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Old 02-21-2006, 08:21 PM   #1
towers1209
Dojo: Aikido of Red Bank / Middletown, NJ
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Tracing my Philippine Aikikai Roots

Hi,

I was a student of Johnny Tenegra in the early 80's at the 2nd Floor dojo in Manila. I vaguely remember where the exact street is, but I am sure that it was close to Rizal Ave in downtown Manila.

I got my 6th kyu and stopped when life became a little complicated and busy.

Now, I am planning to get back to the mat again at New Jersey, USA.

As I mentioned in my Intro, I am now looking at Aikido with a different mindset. I now see it as a spiritual practice; and not just another martial arts or physical exercise. Reading back the old and new reference books that I have, I begin to recognize its language that once was inscrutable. (I currently invovled in the study and personal application of Buddhism/Taoism/Confucianism.)

But, before I even step into a dojo, I am researching and (re)learning as much as I can about the roots Aikido and I want to make sure that I have the proper (no-)mind set.

As I go down memory lane, and search the net for my old roots, I don't see much mention of Johnny Tenegra's name except for two websites -- a dojo website in the Philippines (which I cannot recall at this time, I lost the URL) and APOI CHIN WU ATHLETIC ASSOCIATION OF JORDAN (http://www.apoichinwu.com/sifu.htm).

Is Johnny Tenegra Manuel "Omar" Camar one and the same person? I really want to get to the bottom of this.

Much thanks to Philippine aikidokas who would like to reply and shed light to my little dilemma.

Thanks,
Loreto
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Old 02-23-2006, 04:19 AM   #2
reyne caritativo
Dojo: aikido philippines
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Re: Tracing my Philippine Aikikai Roots

hi there my friend, johnny tenegra sensei and omar kamar sensei are two different persons. omar kamar sensei is still active in aikido but regarding tenegra sensei, there's no news about his whereabouts. personally, i haven't met these two senseis but i think they were one of the pioneers of aikido here in the philippines. omar sensei started aikido in the mid or late 60's and tenegra sensei in the early 70's, based on what i've read in old martial magazines.
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Old 02-23-2006, 06:30 AM   #3
Jory Boling
 
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Re: Tracing my Philippine Aikikai Roots

http://home.kimo.com.tw/kaohsiung_aikido/aikido.htm

Johnny Tenegra and aikido on yahoo search brought up this page. his name is about halfway down. can you read chinese?

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Old 02-23-2006, 11:10 AM   #4
towers1209
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Re: Tracing my Philippine Aikikai Roots

Quote:
Jory Boling wrote:
http://home.kimo.com.tw/kaohsiung_aikido/aikido.htm

Johnny Tenegra and aikido on yahoo search brought up this page. his name is about halfway down. can you read chinese?
I am still a beginner Chinese reader. So I cannot understand what the web page is saying. I used Babel to translate the webpage from Chinese(Traditional) to English. It resulted into a very funny character-by-character translation.

e.g., . What I presume to be the "Philippine Aikido Propagation Association" has been translated by Babel as "Philippines gathers gas channel association" (LOL!!!!)

The webpage seems to be a year-to-year record of events of a Taiwanese Aikido dojo.

But, on the serious side. Is there anybody out there who could point me to the right direction?

How about "Bong Achas", anybody out there knows how I can reach him? I saw his name in Wikipedia (cool!) as one of the better known Philippine Aikidoka.

I know Bong from way back when. I met him through his elder sister -- who was one of my former engineering instructors and a black belt aikidoka who traded her hakama for a saintly habit. The latest information that I received is that she is now a Carmelite Mother Prioress.

Thanks, gan3 xie4, domo arigato, maraming salamat po...

Loreto
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Old 02-23-2006, 02:08 PM   #5
towers1209
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Re: Tracing my Philippine Aikikai Roots

Quote:
Reyne Caritativo wrote:
hi there my friend, johnny tenegra sensei and omar kamar sensei are two different persons. .... personally, i haven't met these two senseis but i think they were one of the pioneers of aikido here in the philippines. omar sensei started aikido in the mid or late 60's and tenegra sensei in the early 70's, based on what i've read in old martial magazines.
Thank you for your reply. But I distictly remember one of the blackbelts who assists in the dojo instruction called Johnny Tenegra, more than once, as Omar. And then at one point, I asked this senior student why Sensei Tenegra was called Omar. I got no reply. And from then on, he was called Sensei John or simply John. As opposed to Johnny, since there was another senior (blackbelt) aikidoka whose name was also Johnny.

It is interesting how memory works. I did not remember about (the other) Johnny until now.

Overall, whether John T and Omar are one and the same or not, really does not matter now. I am just taking a walk down memory lane.

