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John.Minker
03-09-2011, 12:39 PM
Does anyone know if there is such a dojo in Illinois?

Hellis
03-09-2011, 12:43 PM
Does anyone know if there is such a dojo in Illinois?

John

Just curious, why does the dojo need to have a Shihan ?

Henry Ellis
www.british-aikido.com

John.Minker
03-09-2011, 01:53 PM
Henry,

Personal reasons, but I will share them with you.

Since I do not have the money to travel to Japan and learn aikido there for a few years I want to get as close to i"the real deal" as I can.

I want to learn from a japanese teacher and as highly ranked as possible.

Hellis
03-09-2011, 02:12 PM
Henry,

Personal reasons, but I will share them with you.

Since I do not have the money to travel to Japan and learn aikido there for a few years I want to get as close to i"the real deal" as I can.

I want to learn from a japanese teacher and as highly ranked as possible.

John

Save your money and try to study with TK Chiba Shihan or a student of his..Over 50 years ago I asked Mikoto ` Masahilo` Nakazono sensei for a letter to visit the AikiKai, he looked surprised, and asked " WHY ? " I thought that was a bit of a dumb question, but I did not dare show that in my expession,,,,I replied that I thought it would be good for my Aikido career, Nakazono Sensei replied with a loud laugh " Henry, there is no need to visit Japan, all the best teachers are in the West !!! ".. that is more true today than all those years ago...

Henry Ellis

British Aikido History
www.british-aikido.com

phitruong
03-09-2011, 02:29 PM
Henry,

Personal reasons, but I will share them with you.

Since I do not have the money to travel to Japan and learn aikido there for a few years I want to get as close to i"the real deal" as I can.

I want to learn from a japanese teacher and as highly ranked as possible.

if you want the real deal, you would have better luck study under one of O Sensei's uchideshi. there are 3, that i heard of, in the U.S.: TK Chiba (west coast), Shizuo Imaizumi (New York), Misugi Saotome (FL). and the westerner uchideshi: Robert Frager, Rober Nadeau.

scott.swank
03-09-2011, 02:36 PM
Akira Tohei shihan passed away 12 years ago, but his dojo and students in Chicago are still an outstanding opportunity. They have Yokota shihan out from hombu every fall, and Yamada shihan has the USAF yudanshakai seminar there every Spring.

Toyoda shihan also left a strong legacy in Chicago, with some of his students now associated with Chiba shihan.

kewms
03-09-2011, 02:42 PM
And the correlation between rank, Japanese ancestry, and teaching skills is?

It is usually safe to assume that any shihan, and certainly any of O Sensei's uchi deshi, will have top level aikido skills. It's not so safe to assume that such a person can effectively transmit his knowledge to anyone, and particularly to non-Japanese speaking beginners.

Remember also that most shihan level instructors have very heavy seminar schedules, and therefore will very often be absent from "their" dojos.

Katherine

chillzATL
03-09-2011, 03:17 PM
if you want the real deal, you would have better luck study under one of O Sensei's uchideshi. there are 3, that i heard of, in the U.S.: TK Chiba (west coast), Shizuo Imaizumi (New York), Misugi Saotome (FL). and the westerner uchideshi: Robert Frager, Rober Nadeau.

You could also add Roy Suenaka (Charleston, Sc) to that list.

Howard Popkin
03-09-2011, 03:28 PM
You could also add Roy Suenaka (Charleston, Sc) to that list.

and Yamada...

Howard Popkin
03-09-2011, 03:30 PM
John,

If you want the real deal, plus ... go see Choate Sensei.

http://www.asu.org/chicago/

Best regards,

Howard

Fred Little
03-09-2011, 03:37 PM
if you want the real deal, you would have better luck study under one of O Sensei's uchideshi. there are 3, that i heard of, in the U.S.: TK Chiba (west coast), Shizuo Imaizumi (New York), Misugi Saotome (FL). and the westerner uchideshi: Robert Frager, Rober Nadeau.

