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Old 05-11-2006, 10:53 AM   #1
Anne Fournier
Dojo: Paris
Location: Paris
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Kokikai v. Aikikai

Hi there

I'll be moving out soon and thus experience a new dojo. I previously trained in aikikai style and the new dojo is kokikai affiliated. Could anyone tell me which differences I should expect?
Thanks -
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Old 05-12-2006, 08:36 AM   #2
Anne Fournier
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Re: Kokikai v. Aikikai

OK... Maybe nobody has ever heard of Kokikai I should probably look for another dojo then
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Old 05-12-2006, 08:51 AM   #3
dps
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Re: Kokikai v. Aikikai

Here is a link,
http://www.kokikai.org/

Good Luck.
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Old 05-12-2006, 09:28 AM   #4
Ron Tisdale
Dojo: Doshinkan dojo in Roxborough, Pa
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Re: Kokikai v. Aikikai

Hi Anne,

I've trained with dojo that came from a kokikai background, and felt some of their people since Maruyama Sensei came back into the picture from some time off (he was in philly for a long time, but left the city some time ago).

I think the best of their system work on some very interesting "internal" stuff. It seems that after his hiatus, he came back with some very interesting results from solo training during that time. But I don't really know that much...just what I felt from some students of his after a seminar. Very strong, relaxed, and connected. I'd recommend training in the dojo for some classes, see what you think. It seems not all dojo have picked up on his changes, but I can't be sure of that.

As for difference with aikikai, they were ki society for a while before Maruyama moved off on his own.

Best,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
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"The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind."
St. Bonaventure (ca. 1221-1274)
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Old 05-12-2006, 01:03 PM   #5
MaryKaye
Dojo: Seattle Ki Society
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Re: Kokikai v. Aikikai

I have not gotten to train with Kokikai but have observed a class or two. They look superficially like Ki Society, but of course I haven't had a chance to learn about subtle differences.

The biggest differences you'd see in joining a Ki Society dojo from Aikikai would be narrower stance, lighter footwork, softer technique, some throws de-emphasized or prohibited, and use of "ki tests" to assess stability and relaxation. My understanding is that additionally Kokikai, even more than Ki Society, de-emphasizes breakfalls and teaches only techniques from which uke can successfully roll.

I know several people who have gone in the Aikikai-Ki Society direction. It can be frustrating at first as you're repeatedly told to stop using approaches that have worked for you in the past, but it gets better with practice, and I'm told that the contrast is quite interesting. (It has been for me, going in the other direction.) Kokikai is a reputable style of aikido and if that's the convenient dojo for you I don't see why you shouldn't try it out. As always, observing or trying a few classes is a good strategy.

Mary Kaye
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Old 05-12-2006, 09:20 PM   #6
NagaBaba
 
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Re: Kokikai v. Aikikai

Quote:
Anne Fournier wrote:
OK... Maybe nobody has ever heard of Kokikai I should probably look for another dojo then
You know, there can be one possible explanation.
It can be about etiquete, if you are polite, sometimes better is to say nothing that something that can offence these guys

Nagababa

ask for divine protection Ame no Murakumo Kuki Samuhara no Ryuo
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Old 05-12-2006, 09:58 PM   #7
jaime exley
Dojo: Aikido West
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Re: Kokikai v. Aikikai

Where are you moving?

I'm won't touch a "which is better" argument with a ten foot pole, but I'll share some of my experience.

First of all, I think that Ron is confusing two different Maruyama Senseis. Koretoshi Maruyama Sensei left Aikido for some time to persue some sort of internal training. Shuji Maruyama Sensei is the founder of the Kokikai. Both were senior students of Tohei Sensei.

I started Aikido in a Kokikai dojo and switched to an Aikikai (ASU) dojo when I was 2nd kyu. My expeience with Kokikai Aikido was mostly good. Maruyama Sensei is an outstanding martial artist and has a number of students who are dedicated and talented teachers in their own right.