It is time to move on now.

Loreto
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Old 02-25-2006, 01:49 AM   #6
reyne caritativo
Dojo: aikido philippines
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Re: Tracing my Philippine Aikikai Roots

hi there again. with regards to bong achas sensei, last thing i heard about him is, he is connected with nishio aikido under batobalani sensei.batobalani sensei was a direct student of the late shoji nishio shihan,the founder of nishio aikido.batobalani seinsei was based in the u.s. and at present he has a dojo in pangasinan here in the philippines, teaching nishio-style aikido and iaido. i was able to attend one of batobalani aka jun mateo sensei's seminars in pangasinan last 2004 but bong achas sensei was not there. i guess he's also inactive in aikido. with regards to P.A.P.A. or the Phillipine Association for the Propagation of Aikido, i think Tenegra sensei is not affiliated with that group, but one of it's high-ranking member, robert soliven sensei was a member of Tenegra sensei's group, the Manila Association for the Propagation of Aikido or M.A.S.P.A. But i think this group is not exsisting anymore.one more thing, about bong achas' sister which you've mentioned, i've seen her on the old martial art magazine which Tenegra sensei was featured. i think she's one of the senior students of Tenegra sensei. just for your memories.
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Old 02-25-2006, 06:18 PM   #7
towers1209
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Ai symbol Re: Tracing my Philippine Aikikai Roots

Quote:
Reyne Caritativo wrote:
hi there again. ...with regards to P.A.P.A. or the Phillipine Association for the Propagation of Aikido, i think Tenegra sensei is not affiliated with that group, but one of it's high-ranking member, Robert Soliven sensei was a member of Tenegra sensei's group, the Manila Association for the Propagation of Aikido or M.A.S.P.A. But i think this group is not exsisting anymore.one more thing, about bong achas' sister which you've mentioned, i've seen her on the old martial art magazine which Tenegra sensei was featured. i think she's one of the senior students of Tenegra sensei. just for your memories.
Hi, there...
Your are right, Sensei Tenegra is not part of Phillipine Association for the Propagation of Aikido, but of Pilipinas Aikido Propagation Association, a different P.A.P.A.
Right now, I am looking at my Aikido certificate from 19th Dec, 1981-- it says
........Pilipinas Aikido Propagation Association
........National Aikido Headquarters, Manila, Philippines,
........Sole Representative of AikiKai Foundation,
........Aikido World Headquarters,
........Member, International Aikido Federation

with Johnny Tenegra as President/Founder and Getulio G. Castro as VP/Treas/Co-Founder. I've never met Getulio Castro, though. It has always been Johnny Tenegra that was on the dojo. I remember Sensei Tenegra as a soft-spoken person and don't know much of his personal life.

So now you will understand why I was tracing Sensei Tenegra's whereabouts.

I do not know about MASPA, but the gold-foil seal says "Manila Aikidokas & Sports Propagation Association -- Hombu Loyalist Group".

I am aware of Bong's sister, Ching (now Mother Prioress Rafaeli), as one of the senior students of Sensei Tenegra. I was training with her on the same PAPA dojo in 81-82.

If I remember right, Robert Soliven is the stocky guy of Chinese descent, and the one nicknamed Johnny. There is another one, a taller skinny guy, a close friend of Robert, that I am starting to remember (I cannot remember his name now, though) .

Any leads as to where Robert Soliven is? Internet search only reveals an old interview printed in Rapid Journal in 1997 -- Volume 2 Number 2 * Book 4 - 1997, Aikido: Path of Harmony and Energy (Interview with Robert Soliven) .Is Rapid Journal still an active magazine? I looked into its website and its webpages has 1996 copyright on them. SO, I do not know if it is an old page, the webmaster forgot to update it's site copyright.

Loreto

Last edited by towers1209 : 02-25-2006 at 06:22 PM.
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Old 05-05-2006, 10:50 AM   #8
Ritchie Martinez
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Re: Tracing my Philippine Aikikai Roots

