Shawn Gray


武号 龍雲
"Ryū Un" ( dragon cloud )
I've been a student of martial arts since 1984 and spent over 17 years training in Japan under Bujinkan Sōke Masaaki Hatsumi and his senior Japanese students, often serving as interpreter and Uke. Since founding Bujinkan Gray Dōjō in Japan in 2000, I've frequently been invited to share my understanding of the Bujinkan martial arts in training seminars internationally, and have been awarded the Bujinkan Gold Dragon Award and the Bujinkan Shingitai Award in recognition for these efforts. I've appeared in the media many times in Japan and abroad in connection with Bujinkan training, and have translated much of Hatsumi Sōke's work into English, including newspaper and magazine articles, DVD subtitles, and notably Sensei's recent book, "The Complete Ninja: The Secret World Revealed".
Sensei, "one who has gone before"
The word Sensei is comprised of two Japanee characters: Sen (先), which means "to precede, to come before", and Sei (生), which means "life, existence". Sensei thus refers to someone who has gone before, someone who has prior experience. Having a good teacher means being grounded in good roots that reach deep into the wellspring of past experience, drawing nourishment for growth as a martial artist.

When I initially moved to Japan, I went only to Hatsumi Sensei's classes. Like many, I was amazed at his incredible movement but far from approaching it myself. I began to travel around to the Dōjō of the various Japanese Shihan to take advantage of the insight their decades of training with Hatsumi Sensei has given them. They all have individual preferences, insights and styles, and I found that I resonated very strongly with Shiraishi Sensei, and with Hatsumi Sensei's blessing, he accepted me as his student. I trained 2-3 times a week with Hatsumi Sensei and 2-3 times a week with Shiraishi Sensei for my first 10 years in Japan, and Hatsumi Sensei many times told me to "have confidence in your choice of a teacher." It's been said that the relationship between teacher and student (師弟関係, "Shitei Kankei") is stonger than that between parent and child. I remain forever grateful for his patience, understanding, and wisdom over the years.