Raining Spirit Dojo -  Martial Arts Nillumbik
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About Our Wonderful Teachers:

Sensei Sylph Dominic

Sylph is the director and founder of Raining Spirit Dojo, Melbourne, and has a background in Hoshin Jutsu, and Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu, both forms of what is effectively Japanese JuJutsu Martial Arts. Originally studying Hoshin Jutsu in Sydney, under Hoshin Justu Australia Pacific at the Avalon Beach Dojo and Bobbinhead Turramurra Dojo, headed by Sensei Geoff Smith and Sensei Rose Smith, he was an active student, member and Teacher of Hoshin Australia Pacific for 9 years between 2001-2013, and received a Shodan Grade Black Belt (1st Dan) and Teaching Certificate in the Hoshin Jutsu Ryu.

He has been an active student of Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu since 2009, under Shihan Craig Guest in Melbourne, and holds a Godan Grade Black Belt (5th Dan) in the style, as well as a Shidoshi License (Teaching License)

He has been an active children's, teenagers' and adults' teacher for over 15 years, originally working for Hoshin Jutsu Australia Pacific as a children's' teacher, and then expanding his work with Teenagers' in Teenager Self Defence programs and workshops at festivals around Australia. He worked as a freelance martial arts teacher in Melbourne at Guests' Martial Arts' School across all age groups while establishing the Raining Spirit Dojo in May 2009, running weekly Kids, Teens + Adults' classes, initially under the Hoshin Jutsu Aus banner, then later branching off to form his own interpretation called "12-Phases Hoshinden Jutaijutsu" as the main art-form studied at The Raining Spirit Dojo.

He also gets around the country teaching his personal seminars and workshop facilitation in VIC and NSW, on topics such as "Martial Arts as a Vehicle of Embodiment", "An Elemental Perspective of Movement", "The Internal Inspiration Teaching Model" and
"General Introduction to Martial Arts and the Moving Relationships" workshops across the state.

A passion for Oriental Meridian Theory, Shiatsu Massage and Fitness, he has studied Golden Warrior Qi Gong, Breath-work, Hatha and Iyengar Yoga, Reiki Levels I & II, and practices various forms of healing, massage, movement therapies, 5-Rhythms free-form dance, anatomy & physiology and bodywork. Fascinated by the different Elemental theories of 3,4,5,7 and 8 element systems in cultures around the world, the progression of Buddhist and Taoist ideologies throughout martial arts, and the application of where oriental philosophy meets western philosophy in context, as well as the physics of movement, classes at the Raining Spirit Dojo are fun and exciting, and you will find Sylph laughing through most of the sessions.

Sensei Reeve Leaford

Sensei Reeve has been a key member of the teaching staff at The Raining Spirit Dojo since 2012, and teaches Kids', Teens' and Adults' classes throughout the week on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

Reeve also teaches the Monday night beginner and foundation focus Adults classes, as well as the Tuesday night sparring-practice Adults Classes.

Reeve currently holds a Shodan grade (1st Dan Black Belt) in 12-Phases Hoshinden Jutaijutsu, and is qualified as a Level 1 Teacher of the art. He has been an active and passionate student of Sensei Sylph Dominic's since 2010.

A fascination of, and natural talent for patterns and forms, Sensei Reeve's understanding of principals shines through his interest and study of fundamental Kata (patterns).

Sensei Reeve and Sensei Ruari are part of the Black Belt Dan level students who help Sensei Sylph Dominic run The Dojo, and manage the expansion of the art, further exploring variations on current techniques and plowing deeper into the fundamental principals of movement that make things work.

An incredibly important cornerstone of The Raining Spirit Dojo, Sensei Reeve takes over Dojo Administration in Sensei's absence, and co-runs The Dojo with the other black belt students when Sensei is away for extended adventures overseas.

Sensei Steven Leaford

Steven is an Adults' Teacher at The Dojo, and has been a member of the teaching staff since 2013.  Steven's long background of martial art studies over many decades include: Aikido, Karate, Hoshin Jutsu and 12-Phases Hoshinden Jutaijutsu.

A passion for sword work (kenjutsu) and the details of technique, he is an invaluable member of the Dojo teaching staff, and holds a Shodan grade (!st Dan Black Belt) in 12-Phases Hoshinden Jutaijutsu and is an instrumental part of The Dojo's expansion and growth over the last 8 years. He assists Sensei Sylph Dominic with Technique creation and in-depth study of the art, as well as filming Sensei in class and taking photo and video footage of techniques.

Steven teaches the Beginner Adult's classes on Monday and Tuesday nights alongside with Sensei Reeve,
and can generally be found having fun in most other Adult classes throughout the week, from knife defense, to walking cane defense, 12-phase study, Kata (Patterns) and core-based cardio. If you're after a serious core and abdominal workout, you better get along to his classes.

