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Kyle Lingol
09-07-2003, 03:20 AM
Hello there, I'm a new student of Aikido (as well as a newbie to these forums) and while looking for a dojo in my area I found a style of Aikido that I hadn't heard of before, Nihon Goshin Aikido.

The style has been around for quite some time (as my research on the net proved); I just hadn't read about it before now. And I was wondering if anyone could give their opinions/experiences with this art?

I have a shodan in Jinen-Ryu Karate, and have been studying (reading and taking the occasional 'complimentary lesson' when my schedule permits) Aikido for quite some time now, and really want to get into a dojo to start my training.

I don't want to spark a 'style debate', I was just curious about this style and what it offers and how it's different from say Aikikai (which is the style taught at the dojos that I had visited in the past)?

Thanks
Kyle

deepsoup
09-07-2003, 05:54 AM
Hello there, I'm a new student of Aikido (as well as a newbie to these forums) and while looking for a dojo in my area I found a style of Aikido that I hadn't heard of before, Nihon Goshin Aikido.
Hi Kyle, and welcome.

What most of us mean by 'aikido' is that its the martial art founded by Morihei Ueshiba, and all the various 'styles' (Aikikai, Yoshinkan, Shodokan, Ki Society, etc..) can trace their development back to him.

Nihon Goshin Aikido, on the other hand, has no connection to Ueshiba at all. As far as I'm concerned, that makes it a different martial art. Its not a 'style' of aikido, so much as a separate derivative of jujutsu which just happens to have a very similar name.

As far as Nihon Goshin itself goes, I've never seen it (it doesn't seem to exist outside of the USA), so I can't comment on what its like.

HTH

Sean

Brian Crowley
09-07-2003, 08:44 AM
I practiced NG Aikido for a couple semesters while in graduate school. If you have researched it, then it is probably about what you would expect:

We trained basic striking/blocking techniques from karate and throws from judo in addition to a curriculum that is similar to what you would see in "main stream" aikido schools. They seemed to keep a focus on 'blending' - even with the techniques integrated from other styles. I don't remember much, if any, randori - but that may have been a result of the fact that it was mostly new people in the class.

I had a GREAT time in the class. Good work out and lots of variety in techniques & training.

Brian

Chris Raywood
09-09-2003, 11:15 PM
Dear Kyle,

I have recently trained in Nihon Goshin Aikido for the past fourteen months making a switch to Aikikai only two weeks ago. The reason for leaving my dojo was not so much a problem with NGA itself, but with some issues I was having with the particular dojo chosen. Admittedly, the time spent training in NGA was relatively short, but I have had approximately seventeen years in martial arts training (mostly in aiki-jujutsu systems), and do feel that I can address your question to some extent. I do not claim to be an authority on NGA, but can relay my observations.

As you may have already discovered, Nihon Goshin Aikido was a system formulated by a man named Shodo Morita. Richard Bowe, one of Morita’s students, brought the system to the United States, and began teaching in 1962, although I believe he opened his first dojo exclusive to NGA in 1976 in Guttenburg, (North Bergen) New Jersey.

NGA is what I would define as a system, meaning various techniques were extracted from other “arts” so to speak (i.e. osoto gari from judo, shihonage from Daito Ryu, etc). The system at its basic level consists of fifty techniques taught within five kyu level ranks. Diverting from the norm, the techniques are given American English labels such as “pivot take down” for shihonage, and “over the back” for koshi nage. I would recommend the book The Black Belt Master Course in Nihon Goshin Aikido by Walter V. Kopitov and Frank D. Bowers, Bowers Publications. You can most likely attain a copy by contacting Walter Kopitov’s dojo directly (the Aikido Self Defense Center of Ossining, New York). If you need the phone number please contact me directly via e-mail.

In my judgment the system is most certainly viable with techniques that have worked for me in training. However, I do feel it really should be classified more of an aiki-jujutsu system than what I would label Aikido. First and foremost, NGA has a different philosophical outlook. Where someone who trains under the beliefs of Morihei Ueshiba (O’ Sensei) would feel it unethical to cause serious injury to an attacker, someone training in NGA (given the right provocation) would not necessarily hold such a value in high regard. I do wish to stress here that this is my observation. The techniques tend to be “smaller circle”, and atemi is employed much more freely.

On what one might consider a negative side, if you are looking for a system with a long standing hierarchy I’m afraid you will be disappointed. From what I can determine the only historical proof of Shodo Morita (pictures do exist of Morita and Richard Bowe together), his system, and Morita’s training under Daito Ryu instructor, Yoshiro Kotaro, is strictly word of mouth from Richard Bowe himself. I would certainly not describe Mr. Bowe as elusive, but maybe secretive might be a better word. To my knowledge, his teaching is now limited pretty much to a small circle of black belts, and at least in my view he has done little to give more credibility to proof of NGA’s formulation and past.

