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Welcome to the website of the Japan-America Society of Greater Austin.  Please feel free to explore our calendar of events and newsletter information.

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The Women in Budo with Dojo-cho and Chief Instructors

Join us for a virtual event "Women in Budo with Dojo-cho & Chief Instructors" on one Suday afternoon on April 18th at 3:00PM.

This event is part of a series of Japanese cultural and educational programs presented by the Japan-America Society of Greater Austin (JASGA).

We will invite female Budo practitioners, trainers, and a dojo-cho (dojo owners) who have opened their own Dojo and teach students who want to be trained in Budo in Austin, Texas.

Our speakers and moderator will share their thoughts and experiences concerning how a dojo can retain and encourage women to remain in the practice in budo and promote the martial arts by transferring their skills to the next generations.

These long-time practitioners of budo will discuss questions such as:
1) how the ownership of your own dojo has changed you as a person;
2) how training in Budo has influenced your life;
3) whether Budo has helped you overcome or deal with difficult situations in your life; and
4) whether Budo is helping you on a daily basis with the challenges of life.

Please ask them any questions at Q & A.

This event is free and open to the public.  Register now, and receive a login code.

Your donations are greatly appreciated. 

Cat Gurinsky,  Dojo-cho and Chief Instructor, Immortal Tiger Kenpo Karate
Cat Gurinsky has been training in martial arts since 2000 and holds black belts in Shaolin Kenpo, Karate and Taekwondo. She also trains in iaido and additionally has cross trained in American Kenpo and Small Circle Jujitsu.

She is the owner and one woman show behind Immortal Tiger Kenpo Karate, which she founded in 2017 but only recently moved into its first dedicated location in North Austin in January 2021 . Having her own dojo was a lifelong dream since high school, as she has always had a passion for teaching and spreading martial arts knowledge, helping others understand how body mechanics work, and improving their physique. In addition to teaching she still regularly trains remotely with her original instructors at Bill Grossman's School of Kenpo Karate located in South San Francisco, CA.

Cat is a senior network engineer and a Japanese language learning enthusiast who majored in Japanese studies for her BA and MA.  

Laura Hayden, Dojo-cho and Instructor, Sun Dragon Martial Arts and Self Defense
Laura Hayden is a Texas native. From a long line of teachers, she discovered her own love of teaching as a teenager with swim lessons at the local pool. Over the years, she has worked with all ages of students in many different disciplines and environments.

Laura first experienced martial arts in college, taking a karate elective at Rice University, and found she really enjoyed it. It wasn’t until 2006, though, that she was introduced to Sun Dragon Martial Arts and Self Defense, a non-profit organization founded in 1989 that teaches Empowerment Self Defense and nonviolent martial Arts. When Laura started training in Seido Karate at Sun Dragon in 2008, she was excited to find martial arts again. As a green belt, Laura started teaching in the Little Dragons program for 4- & 5-year-olds. Shortly after that she started assisting with self-defense workshops. 13 years later, she now holds the rank of third-degree black belt and teaches Seido Karate and Empowerment Self Defense to all ages and in every program.

Sun Dragon has been a member of the World Seido Karate Organization since 2007, and it has grown to one of the larger Seido branches. Laura is also Executive Director of Sun Dragon ince July 2020. Graham Smith, a fourth-degree black belt is a Head Instructor and Branch Chief. The highest-ranking student, fourth-degree Katherine Scheib, holds the role of Senior Instructor. Together they hope to lead Sun Dragon for many years to come. 

Leslie Libby sensei, Dojo-cho and Chief Instructor, Rising Sun Aikido
Libby Sensei holds a 5th Degree Black Belt in Aikido (Go-dan) and has been training consistently for 35 years. She began her martial arts training in 1982 while attending Montana State University in Bozeman MT. Libby Sensei took aikido for credit through the University’s P.E. Department. Her teacher Greg Olson Sensei noticed her dedication and enthusiasm for studying aikido and recommended she go to Japan.

Libby Sensei followed Olson Sensei’s advice and after she graduated with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering she went to Japan. She so enjoyed training at the Aikido World Headquarters in Tokyo that she lived and trained in Japan for 5 years. During this time she trained with many Master Teachers (Shihan) and also with the founder’s son, Kisshomaru Ueshiba, and grandson, the current Doshu, Moriteru Ueshiba. While in Japan she also trained in the art of Kyudo - Japanese Archery.

Alexanda Darrah (moderator),  Senior Instructor, Houston Kendo Kyokai
Like many kids, Alex became interested in anything Japanese through her exposure to anime. She started her Kendo journey via a UT Informal Classes at age 14 in 2004 and hasn't stopped since. She joined the UTKA (University of Texas Kendo Association), became its president, and received the rank of ni-dan (2nd-degree blackbelt) in 2012.

After she graduated from UT Austin McCombs School of Business, she moved to Houston to begin her professional career and kept practicing at a dojo in Houston, but her experience at UTKA, gave her the assurance to establish a new Kendo dojo. With the help of her kendo friends from UTKA, they established Houston Kendo Kyokai in 2014.

Alexandra received yon-dan (4th-degree black belt) in 2017 and is an instructor at HKK. As of April 2021, she is eligible to test for go-dan (5th-degree) and plans to do so once testing opportunities are available.

At Houston Kendo Kyokai, about 40% of the practitioners are women, with about 30 active kendo practitioners.  There are four Kendo Dojo in Houston. 


