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Old 06-15-2006, 04:26 PM   #1
Fu Man
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Question Ryokukai Aikido?

Hello everyone,

Recently, I have decided to pursue training in Aikido. In the past, I have studied Ji Do Kwan Tae Kwon Do, Isshin-ryu Karate and Kodokan Judo. The nearest Aikido dojo in my area teaches a style known as Ryokukai. I performed a search on this site, as well as others. However, I was unable to find much information.

Can anyone provide information on the difference between Ryokukai Aikido vs other styles of Aikido? If so, it would be greatly appreciated.

Also, I might move out of state within the next year or two. Is it likely that non-Ryokukai Aikido dojos/organizations will recognize my rank, if there are no Ryokukai Aikido dojos in my new area. The said style of Aikido does not appear to be as widely common within the Aikido community.

Thank you in advance for your assistance,
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Old 06-16-2006, 09:01 AM   #2
MikeLogan
 
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Re: Ryokukai Aikido?

I've never heard of it, but, try Dojo Search. Look to the left of this screen, 1st listing under Databases. good luck. If there's anything to concern yourself with regard to rank at a new place, the best bet is to consider that they'll likely allow you to test sooner than later once they see you can hit the ground without it hitting back, etc.

michael.
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Old 06-16-2006, 09:49 AM   #3
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Ryokukai Aikido?

Judging from the web page if I was looking to study karate, with a little aikido thrown in, this might be a reasonable place to do it. I saw very little about the aikido this instructor learned though (or from whom), and that would be a concern. But if you have some time available, and don't mind retesting in another organization later, and you like what is taught there, why not?

Best,
Ron

Last edited by Ron Tisdale : 06-16-2006 at 09:52 AM.

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 06-16-2006, 09:51 AM   #4
jimbaker
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Re: Ryokukai Aikido?

Their main websource seems to be <http://www.ryokukai.com/index.htm>.
It was invented by Niikura Sensei, whose primary training appears to have been Karate.

Your rank throught them will be recognized within that organization, which seems to be about ten dojos. You would most likely have to start over everywhere else, as they are so far out of the mainsteam that you would have to relearn everything from scratch.

He also cures cancer, changes water molecules with his mind and throws people with meditation. No, really! That's on the website.

Jim Baker

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Aikido of Norfolk
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Old 06-16-2006, 10:37 AM   #5
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: Ryokukai Aikido?

Quote:
Jim Baker wrote:

He also cures cancer, changes water molecules with his mind and throws people with meditation. No, really! That's on the website.

Jim Baker
Be afraid, be very afraid...

George S. Ledyard
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Old 06-16-2006, 12:08 PM   #6
aikidoc
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Re: Ryokukai Aikido?

Sensei Niikura: Yes that's true in my case I can actually use it to lift people into the air without using my hands or my feet or my legs and even if people try to measure that scientifically because this is not science nothing will come up in terms of measurement and perhaps they could take two measurements low electric fields or uh perhaps some different frequencies but those are not the only things that enable a person to be lifted into the air.

His credentials show not Aikido rank yet he lists himself a shihan. The Brian tape looks like Yoshinkan.
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Old 06-16-2006, 01:25 PM   #7
Richard Langridge
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Re: Ryokukai Aikido?

Well hey, it might be good for a laugh until you find a better club. Having said that, would supporting such an organisation be immoral?
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Old 06-16-2006, 02:50 PM   #8
giriasis
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Re: Ryokukai Aikido?

My advice is to keep looking around for another school.

Anne Marie Giri
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Old 06-16-2006, 03:45 PM   #9
Steven
 
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Re: Ryokukai Aikido?

Quote:
John Riggs wrote:
The Brian tape looks like Yoshinkan.
???
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Old 06-16-2006, 03:59 PM   #10
Steven
 
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Re: Ryokukai Aikido?

http://www.ryokukai.com/video/brian.mpg

I've seen this video before, in fact, someone not too long ago asked that we view this clip. I commented that Shihan Sensei is not the proper use of honorifics/titles.

Additionally, there is nothing remotely close to Yoshinkan Aikido in this clip. Just because techniques look hard, doesn't make them Yoshinkan.
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Old 06-16-2006, 04:25 PM   #11
Talon
 
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Re: Ryokukai Aikido?

