Shihan Michael Tattoli
10th Dan, Head of School
Having started martial arts at the age of 7, Mike has had a long and adventurous journey in martial arts over five decades. As a youngster he studied Judo at West Ryde and Gladesville NSW, complimented with wrestling skills learned from his father. Studying other popular arts in his teens e.g. Karate and Kung Fu, and enjoying local backyard fight games around the neighbourhood, he developed into a reputable street fighter.
Maturing into adulthood, having endured some very difficult personal experiences, he set about to improve his life on all levels. He had become a hardened individual, but knew there was more to learn, and set upon a path of discovery seeking spiritual enlightenment while searching for a complete martial art that merged the elements of spirituality and physicality into a unified expression of life.
It was during the early stages of this quest that Mike was introduced to Ninjutsu. Unsure if it was a genuine ninja art or not, he attended the first seminar in Sydney and was immediately hooked. That was around 1982 or 83.
From then to the present day, over 3 decades of dedicated physical, mental and spiritual training has been endured to forge the man we see today.
As a little bit of history, Mike passed his Fifth Dan test conducted by Hatsumi Sensei in Adelaide in the early 1990s. Following the test Soke made a very assertive comment stating that those in the room who had just passed “are now my students not anyone else’s”. Taking that as a responsibility Mike has striven to emulate Hatsumi’s teachings. Mike says the most important thing with understanding Budo is to listen to every word Sensei says and learn to read between the lines, and approach training and life, for that matter, with a warrior’s heart. Even being at such a distance from Sensei the lessons continue to play out on a daily basis.
Mike met and connected with UK budoka Brin and Natasha Morgan in New Zealand around 1995. Seeing how similar their training styles were (hard and realistic) and recognising how close they were to Hatsumi Sensei, respect was mutually forged. Mike’s school, The Australian Ninjutsu Academy, formed a strong affiliation with Shadow Warrior Society in the UK run by Brin, resulting in Mike hosting many local seminars taught by Brin and/or Natasha following their visits with Hatsumi Sensei each year.
Mike has trained in Australia, Japan, South Africa and New Zealand. He has been featured in martial art magazines and was inducted into the Australasian Fighting Arts Hall of Fame in 1997.
During the Ninja boom of the 80s and 90s the Australian Ninjutsu Academy – Tattoli Dojos had schools in varied locations in NSW – Gosford, Kincumber, Bateau Bay, Tuggerah, Woy Woy, Garden Suburb, Broadmeadow, Tighes Hill, The Junction, Cessnock and Maitland. In VIC – Melbourne and in Japan – Toyama. These days, dojos are operated at Kincumber, Bateau Bay and Yamba NSW.
Work experience among other things, include 10 years running a security company, consultancy to Armaguard throughout NSW and Canberra, counterterrorism risk assessments for major corporations, and a variety of security operations including bodyguarding and armed escort. Mike’s current profession is risk management for local government.
Mike lives with his wife of 34 years on Copacabana Beach and has three adult children. He lives a very full and enriched life, enabled predominantly by his truth to Budo. He accredits his daily social fulfilment to the Warrior Creed of Robert L Humphrey (platoon commander Iwo Jima) :
Wherever I go, everyone is a little bit safer because I am there.
Wherever I am, anyone in need has a friend.
Whenever I return home, everyone is happy I am there.