Saturday, December 25, 2010

My Journey in Aikido

 It started in middle school.  I started getting beat up on a daily basis.  My mother did not want me learning violent martial arts, but it was getting so bad she had little choice.  My journey in the martial arts began at the age of 11.  I was enrolled in Master Hans Academy in Carrollton, Texas.  I was 11.

                                                              Master Han.My first teacher.

I went on to study fencing, jujitsu, kick boxing and kung fu in high school.  In 1994 I was studying Northern Shaolin Long Fist at White Tiger Kung Fu under John Shelly in Flower Mound, Texas. Sifu Shelly was a competition forms man, and slowly I became dissatisfied with this type of training. At the time I was working at Mr. Jim's Pizza in Lewisville Texas while I was attending the University of North Texas. A dojo opened up next to the pizza place. The new place was called Aikibudo dojo owned by Russell Waddell. The main instructors were Russell Waddell and Paul Fowler. This dojo was part of the Jiyushinkai organization. I used to spend my smoke breaks looking in the window and being amazed, martial artists that actually touch each other! (ribbing to my kung fu friends out there)

Russell Waddell my Teacher

Eventually I joined this dojo in fall of 1994. My progress was slow. I broke my toe after just a month, and that put me out for a while. I was going to school and working. My girlfriends always fought with me about spending time training. I attended as many seminars as I could afford taught by the Jiyushinkai top teachers Chuck Clark, Steve Duncan, and Stan Conner during this period. These men are true budo men and they helped me start on this path. Memories of lessons from this time period still flash before me like episodes of Kung Fu the TV show. While the Jiyushinkai is were I started, I do want to make it clear that I do not represent them, their teachings or their methods. I still consider them pivotal early influences.  I like these people and I hope my path will cross theirs again.

In 1997 I moved to Austin to struggle on my own for a while. During this period I did not train regularly under a teacher. I started my first informal training club at Esperanza Residential treatment facility. I started teaching boys who were in the system a few techniques, mostly non competitive walking and the release motions.

Around 1999 I moved back to Dallas. Most of my training at the time was in my garage dojo. I heavily focused on weapons and knife throwing at the time. I could not afford Aikido lessons through this time in my life. Waddell Sensei said I did not need to pay, but I always felt bad about not contributing. I went to his dojo before classes and vacuumed and wiped down the windows. My technique at this time was getting decent. Promotions hadn't happened in years though - probably because I was not a centered person.

By 2000 I decided to move to Japan to train. This was an act to commit myself to my training. This was the trip that became a pivotal time period in my life.

During my time there I trained in Daito Ryu Aikijujitsu and I finally received my first grade in an Aiki art. My teacher was Ikuo Ota.

Eric's Daito Ryu history and certificates
In July of 2003 I moved back to Austin, Texas. This was hard time of life for me - working three jobs. I was not training, but I went to every dojo in town to search for the one that was for me. I became very disappointed as I simply could not afford classes. I became very sad because I did not have a club. Even though I felt nether qualified nor did I want the job, I decided to start an informal club in the garage in October of 2004. It started out as a Daito Ryu club, because that was the only art I was certified to instruct. Quickly I started using the Tomiki system as it is a good system to instruct beginners with. In December of 2004 we moved into the South Austin location. We stayed there for six years until we moved to the 51st and I35 location.

The early days

I spent a year in political isolation, training hard with a handful of students. I tried contacting some organizations, but most did not respond back to me. When I called my old teacher Russell Waddell, he seemed excited about me having a club. He came down and started helping us get going and doing grading for us. He had retired from practicing so at my prompting he began training again.

12 years after I began training in Tomiki Aikido I finally received a shodan. I feel more than anything the long road was right for me. I earned it. I knew the material, I had matured into an adult. I had formed a club and was producing quality students.

Things began clicking for me, and I began to understand this stuff deeper. Teaching has always been a learning process for me, and teaching/learning worked well for me. Over a year after I received my shodan, I demonstrated for my nidan rank.

I started associating with more Aikido folks and I joined the American Tomiki Aikido Association. I gained a brother in the arts, the hard-headed-grease-monkey, Jeff Duncan. He is one of my best friends. Although he is a solid technician and a great teacher, he has never learned to do the walking kata correctly.  :)   The ATAA was kind enough to evaluate me and recognize the rank Waddell Sensei had given me. BTW I did that calligraphy on Jeff's wall.

My New Years resolution for 2009 was to meet more teachers and to start writing an Aikido Blog - thus this blog was born!Around this time I started looking to play with more teachers. I started training with judo teacher Matl Sensei and Brendan Hussey Sensei.

