By Eddie Morales

Online Martial Arts Magazine


 Ben Otake Sensei, is one of the most innovative and technically brilliant


martial arts instructors I have had the pleasure of knowing and interviewing.


He has demonstrated techniques from his system and there are two words


to describe his demonstration, Effective and Flawless. His movements were


cat-like and I was impressed with his knowledge and deep understanding


of counter defense against many holds and locks that are commonplace in


reality based fighting and self-defense. The type of counters that would save


 your life in an all-out street fight or dark alley. I was and always have been


 equally impressed with Ben Otake Sensei soft-spoken humbleness.


I have been teaching martial arts for many years and as of the last ten years

my focus has been on improving defensive tactics for Law Enforcement officers.

 Ben Otake Sensei, demonstrated a tool that he developed called, the strap baton.

 In my opinion, as an evaluator of law enforcement techniques for the purpose of

 use on the field, I believe this tool should be given a chance because of its

simplicity in design and effectiveness of technique.


Otake Sensei has developed specific techniques for handling close quarter

and long-range situations with the strap baton and demonstrated these

techniques as part of this interview. I found none of the techniques to be

difficult to utilize and can be applied with minimal practice.


Ben Otake Sensei, also demonstrated over fifty moves from his system,

Shin Shin Mugendo. Every move flowed to the next with counter after

counter technique. He demonstrated not only how to get your opponent

in different arm lock positions, but also how to reverse the lock if your

opponent applied it on you.


The following is the interview with Otake Sensei. It is our hope, here at, that you will better understand his system, way of life

and passion for the martial arts. This is definitely a unique man and

martial artist that has given a lot of himself unselfishly through the years and has a lot

more to offer.


Assisting Otake, Sensei in all the techniques presented is Shihan Tom Serrano



1) M.FORCE – When did your martial arts training begin?

Ben Otake Sensei - I began martial arts when I was about thirteen.

I started with judo and then when I was, fifteen I went into karate.


2) M.FORCE – Was it a decision you made or your parents?

Ben Otake Sensei – No, it was my decision because I wanted to learn

 to defend myself because I was not very big in size.


3) M.FORCE – Is it true that you opened a dojo in Puerto Rico and if

so when?

Ben Otake Sensei – Yes I opened a dojo for the International Karate

Association for Tak Kubota’s association in Puerto Rico in 1967 and I stayed from 1967

 to 1972 then I came back to the states again.


4) M.FORCE – With all the different ways to train these days, do you feel


kata is important?

Ben Otake Sensei The importance of it is in building up the movements

and strength etc. It depends on how you want to use martial arts, so if

you’re basically in it to defend yourself sometimes it’s not necessary to do kata

but to get the furtherance of advanced movements kata really has some

use because you need to know how to use your body and to develop the

 strength for different things.

 It is also a way you can practice movements by yourself.

The only deficiency in kata is that a lot of people don’t know the movements

and what they really are for so a lot of times I prefer actually two man

movements like bunkai (applications).




Defense Against Bear Hug



5) M.FORCE – What is Shin Shin Mugendo?

 Ben Otake Sensei – Shin Shin Mugendo literally translates as mind, body,

infinite way or the way of the infinite mind and body. Shin Shin Mugendo is a

development of trying to utilize all the different methods of fighting. If you

think about fighting most people specialize in one thing or another, they either

 do impact techniques like karate, boxing, kung-fu or they will specialize in

grappling techniques. For a complete martial arts system to work against any

kind of attack you really need an understanding of everything involved.

You must be able to handle most movement from impact attacks, grappling

or whatever. Unfortunately when you specialize it is difficult to go easily

from one to the other. Shin Shin Mugendo is something I developed as a

way to do that, to go between impact techniques (Ate Waza) into Thowing (Nage Waza),

or (Kansetsu Waza) joint techniques and all the other ways of fighting.









The rest of the interview will be added shortly. It was damaged within the server. Please check at a later date, thank you.

Eddie Morales