That clip looked pretty martial...I actually kinda liked it...

Curing cancer and all that other nonsesnse would make me look elsewhere though.
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Old 06-16-2006, 05:10 PM   #12
ChrisMoses
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Re: Ryokukai Aikido?

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote:
Be afraid, be very afraid...
Not that I don't think he's kookoo for cocoa puffs... but I know that the book he references about the shapes of water and ki influence is quite popular among several very senior teachers of the Aikikai in Japan. And don't get me started on Orgone rings...
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Old 06-16-2006, 08:11 PM   #13
Fu Man
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Re: Ryokukai Aikido?

Hello everyone,

Thank you for the replies! I apologize for not posting the organization's website link in the initial post.

The Sensei of the dojo in question is not Niikura Shihan, but one of his direct students, I believe. I spoke with the Sensei this week, and the gentleman seems like a great person. I will probably visit a class in the next few days.

However, I must admit that I would like more information about Niikura Shihan's Aikido lineage. I will note it as a discussion item to further discuss with the dojo's Sensei.

Have a great weekend,

Ted
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Old 06-17-2006, 08:44 AM   #14
aikidoc
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Re: Ryokukai Aikido?

The reason I said it looks yoshinkan is that the only ones I have seen do the warm up exercises in the beginning like they do was a tape of Shioda's people. My bad.
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Old 06-17-2006, 11:03 AM   #15
giriasis
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Re: Ryokukai Aikido?

Quote:
Ted Harper wrote:
Hello everyone,

Thank you for the replies! I apologize for not posting the organization's website link in the initial post.

The Sensei of the dojo in question is not Niikura Shihan, but one of his direct students, I believe. I spoke with the Sensei this week, and the gentleman seems like a great person. I will probably visit a class in the next few days.

However, I must admit that I would like more information about Niikura Shihan's Aikido lineage. I will note it as a discussion item to further discuss with the dojo's Sensei.

Have a great weekend,

Ted
I've trained with people who were nice, but were rather charismatic. Being new to aikido at the time, I did not know have any clue what they guy was saying was BS. He would say enough to lead you on to believe that they had an actual direct lineage when in fact they did not. Changing schools and starting over somewhere else was a major eye opener to me.

As far as I know "Ryokukai" is not one of the known branches of aikido. If you can't find much information out there about them then there may not be much information out there, for a reason. In a google search I get a lot of karate dojos not aikido. That's a red flag for aikido training, in my book. Just type in Yoshinkan, Yoseikan, Aikikai, Iwama, Ki Society, Kokikai, AAA, ASU, CAA, USAF, etc and see what you get.

If this sensei trained aikido with Niikura sensei, then what is his rank and credentials. Then as about Niikura Senseis, aikido rank and creditentials. And ask who issued those ranks I don't know where you located but there are some pretty good aikido schools in Boston, New York, Michigan, San Francisco and Los Angeles. I still suggest looking else, just because they have a nice face and personality does not mean you are going to learn good aikido.

Last edited by giriasis : 06-17-2006 at 11:14 AM.

Anne Marie Giri
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Old 06-17-2006, 10:24 PM   #16
aikidoc
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Re: Ryokukai Aikido?

The claims are about as absurd as the ones on the Grand Celestial Do site. BS is as BS does (Gumpism).
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Old 12-29-2006, 01:23 AM   #17
truparad0x
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Re: Ryokukai Aikido?

I have personally "studied" with Sensei Niikura here in Boston, MA when he used to visit every other weekend a few years back. From what I was told by my college professor, Sensei Niikura is trained in Karate, Aikido, and Iaido among some other arts. He eventually founded International Budo Ryokukai, where he teaches a type of budo from all his experience. I don't believe they claim to be an Aikido school, although they do teach Aikido. Since they're not an Aikido school, they're not registered with USAF (I've tried looking him up).

Although I don't know his exact lineages (I, too, have tried researching this), I was told he was a direct student of O Sensei. Not sure if there is anything on the web in English to support this. Anybody find anything in Japanese as his first Ryokukai dojo was in Japan before he moved his main dojo to Michigan? I know some of his stuff seems unusual (I studied Ki healing with him as well), but he was quite knowledgable in what he taught. He really didn't ask us for money as well. Just enough to cover the flights from Michigan.

