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Star Dragon
11-01-2015, 02:38 PM
My ongoing journey into the martial arts started some three decades ago in my early teenage years. At the same time, a vivid interest in Eastern spirituality awakened - but I also wanted to learn how to fight as effectively as possible. So I took up Karate first. After four years of practice, I met a teacher who also knew Aikido and combined the two arts in his self-defence instruction. Aikido caught my interest, so I enrolled in a local school soon after. For awhile, I was practising both arts in parallel, then my focus shifted to Aikido. I spent a year in Kyoto, where I studied with Numata-sensei (he has a school in Princeton now) and Nomura-sensei (internationally known meanwhile due to his books and DVDs). After that, life took me in new directions, and despite a period of training with Ikeda-sensei, I couldn't continue with Aikido. Martial arts never ceased to fascinate me, however. Currently, I am studying Kenpo-Karate and Taiji. Aikido still interests me, too - both its spiritual and its martial side. Maybe one day I will take it up again. Meanwhile, I will be happy to share some of the experiences and knowledge that I gathered in various Aikido schools and other martial arts with those of you who might find them helpful, and I am confident that I will find some inspiration here myself.

Howard Prior
11-01-2015, 08:04 PM
I spent a year in Kyoto, where I studied with Numata-sensei (he has a school in Princeton now) and Nomura-sensei (internationally known meanwhile due to his books and DVDs).

Would that be a Nomura sensei once from Bansen Tanaka's Suita dojo?

Star Dragon
11-02-2015, 02:16 AM
Would that be a Nomura sensei once from Bansen Tanaka's Suita dojo?

Yes, Kazuo Nomura from the Aikikai Osaka. Do you know him?

Both of my teachers in Japan were students of Bansen Tanaka. Nomura-sensei was teaching in the big Budo-Center in Kyoto, at the Heian shrine. There were always lots of students in the classes. I was impressed by sensei's power; he would frequently send his uke flying a couple of meters.

Numata-sensei had a dojo in Yamashina which belonged to Tanaka-sensei originally. I arrived there just a few months after Tanaka-sensei had died. The dojo was in a lovely place, but rather small and quite remote. In the winter months of 1989/90, there would often be only me and one other student attending the classes which were held twice a week. So I enjoyed private lectures, essentially. "Self-defence realism" was emphasized to some degree, which I really liked.

Even though they had the same teacher, Numata-sensei and Nomura-sensei had developed their art in somewhat different directions. There were technical differences between the two that were a little confusing initially. However, I profited much from both teachers.

Howard Prior
11-02-2015, 06:45 AM
Yes, Kazuo Nomura from the Aikikai Osaka. Do you know him?

Yes, I did, for about a year-and-a-half in 1985 and 86. I practiced in Suita, and as I lived in Nara, Sanshozenji. I believe I last saw him two or a few years later at a Tokyo demonstration.

Both of my teachers in Japan were students of Bansen Tanaka.

I don't know the other gentleman you mentioned. I believe Nomura (I gather now shihan) had been a student of Kawahara (later of Canada) a long-ago student of Tanaka. I don't know that this has anything to do with differences though. Any chance you met Honzawa sensei? He taught (teaches?) at Suita. As I recall, his movement was also quite distinct from Nomura's.

Star Dragon
11-02-2015, 10:31 AM
Yes, I did, for about a year-and-a-half in 1985 and 86. I practiced in Suita, and as I lived in Nara, Sanshozenji. I believe I last saw him two or a few years later at a Tokyo demonstration.

Very cool. I love Nara.

I don't know the other gentleman you mentioned. I believe Nomura (I gather now shihan) had been a student of Kawahara (later of Canada) a long-ago student of Tanaka. I don't know that this has anything to do with differences though.

Well, I think it's very natural that every advanced instructor develops their own expression of the art over time. All in all, I trained in five different dojos, and each of them was doing certain things a little differently.

Any chance you met Honzawa sensei? He taught (teaches?) at Suita. As I recall, his movement was also quite distinct from Nomura's.

No, I don't recall having had the pleasure.