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Old 06-03-2004, 11:21 AM   #1
mrgorth
Dojo: Saboten Ryu
Location: Perkasie, PA
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Can I get your thoughts on my Dojo/Sense

Hey all. I'm new here and fairly new to aikido in general. I've got my 6 year old taking lessons and I've got my yellow belt. I'll probably start back up in the fall (I tend to mt. bike in the summer). I was wondering if you guys could let me know what you think of the dojo I'm at or if you've heard anything about my sensei Keith Badyna, the style, etc. Thanks. Here's the link: Saboten-Ryu.com
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Old 06-03-2004, 11:32 AM   #2
Ron Tisdale
Dojo: Doshinkan dojo in Roxborough, Pa
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Re: Can I get your thoughts on my Dojo/Sense

Keith R. Badyna Phd.MS

Just currious...What is his Phd in? What is his Masters in?

Rank: 8th degree Blackbelt, Hachidan, Master Instructor

8th Dan? What **aikido** instructor ranked him to 8th dan?

I seem to remember a newspaper article on him some years ago. I believe it had him as the highest ranked 'occidental' in america...

I also seem to remember a retraction printed sometime later.

But if you enjoy training there, I'm not sure anything else matters. He looks like a big, tough guy, and if he's teaching what you want to learn...

Ron

Ron Tisdale
-----------------------
"The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind."
St. Bonaventure (ca. 1221-1274)
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Old 06-03-2004, 11:37 AM   #3
mrgorth
Dojo: Saboten Ryu
Location: Perkasie, PA
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Re: Can I get your thoughts on my Dojo/Sense

Not sure off the top of my head. I'll see what I can find out. What's an "occidental"?
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Old 06-03-2004, 12:05 PM   #4
AsimHanif
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Re: Can I get your thoughts on my Dojo/Sense

Good questions Ron. Sensei Badyna lists Tomiki ryu as a system he trained in but does not list his Tomiki rank or instructor, although he lists some of his other credentials.
Mark, I would echo Ron in that if this is what works for you go with it. If you are looking for aikido training I would consult the recognized organizations. Even if you don't go with a "known" or recognized organization, you can probably find a link to a lessor known but still credible aikido organization.
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Old 06-03-2004, 12:06 PM   #5
Ron Tisdale
Dojo: Doshinkan dojo in Roxborough, Pa
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Re: Can I get your thoughts on my Dojo/Sense

Of or relating to the countries of the Occident or their peoples or cultures; western.

n.
A native or inhabitant of an Occidental country; a westerner.

Email me at the address in my profile if you have more questions.

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 06-03-2004, 12:08 PM   #6
BC
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Re: Can I get your thoughts on my Dojo/Sense

The "World Head of Family Sokeship Council" always makes me a bit suspect. However, he does seem honest in his representation of his art as one he formed himself. As long as you are comfortable with the fact that it is probably a bit of a departure from traditional aikido, it shouldn't be a big deal. My personal preference is to practice in a traditional aikido dojo. YMMV.

Robert Cronin
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Old 06-03-2004, 12:30 PM   #7
John Boswell
 
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Re: Can I get your thoughts on my Dojo/Sense

Mark,

I can't offer you any info on your current instructor, but just doing a brief check on Pa. ...I found Donovan Waite has a dojo right in the heart of Philly. That's about an hour from you (or less) isn't it? Were I in your shoes, I would go out of my way to go see him. He is highly well known in the aikido world and would be worthy of the drive... imho.

Best of luck in your endevors!

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Old 06-03-2004, 12:33 PM   #8
AsimHanif
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Re: Can I get your thoughts on my Dojo/Sense

I would agree with John if only to get a comparison.
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Old 06-03-2004, 01:47 PM   #9
aikidoc
Dojo: Aikido of Midland
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Re: Can I get your thoughts on my Dojo/Sense

I'm somewhat of a traditionalist. From the website, I only have questions and observations. You can make of them what you feel works for you. Here are quotes from the site.