As for his Ki healing stuff, I was told (again) that he is involved with studies with a university in Michigan as well as Harvard (if I remember correctly). As for the Brian san dan test video floating around on the internet, I remembered being told that Sensei Niikura handed out kyu degrees and sends his students to USAF (or some other Aikido organization; he didn't specifically mention USAF) for dan testing. I'm not sure if he changed his practices as I have not seen him for three years (Any Ryokukai members want to clarify?).

I've enjoyed my experience learning Aikido, Iaido (Toyama Ryu style), and Ki healing with Sensei Niikura, and I do miss Aikido and Iaido. I wouldn't mind studying with Sensei Niikura again, but as he rarely comes to Boston anymore for Aikido, I might just go with New England Aikikai in Cambridge when I have time again.

Sorry for my lengthy post. I just feel that Sensei Niikura and Ryokukai should have a fair chance for judgment. The Ki stuff does sound extraordinary (good and bad), but people shouldn't comment too negatively if they have not participated or witnessed the items in question. However, if anybody has more information on Sensei Niikura and his exact lineages, please let me know to satisfy my own curiosity.

Oh, personal opinion: I don't think people should be too concerned with rankings and how they transfer to different systems of Aikido. While studying with Sensei Niikura, I missed quite a few kyu tests. In fact, I am still at Nanakyu (Ryokukai ranking system). However, the fact that I wore a yellow belt to practice does not take away the time and effort I put in to learn techniques and my proficiency in them. Besides, I heard of a practitioner who chose to wear his white belt instead of his black belt when he returned to practicing after a long absence. I'm rambling here, but I guess i just wanted to say that people shouldn't be too worried about ranking and focus more on the development and the spreading of Aikido and O Sensei's teachings.

This is my first post. Please be nice.
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Old 12-29-2006, 06:53 AM   #18
aikidoc
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Re: Ryokukai Aikido?

[quote=Daniel Chan] Oh, personal opinion: I don't think people should be too concerned with rankings and how they transfer to different systems of Aikido. While studying with Sensei Niikura, I missed quite a few kyu tests. In fact, I am still at Nanakyu (Ryokukai ranking system). However, the fact that I wore a yellow belt to practice does not take away the time and effort I put in to learn techniques and my proficiency in them. Besides, I heard of a practitioner who chose to wear his white belt instead of his black belt when he returned to practicing after a long absence. I'm rambling here, but I guess i just wanted to say that people shouldn't be too worried about ranking and focus more on the development and the spreading of Aikido and O Sensei's teachings.
QUOTE]


A lot of people make these kind of statements about the interchangeability of ranks not meaning anything. However, keep in mind later that feeling may change. You are studying with a guy making esoteric claims, listing as an aikido organization while his website has a lineage mostly focused on karate, gives very vague references to his aikido lineage-never lists his aikido rank. If you want to study and progress in the art, you will need a lineage. If you want rank and want it to be transferable, study with a lineage that has some dojos under it (aikikai, ki society, yoshinkan, etc.)
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Old 12-29-2006, 07:51 AM   #19
graham
 
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Re: Ryokukai Aikido?

Quote:
Daniel Chan wrote:
This is my first post. Please be nice.
Hi Daniel.

Welcome to Aikiweb!
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Old 12-29-2006, 09:39 AM   #20
truparad0x
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Re: Ryokukai Aikido?

Quote:
John Riggs wrote:
A lot of people make these kind of statements about the interchangeability of ranks not meaning anything. However, keep in mind later that feeling may change. You are studying with a guy making esoteric claims, listing as an aikido organization while his website has a lineage mostly focused on karate, gives very vague references to his aikido lineage-never lists his aikido rank. If you want to study and progress in the art, you will need a lineage. If you want rank and want it to be transferable, study with a lineage that has some dojos under it (aikikai, ki society, yoshinkan, etc.)

I agree with your post. My thoughts on the interchangeability of ranks may change. As of now, I have not practiced Aikido for about three years and have no qualms with putting on a white belt again even if I still remember most of the basic techniques and remember how to fall from a kotagaeishi. My feelings may change if I have put in a lot of years and have achieved a dan and switched to another Aikido school and have to start over. But right now, I am not too concerned with how high of a rank I can achieve and how transferable it is. If I achieve a dan with Ryokukai or any other school teaching Aikido and was told I was actually at a higher kyu, then fine. I'm assuming if you go to another school and tell them you have practiced Aikido that they might test you to see where your level is.

