts for me. I wasted no time and signed up the first day. My first class was my hardest class out of all of them; everything was new to me and the workout was very hard. When i got up the next morning, I was soar from the workout but in some weird way, I enjoyed the pain and could not wait to go back the next day. Sensei Ismael Rodriguez is a patient and understandable teacher. He works with everyone to make sure that their technique is perfect. This martial arts is not for everyone. If you do not have the dedication and will power, you will not make it very far. I will continue to practice Ninpo until I am not physically able to anymore. I want to thank Sensei and all the other teachers at Niji Dojo for helping me and I recommend Ninpo to anyone who wants to learn TRUE martial arts. Kurtley Smith ——————————————————————————————————–  

One thought on “Testimonials

  1. My name is Arnav and I am training with sansei for more than a year. I like sensei’s dojo because his teachings are very good. He is great teacher of ninjutsu. His dojo is better than any other martial arts place because he makes us do things to defend and attack. The other martial arts teach to attack,attack,and attack. He teaches all sorts of skills to defend and attack. I like him because because he teaches very nicely and he his a good teacher. He doesn’t scold people. This why I like sensei.

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