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Go Back   AikiWeb Aikido Forums > Introductions

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Old 09-25-2007, 06:21 PM   #1
Eugene Taylor
Dojo: Harvard Aikido Club
Location: Cambridge, Mass.
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 3
United_States
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First Introductions

Fellow Aikidoka,

Very glad to be able to address this most august body of practitioners. I began training in 1975 after being encouraged by the transpersonal psychologist Robert Frager, who had trained under Mr Ueshiba. I attained my Kyu ranks in Ki-Aikido from Koichi Tohei, through Bill Sosa, Roy Suanaka, Fumio Toyoda, John Takagi, and Rod Kobayashi; I also studied briefly with Frank Doran and Robert Nadeau at the Turk St. dojo in SF, and once with Terry Dobson in New York City; I received my dan ranks from Matsunari Kanai in Hombu Style. I was founder and Chief Instructor of the Harvard University Aikido Club, 1981-2005, now emeritus. Presently, I am a 4th dan and a shidoin in the USAF. The unique style I have developed over the years is called Ki-Aikikai, combining the ki testing and aikitaiso forms of Koichi Tohei with the wazas of Hombu style, as taught by Mr. Kanai. Aikido, for me, is a vehicle for the development of an intuitive psychology of spiritual self-realization and is an example of what William James called "the moral equivalent of war."
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Old 09-25-2007, 06:25 PM   #2
Conrad Gus
 
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Dojo: Victoria Family Aikido
Location: Victoria, BC
Join Date: Dec 2001
Posts: 268
Canada
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Re: First Introductions

Quote:
Eugene Taylor wrote: View Post
The unique style I have developed over the years is called Ki-Aikikai
Is that your just your own name for it or is it some sort of official new "style". No judgment or commentary implied -- I'm just curious. It sounds very appealing.
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Old 09-26-2007, 08:25 AM   #3
akiy
 
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Re: First Introductions

Hi Eugene,

Welcome to AikiWeb and thank you for your introduction.

-- Jun

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Old 09-26-2007, 09:05 AM   #4
Eugene Taylor
Dojo: Harvard Aikido Club
Location: Cambridge, Mass.
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 3
United_States
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Re: First Introductions

Conrad,

Thank you for getting right to the heart of the matter. In my years of practice, Ki-aikido and hombu style did not exactly welcome each other's students at many dojos. This, I was told, was partly a function of unresolved incompatilities among O'Sensei's first generation of students. Since I was somewhere between third and fourth generation, I was subject to these perceived incompatibilities. A wise teacher once told me to forget about the politics and just train, regardless of the persuasion of this or that dojo. In the years I developed my own dojo, I blended Ki-aikido and hombu style in certain tell-tale ways that I was asked not to repeat elsewhere in front of the senior instructors. The use of kiatsu, systematic training in the aikitaiso forms, and intensive ki testing would be examples. Other aikidoka also had to straddle the same two camps and little discussion about it was permitted. I was very grateful that Mr. Kanai gave me such a free hand in how I ran my dojo, and I took advantage of this freedom to systematically unite these two styles over two and a half decades with more than a thousand students. It turned out to be particularly effective in training beginners up to the shodan, where those who progressed through the kyu ranks would then be passed on to Mr Kanai's dojo up the street to continue their training.

Last edited by Eugene Taylor : 09-26-2007 at 09:12 AM.
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Old 09-26-2007, 04:16 PM   #5
G DiPierro
Location: Ohio
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 365
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Re: First Introductions

I myself started training in Eugene's dojo over ten years ago and then later moved on to study directly with Kanai-sensei, so I can attest that his style was significantly different and that the way he taught would not have been welcome at the NEA (although Sensei did give him full control within his own dojo). The most noticeable difference from my perspective was that Eugene emphasized slow, relaxed movement in order to maintain center-to-center connection, while practice at the NEA was much faster with the emphasis on strong, powerful techniques even at the expense of tension or muscling through movements. The ukemi was also different, as Eugene did not teach the big breakfalls that were characteristic of the NEA but stuck to simple forward and backward rolls. He did do a lot of aiki-taiso and had a nice systematic approach to teaching things like forward rolls to new beginners as well.

Anyway, Eugene, it's nice to hear from you and welcome to Aikiweb. Are you still teaching or practicing aikido now that you have passed on the leadership of your dojo to Sioux?

Last edited by G DiPierro : 09-26-2007 at 04:18 PM.
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Old 09-26-2007, 04:21 PM   #6
gdandscompserv
 
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Re: First Introductions

I call my style of aikido Wood Aikido.
In Japanese that is ki aikido. (loosely translated)
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Old 09-26-2007, 09:59 PM   #7
Eugene Taylor
Dojo: Harvard Aikido Club
Location: Cambridge, Mass.
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 3
United_States
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Re: First Introductions

Giancarlo,

Thank you for your note. I am now concentrating on bokken and jo in my personal practice, meanwhile traveling around doing workshops in ki-aikikai, mainly in California. Robert Frager was the original sensei at the Cambridge dojo before Mr. Kanai came from Japan, and when Frager graduated with his PhD from Harvard he went out to California and founded the Institute for Transpersonal Psychology, where he still has his dojo. Tho' I live in Cambridge, Mass., in addition to my appointment at Harvard Medical School, I also teach at Saybrook Graduate School in San Francisco, the old PhD program in Humanistic psychology, which is a distance learning program in psychology at the doctoral level for mid-career adults and a kind of sister PhD program to the Transpersonal Institute. David Lukoff, who had been another Faculty member at Saybrook, and I have been putting on aikido workshops at their residentials for years, interpreting aikido practice and the transformation of personality through the language of both meditation and depth psychology. Lukoff is a student of Richard Heckler, who, with Wendy Palmer, and George Leonard, were all students of Robert Nadeau, who introduced aikido into Esalen Institute. Nadeau and Frager both earned their black belts under O'Senei. So, tho' my dojo was in a gym, I taught aikido at Harvard not as a team sport, but as a form of psychology, which I continue to do around the US.
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Old 09-27-2007, 03:02 PM   #8
G DiPierro
Location: Ohio
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 365
United_States
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Re: First Introductions

Good to know that you are still involved with the practice of aikido. I hope you'll stick around and participate in the discussions here. I'd like to hear more about your thoughts on aikido as a form of psychology, and I suspect others would too. I should warn you that the tone in these internet discussion groups can often be quite contentious, and more than a few experienced people have abruptly quit the forums upon discovering this first-hand. I don't think you will have any problem, but it's always best to be prepared.
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