Hi,

I just want to give you a bit of info on Manuel 'Omar' Camar Sensei, 8th Dan. He is currently our Cheif Instructor and President at the Manila Aikido Club - Philippine Aikikai Headquarters, our GQ is located at Aurora Boulevard, Quiapo, Manila and have branches at Star Mall, EDSA cor. Shaw Blvd. and Metropolis Mall, Alabang, Muntinlupa. Camar Sensei also teaches at the Philippine Public Safety Colleges (PPSC) - Fort Bonifacio, Philippine National Police Academy (PNPA) - Silang, Cavite and other police training schools, whose names I forgot, here in the Philippines. I'm also definetly sure that Camar Sensei and Johnny Tenegra are two different people, I'll have to ask Camar Sensei who Johnny Tenegra is and if he became his student, or what relation he has with the Club. Anyway, here's some added info, it was Benjamin Guilarpe Sensei who brought Aikido to the Philippines in September 13, 1963 and named it the Manila Aikido Club, it gained the recognition of the World Aikido Headquarters, Tokyo, Japan in 1964. Come 1978, Guilarpe Sensei gave Camar Sensei full responsibility of the Club to date. The name Philippine Aikikai Headquarters was used when Camar Sensei went to Guam to teach Aikido, Camar Sensei continued to use that name until early last year. Towards the end of 2005, he announced during our Christmas party that he would be using the clubs original name, MANILA AIKIDO CLUB, hence, Manila Aikido Club - Philippine Aikikai Headquarters. I hope that this info will be of good help to you.

Richie Martinez
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Old 05-05-2006, 11:10 AM   #9
raul rodrigo
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Re: Tracing my Philippine Aikikai Roots

Does Mr. Camar still maintain a connection with Aikikai Hombu? I don't recall meeting any Camar students at any of the recent visits by various Hombu shihan to Manila. And I don't recall any of them testing during the yudansha exams given by the Japanese. Of course, I could be mistaken.
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Old 05-05-2006, 11:18 AM   #10
raul rodrigo
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Re: Tracing my Philippine Aikikai Roots

When the seal says "Hombu Loyalist Group," does that imply that this group stayed with Aikikai when Koichi Tohei and his Philippine student Ernie Talag broke off from the Aikikai in the 1970s? This is the only reason I can think of for a 1981 Philippine Aikido certificate to say this.
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Old 05-06-2006, 12:42 AM   #11
Ritchie Martinez
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Re: Tracing my Philippine Aikikai Roots

Hi Raul,

Yes! Camar Sensei (Manila Aikido) still has connections with the Aikikai in Japan. As for your 2nd question, the reason why you don't meet any Camar students during Shihan visits here in the Philippines is that none of us ever goes, and if ever someone does, he or she is just in the background as an observer, we like it the old ways - so to say. As for your 3rd question, yes, the Hombu Loyalist Group stayed with the Aikikai. Here in the Philippines, when Tohei Sensei broke off with the AIkikai, Guilarpe Sensei decided that he stay with the Ki Society as well as Ernie Talag Sensei, but Camar Sensei stayed with the Aikikai.
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Old 05-06-2006, 11:34 AM   #12
rulemaker
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Re: Tracing my Philippine Aikikai Roots

HI Richie,

I am very sure that Omar Camar is not connected with Aikikai Hombu Dojo. First, No Filipino or non-Japanese has ever been awarded an "8th Dan" by Hombu Dojo except Noquet of France (O'sensei student). Look at the 8th Dans at Hombu Dojo and abroad, all of them are japanese and original students of O'Sensei. How can Omar Camar be an 8th Dan when he has no connection to O'Sensei at all. Second, we have received a communication from Hombu Dojo asking us who is Omar Camar because word reached Hombu dojo that Omar Camar is telling his students that he will go to Hombu and teach aikido there. Hombu told us that he is not registered there (pm me if you want a copy of the communication). Lastly, how come that you or his students don't have any Aikikai Yudansha Card - this is proof that you are registered and affiliated with the Aikikai Hombu Dojo.
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Old 05-06-2006, 02:12 PM   #13
raul rodrigo
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Re: Tracing my Philippine Aikikai Roots

Rommel is right. The connection with Hombu is simple to establish. You just need to see if your yudansha card is signed by Moriteru Ueshiba—or before him, Kisshomaru. If not, then the claim to a real connection with Aikikai Hombu becomes pretty difficult to defend.
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Old 05-09-2006, 07:09 AM   #14
Ritchie Martinez
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Re: Tracing my Philippine Aikikai Roots

Hi guys.

Thanks for the info. But I'm, sure that Omar Camar Sensei - Manila Aikido has an AIkikai affiliation, I've seen all his original documents, Manila Aikido is the first Aikido school here in the Philippines, maybe there was a conflict when the time Benjamin Guilarpe Sensei decided to join Tohei Sensei, you know him right, and Camar Sensei decided to be with the Aikikai. But neither do I have heard the news about Camar Sensei said he would be teaching at Hombu, I don't know where this came from, I have to ask nim personally regarding the matter. I've been with him for quite some time now and I never did hear him brag about teaching at Hombu.