Brendan Hussey my teacher, throwing me

In the early days of 2009 I got in touch with Nick Lowry. I had him come down and teach a seminar. I decided that I wanted to join his organization, the Kaze Uta Budo Kai. I consider him to be a great friend and one my guides on the higher path of budo.

Lowry Sensei and me, July 2010

In April of 2009 my students and best friends, Michael Chihal and Scooter Dembowski earned their shodans - the first of my crew to reach this rank. They earned this rank through Russell Waddell's authority. In addition the Kaze Uta Budo Kai recognized Michael's rank.

After studying the art for 15 years, on November 21, 2009 the Kaze Uta Budo Kai granted me a yondan rank.

In the summer of 2010 I drove through Texas and Oklahoma looking to train with new teachers.  I met a man named J.W. Bode and we became friends.  I started to travel every six months or so to train with him in Lawton Oklahoma.  As of 2015 we went our separate ways. 

In January 2011 it was time to move to a new dojo.  Sadly we closed up the old dojo.We moved to a new location with Matl Sensei at I-35 and 51st.  Here is a picture of us putting the mat together.  I took it at an artsy angle that was a bad idea. But this is where used to train.  This dojo closed in 2015.  I have built a few more since then. 

I have been training with Jack Bieler for the past several years.  He is a great teacher and a wonderful friend.  I am hoping he will download his incredible knowledge of classical Japanese weapons into my brain over the next few decades.

On my summer trip to train with my teachers in July 2012, I held a knife seminar in Lawton, Oklahoma.  I enjoyed it immensely.  It was the first workshop I have held outside my own dojo, and it was a great success.  About 20 people attended throughout the day.

After the seminar my teacher J.W. Bode was impressed enough in my teaching he awarded my my 5th dan in Aikido.  Although the certificate says March 3, I did not get it till July.

I will be honest.  At this point in my martial arts career I hate ranks.  It pained me to get a 5th dan, a rank I honestly believe is above my caliber.  I decided I was not going to mention it, and stay a 4th dan.  The very next day I went to train with my friend and teacher Nick Lowry and he separately presented me with a godan.  Damn!

During my summer trip of 2012 I had the honor of training with hapkido master Jason Mix for a week.  He graciously invited me to teach at his school.  I taught Daito Ryu and Aikido concepts to his amazing community of artists at the Enso Center in Redmond, Washington.  I now am honored to train and teach at the Enso center every July.

Friday, December 24, 2010

My Daito Ryu AikiJuJutsu Training in Japan (and beyond)

contact Eric -

I trained in Gunma Prefecture at the Numata Budokan from the August 24th 2000 until July of 2003. The art form was the mother art to Aikido, Daito Ryu AikiJuJutsu. I trained under Ota Ikuo Sensei. During my stay there Ota Sensei's teacher (Maeda) died, so he broke off from the Renshinkan Branch of Daito Ryu and formed his own school, the Shofukan (place of windy pines.) During this time period I logged in more hours than any other student. According to my records I logged between 376-400 hours of training time during this time period with Ota Sensei.

Here is a copy from the log at the Shofukan Dojo Daito Ryu AikiJuJutsu club at the Numata City Budokan. This was from 2002 or 2003. it shows the lineage of teachers and major students going back to the time of Takeda Sokaku.

My lineage

Takeda Sokaku - Toshimi Matsuda - Takeshi Maeda - Ikuo Ota - Eric Pearson

Here is a picture with Ikuo Ota Sensei and Eric Pearson (me). This photo is either late 2002 or early 2003. Ota Sensei was very kind to me. He grew up scared of foreigners, as he was child during the invasion of Japan during World War 2. I mostly remember him huddling around the space heater during the winter trainings, smoking cigarettes, and massaging his bad shoulder. He would walk around the dojo with an ash tray in one hand and a cigarette dangling from his lips. When he saw something he wanted to correct he would put the ashtray and cigarette next to you, then twist your body around for a while.

Ikuo Ota and Eric Pearson 2003

Ota Sensei is one of the best joint lock practitioners I have trained with. He never thought much of Aikido. He said Aikidoka use too much strength and pain compliance. His technique was very slow and soft. He moved me around easily despite my obvious size advantage.