"The founder of Saboten Ryu Aikido is Sensei Keith R. Badyna. This style of Aikido comes from Tomiki or free fighting Aikido. After many years of studying Tomiki Aikido, Sensei Badyna decided to study many different Martial arts." He gets a 3rd dan in Tomiki ryu aikido and then studies several other arts. He then makes up his own art and gets it certified by a Soke council. He then gets promoted to 8th dan. 8th dan in the aikikai is very difficult to get-usually these guys have studied 40-50 years. Generally, these are made up other other people who have done exactly the same thing. E-budo is a good place to check and see if he has been discussed before.

"Saboten Ryu Dojo was ranked the the #1 Aikido / Kenjutsu in the United States by the World head of the family Sokeship council in 2002. In 2004 by the United States Martial Arts Association."

"In June of 2002 Badyna Sensei received his Hachi Dan( 8th Degree) from Hanshi Lou Angel of the National College of Martial Arts.."
1. The National College of Martial Arts? Never heard of them. What makes them or authorizes them to award rank in Aikido-especially a style made up by someone who never held higher than 3rd dan in the style (Tomiki) he claims to use as the basis for his art? 3rd dan to 8th dan is a pretty big leap. There are also some questionable uses of the rank of dan for the arts he studied. Only Japanese arts use dan ranks. Korean (Taekwando) and Chinese (Kung Fu-Style?) do not. See the following from the site. He uses dan ranks for Korean and Chinese arts as well as Japanese.
"Tae Kwon Do - 1st Dan (Cireum).
Ninjutsu - 2nd Dan (Sasori Ryu)
Jujitsu - 2nd Dan (Sekiguchi Ryu)
Kung Fu - 1st Dan (Chow-Gar)
Karate - 1st Dan (Shukokai)
Kenjutsu - 1st Dan (Shinkendo)
Saboten Ryu - 8th Dan
Shinkendo --1st Dan
Kendo - 1st- Dan
Aikido - 3rd Dan -- Tomiki"

He has a Phd and MS. I'd check and see if these came from the same National College of Martial Arts. In other words, are these legitimate Phd/MS credentials. This is another one for the E-Budo site. Lots of good discussions on this type of practice.

I'd do a search on the instructor on e budo.

Last edited by aikidoc : 06-03-2004 at 01:50 PM.
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Old 06-03-2004, 02:22 PM   #10
Clayton Drescher
 
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Re: Can I get your thoughts on my Dojo/Sense

My hapkido instructor, San Yoon ( who also taught judo and taekwondo) used dan ranks for all those arts. I didn't know much about the arts at that time, but even looking back I don't doubt his abilities. He is a published author and was on the Olympic judging panel for the US Taekwondo team and had a 10th dan in hapkido and 10th dan in taekwondo, 3rd dan judo. I'm not sure how dan rankings work exactly for those arts especially as compared to aikido, but I was duly impressed and have never had reason to doubt.

Best luck Mark, hope I didn't get too off topic

CD
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Old 06-03-2004, 02:23 PM   #11
Berney Fulcher
Dojo: Roswell Budokan
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Re: Can I get your thoughts on my Dojo/Sense

No comments on your present school but if you are interested in area choices, I live very near you (Harleysville, PA) and go to this Dojo http://www.asahidojo.com/ in Collegeville. Nice people, small Dojo. USAF affiliated.
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Old 06-03-2004, 02:23 PM   #12
Ron Tisdale
Dojo: Doshinkan dojo in Roxborough, Pa
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Re: Can I get your thoughts on my Dojo/Sense

Quote:
E-budo is a good place to check and see if he has been discussed before.
He has been discussed before. But e-budo is down right now...

RT

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 06-03-2004, 02:26 PM   #13
Ron Tisdale
Dojo: Doshinkan dojo in Roxborough, Pa
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Re: Can I get your thoughts on my Dojo/Sense

Asahi dojo has some good folks...Pam and Mike are great! Trained with them several times, and they also train with Utada Sensei. You can also pick up some good judo from them. I'd train there in a hot second!

RT

Ron Tisdale
-----------------------
"The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind."
St. Bonaventure (ca. 1221-1274)
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Old 06-03-2004, 02:52 PM   #14
Jim Sorrentino
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Re: Can I get your thoughts on my Dojo/Sense

Greetings All,

In 1997, the Philadelphia Inquirer ran two articles on Keith Badyna. The reporter was Art Carey. I was able to download the articles from the Inquirer's website several years ago for a small fee.

