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Jack Robertson
02-09-2004, 04:49 PM
Hi everyone! I'm thinking about joining this dojo:

http://www.ctaikido.com/

Does anyone know anything about the sensai of this dojo, Bob Liedke?

Any comments would be appreciated.

Thanks.

:)

rachmass
02-09-2004, 05:27 PM
If you are anywhere near Litchfield Hills I can highly recommend someone!

I had a student once who practiced for ten years with Mr. Leidke, and her aikido was very weak and sloppy (except her killer sankyo).

Jack Robertson
02-09-2004, 07:31 PM
Ah litchfield hills must not be close, I've never heard of it.

The dojo I mentioned above is about 5 miles from me so I was hoping it would be good.

What you said about your student practicing under him for 10 years and having weak and sloppy aikido is not good news :(

Was this student a very dedicated student and was she dedicated 10 years ago?

Jack Robertson
02-09-2004, 07:53 PM
Also, on the URL in my original post, there is a photo/video section with short clips. They look pretty impressive to me! But I am by no means an aikido expert so can anyone clear that up for me?

He has a high rank too, he's 6th or 7th dan.

Bronson
02-09-2004, 08:58 PM
I had a student once who practiced for ten years with Mr. Leidke, and her aikido was very weak and sloppy (except her killer sankyo).
IMO you can't really judge a teacher by one student. That would be like judging an entire style (for lack of a better word) based on one affiliated dojo.

We have people in our dojo with 2 or 3 years experience who,in many ways, are better than some of our 10 & 12 yr students, because they try harder than these particluar older students ever did.

The teacher can only be held responsible for so much, the student has to meet the teacher halfway and actually try to apply what is being taught....which is no easy feat ;)

Rachel's a smart lady and I'm not saying to dismiss her warning, but with it in mind go watch a few classes, if what they are doing appeals to you, do it. If it doesn't appeal, find something else.

Bronson

p.s. If you spend a little time and do some web searching you can find skads of aikido videos with which to compare.

rachmass
02-09-2004, 09:52 PM
You are right Bronson, I did ask him to contact me off line so I could explain the situation. And yes, you cannot judge a teacher from one student.

SteveTrinkle
02-09-2004, 11:00 PM
You could also check out Shobu Aikido at this URL: http://www.shobu.org/ct.htm Gleason Sensei is amazing and his student Rob Liberti is wonderful to train with. Gleason Sensei's first teacher was Yamaguchi Shihan.

AmyGilgan
02-09-2004, 11:15 PM
You might also check out Connecticut Aikikai

in New Haven.

http://www.ctaikikai.com

Also, remember that many dojos will let you observe classes. The more dojos you visit, the more you'll be able to determine what training style interests you.

rachmass
02-10-2004, 05:28 AM
You might also check out Connecticut Aikikai

Ditto, Mike Sidebottom is great! Wow, haven't seen him for years, didn't know he was in CT. Lots of good aikido in your area.

Jacob's Pavlick sensei is a little far, about 33 miles in Lichtfield Hills. I can voutch for both Mike Sidebottom as well as Laura Jacob's Pavlick and would suggest you check both of them out, as well as the others folks here had suggested. With the wealth of aikido you have in the area, don't be hasty to pick something nearest to you; pick something that "feels" right, and that is why I suggest looking at all of them.

Jack, I sent you a private email but haven't gotten a response. You can send me a private message if you would like.

Jack Robertson
02-10-2004, 02:12 PM
Hi Rachel. Do private emails go to my registered email address? If so, my email provider recently just deleted my inbox for heck knows why. Your email was probably in that inbox when it was deleted, which is probably why I didn't get it :(

Also, I saw CT aikikai and it's also about 5-6 miles away. So I'll be looking into it!

I've got a question though. What is aikikai? Is it a style of aikido? If so, what are the details of that style?

Thanks: )

rachmass
02-10-2004, 02:45 PM
Hi Jack, yes, aikikai is a style of aikido, just like yoshinkan, or kokokai, or ki society. My email address is rachmass@provide.net contact me there.

Jack Simpson
02-10-2004, 03:41 PM
Jack,

Another use of the term "aikikai" is loosely translated to "aiki association". Hence, many dojos have the term Aikikai as part of their name, ie, New York Aikikai, San Diego Aikikai, etc. And it simply means a place where aikido is done or headquartered.

As Rachel pointed out, more recently, "aikikai" not as part of a dojo name, has started to be associated with a particular "style" of aikido as practiced by Hombu dojo and such noteable shihan as Yamada Sensei (NY Aikikai), Kanai Sensei (New England Aikikai) and Chiba Sensei (San Diego Aikikai). There are other "styles" including Iwama, yoshinkai, etc, as previously mentioned.

Good luck with your training and visit as many dojos as you can. That's the best way to know what the right fit for you is going to be.

Best Regards,

Jack :ai:

P.S. Nice to have another Jack in the aikido community.

aikidoc
02-10-2004, 05:10 PM
Master Liedke info: 6th degree in Nihon Aiki-Jutsu(Aikido), 4th degree in Kokon-Ryu Aikido. I don't know anything about those two styles of aikido-you might want to check out their history, etc. Who set them up? Aiki-jutsu generally means it is an aiki-jitsu related art but does not always mean it is aikido. I am not familiar with kokon ryu aikido. My recommendation is to always check credentials-you can always verify rank with a hombu dojo (aikikai) affiliate with Japan.

aikidoc
02-10-2004, 05:18 PM
P.S. you might want to check out EBudo. I believe there might be some stuff there on the search section for this group. I believe some of this is affiliated with Thomas Burdine. Lots of Soke's in the group as well as high ranking instructors. You can type in names on the search and get any dialogues.

