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Old 07-16-2007, 08:17 PM   #1
Schlegz
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Training in Tokyo

So here is my situation: I will be going to Tokyo in a few weeks for work and will be there a minimum of 6 months, hopefully longer. I've trained in AIkido for the last 4+ years up to the rank of ikkyu. I would like to continue training in Japan since it is a rare opportunity that I want to fully take advantage of. So my questions are:

1) Where to train: Aikikai hombu or elsewhere?

2) If I sign up at hombu, how would my rank transfer over? I would like to train hard over the next 6 months and have a shot at my shodan exam, if that's possible.

3) Best time to go? I have an extremely flexible work schedule while I am in Tokyo and would like some opinions on which classes to attend and why.

So those are the most immediate questions that come to mind. Any and all advice is appreciated. Thanks!

-Scott
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Old 07-17-2007, 12:09 AM   #2
Carl Thompson
 
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Re: Training in Tokyo

  1. I'd recommend the Aikikai Hombu, but where will you be in Tokyo? Maybe someone could give you some style/area specific advice depending upon what you do and where you will be.
  2. If you're Aikikai, I imagine they will recognise it and put it on your member-card. Otherwise, as when I joined the Aikikai here (with no Aikikai grading), you might have to be mukyuu (ungraded) until grading time (probably for shodan in your case). It made little difference -- you just get to be a dark horse for a while.
  3. The Hombu has its schedules for instructors on the net http://www.aikikai.or.jp/eng/index.htm . Note it's closed from the 13th -- 18th August.

I've trained at the Hombu a few times and I'll be down there next month for a few days. PM me if you want to meet up. Also, it's not too far up to Iwama from Tokyo.
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Old 07-17-2007, 12:33 AM   #3
yosushi
Dojo: Aoyama dojo
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Smile Re: Training in Tokyo

Hi -
If you want to train or just have a look, in Ki society dojo, you can come to the Seishinkan dojo
( http://web.mac.com/ki_seishinkan/iwe...nkan/Home.html
or http://www.seishinkan.org/ in japanese ).

There are a few dojo in Tokyo (west part) and around Tokyo.
Ohara Sensei ( 7th dan Ki no kenkyukai instructor ) and his assistants speak english. Classes are mostly in the evening, from 7 to 9, or at saturday 10-12 or 4-6 ( please see the dojo list on the link above ).

If you are looking at (very) early morning class, or sunday class, you can try the aikikai early / weekend classes.

Good luck and enjoy your stay in Tokyo !
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Old 07-17-2007, 01:21 AM   #4
nekobaka
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Re: Training in Tokyo

Tokyo is huge. You could be living a long commute from hombu. I have a few friends who were transferred from osaka to tokyo for their job, and they say that there are dojos everywhere. You may be able to choose from several in one area.If you don't choose hombu、don't forget to shop around.What kind of work will you be doing? Hombu may be your only option if you have a certain schedule, they have classes pretty much any time of the day. I have found that if you are new at a dojo, your attendance starts when you come. If you need so many hours from 1 kyu to shodan, you will start with 0. I have moved 3 times since I came to japan, and it took me a good 5 years from shodan to nidan for that reason.Surely you rank will transfer, but not attendance hours. Don't forget to bring your certificate, or a copy of it.
Good Luck.
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Old 07-17-2007, 03:09 AM   #5
Joe Bowen
 
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Re: Training in Tokyo

Here's my recommendation based upon personal experience of training with these folks...

http://www.cup.com/kobayashi-dojo/english/index.html

Kobayashi Yasuo Shihan, 8th Dan, Aikikai, started as an Uchi Deshi for OSensei in 1955. He runs Kobayashi Dojos with his son. His dojo is located in Kodaira, which is a 15-20 minute train ride from Shinjuku. His son's (Kobayashi Hiroaki, 6th Dan, Aikikai) dojo is in Tokorozawa which is a little closer. Shinjuku is a 20 minute walk to Hombu dojo.

If you are further out I recommend you look up...

http://home.att.ne.jp/moon/igarashidojo/

Igarashi Kazuo, Shihan, 7th Dan, Aikikai, was Uchi Deshi for Kobayashi Shihan and runs Igarashi Dojos just outside of Tokyo in Hashimoto which is about a 45 minute train ride from Shinjuku.

Both groups are intimately connected to Aikikai Hombu dojo. You can join either one and train at all three locations and not have to worry too much about your rank transference issues. At both the Kobayashi and Igarashi Dojos, you will most likely develop more of an intimate relationship with the instructors. You should check out the websites and try to make contact with them before you arrive.