Oh Phi....:D

While Frager and Nadeau have a claim to having studied directly with the founder, I don't believe either of them has ever claimed to have been live-in students.

There is also some other fellow who teaches in New York, definitely a Shihan, sometimes referred to as an uchi-deshi, though sticklers insist he was a soto-deshi. I think his last name is Yamada.

Beyond that, there are a bunch of people with pieces of paper designating them as "Shihan" or "Shidoin" or "Fukushidoin" in the USAF. For the first of that list, ASU folk tend to refer simply to "the rokudans," and nobody much cares about the other titles.

But titles aside, what you really want is a dojo with a deep instructional bench, classes morning noon and evening, and a winning lottery ticket so you don't have to work aside from training. This will probably leave you incapable of understanding the day-to-day lives of the people you hope to train down the line, abut then, as a gaijin you won't be of much interest to them because, as far as they're concerned you're not a real Shihan even if you have a piece of paper that says you are because your eyes are the wrong shape and you never drew the Founder's bath, so it's a wash except for the fact that you may have mad aikido skilz. And if you think that's all you really want, you may not have thought about it very carefully. Or maybe you just have laser like focus that escapes those of us with varying degrees of ADD ranging from the socially mandatory to the totally dysfunctional.

YMMV,

FL

John.Minker
03-09-2011, 04:33 PM
Thanks everyone for your input. This has been extremely helpful to me. I plan on going to college in Florida so will definitely see where Misugi Saotome is located. Henry I also have to thank you for making me realize it is not necessary anymore to go to japan to find the best aikido teachers.

Thanks
John

ChrisHein
03-09-2011, 05:54 PM
"real deal" Aikido is a subjective thing. Different Shihan are going to give you different lessons, sometimes contradictory lessons. You need to find YOUR Aikido, that is the most "real deal" Aikido anyone can have.

In order to do that, you simply need a decent teacher. Someone who's had some experience teaching, and a decent pedigree. Learn your fundamentals well, and question them often. No one can give you Aikido, you've got to discover it for yourself. You don't need a Shihan for that.

Matt Fisher
03-09-2011, 07:54 PM
Thanks everyone for your input. This has been extremely helpful to me. I plan on going to college in Florida so will definitely see where Misugi Saotome is located. Henry I also have to thank you for making me realize it is not necessary anymore to go to japan to find the best aikido teachers.

Thanks
John

John,

Saotome Sensei does not teach public classes in Florida; that is where he lives. He has a small dojo on his personal property but visitation is by invitation only. However, a number of his senior students are located in Florida and run their own dojos.

Matt

phitruong
03-09-2011, 08:13 PM
But titles aside, what you really want is a dojo with a deep instructional bench, classes morning noon and evening, and a winning lottery ticket so you don't have to work aside from training. This will probably leave you incapable of understanding the day-to-day lives of the people you hope to train down the line, abut then, as a gaijin you won't be of much interest to them because, as far as they're concerned you're not a real Shihan even if you have a piece of paper that says you are because your eyes are the wrong shape and you never drew the Founder's bath, so it's a wash except for the fact that you may have mad aikido skilz. And if you think that's all you really want, you may not have thought about it very carefully. Or maybe you just have laser like focus that escapes those of us with varying degrees of ADD ranging from the socially mandatory to the totally dysfunctional.

FL

Fred, you have fallen in my trap of baiting you to spill out more information!

lets face it, we are very dysfunctional. who would spend lots of money paying folks to tenderize our bodies by beating us with the earth. not only we don't protest such treatments, we revel in it. at the moment, i can't decide if we are sadists or masochist or both (masosadist. hey, i just invented a new word, like Al Gore invented the internet!). still trying to wrap my mind around ADD masochist. :D

Janet Rosen
03-09-2011, 11:13 PM
.. . still trying to wrap my mind around ADD masochist. :D
..speed dating for submissives?