Sensei Ruari McKinnon

Sensei Ruari is a Martial Art Teacher and student who has studied at The Raining Spirit Dojo since 2010. After running the Dojo's Monday classes for over 2 years,
he now pops in as a casual teacher when required to fill in for Sensei Sylph Dominic.
He can usually be found continuing his studies in Sensei's Friday night Adults class each week. Alongside the other black-belt students of The Dojo, Ruari plays a crucial role in the direction that The Dojo heads in and he helps prepare other students for their Black Belt exams.

An invaluable member of The Dojo and the expansion of the art as a whole, he currently holds a Shodan grade (1st Level Black Belt) in 12-Phases Hoshinden Jutaijutsu as well as a Level 1 Teaching Degree in the art, as well as a Shodan Grade Black Belt in Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu (Ninjutsu), and studied Hoshin Jutsu for over 3 years between 2010-2013, in which he holds the rank of Green Belt under the Hoshin Jutsu Australia Pacific system.

He has worked as an assistant Teacher for all age groups and classes under Sensei Sylph Dominic since 2011, as well as working as a Head Class Teacher at a Bujinkan Ninjutsu Dojo in Preston, Melbourne since 2015.

Ruari is passionate about the real world applications of what he and all the other instructors teach at the dojo, including fitness, realistic self defence, self-confidence and self-empowerment. A passion for ground-work and martial art skills applied on the ground in street-style fighting scenarios, he brings these skills to The Dojo and writes techniques to help the students gain confidence and skills defending themselves on the ground.

Sempai Amber Gonella

Sempai Amber has been a part of the Dojo community since early 2014 and started assistant teaching with the Kids' classes in 2015. She currently attends Adults' classes throughout the week and holds a Purple Belt in 12-Phases Hoshinden Jutaijutsu and a Red Belt under Aikido (Aikikai) Australia.

Amber enjoys studying the modern and traditional applications of both the armed and unarmed techniques, along with learning and practicing self-confidence and empowerment while enhancing her fitness slowly and consistently.

A passion for evoking and supporting individual brilliance, she is a strong member of The Dojo Teaching Crew, and runs Kids' classes over many days each week where her loving and compassionate approach helps new students feel immediately welcomed to The Dojo. She is quite involved in performing arts in High-school as she completes her Year 12 study, and plays both the Violin and Viola, playing in several orchestras, she has also been in several productions with her school both as an actor and musician. She enjoys horse riding and art and comes from a whole family of martial artists.

Amber is a fantastic role model for students, and the smiles of the students when she walks onto the mats speak for themselves.

Sempai Noah Churches

Sempai Noah is one of The Dojo's Kids Class teachers as well as working as The Dojo Manager for the Wednesday and Friday's Kids classes facilitating classes and organising the teaching crew in Sensei's absence.

Noah studies in the Adults classes each week  and currently holds the rank of Purple Belt in 12-Phases Hoshinden Jutaijutsu, preparing to take his Shodan (1st Level Black Belt) exams next year.

Noah is an accomplished musician, and is the lead guitarist of the local award winning band, Watercolour.

Noah brings his warm heart and loving smile to his classes, and is fast gaining a cheer squad of students behind him.

Sempai Steve Burgess

Sempai Steve is one of The Dojo's awesome Kids' class teachers, and can usually be found running great fitness sessions in his classes throughout the week.

Steve currently holds a Purple Belt in 12-Phases Hoshinden Jutaijutsu, and studies in the Adult classes under Sensei Sylph Dominic and Sensei Reeve, with a fast evolving fascination of sword work and traditional Japanese weaponry study.

Steve is also a member of The Dojo Demo Team, which creates skits and martial art choreography for demo-ing at local festivals and events.

A fantastic musician, Steve is a well known local Trumpet player and brings his skills of tone and resonance, as well as the natural mathematics and ratios of them, to his training and classes.

He teaches with a gentle and caring interest in his students' growth and learning.

Sempai Ambrose Lyons

Sempai Ambrose was born here in Melbourne to two very artistic, creative and kind people. His greatest interests are in creating and experimenting with art, music, writing, philosophy and spirituality. Keen to helping people in whatever way he can.
He especially enjoys playing guitar and cello, drawing with ink, and martial arts!
He first came to study at The Dojo in 2014, and he says that:

"It's been a great learning experience and lots of fun, as well as very interesting.
Martial arts has helped me expand my view of spirituality and life in general through allowing me to express my experience of life and emotions in a physically and mentally balanced way".

Ambrose joined the Raining Spirit Dojo teaching crew around mid-2017 and is having a blast! In his teaching, he wants to express the wonderful knowledge and positively helpful things which he receives from his teachers.

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