The Samurai were ancient military nobility from early modern Japan.
Fast-forward to today: In a small dojo in Washington D.C.'s Eastern Market neighborhood, students can learn the ancient techniques to become a Samurai.
'Direct lineage to the founders'
Sensei Bob Lowry trains in techniques rooted in ancient Japanese styles: Wado-Ryu Karate, Manaka-Ryu Aiki Jujutsu, and Iado and Kendo sword training.
"Ours has a direct lineage to the founders," Lowry says. "Yoshikazu Nakamura, my shihan, is one of three in the world."
"Don't worry, we use a Bamboo sword so the strike isn't painful."
Sword wielding ass-kicker
Lowry's deeply rooted classes are a huge hit for anyone who wants to feel like a samurai, a jedi or any other sword wielding ass-kicker.
Lauren Johnson, whose calf is covered with a tattoo of Trinity from the Matrix movies, was drawn to the Samurai Training Academy for obvious reasons.
"Nobody comes in here who doesn't have that 'I want to do this because it's cool,'" Johnson says. "There's a certain feeling of 'I'm awesome,' whenever you pull a sword out."
"What the samurai means is to serve," Lowry says. "If you want to touch the community and touch your family and friends in different ways, I'd say come here and you'll change as a person through training and martial arts."