Be cautious. Some of the soke organizations are people who get together and set up their own organization and recognize themselves and then have a lot of high ranks and sokeship awards-seems like a conflict of interest to me with some of them. Especially when you check and see they have rarely held rank above 3rd or 4th dan in recognized arts and suddenly become 10th dans or sokes (rare in traditional aikido and aiki arts)

aikidoc
02-10-2004, 05:30 PM
Here is the link on Burdine and those associated with him. From what I can tell, the group you referenced is affiliated. Some interesting reading in the thread.

http://www.e-budo.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?s=&threadid=19321&highlight=burdine.

giriasis
02-10-2004, 05:39 PM
Jack,

Your PM is accessible through this bulletin board, so if Rachel sent your a private message you should be able to go to your "user control panel" and access it there.

After looking at the site, I suggest looking around some more, too. I don't see anywhere in his site where he links to a larger organization. In fact, his links page includes just about every aikido link you can find on the internet. Most aikido web pages link to their main affiliated organization such as AAA, USAF, Sanddrift, etc. But not like that.

Jack Robertson
02-10-2004, 05:50 PM
Whoaaaaaa interesting stuff John!!! Holy moly!! I was foolish to just look at his rank without questioning it. I've heard that an American with 6th dan rank must be REALLY good!!

I'm so happy I posted this thread in here. I was going to join the dojo..... but now im going to CT Aikikai!!!

HUGE thanks to everyone for their help !!!

Jack Simpson
02-11-2004, 10:00 AM
Jack,

You're not going to go wrong at CT Aikikai, rock solid aikido. Have fun and train hard. Hope to see you on mat sometime.

Best Regards,

Jack :ai:

aikidoc
02-11-2004, 11:47 AM
In my experience, it is always good to really check credentials. Especially if they have lofty credentials and do not advertise any connection with a major organization. It's good even then to check-in my short career, I have run into three people claiming ranks that could not be verified. One had claimed shodan rank with hombu-that was checked and found to not be true-of course there were a lot of excuses about what happened.

Unfortunately, the martial arts are not immune from frauds and self aggrandization. Good luck in your training.

aikidoc
02-11-2004, 11:54 AM
P.S. High ranks are frequently awarded by some of the soke organizations I have seen. To give a good example of what happens-there was one aikido person who wrote a book (not that great) and "developed" his own style of aikido from aikido and other arts. He listed as a 10th dan. When you check his background you will find he was never awarded more than a 3rd or 4th dan (don't recall off the top of my head) by a legitimate aikido organization. Of course, when you develop your own style and set up the guidelines, it is easy to make your bylaws such that you are a 10th dan-there are very few 10th dans in the aikido world. The aikikai had 3: Tohei, Abe and Hikitsuchi (recently deceased) senseis. I do not know about the other mainstream aikido organizations. There are also very few 7th dans in the aikikai that are not Japanese (and this is recent)-Seagal, Doran, Witt, Nadeau, etc.

PeaceHeather
04-20-2004, 02:23 PM
Hullo all,

First post to this forum. Hi!

I joined this forum because I was interested in joining the local dojo, chose to do homework on its sensei (I've had bad martial experiences in the past, and I agree that you can't be too careful), and found this thread. My local dojo is headed by Prof. Burdine.

For those of you who need your grain of salt (and I don't blame you), I will say that I haven't yet taken my first lesson at this dojo -- so if you like, you can say I don't know what I'm talking about, and that's fine. It is true that I'm not an experienced martial artist. However, I have spent the past month doing my homework, talking with Burdine personally, and visiting the dojo to observe his lessons.

You know how you can walk into a dojo and kind of get a "feel" for how the place operates, maybe a good vibe or a bad vibe? My "vibes" are based on my observations of the dojo, its mood, the mood and attitudes of its students and senseis, and so on. And I gotta tell ya, for this dojo, everything feels "right" to me.

I don't know the political history or legal stuff that is referenced over at E-Budo that John has listed here; but I decided to dig deeper in my homework, looking for anything definite about Burdine (as opposed to speculation, no offense), and looking for anything positive, to see if there was any sort of balance to the cautionary posts already listed in this thread.

Doing a search on "burdine aikido", I found the following links:

http://www.samuraiway.com/thanks.htm
Acknowledgements listing; single reference to Burdine.

http://www.geocities.com/Tokyo/6471/
World Headfounders/Headfamilies Council. Page hasn't been updated since 1996, but does explain the requisites for membership in WHC. Lists Burdine as the 3rd WHC president, elected in 1995.

http://www.bodygolf.com/bodygolf/tao-bio.htm
Biography, single reference to Burdine; single reference to Kokon Ryu

http://www.kokonryu.com/bios/
Listing of several biographies, including one for Burdine. With more time I would like to research the bio for Chotoku Kyan, 1870-1945; might be able to find a lineage there.

http://www.e-budo.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?threadid=19321&perpage=15&highlight=burdine&pagenumber=4
E-Budo thread about Burdine; most of the posts are cautious or negative. The only positive on the thread is also apparently the only post by an actual former student. Maybe the student is biased; maybe the non-students are only speculating about Burdine's reputation without actually knowing him.

http://www.aiki.com/directory/ddi-p.htm
Aikido Today Magazine: Dojo Directory 2004. The street address listed is probably for Burdine's home, since the dojo itself is located on 4th Street. The phone number and email are accurate, and are definitely for his home; I have used both in the past month, have received replies via both -- and in any case, the dojo doesn't have a telephone. I would encourage anyone with questions about Burdine's lineage, ranks, or affiliations to contact him directly.

http://juliancollege.com/instructors.html
Listed as 5th dan and "Dairi Kyojo", possibly this art's equivalent of "shihan"

"Official list of Shoden, Chuden, and Okuden menjo holders in Saigo-Ha Daito-Ryu Aiki Jujutsu (under authority of Dr. John J. Williams) -- We are listing these students in yudansha ranking, but they are also listed in the traditional Mokoroku Menjo licenses."

