Shidoshi Jeff Patchin

JeffboJeff Patchin has more than 25 years of martial arts experience. He studied Shotokan Karate for ten years under Sensei Sukiyama. In 1999, he began training with James Morganelli and received his Shidoshi, teaching license, in 2005. He now teaches at the beautiful Anderson Japanese Gardens in Rockford, Illinois.

Jeff owns and operates a second generation flooring installation company and has been recognized by Lowe's Home Improvement as "Contractor of the Year" twice, 2005 and 2013. Lowe's has also awarded his company their prestigious Gold Level Partner certificate every year. Jeff studied custom rug manufacturing and sculpting at National Carpet Equipment and received his certificate in 1995. He was also a personal student of Master Rug Sculptor Andre Blaine of Advanced Rug Techniques and received a Master Sculptor certificate from Andre in 1997.

Jeff loves music and studied classical voice for many years and loves spending time fly fishing, hiking, and camping. He has been married for 25 years and has two children.

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10 Questions with Shidoshi Jeff Patchin


What is your personal martial arts biography?

I studied Shotokan Karate throughout my adolescent years. The more I read about Japanese martial arts, I came to realize that what I had actually been studying was sports, not warrior arts. I had a deep desire I could not articulate at the time to seek out and train true warrior arts.

In my search I came across Masaaki Hatsumi, heir to the warrior arts and traditions of Toshitsugu Takamatsu, “the last living Ninja.” I devoured all I could get my hands on about these men and their art. As soon as I received my driver’s license, I searched for seminars near me that I could attend, and I met and trained with several instructors. The experience confirmed this was the art for me.

I then scoured the latest and greatest thing called the “internet” with AOL dial up (shut up, I’m old!). It was then I found James Morganelli. He had just returned from training in Japan and was located within hours of me. I reached out to him, we met, and I was invited to join his dojo. We trained and trained and trained, until the wee hours of the morning, beating the day lights out of each other, and I loved every minute of it. Funny thing, I would show up for training each night alone, but every night I would leave building lifelong friendships.

James introduced me to the late Mark Hodel, a great teacher, “Dai Shihan,” and mentor to all. It was my privilege to train with him. Mark introduced me to his good friend Jack Hoban. Jack would come around once a year and put on a seminar. I don’t know who was behind it—Mark or James (probably both)—but I was fortunate to be Jack’s training partner for the better part of every seminar. I would be sore for two weeks following the seminar (thank God I was young), but the download of information and experience was an incredible gift.

In 2005 I traveled to Japan and trained at the source, it was then I received a test and was awarded the rank of 5th degree black belt, becoming a “Shidoshi” instructor. I travel often to Japan to further my training and have since been honored to receive the rank of 10th degree black belt, with the title “Shihan” master instructor. I currently live in Rockford, Illinois teaching Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu, at the beautiful Anderson Japanese Gardens.

Why do you train?

A warrior protects and defends life. A warrior brings peace—a peace found through the training itself. To perceive the potential and purpose of life is the path of the divine warrior and it requires training. This is “why” I train.

What do you think is/are the core values of martial arts training?

Respecting, protecting and defending life, all life, even the enemy’s life, if possible.

Can you explain your method of training and teaching?

Training to respect and defend life clarifies one’s understanding of “Natural Laws” and their universal application. This may be viewed as the “spiritual” aspect of the training. The method of natural movement, Taijutsu, teaches us to first relax physically, and this allows for the expansion of consciousness, beginning with the five senses. This can be understood as the alignment of the “mind.” With a clear mind, aligned to the spirit, one can perceive the core principles of training: distance, balance, leverage and initiative. This may be understood as the “body” or the physicality of training.  Clarifying the spirit, aligning the mind the body, perceives and responds to the universal.

Is there a secret to training?

Experience is what the serious student of Budo is looking for. Ironically the experience cannot be taught, only experienced for oneself. If you are seeking the secret, the answer is simple: show up consistently, be humble, and empty your cup (you knew it was coming grasshopper).


What would you recommend others do to improve their training?

Be open to the experience of the present moment. Soke admonishes us to “Keep going,” as it is the vehicle for our own experiences. Immerse yourself into the training completely, the rewards are immeasurable.


What are the biggest differences today than when you first began training?

My perspective is the best answer I can give. Perspective is continually challenged, what the training appears as today is different tomorrow. I believe this is natural and an integral part of the living arts of the Bujinkan.


What is the role a martial artist plays in our world?

Warriors are the protectors and defenders of life. The ones who bring peace to our chaotic world.


What one thing would you contribute to a “Book of Knowledge”?

Most people have a definite idea of what they want but very few of us know what we truly need. It’s hard to see your flaws and weaknesses and it is difficult to understand beyond our ability and desires.  We are all students.


Do you have any great hope for the future of martial training?

The past and the present move in cycles. History shows us each generation repeating the mistakes of our fathers, hopefully surviving them. The ethical warrior trains his spirit, mind, and body to endure the sinful nature of man and protect the sacredness of life. The call comes from within man’s own heart—each must decide if they will come to the aid of their brother.

Only few that hear it will respond and only few that respond will stay. The road can be narrow, painful, and lonely, and it is with these few that our hope and very future depends. It is the Ethical Warrior that brings peace to our world and this requires training. It is my hope, honor and responsibility to share the art and traditions of the warrior to the next generation that they may have peace.

“People that want to be better people get trained,” James Morganelli.