Like I said before, these are recommendations based on my personal experience training in Tokyo. I have not trained with every possible dojo in the Tokyo area, so cannot speak to any type of experience training in any other dojo, but I have trained at Kobayashi's Dojos, Igarashi's Dojos and Hombu Dojos and I highly recommend you do the same.

Regards,

Joe
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Old 07-17-2007, 06:53 AM   #6
gi_james
Dojo: Misawa Aikido
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Re: Training in Tokyo

Quote:
Scott Schlegel wrote: View Post
So here is my situation: I will be going to Tokyo in a few weeks for work and will be there a minimum of 6 months, hopefully longer. I've trained in AIkido for the last 4+ years up to the rank of ikkyu. I would like to continue training in Japan since it is a rare opportunity that I want to fully take advantage of. So my questions are:

1) Where to train: Aikikai hombu or elsewhere?

2) If I sign up at hombu, how would my rank transfer over? I would like to train hard over the next 6 months and have a shot at my shodan exam, if that's possible.

3) Best time to go? I have an extremely flexible work schedule while I am in Tokyo and would like some opinions on which classes to attend and why.

So those are the most immediate questions that come to mind. Any and all advice is appreciated. Thanks!

-Scott
If you're up in the Country (Aomori Prefecture) let me know... U can stop by our dojo... It's dirt cheap here to take lessons here... only 2000 yen / month.

-James
James Strickland
Misawa AB, Japan
www.strickstuff.com
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Old 07-17-2007, 08:28 AM   #7
odudog
Dojo: Dale City Aikikai
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Re: Training in Tokyo

I can't give any recommendations besides Honbu for that is the only place that I trained at when I visted Japan back in 2003. But I will say this, your 1st kyu ranking is higher than the 1st kyu ranked members at Honbu. So you actually know a lot more stuff than your fellow ranked Japanese counterparts. If you go to Honbu, you can see what is their testing requirements for 1st kyu on the wall in the beginers hall on the 2nd floor. You would have to join the Honbu dojo as your main place of practice in order to test there and have a certain amount of practice days/hours. There are like 3-4 fees that have to paid to join if my memory is correct. It's not worth it since you will only be there for a short stay. My Sensei said that I could test for 4th kyu while I was there but they wouldn't let me for these reasons.

Also, be careful when you say the name Tokyo for it could be the city or actually the prefecture/state. So a dojo could be in Tokyo but no where close to where you are in Tokyo city. The place names within Tokyo city can also be pretty large. Shinjuku is a certain section of Tokyo and could also be far from where you actually are located within the city. I stay rightout side Tokyo city limits when I'm in Japan yet it takes me 1 hour to get to Honbu.
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Old 07-17-2007, 10:33 AM   #8
Schlegz
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Re: Training in Tokyo

Thank you very much for the information. I will be working (software) near Hiroo and hopefully staying nearby as well. I have been to Tokyo seveal times before and am familiar with the area and getting around so I'm not a total "newbie" but this will be my first time to actually train in Japan. Again, thanks for the advice and I will check out your recommendations.

-Scott
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Old 07-17-2007, 10:35 PM   #9
wxyzabc
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Re: Training in Tokyo

Hya

So am I right in thinking that if I did first que... say two to three years ago, and have about 800 plus practise sessions in the uk since then that this wouldn`t be recognised by Honbu? that I would have to join and start my 70 days requirement from scratch?

Surely there must be people teaching and training overseas who receive and take gradings directly from Honbu without that kind of hassle?
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Old 07-17-2007, 11:06 PM   #10
Carl Thompson
 
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Re: Training in Tokyo

Quote:
Lee Price wrote: View Post
Hya

So am I right in thinking that if I did first que... say two to three years ago, and have about 800 plus practise sessions in the uk since then that this wouldn`t be recognised by Honbu? that I would have to join and start my 70 days requirement from scratch?

Surely there must be people teaching and training overseas who receive and take gradings directly from Honbu without that kind of hassle?
I had no problems (even got my 2nd and 1st kyuu certificates direct from the Doushu). As for levels being different -- I'd suggest finding that out for yourself. Check out my previous post:

Quote:
If you're Aikikai, I imagine they will recognise it and put it on your member-card. Otherwise, as when I joined the Aikikai here (with no Aikikai grading), you might have to be mukyuu (ungraded) until grading time (probably for shodan in your case). It made little difference -- you just get to be a dark horse for a while.
Kind regards

Carl

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Old 07-17-2007, 11:43 PM   #11
wxyzabc
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Re: Training in Tokyo

Thanks Carl

So were you training elsewhere before and had your training days carried across?...or were you actually training regularly at Honbu and completed "their" full requirements between gradings?

