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Halcyon13
08-10-2004, 10:22 AM
Hi everyone,
I was a combat instructor for the Marines for a few years and I was exposed to many forms of martial arts. However, I always enjoyed Aikido the most, I got out of the military last year and have been doing work as a commercial diver until recently. I now have much more free time and would like to study Aikido. I have looked around the Houston area and found a few dojos and have watched a few classes, but only having a rudementary knowledge of Aikido I can't judge by that. Does anyone have a reccommendation as to who to talk to or train with or even who to stay away from? Thanks a lot.

Robert Cheshire
08-10-2004, 10:30 AM
A lot of it will depend on what type/style of aikido you're interested in. There are schools in Houston that focus on more of the spiritual benefits/side of aikido and there are some that are more, for lack of a better word, combative. For instances, we have a Yoseikan instructor who lives in Houston and is starting back into teaching (he works for the HFD as an EMT). Yoseikan was founded by Minoru Mochizuki, one of the "pre-war" students, and is a bit more combative than some other styles.

I've heard good things in general from other schools down there as well. Let us know what you might be looking for and maybe we can point you in that direction.

Greg Jennings
08-10-2004, 10:42 AM
Some advice:

o The capability and attitude of the senior students will tell you a lot.

o Belittling students, crunching junior students, lots of students with obvious injuries, and copping a 'tude are all black marks in my book.

o There is a very wide range of aikido in your area. What's right for you won't be right for someone else.

Regards,

aikidoc
08-10-2004, 11:13 AM
Check out Jorge Garcia at Shudokan Aikido.

cguzik
08-10-2004, 12:46 PM
www.shinkikan.com

Chuck.Gordon
08-10-2004, 02:18 PM
Michael McLaren said:

I was a combat instructor for the Marines for a few years


Cool. MCMA? Where?

My teacher was a master gunny sgt, Vietnam era, and has kept close ties with some in the Corps. I've checked out some of the literature on MCMA and was fairly impressed, especially comparing it to the new Army combatives program (which aint' shabby, just not as comprehensive as MCMA).


I have looked around the Houston area and found a few dojos and have watched a few classes, but only having a


I would unabashedly recommend Craig Hocker to you. He's a member here, and I can get his contact info for you if you want it.

Craig is Ki Society kaiido, but is also (no, really) a brain scientist and has has both a good head and really sweet aikido. He also does Muso Shinden Ryu iaido, a definite plus.

He's a dear friend who's not afraid to fly and not afraid to launch you either and he swings a very decent sword.

I like Jorge Garcia, inellectually, but cannot speak of his aikido as I've never been on the mat with him.

Craig and I have played on many a mat and I will train with him any time and any where (and that says a lot, as I simply won't train with many in the aikido community).

Chuck

EricGaden
08-10-2004, 04:09 PM
I recently began taking classes with Jorge Garcia. I have so far observed one class and participated in one more. Not much I can tell you about it yet.

Come by, watch a class, decide for yourself, is the only thing I can tell you.

Eric

kironin
08-10-2004, 05:39 PM
In the Houston area most schools are on the west side of town. If you want to ask me some questions privately about particular dojo, I will try to give the least biased advice I can. :) I am not going to tell you where not to go because that is really not fair to the legitimate schools, but depending on what you are looking at, I may strongly encourage you to check out some good alternatives before you make a real commitment.

If you are on the east side of Houston, I am not aware of any respectable schools. There really nothing anything going on except in more central locations like at the AAA UH or Rice U. clubs.

I suspect you are not in the Sugar Land/Fort Bend area (16 miles southwest of downtown Houston) since I haven't had anyone with your profile visit our school recently.

good luck,
Craig

kironin
08-10-2004, 05:47 PM
I like Jorge Garcia, inellectually, but cannot speak of his aikido as I've never been on the mat with him.