http://www.martialartsplanet.com/forumdisplay/f-25.html
http://www.martialartsplanet.com/forumsv2/showthread.php?threadid=6776
Short thread, positive comments about Burdine from a former student

http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/0965342530/202-0364409-5728622
http://www.bomi.info/books/aikido.htm
Identical book reviews written by Prof. Burdine; these are the only references online that I have been able to find that were written *by* Burdine, as opposed to *about* him.

http://www.maotw.com/list/ma01.html
Listing of martial arts and founders

http://www.brattleboroschoolofbudo.com/photo_gallery.htm
Every time Soke Burdine is shown, the dojo is listed as "Indy" meaning Indianapolis; however, I recognize the interior of this dojo, and it's in Lafayette, about an hour north of Indy. This is Burdine's dojo. (For some reason in Indiana, it's common to generalize the radius of a city like this.) In all photos, he's the oldest man present, white hair, glasses, big smile in many of them. For those rolling their eyes at the bright red gi, I will point out that in all but one photo in this gallery, his gi is good old-fashioned white. In person, I have never actually seen the red gi, and I suspect that it was used for posed publicity photos and nothing else. The gi and belt that I have seen him wear looks about as old as he does...

http://www.kobudokan.net/Kleppin_Soke_Bio.shtml
Multiple references to Burdine as one of this man's instructors.

http://www.martial-arts-network.com/guestmar.htm
Single guestbook entry referring to Burdine.

http://www.sanchaina.bizland.com/id2.html
http://www.shaolinarts.com/pages/history.html
http://www.freewebs.com/kenpoexchange/peopleofkenpo.htm
Nearly identical biographies, single reference to Burdine.

I'll let people draw their own conclusions about Thomas Burdine -- as I've said, I barely know the man, I'm not a disciple of his or anything like that, and I'm only about to start lessons tomorrow afternoon (*white belt nerves*!!). But in the past month, speaking from direct personal observation, I'll say that I'm feeling pretty favorable about him, the other blackbelts who teach (one day each week, when he is not present), and the general mood of the class.

My intent here is just to present as much information as possible, and let people decide for themselves -- or, if it's important to you and you're still looking for more information, Burdine's contact info is listed in the links above.

Peace, all, and wish me luck with and happy landings. :cool:

Heather

aikidocapecod
04-20-2004, 02:37 PM
I have to agree with Stephen...he mentioned Rob Liberti. He is an excellent instructor. When I have trained with him I have found him to be very patient. I, like Rob, am a student of Bill Gleson Sensei. Gleason Sensei makes frequent visits to Liberti Sensei's dojos in Ct. So Liberti Sensei's students get some wonderful instruction.

If you can, give Rob a try before making a decision....

Good Luck

PeaceHeather
04-23-2004, 02:05 PM
I found something else about Soke Burdine, in case you're still curious...

http://www.brattleboroschoolofbudo.com/LineageAikido.htm

*shrug*
Heather

Ron Tisdale
04-23-2004, 03:14 PM
Mike Sidebottom is excellent. If I was in that area, I'd ask him to except me as a student.

Ron

rob_liberti
11-20-2004, 07:49 PM
I've researched this a bit over the years... At one point Mr. Liedke was wearing a white hakama and had promoted himself to 8th dan in Godokai aikido - a system he created. He did get promoted to shodan in aikido by ANOTHER SHODAN in aikido named Joel who was more in to karate. Apaprently, they taped the test and sent it to New York with the testing fee. Prior to that, his last official rank was 3rd kyu from an unaffliated dojo primarily teaching Korean arts.

According to his website, now he is a 7th degree blackbelt in samari something or other and has a 4th dan aikido rank. I liked it a lot better when he was saying he was teaching his own style. I go to seminars all over, and I almost never see his students anywhere - and never twice. I feel bad for them. He has over 100 students paying good money for his instruction, too.

Aikido is very lacking in quality control. Fraud hurts people and needs to be called for what it is.

Rob

aikidoc
11-20-2004, 08:51 PM
"Aikido is very lacking in quality control. Fraud hurts people and needs to be called for what it is."
Unfortunately, it is becoming worse. I know of one organization where the chief instructor recently promoted himself to 6th dan. Egos. It's good to do the research but also be cautious of the sources. Some appear to be very impressive until you look and realize that a lot of the stuff is made up.

ChrisPorto
12-04-2004, 09:54 PM
Hi Jack,

I'm a student at the American Institute of Martial Arts. I've been there about three months now. So far, my experience there has been very positive. The class sizes are small, so you get a lot of personal attention. The environment is nurturing and comfortable. You learn by doing, always working out with a person of higher rank, often a black belt. Sensei Liedke is an excellent instructor, patient and gentle. He has been running the school and teaching there for 20+ years.

Rob Liberti has implied in his response that Sensei Bob Liedke is a fraud. That is a very serious accusation to make with out any proof. I don't think you should judge a man or his school based solely on the ramblings of a stranger you met on the Internet. I suspect that there are some ulterior motives involved in that accusation. Sounds like Mr. Liberti has a chip on his shoulder.

As for Sensei Liedke's credentials; I wouldn't even know how to begin to check out something like that. Perhaps you could start by asking Sensei Liedke about his training. He's very easy to talk to. When and what ranking was he awarded? By whom? Under what circumstances? Ask about his resume. See if you are satisfied with his response.

I wouldn't judge the school with out checking it out first. Observe a class or two. What are the students like? Are they learning? Are they enjoying the class? What kind of vibe do you get?

I've been to other Aikido schools. Some were very good. Some were not so good. American Inst. of Martial Arts is excellent, at east in my humble opinion.