I suppose the real purpose for belts and ranking for me would be to tell you that you're practicing with a lower rank and should be more patient. I'm really more concerned with learning.

As for Sensei Niikura. Again, I have very limited information and have casually studied with him briefly. Also, I thought his school is more of a budo school anyway. I did enjoy my experience and learned a lot from him. There is little information out there regarding his history and lineage so I won't discount my experience based on the fact that he does promote ki healing and that people generally shy away from anything esoteric (Ki Healing to me is like Qigong). However, if I am provided with information that he is misleading or misrepresenting himself, then I will review and adjust my thoughts and opinions appropriately. I really would like to hear from some Ryokukai students/members who actually have direct access to Sensei Niikura or even from people who may have more information from any source written in his native language (I too am curious and love getting as much information about something that interests me).

As for your recommendation to study under a lineage, I have looked at New England Aikikai, which is listed with USAF. It's a matter of me clearing up time in my schedule again. Thanks!
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Old 12-29-2006, 09:58 AM   #21
Jorge Garcia
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Re: Ryokukai Aikido?

[quote=John Riggs
A lot of people make these kind of statements about the interchangeability of ranks not meaning anything. However, keep in mind later that feeling may change. , etc.)[/QUOTE]

Recently, I have started to see more and more people "care" about rank who previously didn't care. What made them change was that they were in a situation where all their peers and even some that started after and with a lot less time in Aikido received dan rankings that were legitimately earned while they had zip and it started to bother them. One man who had trained for more than 10 years and always said rank didn't matter changed his mind. He tried to fast track with my Sensei but even that wasn't working because it was still so slow (the catchup) so he went to an independent dojo and they gave him a black belt immediately for a price. Six months of wearing that belt and he felt bad enough to return to his mother organization (USAF) and register as a 3rd kyu and start from there. The fake black belt didn't help him feel any better, It has to be remembered that you might change your mind so don't waste the time!

Jorge

"It is the philosophy that gives meaning to the method of training."
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Old 12-29-2006, 11:02 AM   #22
truparad0x
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Re: Ryokukai Aikido?

Quote:
Jorge Garcia wrote:
Recently, I have started to see more and more people "care" about rank who previously didn't care. What made them change was that they were in a situation where all their peers and even some that started after and with a lot less time in Aikido received dan rankings that were legitimately earned while they had zip and it started to bother them. One man who had trained for more than 10 years and always said rank didn't matter changed his mind. He tried to fast track with my Sensei but even that wasn't working because it was still so slow (the catchup) so he went to an independent dojo and they gave him a black belt immediately for a price. Six months of wearing that belt and he felt bad enough to return to his mother organization (USAF) and register as a 3rd kyu and start from there. The fake black belt didn't help him feel any better, It has to be remembered that you might change your mind so don't waste the time!

Jorge
Well, I don't mean that if I pickup Aikido again that I would forgo all testing and stay at a white belt. I would still like to test to track my progress as well. I was more commenting that if I was say a shodan and then I switched to a school that won't recognize my rank and told me I was still a high level kyu, then I won't mind as there is obviously something more to learn. Maybe I'm trying to say that I would wear the appropriate belt of the school that I am training in.

Let's just drop this ranking thing as it is more a personal preference (which can change). I'm more interested in getting more information about Sensei Niikura and Ryokukai, good or bad.
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Old 12-29-2006, 09:09 PM   #23
Jorge Garcia
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Re: Ryokukai Aikido?

Quote:
Daniel Chan wrote:
Well, I don't mean that if I pickup Aikido again that I would forgo all testing and stay at a white belt. I would still like to test to track my progress as well. I was more commenting that if I was say a shodan and then I switched to a school that won't recognize my rank and told me I was still a high level kyu, then I won't mind as there is obviously something more to learn. Maybe I'm trying to say that I would wear the appropriate belt of the school that I am training in.