If you end up joining the dojo in your new location, empty your cup. The Kokikai organization is a bit of a closed circuit. There is very little room for outside influence and Maruyama Sensei is outspoken about how he would like his students to do Aikido. I'm not saying that this is good or bad. I just want to let you know that you will have a much better experience if you make an effort to do things their way and not just rely on what you've been taught up to this point.
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Old 05-14-2006, 10:51 AM   #8
Anne Fournier
Dojo: Paris
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Re: Kokikai v. Aikikai

Thank you all for sharing your experience or insight. It mostly answers my questions. I am still a bit anxious I won't like it as much as I like aikikai style (I appreciate the dynamic way we are taught, and I am a bit suspicious about too much "Ki-talk" - my current sensei has never pronounced the word 'ki' in a class), but I guess it is just my being ignorant. Or maybe I just like to be sweaty and fly in the air
Oh, well, yes, I'll 'empty my cup'.
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Old 05-14-2006, 11:12 AM   #9
Frp
Dojo: Charles River Kokikai
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Re: Kokikai v. Aikikai

I've been doing Kokikai aikido for a little over five years. Most of the info people have given you about the org is correct. The tone of the aikido, fast or slow, martial or spirtual, will be set by the instructor, like it will anywhere else. But all of are dojo's will discuss relaxing and ki. Give it a try and if it suits you you'll stay.

Dave
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Old 05-15-2006, 12:52 AM   #10
justinc
Dojo: Enso Center, Redmond
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Re: Kokikai v. Aikikai

I have a friend here in Seattle that trains with Kokikai under Bannerman Sensei. When first looking around for schools I visited her school. I also attended a couple of classes when visiting Dad in Lismore, Australia. The two couldn't be further apart. The former is very much talk of mystical ki stuff, and the later didn't even mention it once. That could be the difference between city and country town culture, but like Dave mentions above, this just illustrates that the biggest differences are in the teacher/dojo, rather than the organisation.

Justin Couch
Student of life.
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Old 05-15-2006, 03:00 AM   #11
Anne Fournier
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Re: Kokikai v. Aikikai

Quote:
Justin Couch wrote:
I have a friend here in Seattle that trains with Kokikai under Bannerman Sensei. When first looking around for schools I visited her school. I also attended a couple of classes when visiting Dad in Lismore, Australia. The two couldn't be further apart. The former is very much talk of mystical ki stuff, and the later didn't even mention it once. That could be the difference between city and country town culture, but like Dave mentions above, this just illustrates that the biggest differences are in the teacher/dojo, rather than the organisation.
Yes, I become increasingly aware of that too. I visited a different dojo affiliated to aikikai while abroad, and the difference with my home dojo was also quite important although they share the affiliation. Well, I must say that it wasn't a very nice experience overall (which is probably why I am now a bit scared of changing dojo AND style). My bad experience wasn't because of the difference per se (from which I learnt a lot), but rather because the instructor kept accusing me of not doing the proper motion 'on purpose'. His tone wasn't friendly and I felt I was unfairly accused (I am a beginner, so whatever I do is definitely not on purpose ).
Anyway, you guys give me a nice overview of kokikai, and I feel like trying it for sure
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Old 05-17-2006, 07:32 AM   #12
Takumi
 
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Kokikai v.s. Aikikai

Hello,

I was wondering what the difference between Kokikai and Aikikai Aikido was. I know they are both different styles, and that kokikai emphasizes more on Ki and not 'pushing' uke as much. But what are the other differences?


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Old 05-17-2006, 10:18 AM   #13
tedehara
 
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Re: Kokikai v.s. Aikikai

The founder of Kokikai is Shuji Maruyama Sensei. He was an early aikido instructor in the U.S. and a former member of the Ki Society. Because of his background, Kokikai emphasizes natural movement, ki development, relaxation, good posture and mind-body coordination. The curriculum has empty-hand techniques, weapons training, ki development exercises, breathing, meditation and kiatsu (acupressure healing).

Aikikai is an organization that is from the Ueshiba family. The organization spans a variety of aikido styles. Within Aikikai there are numerous national groups like the late Toyoda Sensei's Aikido Association of America, or international groups like Chiba Sensei's Birankai. Each group has their own style that reflects their founder. Therefore the style of aikido could vary greatly from dojo to dojo within Aikikai. Generally Aikikai dojos focus on empty-hand techniques and weapons training, although not all dojos do weapons training. Individual dojos may also add different practices to their own curriculum.

Last edited by tedehara : 05-17-2006 at 10:25 AM.

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Old 10-20-2006, 06:26 PM   #14
heathererandolph
Dojo: Kokikai Aikido Boston
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Re: Kokikai v. Aikikai

Also, since Shuji Maruyama is living, techniques often change, ten years ago I was doing a lot of techniques differently. Therefore, being able to attend seminars and observe the changes is important in keeping up with his developments.
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Old 10-20-2006, 08:56 PM   #15
Kevin Wilbanks
Location: Seattle/Southern Wisconsin
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Re: Kokikai v. Aikikai

