They Live by the Sword

September 16, 2006

Author: Johnny Diaz

Source: The Boston Globe

Students of Shim Gum Do seek enlightenment through martial art in Brighton

Sebastian Rizzon wakes just before dawn every day in the bell tower of the former First Parish of Brighton . He bows 33 times to Buddha and chants for 20 minutes for good luck and enlightenment inside the adjacent wood -beamed sanctuary with his housemates. He has cereal or rice for breakfast with them before heading off to his job as a structural engineer.

At 6 p.m. Rizzon returns to the old church, where he hones his sword fighting skills and trains in weaponless martial arts. Dinner is at 8 p.m. in the church's dining room. Then he's off to do more training before he goes back to bed in the bell tower loft.

Rizzon, 38, lives and trains at the Shim Gum Do Zen center, along with nine other live-in students who have centered their lives around the martial arts form that seeks to unify mind, body, and spirit.