Class Info

Class Schedule
What to Expect


The dojo is located in Pasadena, CA. If you are interested in training at the Kocho Dojo, please go to the application page.
PLEASE NOTE: we currently train outside. If you can’t handle some grass stains, this is not for you.


6:30 – 8:30 pm – Beginning & Intermediate; Taijutsu & Small Weapons
8:45 – 10:15 pm – Intermediate & Advanced; Taijutsu & Big Weapons

6:30 – 8:30 pm – Beginning & Intermediate; Taijutsu & Small Weapons
8:45 – 10:15 pm – Intermediate & Advanced; Taijutsu & Big Weapons

Note: There are currently no children’s classes at the Kocho Dojo.

What To Expect

What is our training is like, and what is it not like?

First of all, our training is not like a martial arts film.  We are not located on some secret base deep in the woods or on top of a mountain, and we do not train in a castle, fort, or ancient temple.  We train in a park and work on the techniques like real people, not super heroes.  We don’t wear hoods and ninja aren’t jumping out of trees to attack with throwing stars or detonating bombs and disappearing in clouds of smoke.  You will not see choreographed fight scenes nor any use of the stunt wires & harnesses that seem to be used in all action films nowadays.  We also don’t jump off of castle walls, poison evil warlords, walk through walls or chant magic spells and turn into an animal.  If you want an fantasy action movie then you should rent a DVD.

Sport martial arts have become very popular recently and many people may expect our training to be similar to the methods used for sport.  While there are a few similarities amongst nearly all martial arts, samurai and ninja techniques are very different from other martial arts, and so too the training methods differ.  We do not use sport methods so don’t expect to see us struggling to prove our ‘manliness’ in ‘fair’ competitions.  We use very effective and efficient techniques that would be considered ‘cheating’ by sports martial artists.

Sports are more concerned with ‘fair contests’ than anything else, and this is true of sport martial arts as well. Weight or belt categories, banned techniques, and artificial goals and situations (like padded cages with sprung floors) lead sport martial artist to rely upon athletic conditioning methods that will help give them an edge.  The rules force competitors to constantly strive to be faster and stronger.

The problem is that one can never really rely upon always being the fastest and be in better physical condition than every opponent on the street, especially as you get older or don’t have time to train like an olympic athlete, not to mention the possibility of needing to defend yourself when sick or injured.

The techniques of sport martial arts focus on what is allowed in competitions, which limits one in real self defense situations.  Think about Judo for example.  Most Judoka have a handful of techniques they rely upon in competitions because they can easily score with those techniques.  Real combat has no score, and the result of losing can be fatal.  What a practitioner does week in week out in training is what he will subconsciously rely upon in a real situation.  Judo might possibly be used in a self-defense situation, but if you try to rely upon Judo in a knife fight, chances are high that it will not work out so well.

Fighting harder using sports technology can certainly be useful, but if that is all one has and it isn’t enough, what then?  There is a better way, that has been refined over centuries, that does not focus on a fair manly struggle in a predetermined number of rounds to see who is the toughest guy.  There wasn’t time for that on the old battlefields and there usually isn’t time for it on the streets today.  The key is not to fight harder than your opponent, but to fight smarter.

We do not rely upon struggling with our opponents, trading blows toe to toe like a boxer.  Instead we rely upon our perception of the unfolding situation to give us the insight necessary to take advantage of gaps in our opponent’s movements that allow us to manipulate opponents to the ground where they are held restrained and unable to continue to attack.  Rather than rely on brutish methods of pounding an opponent into submission with many kicks and punches, we handle situations with a few strikes and quick take downs.  This is the method of warriors who must fight battles that lasted many hours or even days.  Think of how exhausted the average MMA fighter is after fighting one opponent.  Often they are too fatigued after just one round to effective handle more opponents.

Our methods are for real fighting, and that’s hard to demonstrate safely, whereas sport is easy to demonstrate.  How do you safely demonstrate knife fighting?  Or any life and death struggle with no rules?  Yes, we do practice controlled free training, which can be a test of one’s abilities and the experience can be helpful in guiding one’s training to further develop skills.  But it just isn’t safe enough to go full out with the same energy and speed as real combat.  There will always be a difference between training and real combat.

Our training is done in pairs with a training partner.  We do not practice ‘forms’ (a long sequence of movements practiced in the air against an imaginary opponent) like many other martial arts.  Forms may look very artistic, but it is an inferior method of training.  When training with a partner you get more insight into all the various aspects of doing a technique on a real person, including distancing, balance, accuracy in using counter strikes and pressure points, as well as real time feedback on joint manipulation, throws, and restraints, etc.  Not only will you practice techniques on others, but those techniques will be done to you so that you understand what it feels like.  This is a very important part of the training.  These things are impossible to learn in a ‘form’.

We train with training partners and during training you can expect to be punched, kicked, have your joints twisted, get thrown to the ground and held in a painful restraint.  We train slowly enough so as to avoid training injuries, but you can expect plenty of bumps, scrapes and bruises.  If you are a wuss then you will need to have the guts to get over it and develop your spirit by enduring the hardships of the training.

The important skills are realistic combat skills.  Any of the ‘special forces’ style techniques of the ninja are useless without the abilities to fight in a wide range of situations and weapons.  Sneaking around in the dark won’t help save your life when a crazy person is choking the life out of you.  While all aspects of the ninja arts are taught, many things like this are reserved for advanced training.  Please do not expect to have an adventure at a ninja theme park.

There is no easily learned magic trick that will make you able to defeat all opponents.  Our arts require many years of long hard training to master.  You need to be aware if this and not lightly decide to try training.  People who are not very serious and who do not have the ability to follow through will be wasting their time just casually trying some training.  Our application process is the first step in trying to weed out those who are not right for the training.

If all of this sounds like too much for you, then it probably is.  Only a very small percentage of people have what it takes to follow through with this training long enough to develop real skills and insights.  Instead of training in these arts, most people will be better off carrying around a few easily used self-defense weapons such as: pepper spray, stun gun, and small knife.