Quote:
Anne Fournier wrote:
Yes, I become increasingly aware of that too. I visited a different dojo affiliated to aikikai while abroad, and the difference with my home dojo was also quite important although they share the affiliation. Well, I must say that it wasn't a very nice experience overall (which is probably why I am now a bit scared of changing dojo AND style). My bad experience wasn't because of the difference per se (from which I learnt a lot), but rather because the instructor kept accusing me of not doing the proper motion 'on purpose'. His tone wasn't friendly and I felt I was unfairly accused (I am a beginner, so whatever I do is definitely not on purpose ).
It sounds to me like you learned something valuable, but somehow came to the opposite conclusion suggested by it. Your intuition was strong and you knew the dojo you visited wasn't worth your while. You obviously have the ability to make this determination and avoid wasting your time at the wrong school, so you have nothing to worry about in checking out a new one. Furthermore, you have seen two different schools and now have more background to evaluate a new one.

When you move, I suggest you go out and try other schools besides the Kokikai as well, before you settle on one... maybe even other arts besides Aikido. I say this because I have been to many dojos from different Aikido branches and other martial arts and seen unhappy people stuck in a bad dojos who obviously didn't have a clue there were better options out there, simply because they never looked.
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Old 10-20-2006, 10:35 PM   #16
Gwion
Dojo: New York Ki-Aikido
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Re: Kokikai v. Aikikai

Quote:
Anne Fournier wrote:
Yes, I become increasingly aware of that too. I visited a different dojo affiliated to aikikai while abroad, and the difference with my home dojo was also quite important although they share the affiliation. Well, I must say that it wasn't a very nice experience overall (which is probably why I am now a bit scared of changing dojo AND style). My bad experience wasn't because of the difference per se (from which I learnt a lot), but rather because the instructor kept accusing me of not doing the proper motion 'on purpose'. His tone wasn't friendly and I felt I was unfairly accused (I am a beginner, so whatever I do is definitely not on purpose ).
Anyway, you guys give me a nice overview of kokikai, and I feel like trying it for sure
Be careful of being stubborn (you're French, so it will be hard ). I went back to my first Yoshinkan dojo in Ohio after spending a year doing Ċikikai in Tokyo, and caused a lot of unnecessary conflict. I was basically stubborn, and felt like I didn't want to learn a 'NEW' way to do kamae, to pivot, footwork, etc. But ultimately I realized two things:

1) the more you can go to any seminar or dojo anywhere and adapt completely to what is being taught there, the more you have probably grasped the fundamentals of Aikido movement, and aren't getting hung up on the tiny external details.

2) each new difference in style and form is just one more tool for your toolbox that you can bring out and add to your own aikido 10 years later when you are instructing classes, or have your own following of students. Better to try everything and see how it all works.

think of everything as 'adding to' your aikido, not taking away.

Last edited by Gwion : 10-20-2006 at 10:37 PM.
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Old 10-21-2006, 01:03 PM   #17
saltlakeaiki
 
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Re: Kokikai v. Aikikai

Quote:
Anne Fournier wrote:
but rather because the instructor kept accusing me of not doing the proper motion 'on purpose'. His tone wasn't friendly and I felt I was unfairly accused
I agree wholeheartedly with almost everything in this thread, but just wanted to add explicitly something which is in the subtext: you'll definitely know whether you want to train at a place based on the energy or "vibe" you get there. If I walked into a place where the instructor was like the one you describe above, I would walk right on out. As everyone else said, don't worry about the physical details - all of it will benefit you one way or another. The real question is "do I like and respect the people I'm training with, esp. the instructor?"

Dave

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Old 10-21-2006, 07:43 PM   #18
Anne Fournier
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Wink Re: Kokikai v. Aikikai

Wow. Threads do have long lives on Aikiweb!

I finally attend this new kokikai dojo, and truly enjoy it. The differences I experience include the different elements named by Mary (narrower distance, softer style in general, ki tests, etc) and also a different way to position the arm (with the wrist turned in the inside). I must say I miss the flying feeling I had from my other dojo as i truly enjoy being thrown hard into breakfalls, and I also wish the rhythm would be more intense. But Kokikai aikidoka have an interesting way to minimalize their effort and they also have techniques slightly different that are interesting to learn.

To go back to the last posts, I agree with Kevin that it is not worthwhile to stick to a dojo where you find the instructor unappropriate with the students. The instructor I talked about in my post was a bad one, not because he meant any harm, but only (I think) because he was a very awkward person not aware that he should have taken into account the fact that I was unexperienced (and also a foreigner, and the only woman in the class) before accusing me of having a bad will. But this is the only experience of that sort I ever had with aikido instructors, and I found overall the different senseis incredibly patient with somebody as stubbornly French as me.
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