In the first article, published February 10, the reporter wrote that Badyna "earned black belts in several Asian warrior disciplines - judo, karate, kung fu and jiujitsu, to name a few. But his specialty is aikido. He is so proficient in this Japanese martial art that in November [1996] he was awarded a seventh-degree black belt." Badyna went on to claim that he was "a shihan, or master teacher, who twice has been named 'instructor of the year' by the American Aikido Instructors Association." Badyna also asserted that he began learning aikido in Japan at the age of 10, training four hours per day, and claimed that he served as a Navy SEAL and commando assassin. He strongly implied that he had hurt or killed people during his military service. He stated that his nickname in the SEALs was (I am not making this up) "the Land Shark". Badyna claimed to have disarmed a knife-wielding mugger in a nearby mall while doing his Christmas shopping a few months before the article appeared.

The local aikido community, along with a Navy veteran and the police, contacted Mr. Carey and expressed concern about these claims. On February 24, 1997, the Inquirer ran the following story, which I quote in part:

MARTIAL ARTIST WAS NOT ALL HE CLAIMED

By Art Carey

Two weeks ago, I introduced you to a martial-arts instructor named Keith Badyna. The column told his story about how he had disarmed a knife-wielding mugger at the Montgomery Mall. He described himself as a seventh-degree black belt in aikido and said he was one of only two in North America. Badyna talked about his background as a Navy Seal and how he had transformed from a "mean guy" to one who embraced the "way of harmony."

Unfortunately, Badyna now says several things he told me were untrue.

After the column appeared, several readers questioned the veracity of Badyna's claims.

When I asked Badyna about these doubts, he insisted everything was true. After I pressed, however, he began to waffle and then admitted he had lied.

I told Badyna it was absolutely imperative that we set the record straight. I could do it on my own in print, I said, or he could make a confession. The latter route was the manly, honorable way to go, I told him, the way of the samurai or ancient Japanese warriors he so admires. Badyna agreed.

Last week, we met at a diner in Colmar, Montgomery County, near the studio where Badyna teaches aikido. He brought along a letter:

"I want to apologize to those I misled because of the untruths I told. . . . For some reason only God knows, I wanted to make things appear to be more than they were. I want to set the record straight:

"I am not a certified seventh-degree black belt and my black belts in the other martial arts are not certified, but I am confident of my knowledge of martial arts and believe my ability speaks for itself.

"I was not a member of the Seal team nor did I ever serve in the US Navy.

"I did not live or go to school in Japan or study aikido there four hours a day.

"I didn't realize what kind of effect this would have on me. When Mr. Carey called and asked if I'd been truthful, my conscience attacked me like a tidal wave. In my heart, I knew I hadn't. So many thoughts raced through my head I didn't know what to do. So I called my older brother, who is a minister in a church, and told him what I had done. He told me . . . the only answer is to tell the truth. . . .

"I am a teacher who cares about his students and always tells them there is no perfection in anyone. Through poor judgment and not believing in myself, I have proven this. I ask for your forgiveness."

Still unresolved is the mall incident. Badyna maintains it happened, though not the way he originally described it. As he tells it now, the assailant ran away before mall security or the police arrived. "I don't know what happened to the knife," he told me. In Badyna's new version, there is no third-party witness who can provide corroboration.

As for being named "Instructor of the Year" by an aikido instructors association, Badyna said he could not locate the organization's address or telephone number even though on the wall are plaques purportedly from the group.

What's sad about this is that there was no need for Badyna to puff himself up. Whatever the level of his martial-arts skills, he is a gifted, engaging instructor who is liked and respected by his students. I know this because I watched him teach for an hour.

At the diner, Badyna told me: "Anybody who knows martial arts knows that it's a dishonorable thing that I've done. There's nothing I can do about it except to move on and not make these mistakes again, and that's what I'm trying to do. I don't want to put all the other martial arts down because of the mistakes that I've made. It's not fair to everyone else who practices so hard every day."

******************

It seems that Mr. Badyna has not learned his lesson after all.