Last edited by Ritchie Martinez : 05-09-2006 at 07:12 AM.
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Old 05-09-2006, 08:49 AM   #15
raul rodrigo
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Re: Tracing my Philippine Aikikai Roots

Yes, Camar is one of the very first Filipino aikidoka with a Hombu affiliation dating back to perhaps the 1960s. But just because he was affiliated 20 or 30 years ago isnt the same as saying that he is still affiliated today. Obviously dojos and federations break off and lose their ties with Hombu all the time. Again, if your yudansha card isn't signed by one of the Ueshibas, then you don't have a Aikikai affiliation. And to claim to be 8th dan Aikikai is really pushing one's credulity. When did he receive it and who recommended him?
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Old 05-10-2006, 11:35 AM   #16
rulemaker
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Re: Tracing my Philippine Aikikai Roots

Hi Ritchie,

I will have to agree with Raul. Camar may have gotten his shodan or nidan in the 60's to 70's from Aikikai Hombu Dojo and O'Sensei may have even signed them but that doesn't mean that he or his organization is still affiliated with Hombu Dojo today. Do you really believe that Camar as an 8th Dan Aikikai today is of the same level with Tamura Shihan, Yoshimitsu Yamada Shihan, Endo Shihan, Fujita Shihan, Sugano Shihan, Suganuma Shihan and etc. who are all 8th Dans?

I suggest that you write Aikikai Hombu Dojo and inquire as to the status of Omar Camar and your organization. Address you query to Masake Tani Shihan or Somemiya Shihan at:

intldept@aikikai.or.jp

I am sure that they will entertain your questions. Thanks!
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Old 05-11-2006, 09:13 PM   #17
raul rodrigo
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Re: Tracing my Philippine Aikikai Roots

Lots of Japanese shihan have an Aikikai background or even a direct teacher-student relationship with Osensei and yet today have no Aikikai affiliation: Koretoshi Maruyama, Shuji Maruyama, Kenji Shimizu, Gaku Homma, and so on. They have their own organizations/dojos. They do not claim to be "8th dan Aikikai."
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Old 05-12-2006, 10:16 AM   #18
Ritchie Martinez
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Re: Tracing my Philippine Aikikai Roots

Hi again,

As of now, I'm still checking this thing out with our seniors. As to what I've researched so far, his 8th dan was awarded by Guilarpe Sensei, this is what I know for now. I'll try to contact the Aikikai Hombu as to clarify things, maybe after I talk to one of our seniors. Thanks Rommel. And to tell you honestly, you have to see him on the mat for youself to see if he really is at an 8th dan level, 'coz for me, he is.
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Old 05-12-2006, 01:08 PM   #19
raul rodrigo
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Re: Tracing my Philippine Aikikai Roots

To pass on the responsibility to Guilarpe only compounds the problem. For Guilarpe to award Camar an eighth dan, he himself would have to be at least ninth dan, which is really hard to believe. There are as far as I know only two Aikikai ninth dans living right now, Tada and Okumura. Eighth dan is the level of Chiba and Tamura and Endo, all direct students of Morihei. You're telling me that Camar is at that level, when he is at best the student of a student of a student of Morihei? For you, he is. But which of the top shihan have you seen and taken ukemi for? If your group doesnt practice with other federations, doesnt take yudansha exams when the Aikikai shihan come, and doesnt go abroad to train with the Japanese shihan, how can you really tell?
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Old 05-12-2006, 02:28 PM   #20
nodmines
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Re: Tracing my Philippine Aikikai Roots

Hi all,

Back in the 1990's when Takemusu Dojo in Espana Street was still in its infancy and when its current yudanshas were still in their kyu ranks, I remember Macapaua Sensei borrowing several yudanshas from the "little dojo in Quiapo" to do demos for the "Hombu recognized - Takemusu Dojo". The reason I heard was that she didn't have aikidokas proficient in jiyuwaza or randori at that time. The yudanshas from Quiapo happily obliged in the spirit of the Way.
Just a few memories that I felt the need to share.

Raul, you're a yudansha recognized by Hombu and has every right to question the old man's (Camar Sensei) credential. All I can say is the Quiapo Dojo has a very old certificate from Hombu. Better yet, why don't you visit the damp little dojo and see for yourself. It's posted on the shomen. And while you're there, why don't you ask the old man where he got his 8th dan. Hehehe! Just kidding!