OwlMatt
03-10-2011, 07:23 AM
John,

What rank are you in aikido? If you are a beginner (say, 5th kyu or lower), then finding a teacher who is going to teach aikido in a way that makes sense to you is much more important than finding someone with high rank. I'm very much a beginner myself, and I find that some of my dojo's shodans are much more helpful as teachers than some of the higher ranked instructors. This isn't because their aikido is better; it's because the way they teach fits the way I learn better.

Once you've spent many years training, then it's time to go looking for very experienced instructors who can show you things you haven't seen yet.

What's more, if you're at a dojo that is part of a larger organization (most are), you'll probably have the opportunity to train under shihan instructors at seminars.

philipsmith
03-10-2011, 11:36 AM
I totally agree with Matthew.

Shihan in itself doesn't mean that one is a direct student of the founder just that you have reached a certain level of training/instruction.

It is actually (in the west) a teaching rank awarded to those teachers of 6th Dan or above - or at least that's the case in the Aikikai.

Beware those who award themselves Shihan status - there are a number around in all countries.

But as Matthew says at first you will probably learn more from a lower grade teacher.

Diana Frese
03-10-2011, 01:20 PM
Dear John,

There are several Aikido groups in the Chicago area affiliated with various shihan. If you are near Beecher, Illinois (near Lenox) 704 Dixie Highway, Beecher IL 60401 (phone 708-946-6614) a friend from the Wisconsin summer camp in the late 1970's Wendy Whited is teaching there. She was promoted to sixth dan by
Saotome Sensei in 1999. On her website for "Inaka (Country) Dojo" ..... on a road that goes through cornfields...... I found that she is a teacher by profession. She has background in other martial arts also, Iaido, Judo and Shorei Ryu Karate ....

Florida has dojo of the ASU and the USAF affiliations so once you get there there are seminars .... The USAF Annual Seminar usually held in Nov or Dec has Yamada Sensei and other Shihans attending , hosted by Florida Aikikai on the east coast of Florida... and the Orlando dojo Shindai Aikikai affiliated with ASU also has seminars .....John Messores was one of Saotome Sensei's original students in Sarasota if you go on the ASU website you can find where he is teaching or ask the Orlando people....

I'm sure all of us who have posted on this thread will be interested to know where you visit and where you continue your training both in Illinois and Florida ....

sincerely, Daian from Connecticut

kumachan
03-10-2011, 05:47 PM
Does anyone know if there is such a dojo in Illinois?

My suggestion would be to observe some of Kevin Choate sensei's classes at the Chicago Aikikai.

ninjaqutie
03-10-2011, 07:22 PM
John

Save your money and try to study with TK Chiba Shihan or a student of his.

It is my understanding that Chiba Sensei has retired from teaching at his dojo in California. If you look up his dojo, he is not the head instructor, it is Deena Drake. Chiba Sensei is still teaching at seminars and such, but he has cut back on his schedule dramatically and his intention is to cut back more and more until he fully retires. If you want to train with him, take the opportunity soon and go to a regional seminar or summer camp that he is attending. There is one this summer in Portland, OR.

I agree with the others though that just because someone has a certain title or ethnicity doesn't necessarily make them a better teacher. It just means they have put in the time and have been teaching a certain length of time and run their own dojo. It is similar to shidoin and fukushidoin. You can have those ranks (or higher) and not have those titles. Sure, they are nice, but it doesn't mean their aikido is better. Best of luck.

tlk52
03-10-2011, 07:31 PM
"some other fellow who teaches in New York, definitely a Shihan, sometimes referred to as an uchi-deshi, though sticklers insist he was a soto-deshi. I think his last name is Yamada."

(unless this is being said in humor) considering Yamada sensei's history and his place in the history of aikido inthe U.S., this devaluing is kind of offensive and clearly political.