Jorge is a good friend and a very good dedicated teacher of Aikido.
His dojo would be an excellent one to visit.

as for the rest of what Chuck is saying, I think he is just trying to seduce me into going to Bavaria so he has an excuse to visit Prague.
:D

Halcyon13
08-10-2004, 06:25 PM
Thank you everyone for your replies. The only form of Akido I am familiar with and I know this is due to my military time is the combative aspects. I do desire to learn about the spiritual aspects as well, but I would definitley be interested in concentrating more on the combative.

I live in the northern part of Houston, around the beltway 8 and 45 area. So most of downtown and west/east Houston about the I-10 level are reasonable for travel distances.

As far as military training I was a MCMA (Marine Corps Martial Arts, for those of you not familiar) or also known as a MCMAP (Marine Corps Martial Arts Program) Instructor. It is a very comprehensive fighting style that is perfect for what it was created to do, kill your opponent as fast and with as little energy as possible under extreamly adverse conditions, while undergoing excessive fatigue. It also allowed and in fact enforced instructors to spend time on mental/character/history development with the Marines. My primary instructor was a M.Sgt. Franklin and a GySgt Smith and all of my training took place in Okinawa, Japan or in certain areas that I was sent to for exercises in South East Asia.

I appologize if I gave the impression that I was looking for nay-sayers or dirt about dojos or instructors, this was not my intent. Being taught in Japan, there was always talk about disreputable instructors that had come to America and bought their belts and rank or simply created there own system so they in turn could be a Master/Grand Master or whatever. I am simply looking to avoid those types of institutions and would like to stick with a more traditional training philosophy.

Thanks you in advance for any advice.

Janet Rosen
08-10-2004, 06:53 PM
I would unabashedly recommend Craig Hocker to you.
Same here. I don't train in the same lineage as Craig, but have known him for years both on the 'net and irl at seminars, and he is a good person with good aikido.

Jerry Miller
08-10-2004, 09:00 PM
I would be remiss if I did not mention your proximity to the Shinjinkan (http://www.aikidocenter.com) Dojo. There are many to choose from in Houston. I have been meaning to visit Jorge Garcia's new dojo. I will eventually visit Craig Hocker's Dojo as well. They both know what they are talking about here. There are worse places to look for Aikido. Good luck to you.

Don
08-10-2004, 09:37 PM
T.K. Lee - sort of in North Houston. Very experienced. Very traditional. Hard training.

kironin
08-11-2004, 03:40 PM
I live in the northern part of Houston, around the beltway 8 and 45 area. So most of downtown and west/east Houston about the I-10 level are reasonable for travel distances.


You are most convenient to the Woodlands Aikido Center run by Michael Black. It's a good active growing AAA school that's worth your visit. It's in the southernmost part of the Woodlands (Sawdust exit off I-45).

everything else you will be going south and west.

For a Tomiki lineage teacher you might visit L.F. Wilkinson's Aikibudokan
http://www.aikibudo-aikido.com
they are an independent organization but have a long history.

If Aikikai school is your interest, I would strongly suggest

http://www.shudokanaikido.com/
not just because I know Jorge but because of the quality of his teacher from Aikikai Hombu in Japan (who visits) and the positive spirit you will experience there.

but,

You can also check long time Houston resident T.K. Lee's dojo
they now seem to have a new website with a Windows video of him doing technique
http://www.phatdawg.net/~AikiHous/
my understanding is it's no longer affiliated with the Aikikai,
I have former students from there,
but visit and make up your own mind if it's what you are looking for.

Jorge Garcia
08-11-2004, 04:09 PM
Craig,
Unless your information is newer than mine, I believe that T. K. Lee has been restored to the USAF after 5 years out of it.

By the way, I am working on hosting a visit from my Shihan, Hiroshi Kato in late September or early October if anyone in the area would like to meet him. I will have a seminar schedule up on a special web page soon but I will announce the dates here first.

Also, thanks for the recommendation. There are pictures of our classes at http://www.shudokanaikido.com
Click the class photos links on the left.
Best always,

kironin
08-11-2004, 07:28 PM
Craig,
Unless your information is newer than mine, I believe that T. K. Lee has


That's news to me. My info is not fresh.
I am sure you know more.

The new website makes more sense now.
thanks!