my name is Erik JurriŽn Knoops, but friends usualy call me Erik. I am 32 years and quite big and heavy (195 centimeters and approx. 110 kilograms, I leave it to somebody non-metric to convert this to feet, inches and stones)
I've been practising Aikido now for over 8 years at our nice, simple, but traditional dojo Shi Zen Ryu, www.shizenryu.nl , in the city of Leiden (for those interested the city where Rembrand was born) in the Netherlands. Our club is an completely independend Aikido club training Aikikai Aikido.
I used to train Shotokan Karate and Ju Jitsu before I started training Aikido. I was completely disapointed by the ego- and rank-obsesion I encountered at Karate and Ju Jitsu classes. This dislike is nowerdays still reflected in my dislike of rank, belts and the to often seen bad conduct of socalled advanced students.
I have no claims on the level of my aikido. I am what I am, yet I am also not willing to dismiss it as unimportant or insignificant. I am proud of what I do and I expect an absolute beginner to be proud of his/her level and training as well. In that respect there is no difference between beginners and advanced students.
I have visited different places and countries. I have trained in Holland, Belgium, Germany, Finland, France, England, The Isle of Man, Ireland and Switserland.
There are three teacher that are very special for me: Henry Kono, Alan Ruddock and Tom Verhoeven. The last one, Tom Verhoeven, is my own teacher at Shi Zen Ryu, a very nice and very skilled teacher. The first two, Henry Kono and Alan Ruddock, are both direct pupils of O'Sensei and are the most nice, soft and friendly men I have ever encountered in Aikido. They made me realize that soft Aikido means dangerous Aikido, that soft Aikido means fast Aikido and that soft Aikido means freedom in Aikido.
Very nice & informative introduction. Your recognition of your teachers and what they taught you says a lot of good things about your character.
Do you do take the Tai Chi classes offered at your school ? I think good Tai Chi adds a whole new dimension to training.
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