Jim Sorrentino
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Old 06-03-2004, 03:03 PM   #15
Ron Tisdale
Dojo: Doshinkan dojo in Roxborough, Pa
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Re: Can I get your thoughts on my Dojo/Sense

Hi Jim,

I searched pretty hard, but I could not find that online anymore...glad you saved it. I met you at Ellis Amdur's seminar in Harrisburg. Hope all is well.

Ron

Ron Tisdale
-----------------------
"The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind."
St. Bonaventure (ca. 1221-1274)
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Old 06-03-2004, 03:16 PM   #16
aikidoc
Dojo: Aikido of Midland
Location: Midland Texas
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Re: Can I get your thoughts on my Dojo/Sense

Here's a little on the National College of Martial Arts (if this is the one).

"The NCMA does testing by video tape, or you may travel to the NCMA International Headquarters for testing and training. Hanshi Angel also travels throughout the world doing seminars and advanced training and rank testing. Call for information about seminars and testing in your area."

The NCMA gives you the rank advancement opportunities you need without the usual strings.

Regardless of the style or method you prefer, NCMA welcomes you as a member and provides a path of advancement for instructors and individuals.

The goal of the NCMA is to see that all members receive the recognition they deserve without the politics which often plague the Martial Arts world today.

"Hanshi Lou Angel, a 10th Dan and Hanshi of the Tenshi Goju Kai started the N.C.M.A. in 1989 to provide a non-political environment for the advancement of the art of Karate. "

"Hanshi Angel has over 48 years in the Martial Arts and has studied many styles, his lifelong preference being the Tenshi Goju system. Hanshi Angel's experience in the Martial Arts allows him to judge the abilities and skill level of each member, regardless of their system or style. He is recognized as a Head of Family by the World Soke Council"

So, the guy that owns the National College of Martial Arts is also head of the same Soke Family Mr. Badyna certified his art through. He is also the one who set up the Soke Council. He set up his own art as well and is 10th dan. He set up the NCMA to provide a non-political environment for the advancement of Karate-yet he promotes someone to 8th dan in a made up style of aikido with no obvious aikido credentials!

As for being honored by martial arts organizations one needs to be careful. Those are frequently meaningless. I got one in the mail last week and for $200 and a trip to Nashville I could have been inducted into the hall of fame. Trust me I am not worthy of a martial arts hall of fame-I'm just an avarage practitioner with rank that does not justify a legitimate award. Now if I wanted to pay the $200 and make a trip to Nashville, I could have greased someone's pocket and had a fancy certificate to hang on the wall. So what. It is worthless other than as a marketing tool for the unsuspecting public.
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Old 06-03-2004, 03:21 PM   #17
Jim Sorrentino
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Re: Can I get your thoughts on my Dojo/Sense

Hi Ron,

Of course I remember you!

I also searched on the Inquirer website, and I can't find it either. I am glad I saved the file, given that Mr. Badyna is still out there. Perhaps you or one of the other Pennsylvania aikidoka might contact Art Carey about this. He is still writing for the Inquirer as a physical fitness columnist. His address is acarey@phillynews.com.

Good luck!

Jim
Jim
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Old 06-03-2004, 03:32 PM   #18
aikidoc
Dojo: Aikido of Midland
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Re: Can I get your thoughts on my Dojo/Sense

Correction. It appears from the World Head of Family Sokeship Council that Lou Angel did not set up the Sokeship council he's just a member. Here is an interesting statement from the Sokeship page.

DISCLAIMER REGARDING GRANDMASTER MEMBERSHIP
Unlike many martial arts organizations which give or charge for gradings in styles which they have no recognized authority to do so. The World Head of Family Sokeship Council DOES NOT make or grant grandmaster status. The WHFSC only accepts those who are RECOGNIZED grandmasters within the world martial arts community.

We acknowledge that the titles of "Professor" and "Doctor" are terms used in academia to describe those who have earned degrees through accredited Colleges & Universities. Our use of the term, however, is based on the HISTORICAL USE of the terms WORLDWIDE to describe high ranking martial artists who have earned that title through their respective martial art. Though some of our members actually have an academic degree, the titles listed for the most part are in reference to the historical use of the terms in martial arts".

