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.