Authentic Samurai Martial Arts

The West Los Angeles Dojo specializes in samurai-era Japanese martial arts, with an emphasis on sword fighting and unarmed techniques.


Here you will tackle exciting challenges, make new friends, and learn how to do things you had only ever dreamed of. 

We are located in West LA, near the 10 freeway and a short walk away from the Downtown Culver City Expo metro line. Classes start at $189 per month.


To learn more about us and schedule a membership interview, use the form below.


The West Los Angeles Dojo is an official branch of the international Bujinkan Organization, headed by our Soke, Dr. Masaaki Hatsumi (初見 良昭).  The Bujinkan is a school of classical Japanese martial arts that is comprised of nine samurai lineages or Ryu-ha, each with different styles and philosophies that reflect their history.  Together, they are a comprehensive system of martial arts that includes everything from battlefield sword and spear fighting, to unarmed techniques for bodyguards, and everything in between.  At the highest level, these skills and philosophies of endurance against all odds are known as Ninpo or more commonly Ninjutsu.

This is a living tradition, sustained through practice with one's brothers and sisters on the path of martial arts.  Together we improve our skills and learn how to help each other, to carry this art on into the future.  We want to know the people we invite to train with us, which is why we interview all newcomers prior to joining.



Mark A. Franco, L.Ac. (Dojo-Cho)

The West Los Angeles Dojo is headed by Mark Franco, L.Ac.​


He is a recognized Shihan (Senior Instructor) in the Bujinkan under Soke Masaaki Hatsumi, with over 30 years of experience in the organization.

In addition to classical Japanese martial arts, Mark Franco has also studied Tai Ji Chuan, Shing Yi Chuan and Ba Gua Zhang, Daoist Chi Gong, Nei Gong and Zen Buddhism (zazen/meditation), as well as Shinto Yoshin Ryu (Takamura Ha). He also holds a Master of Science degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine.


Taijutsu - Body Movement

Taijutsu ("Body Techniques") is the term that describes the foundation of movement on which all other skills are based.  This means that the skills you learn for unarmed striking and evasion translate directly to skills for sword fighting, and vice versa.  


We will teach you:​

  • Balance and using structural alignment.

  • Coordination of effective movement and timing.

  • Footwork and subtle positioning to gain a strategic advantage, without relying on speed. 

Jujutsu - Combat Techniques

Classical Japanese Jujutsu is a methodology through both armed and unarmed fighting scenarios, of combat skills within the study of Taijutsu.  These are the real-world combat techniques that are the source of Brazilian Jiu-Jutsu and other sports.

With your training partners, you will learn how to safely perform:

  • Punching, Kicking, and other attacks (Atemi)

  • Receiving/Recovering (Ukemi)

  • Joint-locks (Kansetsu Waza)

  • Throws and their counters (Nage Waza)

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Kenjutsu - Sword Fighting

Kenjutsu ("Sword Techniques") is a primary study within the weapons curriculum and Taijutsu development. Kenjutsu applies the lessons you learn of Taijutsu, and will cultivate your timing, accuracy and concentration.

You will learn:

  • Katana Etiquette (Saho)

  • Sword Drawing (Batto/Iaijutsu)

  • Paired Training (Kumitachi)

  • Movement and Footwork (Tai Sabaki)

  • Two Swords (Nito/Shinken Gata)

  • Capturing/Evading Sword attacks while unarmed (Muto Dori)

Other Weapons

Within the study of Classical Japanese Martial Arts, there is a vast array of traditional weapons that were utilized by Samurai and within Ninjutsu. The symbiotic relationship between weapons and taijutsu cultivates the ability to incorporate any weapon at any time

In class you will learn:

  • Sword (Kenjutsu)

  • Knife/Short Sword (Tanto/Kodachijutsu)

  • 6' Staff (Rokushaku Boujutsu)

  • 3' Half-Staff (Hanboujutsu)

Seminars and Private Lessons will cover:

  • Spear (Yarijutsu)

  • Naginata / Halberd (Naginatajutsu)

  • Jutte / Truncheon, an anti-sword weapon (Juttejutsu)

  • Weighted Chain (Kusarijutsu)

  • Throwing Blades (Shurikenjutsu)

  • Hidden Weapons (Kakushi Bukijutsu)

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Ninpo & Ninjutsu

"Ninjutsu is the highest form of taijutsu"
-Hatsumi, Masaaki

Much of what has been depicted through media regarding Ninja and Ninjutsu portrays a shadowy figure dressed in black garb, shrouded in secrets. Historically, the Ninja or Shinobi were a specialized warriors utilizing unconventional techniques and strategies for combat, intelligence gathering and special covert operations.  They would make use of disguises and superstition, train in various skills to get any advantage, and escape when necessary.  In many ways, one could compare the Ninja to special forces of today.  They could be samurai-class or commoners, men or women.

Ninpo & Ninjutsu harmoniously are the balance of the spirituality and philosophy (Ninpo), and physical training (Ninjutsu). 

At its most fundamental level, "Nin" refers to the concept of "perseverance."  To survive against all odds, to protect those who are close to you, and to never give up. 

This is the spirit that guides our training.  




Los Angeles, CA 90034

(424) 256-9036