In 2001 I had the chance to go down to Tokyo and meet Kondo Katsuyuki, the widely regarded head of what is refereed as mainline Daito Ryu. When I told Ota Sensei about my conversation with the head of Daito Ryu, Ota Sensei looked sour and waved his hand dismissively in front of my face. He made it clear that he cared nothing about the idea of "main line".  That being said I enjoyed my short conversation with Kondo Sensei.  My Japanese was particularly poor and he was patient with my grunting.

Here I am receiving my Daito Ryu certificate in 2002. Originally I was offered my Shodan after just 3 months due to my previous experience of 5 years in aikido. After some thought Ota Sensei told me to wait till the next grading one year later. The next year though, I angered the second senior instructor by throwing him. He did not appreciate it (it was a good throw though) So during the next grading a week later, he shamed me in front of the dojo and pressed sensei not to promote me. So, I learned some of the sticky politics of a dojo in Japan. His grudge cost me getting higher level rankings in the limited time I had there. Untangling the mess was perhaps the most profound lessons I had to deal with in this dojo.

Certificates 2002 - Numata Budokan, Gunma Prefecture

My shodan certificate

When the summer of 2003 came around it was getting time for my contract to end with Mumbusho and it was time to head back to the USA. I had a talk with Ota Sensei about the continuation of Daito Ryu training in the US. He told me that he felt like his study of Aiki was small and focused, and I saw it in a much larger way. He encouraged me to keep studying and to start a group in the United States. He issued me a "jun-kyouju" 準教授 rank or associate professor and granted me the right to have a Daito Ryu AikiJujutsu - Shofukan line dojo in America.  I am truly honored to have been given the opportunity to receive such an title. To my knowledge I am one of two people outside Japan that Ota Sensei honored with this title. The other is Andrew Deluna who currently trains in Katy Texas.

My jun-kyouju 準教授, associate instructor certificate

Training at the Shofukan 2003.  'Saka Tekubi Osaedori'

Training at the Shofukan. 

My Obi. Embrodery reads "Daito Ryu AikiJuJutsu and Shofukan" (Pine Wind Place)

Edit - September 2012

Since my return from Japan I started in 2006 a small club in Austin TX to study Daito Ryu, Tomiki Aikido and Judo principles.  The club has had a small and devoted crew that continues to train.

One of the small Daito workshops I held

In the summer of 2012 I attended the multi-discipline seminar hosted by George Ledyard Sensei in Seattle.  I met Daito Ryu AikiJujutsu teachers by the name of Howard Popkin and Joe Brogna.  I enjoyed their lesson, and was excited about having Daito Ryu people to train with again.

Popkin Sensei dropping me Seattle 9-2011

I decided to attend an intensive 4 day seminar in July 2012.  It was the spark I needed to reawaken a lot of the old training.   I filed an application to join their growing organization called Daito Ryu Ginjukai based on the Kodo Harakawa lineage. While the Daito Ryu lineage is different from the one I came from (Matsuda Toshimi), the feel and mechanics seem to have been preserved in both lineages.

Seminar in Seattle 7-2012

In March 2013 I attended a three day seminar in Oklahoma City at Windsong dojo.   It was a blast and I really hit a new level of understanding the mechanics in this art form.

 Windsong Dojo in OKC 3-2013 .  

Popkin sensei making fun of our comparative head sizes

Winter 2013 I was asked to share Daito Ryu with the Kaze Uta Budo Kai in Oklahoma City.

Budokai at Windsong 6-2014

Howard Popkin, Eric and Peter Boylan

In July of 2014 I returned to Japan to study with Ota sensei.  I learned a tremendous amount.  It was interesting to see how much sensei's technique evolved in the last decade.

Eric and Ota - 7-2014 at the Shofukan

I got to rekindle some old friendships and learn a lot about the Renshinkan, Shofukan history and kata.

Tsutsuni sensei and Eric

In January 2015 Andrew DeLuna ran a workshop on Daito Ryu principles at the Austin Budokan.  It has been his third or fourth visit over the past few years.

June 2015 Seminar at Windsong

Seminar at Windsong 4/29-5/1- 2016
7-2016 I attended one session with Brogna/Popkin in Seattle.

In May 2017 I picked up the phone and it was Roy Goldberg from the Kodokai coming through Texas.  He offered to do a 4 day workshop at my place.  He stayed with me and generously poured as much Daito Ryu information into me as I could handle.

While visiting Seattle I attended Daito Ryu Takumakai training with Kenneth Freeman.  He is a super cool and talented guy.  Sadly I lost my picture I took!

July 28-30 2017 I attended Ginjukai intensive with Howard Popkin.  It was a great seminar with a fun group.

