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Tristan Newton
04-06-2006, 02:23 AM
Hi All,

I only came across this site recently even though I have been doing aikido for a few years now and its really interesting to hear peoples experiences.

I am currently doing Nishio Aikikai Aikido in Japan (and have been for around 5 - 6 years now) with a really good teacher in the `sticks` near Mt Fuji.

As I have become serious about training the past couple of years I am concerned that when I go back to Sydney, Australia I wont be able to find a dojo that suits me.

Ideally I would like to do Nishio style but I know that in Australia it isnt that popular so I am going to have to compromise.

Maybe I am somewhat spoilt here in that I get to often train and sometimes be the uke for the teacher (5th Dan). So I am looking for a dojo with a teacher who teaches a similar style and hopefully has lived here. I honestly believe that living and training here changes your view of martial arts because I found sometimes in Australia people were `trying` to be Asian.

If anyone can recommend a good dojo(s) in Sydney (ideally near the northern beaches or city) I would be very grateful.

Oh I was wondering in Australia etc. do they use English words for techniques or Japanese? I am hoping the latter because that is all I know as thats the only language I (can) use in the dojo.



Raul Roldan
04-06-2006, 07:48 AM
try myoora rd at the sydney gakuen japanese school in terrey hills

04-06-2006, 07:52 AM
Hi Tristan,
Not sure on Nishio style, however I do know (from limited experience) that other Aikikai dojo in Sydney do use Japanese names for techniques; there will be an Australian accent to contend with in most cases, but its certainly manageable.

Sorry that I can't recommend a dojo specifically; I can only recommend keeping an open mind and shopping around for something that closely matches what you are after. From the many people I've met and trained with who are from Sydney, I'm sure you'll find a dojo that is very close to your needs.

Of course I can always recommend Melbourne as an alternative... plenty of variety ;)

Best of luck!


04-06-2006, 07:12 PM
Try the dojo search function. There's a number of dojo close to the northern beaches/city. Sensei Berin McKenzie in Bondi is worthwhile checking out.

Tristan Newton
04-06-2006, 08:19 PM
Hi All,

Thanks very much for the input.

I have had a quick look about on the dojo search page but it is hard without actually seeing the classes.

Here I am 10 minutes walk from the dojo (just by coincidence) but I am somehow doubt I will be so lucky in Sydney!

Nishio style (Nishio sensei was one of Ueshibas students who died last year) incorporates karate and iado because the teacher was proficient in those styles as well.

I want a style which includes jo and katana exercises because in Nishio aikido they are vital in order to properly understand the weapons free techniques (and I would say that goes for all aikido).

Fingers crossed I can find a place not too far away that suits me!

Thanks again


PS Ill upload some pictures from my dojo here soon

Sean: There is a Nishio dojo in Frankston (sp?) in Vic

04-06-2006, 11:57 PM
Depending on where you end up in Sydney, there may be several options. The Aikikai group that trains around homebush seem to have a good rep.

My next suggestion may be a little heretical here on this board, but I offer it as I also have experience in this area (I happen to train in both and an ex-sydney-sider). I see that you're interested in Nishio style because of the extra combination of striking arts that aren't found in most other aikido styles. If this is the case that you're keen on keeping up some of the striking component, then you may want to also consider looking at a couple of the Hapkido schools in Sydney. HKD comes from the same root martial art, the empty hand techniques are the same, as are most of the principles. It also incorporates all the striking techniques. Depending on the teacher, the striking side also should follow the same principles of circular motion and the striking for throws rather than for damage. However, I will say up front that most HKD schools tend to be no morethan Tae Kwon Do with a few joint locks, rather than true to the original teachings. There's a really good school out at Moorebank run by Geoff Brown (7th dan and direct student of one of the original students of the founder of HKD) that encompasses all off the aikido-style philosphy and may be closely related to what you've had in your previous training.

04-07-2006, 12:15 AM

I'm an Aikidoka from Sydney, training in Aikikai style and (before I was studying Japanese) I was regularly training with 5th dans and even a 6th dan now. I recommend Aikikai in sydney because of leading Shihan, Seiichi Sugano! His Bokken work is fantastic and is quite different I find to the normal "smacking" of two sticks lol... something I guess you'd have to experience.

Like everyone Else's advice shop around, see what you'd like, consider your location when you come to Sydney, NSW Aikikai has numerous dojo's around the place so you're bound to find one near you. Heres the site www.nsw.aikido.org.au


Tristan Newton
04-07-2006, 01:30 AM
Hi Again,

Thanks to both Justin and Todd for your suggestions.

In regards to Hapkido I used to train in Brookvale with the head of the Hapkido association of Australia, Kevin Brown. All of the teachers were great there and I still remain good friends with some of them.

The styles I can say from experience are quite different even if they come from the same roots. I suspect that it really depends on the teacher but the movement in Hapkido (as I have seen it anyway) is so different

What gives the power to aikido, its circular movement, is not found in other martial arts as far as I know, and thats why I am sure why many people are attracted to it.

Todd, I have looked at that site already and of course I am interested in visiting the dojo closest to me. I have heard of Sugano sensei so I will have a look on google and see what I can find out.