The school emphasizes the practical application of Aikido for self defense. Not "traditional" perhaps, but I don't think this is a bad thing.

I hope you reconsider your decision to go somewhere else. You should at least give American Inst. of Martial Arts a visit and check the place out.

P.S. I was recently at a weekend Aikido seminar in Rhode Island. I don't remember seeing Mr. Liberti there. There were over 100 people there. I didn't get a chance to talk to all of them and find out what school they were from. I don't know how Mr. Liberti does it ;)

chrisward
12-04-2004, 11:54 PM
Most dojos offer one to two weeks of free training before you enroll. I would encourage you to ask if this particular sensei extends any type of free trial offers. This way it can give you an idea from personal experience if you feel like this is a good enviroment for your training needs or not. Good luck.




Hi everyone! I'm thinking about joining this dojo:

http://www.ctaikido.com/

Does anyone know anything about the sensai of this dojo, Bob Liedke?

Any comments would be appreciated.

Thanks.

:)

kironin
12-05-2004, 02:46 AM
As for Sensei Liedke's credentials; I wouldn't even know how to begin to check out something like that. Perhaps you could start by asking Sensei Liedke about his training. He's very easy to talk to. When and what ranking was he awarded? By whom? Under what circumstances? Ask about his resume. See if you are satisfied with his response.

I wouldn't judge the school with out checking it out first. Observe a class or two. What are the students like? Are they learning? Are they enjoying the class? What kind of vibe do you get?

I've been to other Aikido schools. Some were very good. Some were not so good. American Inst. of Martial Arts is excellent, at east in my humble opinion.



Well, if it's excellent then a couple things about improving the website.

His bio mentions a lot of things outside of aikido and the fact that he has published many articles in karate and kung fu mags, but it doesn't ever actually mention from whom he learned Aikido. Aikido being a relatively young art, this is highly unusual for some one so highly ranked not to have a well known background that is in some way directly traceable to Morihei Ueshiba Sensei. Any 6th dan around in the US is bound to be at least a student of a student of Ueshiba Sensei.

Lose the videos at the bottom of this page
http://www.ctaikido.com/samurai_history.htm

Liedke and his uke must have surely just been having a bad day. Maybe he just had a cold and felt a bit stiff and awkward and wasn't feeling well and things got a tad sloppy, it happens. Maybe his uke was just trying too hard for the cameras to make basic mistakes in wielding a sword. It must have been nerves because everytime he just dropped his sword even though Liedke's techniques never allowed for any ability to control the weapon in his techniques.

matthew farina
12-05-2004, 03:42 AM
Those videos are ummm... interesting.

rob_liberti
12-06-2004, 09:13 AM
It's a simple thing really. When I go to seminars, I normally look at the sign up sheet and scan down the list of home dojos. Also, if someone stands out as really good or really bad it's common to ask someone you do know, "Who's that person and where do they train?".

Also, about spotting Mr, Liedke's students: I've worked with some of Mr. Liedke's former students (who trained with him for 10+ years) and I can recognize their "iriminage" a mile away. In all honesty, they have some skills. They do generally have good ability to take falls (not the way I would do it now, but they way I did it a few ranks ago myself. Ranks that were legitimately recognized by hombu dojo - that is.

And that is the topic at hand "rank fraud." I can produce 5 people who support my claims, and he will not be able to find 1 to support his white hakama.

Ted Tine sensei was Mr. Liedke's teacher at Hwangs. He is 82 years old, and still around. By all means, please go confirm what I have said by contacting him. Other aikidoka that were also around back in the day - and are still around now - who can confirm what I posted would be Donnald Haley, Tom Petchinshy, and later Walter Salazar who trained with Bob Liedke for many years. You can also ask John Yuglowski sensei about him as well. I'd be happy to help you contact any or all of these people. A long while ago, I personally went to visit him and asked him who promoted him to shodan and he did not answer the direct question.

Mr. Porto, you only have trained for 3 months and aikido is already very important to you. Think about how much more important it must be to those of us who've put in many years - and how we must feel about some guy who didn't pay his dues and who is currupting what we love in our own area. I invite you to come visit my class at Yale. If you are not a student there, I'll have to sign you in so feel free to email me and we can set it up. If you give me enough notice, I can probably have two or three of the people I mentioned in that class and you can hear it directly from them. (You can visit me anywhere I teach, it is just that Yale would be closest for you.)

Also, I'll be happy to visit any other aikido sensei in the area with you and we can train together there and ask that teacher's opinion. I admit I don't know Mike Sidebottom sensei but he's relatively new to the area.

If you don't want to do any of that, please continue to visit as many dojos as possible and watch videos of Saotome sensei, Sugano sensei, Waite sensei, Saito sensei, Osawa sensei, Tessier sensei or just about any teacher who can name the people that taught and promoted them.

For example: My current teacher for the past 14 years is William Gleason sensei. His primary teachers were Yamaguchi sensei and Takada sensei. He has been under Saotome sensei for the last 20+ years. In May, 2003, I tested for sandan at Shobu Aikido of Boston under Saotome sensei and Gleason sensei. My uke's were Gary Small sensei, Satoru Sato sensei, and Justin Picott. There is a video of that test. I can produce similar statements for my shodan and nidan tests as well.

Ask Mr. Liedke do do that for ANY of his ranks and judge what happens for yourself.

To the aikiweb folks - so how do you check rank out with Hombu dojo?

aikidoc
12-06-2004, 12:12 PM
Rob: I had to check rank several years ago on someone making claims that did not make sense-he kept having excuses why he could not provide me with a certificate. Peter G. helped me with the contact name-my computer crashed or I'd give it to you. You could also contact the aikikai directly or your home organization headquarters. I always verify ranks. When the aikikai did not list him and then the USAF did not have him listed it was an instructor' fraud-he claimed he was tested and then the guy ran with the money. The story kept changing. After we kicked him out, he came back later and claimed he had been doing speed and it was the drugs-he finally admitted he was not a shodan. I guess he figured in a smaller town he could get away with it.