Dazzler
03-11-2011, 02:36 AM
"some other fellow who teaches in New York, definitely a Shihan, sometimes referred to as an uchi-deshi, though sticklers insist he was a soto-deshi. I think his last name is Yamada."

(unless this is being said in humor) considering Yamada sensei's history and his place in the history of aikido inthe U.S., this devaluing is kind of offensive and clearly political.

To me its clearly humor !

One thing that seems to be missing in this thread is that when assessing a potential instructor...a very serious decision...rather than look to titles, rank etc.....why not look at the persons students.

Good students indicate good transmission.

Pieces of paper MAY indicate nothing.

FWIW

D

kumachan
03-12-2011, 06:50 PM
Good students indicate good transmission.


This raises some interesting questions, for me at least: What is it, ultimately, that aikidoka seek from an aikido instructor? How are aikidoka to determine an instructor's understanding of "aiki" versus strong kihon waza?

Hellis
03-13-2011, 03:35 AM
It is my understanding that Chiba Sensei has retired from teaching at his dojo in California. If you look up his dojo, he is not the head instructor, it is Deena Drake. Chiba Sensei is still teaching at seminars and such, but he has cut back on his schedule dramatically and his intention is to cut back more and more until he fully retires. If you want to train with him, take the opportunity soon and go to a regional seminar or summer camp that he is attending. There is one this summer in Portland, OR.

I agree with the others though that just because someone has a certain title or ethnicity doesn't necessarily make them a better teacher. It just means they have put in the time and have been teaching a certain length of time and run their own dojo. It is similar to shidoin and fukushidoin. You can have those ranks (or higher) and not have those titles. Sure, they are nice, but it doesn't mean their aikido is better. Best of luck.

When I last met with Chiba Shihan, he did speak of easing down on his travels, `slowing down a little`, I just don't see full retirement. one never knows ? To study with one his senior students will give a person a chance to study on occasion with one of last of the ``few`` direct students of Osensei.

Henry Ellis
Positive Aikido
http://aikido-books.blogspot.com/

Cyril Landise
03-13-2011, 09:21 PM
Over 50 years ago I asked Mikoto ` Masahilo` Nakazono sensei for a letter to visit the AikiKai, he looked surprised, and asked " WHY ? " I thought that was a bit of a dumb question, but I did not dare show that in my expession,,,,
Henry Ellis
British Aikido History
www.british-aikido.com

Henry,
A mere 25 years ago, I asked Akira Tohei Shihan for a letter of introduction to Aikikai Hombu Dojo and Shirata Sensei's dojo in Yamagata, Japan.
He also had a one word answer, "Why?", and I too thought it was kind of a dumb question.
Although I had a wonderful and memorable Aikido pilgrimage, it sometimes takes a long journey away to really appreciate home.
Cyril Landise

ninjaqutie
03-13-2011, 10:32 PM
When I last met with Chiba Shihan, he did speak of easing down on his travels, `slowing down a little`, I just don't see full retirement. one never knows ? To study with one his senior students will give a person a chance to study on occasion with one of last of the ``few`` direct students of Osensei.

My sensei was/is a student of his and that was the impression I got. I could be wrong, but what I know is my sensei keeps encouraging us to train with Chiba sensei while we still can....

Larry Feldman
03-14-2011, 02:14 PM
Katherine makes a good point about the teaching schedule.

Imaizumi teaches the classes five nights a week, including the beginner classes.

edshockley
03-15-2011, 10:53 AM
I think all of the suggestions are wonderful instructors and I would be proud to study with any of them. (I have trained at seminars with many from the list.) I was taught, however, that "aikido teaches." Training regularly with diligent partners and finding a sensei or as a guide with a supplement of seminars to create contrast has been a formula that should allow any student to develop to the limits of his potential. As someone said earlier, rank is not the issue but rather the ability of an instructor to communicate with you. I would, however, also add Sato Sensei to your Chicago list.