Any advise on how you approached Honbu regarding this?

Many thanks

Lee
p.s. can you go in as ungraded and they can see what level they think you are at?
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Old 07-18-2007, 01:48 AM   #12
Carl Thompson
 
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Re: Training in Tokyo

Sorry Lee,

I should make it clear that I was graded at the Ibaraki Shibu Dojo (Osensei's dojo in Iwama). However, I imagine my situation would have been similar at the Hombu since the Doushu visits regularly, we get our gradings from him and our own instructors sometimes guest-teach at the Hombu.

I didn't have any training days carried across when I joined the Ibaraki branch: I came from outside the Aikikai, with a murky past so they just didn't come into the equation.

Quote:
Lee Price wrote: View Post
p.s. can you go in as ungraded and they can see what level they think you are at?
That's basically what happened to me here. I had a couple of months to get the gist of how they were doing things then went for 2kyuu with the locals. Thereafter, I followed the in-house system and only took 1kyuu when I met the time/skill requirements.

I'd ask at the Hombu directly for an official answer, but my feeling is that you would get a similar deal to me.

Carl
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Old 07-18-2007, 02:22 AM   #13
nekobaka
Dojo: Washinkai (Kizu)
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Re: Training in Tokyo

It could depend on the instructor. If they are at the top, like Doshu, then he can probably do what he likes. My situation was that the instructor was comparatively low ranked, and therefore had to go by the book. Also the Japanese way is not to ask to test, but wait until you are asked. I'm here for good, so I try to fit in as best I can. If you are really serious about progressing in rank, that's up to you to ask.

I was at my dojo exactly 3 years when I got 2 dan. I had had shodan for two years when I came. Another guy in my dojo who had just gotten shodan when I came to the dojo also got 2 dan at the same time. I got the feeling it had very little to do with ability and only to do with attendance. I have left that dojo, by the way.
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Old 07-18-2007, 07:48 AM   #14
odudog
Dojo: Dale City Aikikai
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Re: Training in Tokyo

Quote:
Lee Price wrote: View Post
Hya

So am I right in thinking that if I did first que... say two to three years ago, and have about 800 plus practise sessions in the uk since then that this wouldn`t be recognised by Honbu? that I would have to join and start my 70 days requirement from scratch?

Surely there must be people teaching and training overseas who receive and take gradings directly from Honbu without that kind of hassle?
If your previous gradings were in the Aikikai then Honbu or any other Aikikai dojo in Japan will recognize your current rank. However, the practice days will not carry over.

I was told my a black belt who had came over from US as kyu grade several years ago before I met him that you are not concidered serious about Aikido until you become 2 dan. Once that happens, then Honbu seriously cracks down on your technique.

Last edited by odudog : 07-18-2007 at 07:51 AM.
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Old 07-19-2007, 02:38 PM   #15
Tambreet
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Re: Training in Tokyo

Quote:
Joseph Bowen wrote: View Post
Here's my recommendation based upon personal experience of training with these folks...

http://www.cup.com/kobayashi-dojo/english/index.html

Kobayashi Yasuo Shihan, 8th Dan, Aikikai, started as an Uchi Deshi for OSensei in 1955. He runs Kobayashi Dojos with his son. His dojo is located in Kodaira, which is a 15-20 minute train ride from Shinjuku. His son's (Kobayashi Hiroaki, 6th Dan, Aikikai) dojo is in Tokorozawa which is a little closer. Shinjuku is a 20 minute walk to Hombu dojo.
I second this recommendation. I was just visiting on a short trip a month ago and we trained a few times with Kobayashi Sensei and his son. I really like both of their teaching styles and the enthusiasm and atmosphere that they brought to the training permeated through all their students.

Hiroaki Sensei and Kasahara Sensei both speak fairly fluent English, and Kobayashi Sensei speaks some. They also have a fairly active uchideshi program and there were three English-speaking uchideshi around when I was there.