Chris Li
12-06-2004, 01:37 PM
Rob: I had to check rank several years ago on someone making claims that did not make sense-he kept having excuses why he could not provide me with a certificate. Peter G. helped me with the contact name-my computer crashed or I'd give it to you. You could also contact the aikikai directly or your home organization headquarters. I always verify ranks. When the aikikai did not list him and then the USAF did not have him listed it was an instructor' fraud-he claimed he was tested and then the guy ran with the money. The story kept changing. After we kicked him out, he came back later and claimed he had been doing speed and it was the drugs-he finally admitted he was not a shodan. I guess he figured in a smaller town he could get away with it.

Probably Mr. Tani, he's head of the international section at Aikikai Hombu. I've always had good response times to email sent to hombu, but I send them in Japanese. I have heard (although I have no evidence) that English inquiries sometimes take a little bit longer (which makes sense, I suppose).

Best,

Chris

rob_liberti
12-06-2004, 01:41 PM
My Japanese isn't fluent but I'm thinking "Robert Liedke wa nan dan desu ka?" might do...

What's Mr. Tani's email address?

Thanks!

aikidoc
12-06-2004, 01:45 PM
That's the name. Thanks Chris. I don't know the e-mail.

Tom Kaluzynski
12-06-2004, 02:47 PM
wow, this thread has gone way of topic, and I wonder if the op is even studying aikido anymore, but when I read Mr. Liberti's response, I had to add what I know, that Mr. Liberti also trained with Juba Nour sensei and Yahe Solomon sensei at connecticut aikikai, which Mike sidebottom sensei now runs...so it's all interconnected, isnt it? And as for the illustrious Mr. Leidke, there are people who would question Mr. Liberti's pedigree, so what of it, if someone walks into that dojo and likes it, go for it. Isnt that the pot calling the kettle black?
Aikido in this country is a mish mosh, and each person does what he or she likes. More traditional, go to Sidebottom sensei. More self defense, Mr. Liberti. etc...It's all good, isnt it?

aikidoc
12-06-2004, 03:49 PM
It's one thing to have a verifiable pedigree from a legitimate source. Rob's can be verified with the World Headquarter's Aikikai. Check out some of the earlier posts regarding the lineages in question. Basically, it appears as though the lineage follows the sokeship stuff that goes on in the arts. It goes something like this: someone gets a dan rank (generally not higher than 3rd) and feels they have surpassed their teachers. They then get in contact with a soke organization and make up their own style which they are of course the grandmaster. Then they get a bunch of fancy ranks and titles often from other arts they make up. Professor, doctor, soke, etc. Anybody can do this and there are groups out there that sell this stuff without ever checking a credential. So you end up with someone having a slew of 6-10th degree ranks in arts they made up. They then breed other lineages. The only one they are kidding or duping is the public who gets impressed witht the ranks without knowing anything about the arts. Its sad really.

rob_liberti
12-06-2004, 04:18 PM
Hi Tom.

To be fair, I said my "current teacher" not my "only teacher ever." I liked training under Juba sensei but my main teacher has really been Gleason sensei. I pretty much exclusively do Gleason sensei's aikido. Feel free to call Shobu Aikido of Boston and talk to anyone or email Gleason sensei - his email is on www.shobu.org.

I did train with Yahe sensei as my ppartner under Juba sensei when Yahe sensei first came back from Japan for like a summer. However, I can only remember visiting Connecticut Aikikai 3 times after Juba sensei left - so I don't think I should count my experience under Yahe sensei in my "pedigree". I honestly don't know Mike Sidebottom sensei but I wouldn't mind meeting him. So how interconnected is it really?

Tom, please check out the panther productions video tapes if nothing else. Unfortunately it is certainly NOT all good.

Rob (and to anyone who can name their teachers all the way back to Osensei, you are welcome to call me Rob as opposed to Mr. Liberti.)

Chris Li
12-06-2004, 04:38 PM
My Japanese isn't fluent but I'm thinking "Robert Liedke wa nan dan desu ka?" might do...

What's Mr. Tani's email address?

Thanks!

You can contact aikido@aikikai.or.jp and they'll forward it on to the appropriate person.

Best,

Chris

Chris Li
12-06-2004, 04:45 PM
Aikido in this country is a mish mosh, and each person does what he or she likes. More traditional, go to Sidebottom sensei. More self defense, Mr. Liberti. etc...It's all good, isnt it?

Inevitably, the response to a lineage questions evokes this kind of response - the person in question is skilled, good at teaching, kind to small animals, etc.. The problem is that a lineage question has nothing to do with skill, either at fighting or at teaching. If someone is claiming rank that they do not have then they are lying - and whether or not they they're good at what they do or not has nothing to do with that. How smart you are has nothing to do with whether or not you actually graduated from XXX University.

Now, some people claim that it doesn't matter whether or not a claimed lineage is real or not, that the skills are all that matters. If so, that's good for them, but if the skills are all that matters, then why the lie?

Best,

Chris

kironin
12-06-2004, 05:14 PM
Aikido in this country is a mish mosh, and each person does what he or she likes. More traditional, go to Sidebottom sensei. More self defense, Mr. Liberti. etc...It's all good, isnt it?


Hey, I have some training in neuroscience. Had a little surgical experience on animals. Good enough I figure to practice on my own and figure out how to do brain surgery. So what if I am not an M.D. or have a license. I figure I know enough and am smart enough to form my own medical school that recognizes me as fully certified to do my own unique form of brain surgery. It will be better than others because I am going to even change what little I learned from those schools with all those established credentials. Then I am going to market videos of my new method of brain surgery so others who have never had any training in brain surgery will be convinced to do it my way.

