Raining Spirit Dojo -  Martial Arts Nillumbik

About Our Wonderful Teachers:

All our teachers at The Raining Spirit Dojo are fully insured Martial Art Teachers holding a minimum of "Level 2 First Aid certificate" and a current Working With Children Check.

Sylph Dominic Hawkins

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 Shidoshi Craig Guest in Melbourne, and holds a Nidan Grade Black Belt (2nd Dan) in the style.

He has been an active children's, teenagers' and adults' teacher for over 13 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 8-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", "Personal empowerment and Self-Defence for Women", "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 and Fitness, he has studied Golden Warrior Qi Gong, Breath-work, Hatha and Iyengar Yoga and Reiki Levels I & II, and practices various forms of healing, massage, movement therapies, 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, and the application of where oriental philosophy meets western philosophy in context, and 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.

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 Fridays and Mondays.

Reeve also manages The Dojo on Monday's, and teaches the Monday night beginner and foundation focus Adults class.

Reeve currently holds a Shodan (1st Dan Black Belt) in 8-Phases Hoshinden Jutaijutsu, and is qualified as a Level 1 Teacher of the art.

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.

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 8-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 one of the Raining Spirit Dojo's high graded students as well as being an instrumental part of The Dojo's expansion and growth over the last 8 years, and assists Sensei Sylph Dominic with Technique creation and in-depth study of the art.

Steven teaches the Beginner Adult's classes on Monday 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, 8-phase study, Kata (Patterns) and core-based cardio.
If you're after a serious core and abdominal workout, you better get along to his Monday night classes.

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 the Friday night Adults class with Sensei.

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 8-Phases Hoshinden Jutaijutsu as well as a Level 1 Teaching Degree in the art, and also holds a Brown Belt Kyu grade in Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu, 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 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.

Amber Gonella

Sempai Amber has been a part of the Dojo community since early 2014 and started assisting in teaching the Kids' classes in 2015. She currently attends Adults' classes throughout the week and holds a Green Belt in 8-Phases Hoshinden Jutaijutsu and a Red Belt under Aikido (Aiki kai) 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 on Wednesdays 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, studying both the Violin and Viola and 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 has two younger siblings who study at the Dojo also.

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

Nick Parcell

Sempai Nick is one of the key Kids' Class Teachers, and can be found running classes for both Kids and Teenagers on Wednesdays every week.

Nicknamed "Sempai Torture" by the 8-11year old Kids' Class, Nick is playful and entertaining, while helping the students move through the class structure steadily and consistently.

Currently studying Physics at LaTrobe Uni, Nick brings his perceptual understanding of mathematics, geometry, physics and motion to play at The Dojo, and currently holds a Blue Belt in 8-Phases Hoshinden Jutaijutsu.
Slowly and steadily studying and deepening his understanding, Sempai Nick offers a wonderful perspective on merging martial arts with a western physics correlation of motion and leverage.

Noah Churches

Sempai Noah is one of The Dojo's Kids Class teachers, and can usually be found teaching classes on Monday's.

Noah studies in the Adults classes each week  and currently holds the rank of Blue Belt in 8-Phases Hoshinden Jutaijutsu.

A talented photographer and musician, The Dojo wishes to thank Noah for his licensing of the use of his photography of The Teaching Crew, here on this page.

Steve Burgess

Sempai Steve is one of The Dojo's Kids' class teachers, and can usually be found running classes and assisting on Fridays.

Steve currently holds a Green Belt in 8-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.

Lucy Spranger

Sempai Lucy is one of our fantastic Kids' class teachers, and assists in Kids classes on Fridays, teaching both Flying Tigers (5-7yr olds) and Dragon Warrior (8-11yr olds) Kids' classes.

A passion for Horse-riding and a deep connection with animals and the world and a brilliant perception for underlying principals, Lucy is currently a student in the Teenager classes, and holds an Orange Belt in 8-Phases Hoshinden Jutaijutsu.

She joined The Dojo teaching crew in 2015, and is fast becoming a proficient class facilitator.

Finn Marshall

Finn holds the rank of Blue Belt in
8-Phases Hoshinden Jutaijutsu and trains in the Adults class throughout the week. This is his fourth year of training at the Raining Spirit Dojo and he really enjoys the sense of strength it develops, both in his body and also in his mind which gives him access to his innate confidence in tough situations.

In early 2014 Finn began working with the younger kid’s classes as an assistant teacher under the guidance of Sensei Sylph Dominic, and in 2016 he was given the opportunity to take on the Head Teacher position for some of the Kids' classes throughout the week.

Finn has a lot of experience working with children with his three younger siblings and has been involved in other leadership activities during Primary and High school. He has an interest in music, composition and archery.
Exceptionally creative and multi-talented, he is currently studying Violin and French-Horn but also loves playing Guitar and Piano."

Kai Nolan

Sempai Kai joined The Dojo Teaching Crew in 2016, and can usually be found teaching classes on Mondays alongside Sensei Reeve and the other assistant teachers on the day.

Kai studies martial arts in the Adults classes throughout the week, and currently holds the rank of Orange Belt in
8-Phases Hoshinden Jutaijutsu. Kai has had a lot of experience with children and has two child family members at the dojo. He is also one of the organizes of Briar Hill Primary School's Environment day which happens every year and teaches children about environmental and sustainability awareness.

Kai is really passionate about music, aviation and photography and is always there with a smile!.

All Photos on this page © Noah Churches 2016

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