Umi No Nami Dan Rotnem


Dan Rotnem began zazen practice as part of martial arts training at 5 years old. Raised Lutheran and attending a Jesuit (Catholic) High School led Dan to appreciate spirituality and reject religiosity. Martial training, spirituality and eastern philosophy became cornerstones of his life almost immediately. Unfortunately, all of these were used by “little Danny” in the pursuit of spiritual bypassing.

Successful in most endeavors, internally Dan struggled with a sense of worthlessness, fear of abandonment and perfectionism for most of his life. Externally he was an intelligent student (earning both a bachelor’s and master’s with distinctions from The Ohio State University) who became highly proficient in Mandarin Chinese before becoming an international businessman. Internally he was a wreck, living out a bunch of lame and destructive negative habitual patterns.

Dan finally decided he’d had enough. (That and his wife were sick of his crap.) Intensive personal practice eventually led to a reading of The Heart of Zen and a meeting with Jun Po Roshi. Deeply transformed by this experience, Dan dived in with the same intensity that characterized his approach to other pursuits. In 2019 he was ordained as a Lay Priest by Jun Po Roshi at Dai Bosatsu Zendo.

Now, Dan runs Unify Mind and Body with his wife, Lindsey (a social worker and personal trainer). Unify Mind and Body is a conscious embodiment system that blends Rinzai Zen, Hollow Bones style, and the Mondo Zen Koan Practice into martial arts and personal training. We understand that mental and physical well being are inextricably linked and support people on their journey to lead their best lives.

The unique outcomes of Dan’s studies are two martial arts curricula. One is Nami Bujutsu, a self-protection method that teaches effective martial skills from Dan’s studies across many disciplines. The other is Umi no Budo, a hybrid of Dan’s root systems of jujutsu and Shotokan karate supported by Bushido, rephrased according to the Hollow Bones neuro-linguistic framework. Both systems place an emphasis on physical fitness, understanding Zen Meditation and philosophy, and act as a vehicle for practicing meditative awareness in action.

Dan’s dhyana name, Umi no Nami, means “Sea of Waves” and is both a combination of the names of these curricula as well as a lovely metaphor for This Awareness.

Dan is also (slowly) building a sangha in Columbus, Ohio, writing a book, and releasing Totally Zensible podcast episodes irregularly.