After all, licensed M.D.s borrow techniques from each other and train with each other, so neurosurgery is all a mish mosh.

If you get a brain tumor or your child has spina bifida, hey come see me!

It's all good, isnt it?

:D

aikidoc
12-06-2004, 05:16 PM
Good points Chris.

I think this all gets down to ego or money. Being a legend in one's own mind. Or, wanting the lofty titles to edge out the competition. I agree on the skill issue. This has shown up under other threads where such people are adamantly defended by their sychophants as being skilled beyond belief. When it is pointed out that it's not the skill issue its the lie issue they still don't get it. I believe it was in one thread someone pointed out that their country had laws (England I believe) where you could be held accountable for that behavior. Here you can do what ever you want with the only recourse being threads on martial arts sites that trample on your pedigree.

So let see. I can get a bunch of like minded martial artists/aikidoka and set up my own soke organization. I've studied some shotokan, taekwando, tai chi and stick fighting in the past (no real signficant rank in any of them but who cares). I like atemi-waza/kyusho jitsu (strikes and pressure points) so I could set up a separate art of my own and call it something atemi aikido or taikali aikido or whatever. Since I set it up I'm now the grandmaster. My bylaws of course state that the grandmaster of the style is automatically a 10th dan. I can then either set up my own soke organization and register the style with it or dial up one of the many others out there and get them to register it. I can set up a couple of other styles along the way and make myself 6th or 7th dan just to make my credentials look more legitimate. I can then can throw in a few other lofty titles like professor or doctor (that one's not fair since I earned one). Then I become Doctor, profession, soke grandmaster of my style. Wow-impressive. Actually, since I don't have a Ph.D. the doctor one should be awarded by one of the soke organizations that gives them out (wouldn't want anything legitimate here).

See the problem. That was so scary I set off my own b.s. detector and I have some legitimate credentials that are generally higher than some of the people doing this kind of stuff. It's dishonest, ego-centric, fraudulent, etc., etc. Everything any of my students earn after that would be bogus in terms of ranks. Again, this has nothing to do with my skill.

Tom Kaluzynski
12-06-2004, 06:52 PM
That's a good point about neuroscience, etc. --I was even going to bring this up in my post in that aikido IS NOT like neuroscience; it's more like an art ie visual or dance, where each person has his/her own view of what is "good" or "effective". Hence the disparity of views--obviously one man's aikikai=nirvana being another man's ki society=nirvana, entirely subjective.
I admit to being the devil's advocate in a sense-but my point was there is no standard such as passing the bar for law or your mcat score, because aikido is subjective. So although it may piss you off if a certain instructor isnt "adequately certified" to your standards and may, indeed be "certifiable" another person may adore this person's technique and think they are the most amazing teacher ever. That's the state of aikido in this country.

Chris Li
12-06-2004, 07:03 PM
That's a good point about neuroscience, etc. --I was even going to bring this up in my post in that aikido IS NOT like neuroscience; it's more like an art ie visual or dance, where each person has his/her own view of what is "good" or "effective". Hence the disparity of views--obviously one man's aikikai=nirvana being another man's ki society=nirvana, entirely subjective.
I admit to being the devil's advocate in a sense-but my point was there is no standard such as passing the bar for law or your mcat score, because aikido is subjective. So although it may piss you off if a certain instructor isnt "adequately certified" to your standards and may, indeed be "certifiable" another person may adore this person's technique and think they are the most amazing teacher ever. That's the state of aikido in this country.

It's not about whether or not they're adequately certified, it's about whether or not they're lying. I might be doing a great job at a company and yet still get fired for saying that I went to Harvard when I actually didn't - the problem isn't my work performance, the problem is my integrity.

Best,

Chris

rob_liberti
12-06-2004, 10:20 PM
Thanks guys.

Tom, I respect your aikido and still think of you fondly. If you're willing to train with a fraud like me, you are welcome to visit anytime - and I'll even invite you to teach.

Love, Rob
(or Mr. Liberti, depending on your Keito)

kironin
12-07-2004, 01:42 AM
was even going to bring this up in my post in that aikido IS NOT like neuroscience; it's more like an art ie visual or dance, where each person has his/her own view of what is "good" or "effective". .

You missed the point entirely.

If we are talking about dance/art then obviously what is good is in the eye of the beholder. Neurosurgery (not neuroscience) is partly an art. It takes great technical skill. The precise trained movements can in themselves hold a great deal of visual beauty. Perform them without a patient and they can be appreciated purely for the aesthetics. Without a patient anyone can safely mimic them. A little training and a mimic can with continued practice produce something that many might find more pleasing than the movements of a trained neurosurgeon. However great harm might might happen if their good performance is done with a patient.

Aikido likewise is artistic but requires sober technical evaluation when it comes to self-defense. If you are dancing rock-on. If you market yourself as a self-defense expert in Aikido then there needs to be a rather ruthless honesty and personal integrity. (There should be a special place in aiki-hell if your self-promotion has your students believing you have self-defense expertise/skill/understanding that you don't actually have.) Such personal integrity would very likely extend to not misleading the public with made up rankings. Sure in a real self-defense situation, technical training is only part of the picture, but when the blind lead the blind and something gets passed off as mastery that isn't, it's the student that could suffer injury or death from not having that part in their favor just as the patient could suffer from having a mimic instead of a neurosurgeon.

If someone is willing to give a false impression to the public of their training background, then it's legitimate to question how honest their teaching is.

That's a separate issue from how fun their classes are or how well they teach what they teach or how the good the person or group judges what they do to be. As long as there is no patient, no harm is apparent.