So when you set up your own style and make yourself grandmaster how is that going to be questioned?
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Old 06-03-2004, 04:44 PM   #19
Fausto
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Re: Can I get your thoughts on my Dojo/Sense

If you are happy and you feel that what your Sensei is teaching you it's ok even if it is true the article thing it's not a very nice thing.
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Old 06-03-2004, 08:33 PM   #20
DaveO
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Re: Can I get your thoughts on my Dojo/Sense

Gotta be blunt - I'd say run - don't walk - out of that dojo.
Might be a nice place; might be a nice guy; but how can you trust him?
He lied about his credentials; is continuing to lie on his website. For the basest of reasons - to make himself look better. He had a demonstrated lack of integrity. Why? If his aikido is good; why need to make up all sorts of BS to make yourself look better? You don't need to be Grandmaster Mee Hong Lo to open a dojo; you need to be able to teach; to know what you're teaching, and to have the integrity to teach well. That he decided to lie - outrageously, and so transparently - is proof to me that either he's willing to stoop to cheap tricks in an effort to gain students, or he's not sufficiently confident in his MA skills to be satisfied with his current true level, or both.

Answers are only easy when they're incomplete.
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Old 06-03-2004, 08:56 PM   #21
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: Can I get your thoughts on my Dojo/Sense

Hi!
Ask yourself why you want to train. For most of us, Aikido training is not about the techniques so mush as it is about training to become the people we'd like to be. There are different aspects to that of course. Some wish to be stronger and more confident, some want to tread a spiritual Path like the one that the Founder of Aikido did, as many reasons as there are people really... But I don't know of anyone who is setting out on this path to learn to be dishonest, deceitful, a fraud, etc. And that's what you have there. Plain and simple.

If a teacher is that dishonest in his presntation of himself, you simply cannot trust him with your safety, your money, or anything else for that matter.

This line that people put out about "if you're happy there, don't worry about it" is simply untenable. I have a student whose boyfriend has been paying $400 / month for training by a mediocre instructor in a bogus Ooom Yung Do school. He was happy doing this because he didn't know any better. The fact that he was happy doesn't make it any less a rip-off.

Run away, run away! Take the advice of these other folks and visit one of the other dojos, even if it takes more effort to get there.

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
Aikido Eastside
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Old 06-03-2004, 10:12 PM   #22
DaveO
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Re: Can I get your thoughts on my Dojo/Sense

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote:
I have a student whose boyfriend has been paying $400 / month for training by a mediocre instructor in a bogus Ooom Yung Do school.
Yah - was gonna ask that; MrGorth, how much are you paying monthly for yourself and your 6yr. old? That's a telling point - if you're paying high; it's a pretty clear indication the teacher is in it for the money; not the art.

Answers are only easy when they're incomplete.
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Old 06-03-2004, 10:24 PM   #23
Falafel
 
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Re: Can I get your thoughts on my Dojo/Sense

Hi all.

I don't want to bash anyone either way. However, I noticed that quite a few folks are posting from PA. While I am in no position to make open invitations on behalf of my sensai, I would like to say that the dojo I attend is accessable to many of you and that we do tend to be very open to visitors.

We're located in Allentown, PA.
www.kinokawa.org
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Old 06-04-2004, 12:26 AM   #24
Bronson
 
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Re: Can I get your thoughts on my Dojo/Sense

A member of AikiWeb, username PeaceHeather, just went through something similar. Maybe she'll chime in on this.

My opinion---stay far far away from the people involved with any of the Soke Councils or generic martial arts sanctioning bodies like the National College of Martials Arts. Hell, there's one out there that if you send them $150 they'll certify you as a monk

Bronson

"A pacifist is not really a pacifist if he is unable to make a choice between violence and non-violence. A true pacifist is able to kill or maim in the blink of an eye, but at the moment of impending destruction of the enemy he chooses non-violence."
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Old 06-04-2004, 12:31 AM   #25
GaiaM
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Re: Can I get your thoughts on my Dojo/Sense

Yikes! I agree - get away. You and your child (and anyone else) deserve to be training under and honest sensei who has worked hard for his position and truly cares about the art. I highly recommend Donovan Waite Sensei in Philly or any of his students. He is a friend, teacher and colleague of my sesei and I have taken a seminar from him and trained with him at another. He is an amazing aikidoka and a kind-hearted person.
I'm sure there are other great dojos in your area as well.
Good luck!
Gaia

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