Let's just drop this ranking thing as it is more a personal preference (which can change). I'm more interested in getting more information about Sensei Niikura and Ryokukai, good or bad.
The major organizations have a problem. They want everyone to do the test techniques pretty much the same way. Some allow more variety than others but it will still be the judgment of your Sensei when you test ( and I can tell you now that will be when he likes the way you do His techniques). I generally can see the different styles and recognize them because they have distinctives. Iwama, Ki Society, the AAA , etc., have their way of doing things. That will be your problem. If you are thinking of moving around, then being with a major group is the best bet for transferability. I can already tell you that I personally don't think anyone will accept anything from the group you are considering. They are too small and relatively unknown. For that reason, I vote Ryokukai, bad.

The Aikikai is possibly the largest organization in the world. If you want a straight transfer from a shodan from a non Aikikai group from anywhere, they won't take it. (You have to retest) Even if you are 5th dan in some group with years and years of experience, you start from Shodan on a retest but not a straight transfer back to your previous dan rank. This is the latest from Tani sensei in the International Dept. at the Aikikai Hombu dojo.

Jorge

"It is the philosophy that gives meaning to the method of training."
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Old 12-29-2006, 10:05 PM   #24
truparad0x
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Re: Ryokukai Aikido?

Quote:
Jorge Garcia wrote:
The major organizations have a problem. They want everyone to do the test techniques pretty much the same way. Some allow more variety than others but it will still be the judgment of your Sensei when you test ( and I can tell you now that will be when he likes the way you do His techniques). I generally can see the different styles and recognize them because they have distinctives. Iwama, Ki Society, the AAA , etc., have their way of doing things. That will be your problem. If you are thinking of moving around, then being with a major group is the best bet for transferability. I can already tell you that I personally don't think anyone will accept anything from the group you are considering. They are too small and relatively unknown. For that reason, I vote Ryokukai, bad.

The Aikikai is possibly the largest organization in the world. If you want a straight transfer from a shodan from a non Aikikai group from anywhere, they won't take it. (You have to retest) Even if you are 5th dan in some group with years and years of experience, you start from Shodan on a retest but not a straight transfer back to your previous dan rank. This is the latest from Tani sensei in the International Dept. at the Aikikai Hombu dojo.

Jorge
First of all, I've done some peeking at the posters in this thread and I would like to take the time to thank everyone for posting. I've never imagined I would be conversing with Instructors/high ranking Aikidoka so easily. Aikiweb is pretty cool.

Referring back to the original question of this thread, Garcia Sensei (I hope I am using the right title) answered best. If you plan on moving a lot, then International Budo Ryokukai may not be the best choice due to the limited size. Even in Boston where I am, Sensei Niikura no longer teaches Aikido when he visits (he mostly focuses on Ki healing in Boston) due to the limited amount of students in the area. For this reason, when I start up Aikido again, it would most likely be with New England Aikikai in Cambridge, MA (Training with readily available school would help with consistency).

As for Sensei Niikura's and Ryokukai's Aikido lineage, I should probably post in the appropriate thread. I really am still curious about the exact lineage. I found another thread where a Ryokukai member stated when he visited Japan, he found some Senseis that know of Niikura Sensei (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showth...light=niikura). Another poster mentioned that Niikura Sensei is not affiliated with any Aikido organization, possibly due to avoidance of any potential political issues(http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showth...light=niikura). Do the Shihans in Japan from the various organizations know of Niikura Sensei? If he was a student of O Sensei, shouldn't someone out there be able to verify this?
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Old 01-12-2007, 05:00 PM   #25
Gregy
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Re: Ryokukai Aikido?

Ryokukai:

17 years ago i recieved my black belt in Karate from Niikura Sensei. I have also studied Aikido for some years under him. Katsumi Niikura studied Aikido under the founder and under many of the founder's senior most students in Hombu during the time that Ueshiba was still alive.

Ryokukai is basically the name of his dojo. Niikura always believed in mixing it up a little. So in an Aikido class you will see him use some judo techniques and other techniques that one may not traditionally see in "pure" Aikido. Also, Niikura has the reputation of making the Aikido a little bit more practical for real world encounters.

Now the guy Brian you saw in the video is a police officer in Michigan. Brian has a great passion for the art and strongly believes that the techniques taught inside the dojo should be able to be utilized outside in the "real world."

Greg
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