(805) 532-1794

Martial Arts Instructor

Scott Hamilton

Dojo Cho (Owner/Head Instructor)

My Story

My name is Scott Hamilton and I’m the Dojocho (Owner/Head Instructor) at Todai Bujinkan Dojo.

Sharing our art is my passion. I’m proof of the transformative power that training in the art brings. So rather give some puffed up bio of accolades and certifications, let me tell you what training has done for me.

My Qualifications

  • Started training in 2006
  • Currently Hachidan (8th Degree Black Belt)
  • Travels to Japan once or twice a year to train
  • Speaks conversational Japanese and Spanish
  • Received training in Firearms and CQB

A Rough Start

Before I started training at Todai, I wasn’t in the greatest place. I grew up the only white kid in my school, and was bullied heavily for it. That didn’t exactly help my self-esteem. That coupled with being surrounded by gang violence where I grew up, I developed a bit of an anxiety issue (but pretty good conflict avoidance skills).

My parents luckily had the good sense to take me out of that environment and put me in a nice private school. Unfortunately my father (who was my center of of my universe) died soon after I graduated and I was left with filling in his shoes as CEO of his company. At 18 years old.

The stress of it all started a slow descent into depression. The following 8 years of trying to find my footing filled me with self doubt. I was afraid whether I could face the world and become who I really wanted to be – and make my dad proud.

Finding Todai

Being a child of the 80’s, I had always been fascinated with Ninja, Samurai and Japanese culture. It was a life long dream to study Ninjutsu and train in Japan.

So with nothing to lose (except the love handles), I decided to take a chance and go searching for a school. If I was going to commit myself, I wanted only the best.

That’s when I found Todai Dojo, and it’s founder Matthew Woodard.

Training in Japan

Fast forward to 2008. I had been training every day for 2 years under Matt, and was fulfilling my dream as I was flying to train in Japan. It would soon become a ritual every year to make a pilgrimage to Japan and train for 3 weeks at a time.

In 2012, I made my first solo trip to Japan. It was during this trip I would pass my Godan test to become a 5th Degree Black Belt and authorized to teach the art. It was a huge milestone in my training and in my life.

Passing the Torch

When I returned I found out that Matt Woodard would be leaving the dojo for an Executive Protection job, and would have to close the school. My sanctuary that is Todai was in jeopardy. So I decided to purchase the school and continue the training and keep the community alive. I also wanted to bring the experience of training in Japan back home, and share that experience with those that couldn’t make the trip.

My Teaching Method

I consider myself a student first. However, I take my responsibility as an instructor very seriously. I consider these to be core tenants of the way I teach:



Learning through immersion I believe is the most efficient way to learn. So you can expect to be immersed in the Japanese culture.



What is being taught must be translated in such a way to have practical value. It’s my job to bridge the gap between the traditional forms and the society we live in today.



I never assume to have all the answers, and I’m honest if I don’t know or if something is beyond my capability.



Training should be fun and engaging. We should never take ourselves too seriously, even if we’re serious about what we do.

My Life Today

While I still deal with some of the issues of my past, I can honestly say I’m in the best place I’ve ever been. And life keeps getting better.

I now feel that I am fulfilling my responsibilities as CEO of my father’s company. I married the woman of my dreams, and we’ve welcomed our first child together into the world.

I’m in the best shape I’ve been in since high school and don’t hate what I see in the mirror.


I’ve made some lifelong friends and had absolutely amazing experiences. I’ve had the privilege of taking students to Japan with me so they could experience training with the masters themselves.

I can honestly say that training in this art and at Todai has made an everlasting positive impact on my life.

And if training in this art has done this much for me, just imagine what it can do for you. I can only promise to be your guide as you work towards discover your inner warrior.

Whether you come here or not, the most important thing I’ve learned through studying this art is to “keep going”. As hopeless as things may seem, no matter how great the challenge, you will make it to the other side.



Scott Hamilton

Ready to start training?