Also, disappointing is what I would call “in fighting” within the system. On various NGA forums I have viewed what I would call petty scrabbles over direct lineage to Shinan Bowe, as well as intolerance to variations from the original system itself. Something I feel a little disconcerting for a relatively small and young system. I should mention here that the dojo I trained in was forced out of the NGA organization for changes in its curriculum. Kopitov Sensei (the author mentioned above) to my belief also left the organization for similar reasons.

Lastly, if you may look to someday transfer your training skills to another dojo someday NGA may pose a difficulty in that the number of dojos is limited with most locations in the northeast area of the country. I do not believe most other schools of Aikido would prove such a problem.

My own personal issue with NGA is the word Aikido itself. Either Morihei Ueshiba or Shodo Morita had to come up with the name first, and I afraid the majority out there believes it was O’ Sensei. I seriously doubt the two of them were sitting around a poker table one night when they thought of the name together.

Again, I wish to state NGA comes recommended. Check out the book mentioned above as it should give you a reasonable understanding. Good luck with your training, and contact me if I may be of any further assistance.

With best regards,

Chris

deepsoup
09-10-2003, 06:27 AM
My own personal issue with NGA is the word Aikido itself. Either Morihei Ueshiba or Shodo Morita had to come up with the name first, and I afraid the majority out there believes it was O’ Sensei. I seriously doubt the two of them were sitting around a poker table one night when they thought of the name together.
Actually I dont think either of them was the first to use the word "aikido" - it already existed well before either man was born. Consequently, neither of them has exclusive rights to it. Nevertheless, the fact remains that the *vast* majority of people studying aikido today use the word to mean the system developed by Morihei Ueshiba.

Oddly enough, its the 'Nihon Goshin' part of the title that makes me giggle.

Sean

x

PeterR
09-10-2003, 07:13 AM
Hi Sean;

Do you have a reference for the pre-Ueshiba existence of the Aikido term. I know he did not come up with it and the intent of the group that imposed it was to blanket more than just what Ueshiba M. was up to but I really though it was a more recent invention.

Perhaps you are thinking of Judo which as a kanji combination, not necessarily pronounciation, pre-existed our man Kano.

Aiki though as we all know is much older although its meaning appears to have changed. I found the section in the Shishida/Nariyama book quite interesting where is discusses the term. Originally it had negative connotations, at least with respect to current perceptions.
Actually I dont think either of them was the first to use the word "aikido" - it already existed well before either man was born. Consequently, neither of them has exclusive rights to it. Nevertheless, the fact remains that the *vast* majority of people studying aikido today use the word to mean the system developed by Morihei Ueshiba.

Oddly enough, its the 'Nihon Goshin' part of the title that makes me giggle.

Sean

x

Chris Raywood
09-10-2003, 07:33 AM
[QUOTE="Sean Orchard (deepsoup)"]Actually I dont think either of them was the first to use the word "aikido" - it already existed well before either man was born.

Sean,

I'm fascinated by this new piece of information. Can you give me any direction to investigate it further?

With best regards,

Chris

ChristianBoddum
09-10-2003, 07:52 AM
Hi !

I've read that the term aikido is in use in Daito Ryu , but more as a technical term than

O'sensei's vision of budo.

yours - Chr.B

batemanb
09-10-2003, 08:40 AM
If I recall correctly, the name of Aikido was given to the art by the Dai Nippon Butokukai. There is mention of it in one of the older threads on here or Aikido Journal. I don't recall for sure but I think it was posted by Chris Li or Peter Goldsbury.

Regards

Bryan

Don_Modesto
09-10-2003, 10:59 AM
If I recall correctly, the name of Aikido was given to the art by the Dai Nippon Butokukai. There is mention of it in one of the older threads on here or Aikido Journal.
From http://www.aikidojournal.com/new/article.asp?ArticleID=87

"...the term "aikido" was a cover-all term that could include other things as well..."

aj: I believe you played major role in the name-change from aiki budo to aikido when you were a representative of the Kobukan Dojo to the Daí Nihon Butokukai (see side bar).

MINORU HIRAI: I was the Director of General Affairs of the Kobukan beginning around 1942 and I helped out Ueshiba Sensei in daily matters. "Aikido," rather than being a specifically selected name, was the term used to refer to "Butokukai-Ryu" aiki budo within the Daí Nippon Butokukai....The Butokukai was an independent, umbrella organization for the martial arts, and it also was in charge of martial arts in the police departments.

....

There was discussion within the Butokukai about the choice of a name for this new section. It was discussed many times in meetings of the Board of Directors, and particularly in the judo and kendo sections. We had to consider all of the different individual arts encompassed when we tried to come up with an all-inclusive name. It was decided to select an inoffensive name to avoid future friction among the different martial arts.

....

Mr. Hisatomi argued for his proposal energetically and explained that "aikido" would be a better name than aiki budo for this new section, because it would be better to stress the idea of "michi" or way. He proposed that the name "aikido" be used as term to designate an all-inclusive budo and I agreed with him.