Tom Kaluzynski
12-07-2004, 08:17 AM
whoa guys, I wasnt debating the morality of this type of situation, or if it's right or wrong. I was merely pointing out that it exists, and is here to stay. It's not going away. I mean unless we get the aikido special forces out or something, but then who is going to decide who is the real deal?. I agree with the idea that it isn't right to make up ranks, but it does exist. I guess what I was trying to say is there really are no clear guidelines, even ikkyo is different, and ukemi fuhgettaboutit. That is inescapable, as it is subjective, give me that point. I mean, there wouldn't be so many different styles and ways if this weren't the case. There are different schools of thought in medicine, but the basic premise is pretty uniform. ie mcat etc.
Mr. Liberti, I actually never did train with you. I know a few people who know you, that's where I got your info. I'm not even in connecticut any longer. But good luck with your school.

Tom Kaluzynski
12-07-2004, 08:27 AM
Oh and some more background on me I am in arizona at this time and am a theatre manager here.( also, what does "keito" mean, I've never heard that. ) That's why I have such affinity for the arts etc. as a self proclaimed artist, I see the correlation on so many levels. But yes, art is always in medicine/neuroscience as well. It's a way of looking at things. I guess I see the other side too much sometimes. again I am NOT condoning the "frauds" it;s just to some people, for example, Mr. Liberti's credentials wouldnt cut it, sorry. This is just what I've heard from the people I know, mind you. I;m not really into aikido politics etc.

rob_liberti
12-07-2004, 09:12 AM
Well Tom, luckily, you and anyone else are invited to check my credentials out for yourself. Several options including the proper email for World Headquarters is provided on this thread. Verify any way you like...

I admit that I'm bad with names, and my memory has been worse due to the sleep deprivation of having an almost 1 year old son (in 2 days!). I had you confused with an aikido guy named John who's last name reminded me a whole lot of yours. He and I trained together at Juba sensei's place a long time ago. When you said you knew I trained at that dojo and I saw your last name and I put 2 and what I thought was another 2 together and got 4. Regardless, it turns out that I don't know your aikido enough to say I respect it, so I take back the endorsement - but you and anyone else are still welcome to try my waza out anytime you are in the area.

The funny thing is that my waza is pretty strong now, and it would be way more ego gratifing to pretend that I came up with my current level of ability on my own. Like, I was in a field and suddenly a golden light came down and all of a sudden I could hold sandans in kokyu ho like an anchor and throw my best sempai in ikkyo. The problem is that would just be totally disrespectful to Gleason sensei's effort to teach me. This is the reason I don't think it would be fair to give teachers I trained with like 3 times credit for teaching me.

Keito is the word to describe lineage for martial arts as opposed to family lineage.

Tom Kaluzynski
12-07-2004, 09:15 AM
Thanks, Rob, for the explanation. I am sure your aikido is miles ahead of me. I truly hope you do well. Thanks again, for your kind explanation.

Tom Kaluzynski
12-07-2004, 09:17 AM
Oh, and Rob, congratulations on your son, that's the true meaning of life, eh? I remember those days... Thanks for putting up with my thickheadedness, too. Best T

rob_liberti
12-07-2004, 10:06 AM
I guess I'm better with names than I thought! I was thinking of John Kaluzynski. I'd endorse his aikido ability (and John if you are out there, you are invited to come teach a class anytime and bring your bother? cousin?).

Rob

aikidoc
12-07-2004, 10:24 AM
As noted, the frauds are out there and getting more frequent. I guess you know your art is popular when people start jumping on the bandwagon to claim a link so they can cash in on the popularity. Hopefully, pressure from the aikido world's legitimate styles: aikikai, ki society, yoshinkan, etc. will drum them out.

rob_liberti
12-07-2004, 10:43 AM
It would be great if M. Tani sensei could provide Aikiweb with a database dump once in a while and let us just text search from a link off the main page.

aikidocapecod
12-07-2004, 01:29 PM
Not that Rob Liberti Sensei needs defending, but here is my few cents worth......
I have been training in Aikido since 1986. I have trained and learned from a lot of people in that time.
When I go to William Gleason Sensei's dojo, or that of any of his students such as Rob Liberti Sensei...or Gary/Ania Small Sensei or Sato Sensei, one can go to those dojos knowing they will have a wonderful experience.
These senseis do not operate their respective dojos to put themselves on display. Rather, they believe deeply in what they have been taught. They wish to insure the high level of Aikido that senseis like Saotome and Ikeda and Gleason Sensei offer to us remains at a high level.
These senseis operate their dojos with success in mind. Not financial success, but the success of those students that come to learn the way of Aiki.
I have been fortunate enough to have trained and learned from all of these Senseis...and I look forward to continuing my education from them.

Just my humble opinion...thanks

dhebert
12-07-2004, 02:24 PM
Oh and some more background on me I am in arizona at this time and am a theatre manager here.( also, what does "keito" mean, I've never heard that. ) That's why I have such affinity for the arts etc. as a self proclaimed artist, I see the correlation on so many levels. But yes, art is always in medicine/neuroscience as well. It's a way of looking at things. I guess I see the other side too much sometimes. again I am NOT condoning the "frauds" it;s just to some people, for example, Mr. Liberti's credentials wouldnt cut it, sorry. This is just what I've heard from the people I know, mind you. I;m not really into aikido politics etc.

While reading this thread I felt I needed to vouch for Rob Liberti's credentials. I have trained on and off with Rob for a number of years now and I can assure anyone who is interested that there is no basis whatsoever to question his credentials. He has tested each step of the way with Gleason Sensei and Saotome Sensei and his rank is easily traceable through this lineage. Furthermore, over the past several years (almost 10 years?) I have seen him at most of the camps and seminars I have attended so I can attest to his dedication and hard work as an Aikido student - he has definitely put in his time. Aside from the issue of his credentials, Rob is a skilled Aikidoist, a talented teacher with much to offer, and a rewarding practice partner.