I also trained at the morning class a Hombu a couple times, and enjoyed it, but I wasn't crazy about the style. It was very, very crowded and the teaching style (no talking and very little demonstrating) is not the best for me. However, everybody learns in their own way and maybe the other classes there are taught differently.
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Old 07-19-2007, 09:59 PM   #16
yosushi
Dojo: Aoyama dojo
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Re: Training in Tokyo

Near Hiroo..
I saw an aikikai dojo near Hiroo, in the street where you find the korean embassy (you`ll notice lots of policemen), going from Hiroo / Aikuu hospital to Azabujuuban. The dojo is opposite the embassy side, not far.
Another dojo you might want to check is at Roppongi, in the Body Plant sport center near Roppongi station - it`s Yoshinkan aikido. They have early morning class.http://www.roppongi-yoshinkan.com/co...guage=english:)
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Old 07-23-2007, 09:44 AM   #17
odudog
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Re: Training in Tokyo

The no talking thing is how O'Sensei taught. If you start to talk, your brain is taking over instead of your eyes and body. Let your eyes see/steal what was going on during the demo and your body feel what is being done to you. Hopefully your uke is someone who already knows the technique so you learn what is happening or be guided through it. I had this same problem in the morning class but you get used to it. Plus, I was doing something so fundamentally wrong that the Sensei actually came over and yelled at my uke {older blackbelt gentleman} for not correcting me. After another class, one blackbelt worked with me on several of the techniques. He didn't speak a word of English but he still got his point across. There is much more talking by the Senseis in the beginners dojo on the 2nd floor. A lot of the people at Honbu tend to follow one Sensei, so there is probably some type of system in place where they can ask the Senseis questions about what is going on with the techniques.

Last edited by odudog : 07-23-2007 at 09:47 AM.
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Old 07-23-2007, 11:29 AM   #18
Chris Li
 
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Re: Training in Tokyo

Quote:
Mike Braxton wrote: View Post
The no talking thing is how O'Sensei taught. If you start to talk, your brain is taking over instead of your eyes and body. Let your eyes see/steal what was going on during the demo and your body feel what is being done to you. Hopefully your uke is someone who already knows the technique so you learn what is happening or be guided through it. I had this same problem in the morning class but you get used to it. Plus, I was doing something so fundamentally wrong that the Sensei actually came over and yelled at my uke {older blackbelt gentleman} for not correcting me. After another class, one blackbelt worked with me on several of the techniques. He didn't speak a word of English but he still got his point across. There is much more talking by the Senseis in the beginners dojo on the 2nd floor. A lot of the people at Honbu tend to follow one Sensei, so there is probably some type of system in place where they can ask the Senseis questions about what is going on with the techniques.
Morihei Ueshiba didn't give much in the way of detailed technical explanation, but he talked quite a bit - greatly irritating his younger students who wanted to get back to practice.

Best,

Chris

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Old 07-23-2007, 02:18 PM   #19
odudog
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Re: Training in Tokyo

From what I've read in all of my books, he talked but hardly ever if ever on technique. Always talked about Kamisama stuff. Nobody ever understood or paid attention to what he was talking about.
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Old 07-24-2007, 04:35 AM   #20
Charles Hill
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Re: Training in Tokyo

The best Mexican restaurant in Tokyo is in Hiro. I can't remember the name of it, but Hiro is not that big. Try it, you'll love it.

Charles
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Old 07-25-2007, 04:08 AM   #21
Walter Martindale
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Freaky! Re: Training in Tokyo

Quote:
Mike Braxton wrote: View Post
The no talking thing is how O'Sensei taught. If you start to talk, your brain is taking over instead of your eyes and body. Let your eyes see/steal what was going on during the demo and your body feel what is being done to you. Hopefully your uke is someone who already knows the technique so you learn what is happening or be guided through it. I had this same problem in the morning class but you get used to it. Plus, I was doing something so fundamentally wrong that the Sensei actually came over and yelled at my uke {older blackbelt gentleman} for not correcting me. After another class, one blackbelt worked with me on several of the techniques. He didn't speak a word of English but he still got his point across. There is much more talking by the Senseis in the beginners dojo on the 2nd floor. A lot of the people at Honbu tend to follow one Sensei, so there is probably some type of system in place where they can ask the Senseis questions about what is going on with the techniques.
I think the whole thing about talking vs. no talking is aimed at "analysis" versus "awareness." Analysis takes place after the fact, awareness is concurrent with action, and assists in learning. Awareness that is focused by a person who states a hint or two about what needs focus of awareness generates better learning. Learning that is a result of awareness is more robust than lessons taken from analysis. (that's my interpretation from the coaching education programme we're developing for my work).
Walter
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Old 07-25-2007, 06:47 AM   #22
Tambreet
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Re: Training in Tokyo

Quote:
Walter Martindale wrote: View Post
I think the whole thing about talking vs. no talking is aimed at "analysis" versus "awareness." Analysis takes place after the fact, awareness is concurrent with action, and assists in learning. Awareness that is focused by a person who states a hint or two about what needs focus of awareness generates better learning. Learning that is a result of awareness is more robust than lessons taken from analysis.
I actually agree with this. I don't think it was just the lack of verbal instruction that bothered me at Hombu, but that combined with very little demonstration. Most techniques were only demonstrated twice (and the first time was easy to miss because it was while people were still sitting down), and then we had 5-10 minutes to work try it. For one of the classes, I was paired with someone even more junior than me for the entire hour, and not once did we get personal instruction or advice from Doshu or any of the other senior yudansha.