Yours in ukemi,

Arnold
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Old 05-12-2006, 08:15 PM   #21
raul rodrigo
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Re: Tracing my Philippine Aikikai Roots

HI Arnold,

No one is questioning the fact that Camar was once accredited by Hombu Dojo. That's part of local aikido history. What I'm driving at is that his dojo seems to have allowed the tie with the Aikikai to lapse, for the reasons I've already stated above. Once an affiliation lapses, then curious things can happen, such as a claim to 8th dan. Camar's generation of 1960s/70s aikidoka (Talag, Gavileno, etc) seem to have all lost their affiliation with Aikikai either openly or quietly. When the Japanese shihan visit, the senior Filipino senseis they acknowledge (and Rommel will back me up here) are people like Jun Mateo (Batobalani) and Mariel Macapawa sensei.
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Old 05-13-2006, 06:10 AM   #22
Ritchie Martinez
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Re: Tracing my Philippine Aikikai Roots

Hi Raul,

I haven't actually taken ukemi from any other Shinans except from Camar Sensei. I can tell you, he's good, but I don't want to say anymore regarding Camar Sensei's skills. It is really not for me to tell whom we can level him with, I'm just saying what I know. As the old man keeps on saying, regardless the rank, what's important is that you practice what Aikido teaches you. Have you ever seen him on the mat? Maybe you have to if you haven't yet, then maybe you decide if he can be classified as an 8th Dan, AIkikai or not, he is not hard to find, you can find him where Arnold said he would be. Lastly, there are good people near us that we sometimes fail to see or we simply just ignore because we tend to look far.

Good day!
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Old 05-13-2006, 12:46 PM   #23
raul rodrigo
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Re: Tracing my Philippine Aikikai Roots

Yes, Richie, I should meet Mr Camar one of these days. I haven't made any comments regarding his level of skill. I have been careful not to say something disrespectful. All I said is that the term "Aikikai 8th dan" has a very specific meaning that only Hombu Dojo has the power to determine. An "Aikikai yudansha" has an identification document that is very easy to check. I suppose I only wanted to inject a note of caution about people using the word "Aikikai" without being able to substantiate that reference with the records of Hombu.These are matters of politics and affiliations, not actual aikido on the mat—which is after all the important thing.
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Old 05-13-2006, 02:30 PM   #24
nodmines
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Re: Tracing my Philippine Aikikai Roots

Mr. Torres, I apologize for not being able to help you with your query. Nvertheless, here is what I know, the dojo that you were referring to is now the Manila Aikido Club. It is still on the 2nd floor of an old building along Quezon Blvd. in Quiapo. Mr. Tenegra and Mr. Camar parted ways long time ago due to "dojo politics". I guess there were too many chefs in the kitchen. Mr. Camar remained as chief of the club while Mr. Tenegra allegedly founded or joined PAPA.

Raul, I totally agree with you. It is despicable for someone to claim something that they don't actually possess. On a final note, how could a shihan from Ki Society (Galarpe, for example) award a dan grade to someone from "aikikai"? If the former indeed gave the latter the 8th dan, shouldn't the latter claim to be "8th Dan Ki Society" or ShinShin Toitsu for that matter and not "8th Dan Aikikai"? Just curious.

Ritchie, I was a yudansha from Manila Aikido Club. I practiced with Senseis Alex, Ahmed, Sonny and others in the early 90's to 2001. I don't intend to demean my former dojo but I am merely trying to open your mind. During our time, inasmuch as we desire to participate with visiting shihans or senseis from other countries, we were scared to do so because the old man will surely kick us out of the dojo if we did in fact participate. That was my main concern. Learning aikido shouldn't be confined to the four corners of the dojo. There's a lot to learn from seminars and aikido expos. Think about it.
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Old 05-13-2006, 09:41 PM   #25
Ritchie Martinez
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Re: Tracing my Philippine Aikikai Roots

Hi Raul,

You don't have to make any comments with regards to anyone's skill, neither do I, what I said was, that if you get to see him do his thing then you decide if he can be classified as an 8th Dan on not, forget Aikikai or Ki society for now. As I've said earlier, I'm still doing research regarding the matter. Anyway, I know you're just cautious when it comes to the AIkikai organization, but it would be very difficuly to control people from using the word, a lot of Camar Sensei's students hailed from the clubs former name Philippine Aikikai. The club might have lost its affiliation with the Aikikai due to reasons I have to find out, but a lot of Camar Sensei's students believe that the club and style is still Aikikai, I also believe it still is, with or withiut affiliation, as you've said, its just politics.

Hi Arnold,

Its nice to know that you were once with Camar Sensei, Ahmed Sensei is still active and I do practice with him at the dojo in Alabang, the others, well, sometimes. And you know what, during your time and this time, it is pretty much the same when it comes to participating in seminars. But, I think I'll stick with the old man, his ways seems to be strange sometimes, but this is what keeps him different from all others. You know what I mean.

Hope to hear more from you guys.

Last edited by Ritchie Martinez : 05-13-2006 at 09:46 PM.
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