In other words, the term "aikido" was a cover-all term that could include other things as well. Mr. Hisatomi’s idea was to intentionally select a name that would not be opposed by kendo or other martial arts, but rather an inoffensive, comprehensive term to group together all of the yawara schools. In the end, no one opposed this proposal.

Of course, this was certainly a big problem at the time. I can’t say anything more specific about it. Everyone should follow the path they believe in.

deepsoup
09-10-2003, 02:06 PM
I'm fascinated by this new piece of information. Can you give me any direction to investigate it further?
Oops. How embarassing.

Peter and Chris, it looks like I owe you an apology. I was convinced I'd read about a much earlier use of the word 'aikido', but now I come to look for it, I can't find a reference anywhere. I think Peter must be right, and its the earlier use (at least in writing) of the term "judo" I was thinking of. Sorry guys.

While I was thrashing about looking for a link, I did happen across an Aikido Journal bb post by Stanley Pranin, archived here (http://eastbayaikido.com/articles/praninnamingaikido.htm), essentially it says the same as the info Don posted. (Maybe its the post that Bryan was referring to.)

I'll get me coat.:blush:

Sean

x

Charlie Huff
09-10-2003, 06:38 PM
[QUOTE="Oddly enough, its the 'Nihon Goshin' part of the title that makes me giggle.

Sean

x[/QUOTE]Could you elaborate on that? What about the title makes you giggle?

Just curious...

deepsoup
09-11-2003, 08:10 AM
[Could you elaborate on that? What about the title makes you giggle?

Just curious...
Its the irony of a martial art that (apparently) doesn't exist in Japan any more, which uses exclusively english terminology in its dojos, being called "Japanese self-defense" in Japanese.

Or maybe its just me being daft. :)

Sean

x

aikidoc
09-11-2003, 09:35 AM
The aikikai's position from what I can tell is that without a connection to O'Sensei and his philosophy, it is not aikido. Looking at their site I think it is misleading for them to classify their art as aikido.

batemanb
09-11-2003, 09:46 AM
The aikikai's position from what I can tell is that without a connection to O'Sensei and his philosophy, it is not aikido. Looking at their site I think it is misleading for them to classify their art as aikido.
What....the Aikikai don't actually do Aikido! ;)

PeterR
09-11-2003, 10:11 AM
The Aikikai position is pretty clear - if its not Aikikai its not Aikido.

That is far more insular than the connection to Ueshiba M.

Chris Raywood
09-11-2003, 12:46 PM
[QUOTE="Sean Orchard (deepsoup)"]Its the irony of a martial art that (apparently) doesn't exist in Japan any more, which uses exclusively english terminology in its dojos, being called "Japanese self-defense" in Japanese.

Or maybe its just me being daft. :)

Sean

Sean,

Don't worry about the apology for the post before, we're all friends here. To continue in the "play on words" department, Walter Kopitov, the author and Sensei that I mentioned above, renamed his system after leaving NGA to Nihon Goshin Aikijutsu. No problem with that. Recently, he renamed it again with a trademark (and I do stress trademark!)Nihon Goshin Aiki-kai. Personally, I really think this is really a bit much.

Thanks also to Bryan and Don. I am apparently misinformed on the particular historical aspect of the art.

With best regards,

Chris

Clayton Kale
09-11-2003, 02:32 PM
Being an NGA student, I enjoyed the parts of the form devoted to my style of "aikido." I'm no master by any means, but being a current student, I do have a little perspective.

Mr. Raywood is very accurate in his description and history of NGA. I agree that it's a viable set of techniques, and I also agree that it's more an aikijutsu system than do system. It's true that some of our techniques can be used to seriously maim an attacker, but my sensei is quite clear on compassion -- If you severely damage an attacker YOU have to live with it! We learn to be as vicious or as compassionate as possible. We learn both ends of the spectrum because, we could face an attacker who just wants our wallet, in which case a blend and legsweep might suffice. Or we could face a man crazed on PCP who feels no pain and the only way to get him to stop is to destroy his hand functions with a front-wrist throw (kote geshi [forgive my Japanese spelling errors, please, as I know these terms based on my own study]). Hypothetical, yes, but it's a crazy world.

I can't comment on infighting; I know nothing of it.

NGA Dojos are mainly in the northeast, but they are 2 in South Carolina, at least one in Georgia, several in Florida, and I have heard that a dojo is being established in Phoenix, Ariz.

As for the word Aikido, my sensei acknowledges O Sensei's founding of Aikido. I'd never heard that Shodo Morita "invented" it.

We train. The rest is just gravy.

A fledgling style, but one I love.

I enjoyed the thread. Thank you.

Respectfully.

CEK.

:)

Chris Li
09-11-2003, 05:40 PM
The Aikikai position is pretty clear - if its not Aikikai its not Aikido.

That is far more insular than the connection to Ueshiba M.
That's not quite true. I've never heard anyone in the Aikikai, for example, say that Yoshinkan is not Aikido (IIRC, I believe that the representatives from the Aikikai and the Yoshinkan actually sit on each other's board of directors).

Best,

Chris