Again, if I trained there every day, I think I'd get more out of it - you can certainly learn a ton from watching, and I can and do learn a lot from working with more junior people. But I get to learn from and teach junior aikidoka every day here in Chicago. I guess when I travel halfway around the world for just a few classes at a dojo known to have many transient students, I was hoping for something a little more hands on.

Despite all that, it was a good experience and I'm sure I'll stop back at Hombu next time I find myself in Tokyo.
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Old 07-25-2007, 08:53 AM   #23
odudog
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Re: Training in Tokyo

It's interesting that Jordan only saw the techniques demonstrated 2 times. While I was there, each technique was demonstrated 4 times. Plus, the Sensei would go to each team practicing the technique and give them a chance at actually feeling the Sensei do the technique. I attended classes at various times so I saw different Senseis and they all did this. If you have problem with a technique and your partner doesn't know what is going on then watch people next do. I did this as well while at Honbu.
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Old 07-25-2007, 09:04 PM   #24
neaikikai
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Re: Training in Tokyo

Believe me, depending on who you train with, you may be very disappointed in the quality of aikido in Japan. Don't forget most of Osensei's uchi deshi left Japan to teach. The Aikido in US in allot of places is actually better. Don't get caught up in, its Japan its better. That is not true anymore, 40 years ago, absolutely, ;now, no way. Doshu, is 3rd generation, he never trained with Osensei, and all the uchi deshi were gone by the time he was an adult. I trained with Kanai Shihan and all the Shihan in the USAF, and let me tell you, it doesn't get much better than that anywhere on earth.
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Old 07-25-2007, 09:49 PM   #25
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Training in Tokyo

Quote:
Michael DiFronzo wrote: View Post
Believe me, depending on who you train with, you may be very disappointed in the quality of aikido in Japan. Don't forget most of Osensei's uchi deshi left Japan to teach. The Aikido in US in allot of places is actually better. Don't get caught up in, its Japan its better. That is not true anymore, 40 years ago, absolutely, ;now, no way. Doshu, is 3rd generation, he never trained with Osensei, and all the uchi deshi were gone by the time he was an adult. I trained with Kanai Shihan and all the Shihan in the USAF, and let me tell you, it doesn't get much better than that anywhere on earth.
With respect, I have to disagree with this. I myself trained under Kanai Shihan in the old Boston NE Aikikai dojo and with Chiba Shihan in the UK (initially about 35 years ago ) before and after this. I knew Tohei Akira Shihan quite well and I also know Yamada Yoshimitsu Shihan quite well. I attended a NE Aikikai Summer Camp in the early 80s, where the visiting shihans were Tamura Nobuyoshi and Saito Morihiro. So I can speak on the basis of some experience.

Since I have been in Japan, I was able to train with profit under Yamaguchi, Arikawa and H Tada, none of whom left Japan to live permanently abroad. So it simply not true that 'most of O Sensei's uchi-deshi left Japan to teach'.

Only the first generation of O Sensei's deshi (those in the Kobukan Dojo) can strictly be called uchi-deshi: people like Shirata, Akazawa, Mochizuki and Shioda. Except for Tohei and Mochizuki, the deshi of Chiba's generation owed their main 'political' allegiance to Kisshomaru Ueshiba.

Japan, like the US, is a large country for the martial arts and, also like the US, is a country where you cannot make blanket generalizations about aikido. You have to look hard to find good training. Personally, I have not been very satisfied with training in the Hombu. It is too big, too impersonal, too unwelcoming to visitors--and too faction-ridden. However I have never trained there longer than a week at a time. There are other dojos in the metropolitan area and also other dojos in Osaka, Tohoku, Kyushu and the Kii penninsula. And if you combine aikido training with koryu training, the possibilities for good training are even better.

Best wishes to all,

Last edited by Peter Goldsbury : 07-25-2007 at 09:52 PM.

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