Martial Arts
Information and history of the martial arts
practiced by artist and author, Michael Vain
Tournament photo
First Place - Weapons
Frederick Karate Open, 1998

In his early twenties, Michael became interested in Shaolin Chin-na, and joined a group based in Glen Burnie, Maryland, where he would train for the next five years, and at age twenty-seven, he began training in Kobayashi Shorin-Ryu (traditional Okainawin Karate), and Shorinkan Kobujitsu (Traditional Okinawin Weaponry).

Michael first became interested in martial arts during Elementary school. Often the target of bullies, he desired to learn self-defense, and enrolled him in a Karate class being taught after hours at his school. The club changed location within a few months, and Michael was unable to continue his training, but the lessons learned stayed with him, as did his interest in martial arts. Michael practiced what he had learned on his own, with the hope of continuing his studies in the future.

Upon moving to Millersville, Michael became determined to further his martial arts pursuits. Without the means to attend a martial arts class, he began a course of self-study, and began to train with various martial arts weapons, including the nunchaku, the bo staff, and various missle weapons, such as knives and shiruken.

Kobudo practice
Kobudo practice, 1998

Michael eventually had the good fortune to be able to train under some of the premiere teachers of this style, Kyoshi F.D.R Hargrove and Kyoshi Arnold Mitchell. He attained his first Dan level in Shorin-Ryu in 1996, and in Shorinkan Kobujitsu (weaponry) in 1998. Although not a regular competitor, Michael has performed at taken trophies in almost every event in which he as performed, including 3rd place in weapons at the Battle for Hampton Roads, and 1st place for weapons at the Frederick Karate Open, both in 1992.

Beginning in the early 90's, Michael formed Mu-Shin Martial Arts club, and several years later, began working as an assistant to Kyoshi Hargrove. In his club, he taught the traditional Okainawin styles, along with the principles and philosophy of its root systems.

Kyoahi Hargrove
Kyohsi F.D.R. Hargrove, 8th Dan
Kyoshi Mitchell
Kyoshi Arnold Mitchell, 7th Dan

Micahel's training was interrupted by a near-fatal automobile accident in 2002 (see the Strange Events page), Michael continues to pursue his martial training, expanding both his weaponry skills and knowledge of open hand techniques, continually expanding his interest in traditional forms. More informatinn on the history and origin of these styles can be found on the next page.


SHORINKAN KOBUJITSU is the traditional weaponry system of Okinawin Shorinkan/Shorin-Ryu. The system consists of in-depth training in bo staff, nunchaku, tonfa, sai, Eku (paddle), and kama, and involves learning to use each of the weapons in the system against all the rest of the weapons in turn, and against the sword, the traditional weapon of opposition in historical Okinawa. The tradional system usually consists of twenty-four or more weapon forms, as well as weapon to weapon exercises and drills and weapon sparring. The art of Iaido (Japanese sword) and the Techu may also be taught, depending on the instructor.

Chosin Chibana
Chosin Chibana, Founder of

shorinkan patch

SHORIN-RYU is a traditional form of Okinawin Karate, and its lineage includes Anko Itosu, and Chosin Chibana. Chibana used the kanji "small" and "forest" to describe his style, using the Okinawin pronounciation of 'Shaolin', which becomes 'shorin', in honor of the system's origins. Chibana taught this style of karate until his death in 1969. Each of his top students added their own interpretation, each creating their own style: Yuchoku Higa created Kyudokan, Katsuya Miyahira created Shido-kan, Nakama Chozo created Shubokan, and Shugoro Nakazato created Shorinkan. This style can have twenty-four or more forms, or kata, including Passai Dai, Kusanku, Gojushiho and others. It is a both a broad and in-depth system, and mastering the forms and their Bunkai (applications) can take a lifetime.


SHAOLIN CHIN-NA is a Chinese martial art, with origins in Shaolin White Crane, which is also the source of later styles such as Shorin-Ryu. Chin-Na is a grappling art, dealing with manipulation of the human body, the central nervous system, and the flow of chi. Techniques involve grabs, locks, holds, and the manipulation of pressure points. It is the forefather of such arts as Ju-Jitsu and Aikido, and contains many similar techniques.

Many self-defense techniques taught today have their origins within Chin-Na. This system is an excellent means of defense against both armed and unarmed attackers. The techniques have been refined over time to work against modern weapons, such as guns, knives, and batons.

practicing with the oar
hanshi Shugoro Nakazato
Hanshi Shugoro Nakazato
10th Dan

Today, Michael continues to train and refine his knowledge of these arts at every opportunity. He credits both his health and survival on these arts, and the discipline and conditioning provided by these arts have helped in both pain management and on those occasions where he has been forced to defend himself. He continues to teach on a very select basis.