I am based in Japan for now I am looking forward to training this evening so maybe I can quiz the people there as to the best alternative for me. I tell you its so hard because I miss home so much at times but I dont want to lose the good things from here like my dojo!

Thanks to you all and have a good weekend!


04-07-2006, 01:49 AM
Yes, the HKD style varies tremendously based on the lineage of the school. I trained a couple of times with a Aus HKD Assoc school out at Campbelltown and it was like chalk and cheese compared to my own training. Circular motion is one of the principles of Hapkido training too, so you should be seeing it from the instructor and teaching (which is why I made mention of the TKD schools that call themselves Hapkido without really being HKD). My experience visiting various schools in my travels is that the further the lineage diverges away from the three most well-known students of the founder (Ji Han Jae, Kwang Sik Myung and Bong Soo Han) the more linear and harder it becomes. Anyway, if you don't find any luck with an Aikido school then pop in to Geoff's school out at Moorebank as I think you'll be quite surprised at just how different it is to your previous experience.

Best of luck in your search! I may be following you back from the USA in about a year's time if my visa isn't renewed!

(Doh! I just realised I got Geoff's surname wrong - should be Booth, not Brown... )

Peter Goldsbury
04-07-2006, 05:32 AM
Hi Again,

I am based in Japan for now I am looking forward to training this evening so maybe I can quiz the people there as to the best alternative for me. I tell you its so hard because I miss home so much at times but I dont want to lose the good things from here like my dojo!

Thanks to you all and have a good weekend!


My two instructor colleagues here in Hiroshima have both trained extensively with Nishio Sensei and also teach in the main dojo affiliated with him here. I myself knew Nishio Sensei but for various reasons never trained under his direction. So, our students here receive good training from two 'worlds': Aikikai mainstream (Yamaguchi/Tada/Arikawa/Chiba) and Nishio. And I think the two worlds really are quite different.

I know Sugano Sensei and I can vouch for his expertise in certain weapons, but I think that the only Nishio aikido you will find in Australia will be from one of his students who has relocated there.

Best wishes,

Tristan Newton
04-11-2006, 01:33 AM
Dear Peter,

Thanks for your input.

I am guessing by your post, who you know and your job that you have been here quite some time :)

The issue of weapons training is definitely an issue and Nishios whole training is `irimi` (my brain isnt working today so maybe thats wrong) meaning stepping into your attackers centre of balance.

Anyway going by videos I have seen of other aikikai teachers he does things a little differently. I like the way he empahises stepping to the side completely (pivoting on the ball of the foot and turning the hip) & combining strikes into the techniques.

He was clearly very much into `practical aikido` which is very much of interest to me (not that I ever intend to use it outside the dojo!).

Anyway hopefully I will be able to find a dojo that suits me and with a bit of luck combine the old with the new :)

Thanks for your help


Russell Pearse
04-11-2006, 11:17 PM

If you want to train in Sydney I can recommend the Takemusu Aiki Association. It is headed by Takayasu Sensei, who is Saito Senseiís leading Japanese student who is teaching outside Japan. We train in traditional Iwama style, so the aikido is strong and practical, with a strong emphasis on weapons.

Takayasu Sensei has been teaching in Sydney for about thirty years and a number of his senior students have set up branch dojos with strong links with Senseiís dojo in Surry Hills. There are dojos in Turramurra, Bondi Junction, Camperdown, North Sydney and Randwick, as well as Queensland if youíre heading up that way.

The web site link is http://www.aikidoaus.com.au/dojo/index.htm

Come and have a look, it might be a bit different to what youíre used to Ė but you might even like it more!

See you on the mat.


04-12-2006, 12:18 AM
http://aikidoinsydney.com is run by a collegue of mind in Aikido Yuishinkai. He has a dojo at Camperdown in Sydney and one further out 1/2 way towards the Blue mountains. Andrew has trainined extensively in many styles of Aikido and is open minded and welcoming to anyone who practices aikido.

best wishes,

Tristan Newton
04-14-2006, 12:46 AM
Dear Russell,

Thanks for the suggestion.

I actually looked into Iwamura before and it especially caught my attention because the teacher had studied under Saito sensei. When I mentioned it to my teacher here he ummed and arred about it and said that its different and that your grade would not be recognised because Saito broke away from aikikai.

That doesnt bother as much if I dont like the style then that will be a problem. In any case I will no doubt drop into the dojo in Surry Hills to check out what is being taught.

Thanks for the help!


04-15-2006, 08:47 PM
You may also wish to checkout Sensei Steve Seymour's "Hell Dojo" at the Balmain PCYC. ;)

Russell Pearse
04-15-2006, 09:12 PM
Hi Tristan:

Takayasu Sensei is a sixth dan Shihan from Aikikai hombu. Our dan grades are issued direct from Aikikai Japan and the Doshu's stamp is inside my passport. There was a problem with some Iwama schools when Saito Sensei passed away, but we have always been afiliated with the Aikikai - first through Saito Sensei and now directly to Hombu.

More important though is the quality of the training and teaching. Drop in and see us and I am sure you will be impressed.

See you on the mat.