Indo-Pacific Security and Multilateral Strategic Cooperation: Past, Present, and Future      [インド太平洋地域の安全保障と多国間戦略協力]

Thanks to all for participating in the virtual discussion on March 24th 2021 (at 6PM, CDT)/the 25th (8AM, JST).  

We featured well-known speakers on diplomacy, Professor Nobukatsu Kanehara from Doshisha University in Kyoto and Ambassador David F. Shear from NAJAS, who discussed the current and future status of multilateral strategic cooperation on security issues and how these factors will affect daily life in each country in the Indo-Pacific region.

Among the issues discussed were the US-Japan relationship, the QUAD Alliance, ASEAN, China, and the political values and economic status of each nation. 

We also invited Professor Patricia Maclachlan from the University of Texas at Austin, Department of Government and Asian Studies to serve as moderator.

(Click on each photo to view the bio.)
Amb. David B. Shear        Prof. Nobukatsu Kanehara           Prof. Patricia Maclachlan 

This program was conducted virtually, sponsored by the Sasakawa Peace Foundation and NAJAS, and in cooperation with promotional partners the Consulate General of Japan in Houston, Japan Airlines, and the Center for East Asian Studies at UT Austin.

(Click on each logo to view the website.)

   Generously supported by                                  Promotional Partners


Indo-Pacific Security and Multilateral Strategic Cooperation: Past, Present and Future [インド太平洋地域の安全保障と多国間戦略協力]

Join us for a virtual discussion on March 24th. We are honored to host two experts on the subject of the past, current and future Indo-Pacific security and multilateral strategic cooperation.

Date & Time:
U.S.:   March 24, 2021 @ 6:00-7:15 PM (CDT)
Japan: March 25, 2021 @ 8:00-9:15 AM (JST) 

Through this program, we would like to be able to open up our mental windows to understand the politics of current security issues in the Indo-Pacific region, including such factors as diplomacy, business interests, the possibility of military intervention, and the ideologies of all the actors involved.

We want to inform the Austin and Central Texas communities about how the nations of the Indo-Pacific are responding to increasing Chinese activities in the East and South-East Sea and Indo-Pacific Ocean. What are the strategies of the U.S. and Japan in response to China's behavior in view of its political ideologies and cultural values?

2021 Spring Japanese Language and Shodo Japanese Calligraphy

Register Now for Spring 2021 Japanese Language, Shodo Calligraphy, and Japanese Business English Classes!  

Due to the Coronavirus Pandemic, Spring 2021 classses will be held using Google Meet (G Suite.)  

Thank you for your interest in the Japan-America Society of Greater Austin (JASGA) Japanese Language and Shodo Japanese calligraphy program. We currently offer Japanese Kana intensive, Japanese language (emphasizing conversation, listening, reading, and writing), Shodo Japanese calligraphy, Japanese Business English classes at various levels in Austin. Due to popular demand, we have added new classes (Kana Intensive Prep.) with qualified, native Japanese instructors. 

Registration is now open!

At a glance:

  • Class location this Spring 2020: Virtual online classroom
  • The start date: 1/18(M), 1/20(W), 1/25(M)), 1/26(T), 1/27(W), 1/28(Th), 1/29(F), 1/30(S), 2/1(M), 2/2(T), 4/10 (Shodo part 2)
  • Levels from total beginner to advanced and children & young teens, Japanese Business English, and Shodo Japanese calligraphy lessons with a certified, Japanese calligraphy teacher
  • Qualified, Native Japanese instructors
  • 10 meetings of 1-hour classes, once per week
  • Available Hiragana and Katakana Intensive classes (1/18 & 1/20)
  • Japanese-Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) preparatory course
  • Classes of 3 - 8 students
  • Tailored private tutoring class available (with qualified, native Japanese instructors)
  • Offers Corporate Program
  • Children and/or young teens class are avaialble
  • Registration Deadline: 1/19 (katakana intensive);  1/22,  4/8 (Shodo #2)

2020 Japan Fall Festival - 14th Annual Aki Matsuri

The COVID pandemic has affected the entire world, so JASGA is presenting this year's festival virtually in consideration of our residents, visitors, and performers’ and demonstrator's health and safety.  

Join us to celebrate the 14th Aki Matsuri -  Fall Japan Festival in Austin TX !

JASGA Virtual AKi Matsuri
Saturday, November 21, 2020 1:00 2:00PM

 *** Enjoy Streamed Video

DONATION / SPONSORSHIP is greatly appreciated!

Japanese Budō / Bujutsu Presentation and Panel Discussion

Budō /Bujutsu - Japanese Martial Arts - The Way of Peace of Mind

Join us for a special evening. A presentation and panel discussion on Japanese Budō/Bujutsu on Friday, September 25 at 5:00pm, CST.

This event is part of a series of Japanese cultural and educational programs presented by the Japan-America Society of Greater Austin.

The term "Japanese martial arts" refers to the variety of martial arts native to the country of Japan. At least three Japanese terms (budo, bujutsu, bugei) are used interchangeably with the English phrase Japanese martial arts.

The use of term budō (武道) to mean martial arts is a modern one. Historically, the term meant a way of life encompassing physical, spiritual and moral dimensions with a focus of self-improvement, fulfillment, and personal growth.

In modern usage, bujutsu (武術) translates as martial art, military science, or military strategy depending on context, and is typified by its practical application of technique to real-world or battlefield situations. Budō, meaning martial way, has a more philosophical emphasis.