Sincerely,

Don Hebert

kironin
12-07-2004, 04:42 PM
As noted, the frauds are out there and getting more frequent. I guess you know your art is popular when people start jumping on the bandwagon to claim a link so they can cash in on the popularity. Hopefully, pressure from the aikido world's legitimate styles: aikikai, ki society, yoshinkan, etc. will drum them out.

Hopefully.

Maybe the web making it a smaller world will create greater awareness but it's a double edged sword that allows the greater spread of disinformation too.

Maybe the best you can hope for is prospective students choosing a fraud knowing full well the person is a fraud but choosing for their own reasons to ignore the information about him being a fraud. Buyer beware.

PRapoza
12-07-2004, 05:05 PM
Hi Rob,

Hope things are well in CT. Belated, congratulations on the birth of your son. We are working on # 3.
IMO: The issue comes down to honesty and integrity. Anyone who claims to be a high ranking student in any art and is not, is a liar. I don't have any issue with people saying they studied a little of this and that and that they are making up their own art. They may be very talented and skillful and their students may benefit from their classes. That they are honest about their training is critical and speaks to their character or lack of.
That being said, I try and concentrate on my own training and dojo and not let all this BS "get to me". I don't always succeed. (getting off my soapbox).
BTW, I've always known Rob L. to be an excellent aikidoka and his students are a good reflection of his teaching.
____________
Paul

rob_liberti
12-08-2004, 03:32 PM
Again, thanks guys.

A friend just pointed this out to me: (and I checked it out for myself)

On the aikiweb website do a dojo search for all dojos in Connecticut. You will find two entries for Mr. Liedke's dojo - with different ranks!

Bob Liedke, 4th dan
Last Updated: November 3rd, 2003
by Aikidokabob@aol.com

Robert Liedke, 6th dan
Last Updated: March 3rd, 2003
by aikidokabob@aol.com

The only explanation for someone to take a two rank demotion in seven months (submitted by him) is that the soke guy that took him into his organization asked him to make the change to look somewhat realistic.

self-defense 1
12-09-2004, 07:36 AM
My name is Brian Lambert. When I was informed of this forum I became quite upset. Let me introduce you to my background.

I have been a bodybuilder and an extreme athlete for 17 years. Literally, I work out every day of the week. This includes 5 days a week of classes at Sensei Liedke's school in New Haven, CT for the past 4 years. Let me inform the "traditional" practitioners, including Mr. Liberti, about my Sensei.

First, I'll offer my thoughts on traditional Aikido as a martial art. Quite simply, it is not. For someone who has been in a number of street fights and provided security to various bars in the area when I was younger, traditional practice of aikido techniques DO NOT prepare the student for the time when they may need to use this on the street.

Let us take the traditional yokomenuchi sankyo attack.
When I see traditional aikidoists practice this technique I have to laugh. No one throws a punch at you from 5 feet away. No one waits on the street for you to "blend" with his energy. This belief is incorrect. However, the new student to a traditional aikido dojo is led in many instances to believe this to be true.

My Sensei is too humble and kind to come out and defend himself. Not being one to be shy about my opinions, I will say this: Anyone who criticizes a man who has been practicing martial arts for well over 45 YEARS, and is highly regarded by the big names in the industry including, just to name a few, Bill "Superfoot" Wallace (you guys might have heard of him), Gene Labelle (you might also have heard of him) and was a good friend to Ed Parker before he passed on (you might also have heard of him) is quite frankly an idiot.

Sensei Liedke has modified traditional aikido and made it into a system that is street applicable. How else could he go to karate seminars and humble the biggest, baddest black belt there? How is it that he gains instant respect from his peers? How is it that we have a number of New Haven cops who battle test these techniques daily with success?

Mr. Liberti, I think this pathetic "fundamentalist" approach that martial artists, especially aikidoists have when comparing practitioners between "pure" and "unpure" is a waste of time and energy. The only thing that matters to me is that I now have a self-defense system that allows me NOT TO RESOLVE CONFLICTS IN A VIOLENT FASHION. I would not have that confidence going to Aikikai or a traditional school.

Now that I'm done ranting, I will conclude with this comment. I am not dissing a practitioner of traditional aikido if that is what they enjoy doing. The implementation of an activity that improves a person is a noble goal. However, traditional aikido has been billed as a martial art. The sad state of affairs is that the martial portion has been removed. All that is left are the coordinational exercises (E.G. JUI-NAGE, IRIMINAGE) and pretty throws for the cameras which are billed by people who have not even a quarter of the experience my Sensei has as self-defense techniques.

I LOVE AND RESPECT my Sensei greatly. He is a MASTER martial artist and a resource which is in short supply in this country. Any attack on his system is an attack to my work ethic, which I take personally. The lesson to be learned my friends is this: If you have no idea what you are talking about, keep your mouth shut or look like a fool.

kung fu hamster
12-09-2004, 09:56 AM
Hello Mr. Lambert,
How very interesting to hear your side, I'm so glad you joined the discussion to defend your sensei. I'm wondering, would you say that you are a fairly typical example of one of his senior students? I mean, being bad-ass and all. Just curious.

sunny liberti
12-09-2004, 10:49 AM
The lesson to be learned my friends is this: If you have no idea what you are talking about, keep your mouth shut or look like a fool.Agreed.

rob_liberti
12-09-2004, 11:08 AM
Brian,

If his ability satisfies your definition of his 7th degree blackbelt in samuri jujitsu then by all means continue to train there. However, the topic at hand is the source of his "aikido" rank. Please name a few "big names" who actually study aikido that respect his aikido.

Being a liar about aikido experience for "over 45 YEARS" is nothing to be proud of...

Rob

akiy
12-09-2004, 11:19 AM
Hi folks,

I think this discussion has gone far enough. Thread closed.

-- Jun