Laurence Kogetsu Smith has been training in several Budo disciplines for nearly two decades. In 2006, he started training in Meishi-ha Mugai-ryu Iai hyodo. He has been training under Brian Pettett-sensei and granted 5th degree (godan) by Tony Alvarez-sensei, head of the United States Federation of Mugai Ryu. Additionally, he has received his certificate of admission to the inner advanced teachings, okuiri-sho from Niina Toyoaki-gosoke (headmaster) of Meishi-ha Mugai-ryu Iai hyodo.
Since Mugai-ryu has a deep connection with Zen Buddhism, he sought zen practice for over fifteen years at Daiyuzenji Rinzai Zen Temple. It was also at that time that he started training in the Hojo no kata, the four seasons of the Jikishinkage-ryu.
In 2010, he began naginata training under Takami Tanner-sensei of the Rocky Mountain Naginata Federation in Atarashii Naginata and Bitokukai Tendo-ryu naginatajutsu.
In 2016, he was very fortunate to be accepted as a student of Peter Boylan-sensei of the Michigan Koryu Kenkyukai to train Zen Ken Ren Iaido and Shinto Muso-ryu. He was granted 2nd degree (nidan) in Seitei Jodo from the All United States Kendo Federation (AUSKF).
He also trains in Genko nito ryu (two sword) and Shinto Muso-ryu Jodo Fuzoku Ryuha (Assimilated Schools), Kasumi Shinto-ryu kenjutsu, Isshin-ryu kusarigamajutsu and Uchida-ryu tanjojutsu. In addition to his Budo training, he holds an Assistant Teacher 1 certificate from the Ohara School of Ikebana, awarded by Associate Master / Instructor Margot Wang.
Sean Gill started his martial arts study at the age of 8. He has studied in Shorin-Ryu Karate, Kendo, Mugai Ryu Iaido, Seitei & Shinto-Muso Ryu Jodo, Atarashii Naginata. He has been granted 1st degree (shodan) in Seitei Jodo from the All United States Kendo Federation (AUSKF).
Sean’s methodology is based in the pursuit of becoming a better learner and to aid others on their personal development path. The skill of learning and being humble to criticism are arguably the most important and translatable skills you will develop in a committed, long-term martial journey.
As an instructor, Sean’s course objective is student-driven development. Outside of the dojo, Sean enjoys Olympic Recurve Archery and was an international competitive archer. He aspires to study Kyudo in the near future.