Popkin Seattle 2017

In 2017 the Reshinkan Daito Ryu in Japan began to open up.  They began issuing videos and online courses.   They have been grading people to high ranks without ever meeting them, only online training.  I would like to publicly mention that I am opposed to this method of transmitting Daito Ryu.  I believe it hurts the art.  So after almost 20 years of promoting that line of Daito Ryu, I respectfully withdraw my endorsement of the Renshinkan.  After some spirited online debates they no longer endorse me either.  Chapter closed.  My relationship with Ito sensei is intact, as he too broke from the Renshinkan.

Roy Goldberg came to Austin again in Feb. 2018.  I got the chance to train with him at Rising Sun Aikido.

Goldberg Austin 2-2018

After teaching at the Enso enter I had the chance to train with Popkin/Brogna. 
Popkin/Brogna Seattle 8-2018

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Shogun Total War 2

I loved the last Shogun game. This next one should be a blast. Here is some fun animation of a duel from the game.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Chinese Archery

The cooler weather in Texas has driven me outdoors. I have been shooting my longbow everyday to start gaining some understanding of archery.

I found a splendid series about Chinese martial archery.

I like this one when he gets into knocking drills. He is expanding out of target archery into the realm of martial archery.

Some advice that opposes Kyudo methodology about releases. He shows some neat using the belt as a quiver. Then there are some cool shooting exercises.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

How Aikido Works

Here is a football video that has viral on the net. For good reason, it is clever. As a martial artist I think it shows us the lesson of how aiki works. Don't let the other person's system know you are fighting is the key. If you do an action calm and relaxed it does not trigger alarms in your partners or opponents nervous system.

Lowry Sensei has been using the phrase 'tactile invisibility' lately. I like that phrase.

Confuse your opponents nervous system with relaxed movement.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Knife Training - Poor Example

Every time I post a video with what I call a poor example in training I like to preface it with that I have respect for all arts and people who are training. Sometimes I see film that does not work for me and my system of thinking. I have the upmost respect to the artists who act as the focus of my scrutiny. We are all just working it the best we can.

In my searches of the web I keep bumping in to a video of Thai knife fighting. Honestly, I do not like the work they are doing. However, I think it is very valuable to look at systems that are not working in my view, so I can intellectually process what the flaws, danger spots and inefficiencies that are in the movements. Why don't I like it? How can I avoid these mistakes in my own work?

The number one aspect I do not like is they break their own posture to execute dodges and evasions. While it might work in the context of their game, I feel like they are ingraining bad habits that will not serve them as the training gets increasingly difficult.

What do ya'll see?

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Lies about Knife Fighting by Marc MacYoung

So the research on the knife continues. A lot of beautiful exchanges and drills are shaping up around the dojo. It surprises me how in a just a few short weeks everyone is quickly adjusting to the new challenges of concentrated knife work.

I am fueling the tanto study mostly through the Tomiki 17 kata, but systema, kali, silat and a pot pourri of other influences are creeping in. At this point I make no other claims about the work we are doing other than it is a great way to work principles with a different set of factors.

Nick Ushin Lowry posted this link on his facebook. Well worth the read. In the somewhat lengthy article MacYoung describes some of the problems as he sees it with many martial knife systems. While i do not see this work as biblical knife cannon, I do see it as a useful tool to help balance the mentality of how I shape my practice.

(P.S. I made it to the range this weekend, and I love .22 magnum ammunition)

Lies about knife fighting

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


I have been trying to get some cutting practice in. It is different than I thought. I constantly use too much power and over-extension. I highly recommend this practice to anyone who train in the sword arts.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Rethinking Kyudo

When lived in Japan I had some brief training in archery, Kyudo. Here is Austin Texas there is a wonderful teacher at the Shambala meditation center teaching classes in traditional kyudo. I attended a handful of sessions with him. While I enjoyed the lessons and I loved the weapon, I found something lacking. You see in kyudo there is a lot of talk about the shot not being important. In the club here in town, all the lessons are firing into a straw bail just a few feet away. The emphasis is on the meditation. The message is that there is a dignity in the bow and such concepts as speed, accuracy, range and power are not addressed. The tradition I trained in does not even want to be thought of as a martial art, they are a meditation group.

I love and honor the modern expression of the art of kyudo. It is as wonderfully complex as the tea ceremony. I see the wisdom in their thinking and ways. I however am a budo man. I wish to learn more of the traditions of kyudo, but my true goal is something different. I am budoka and my Zen is the meditation in the pursuit of hitting a mark. Efficient, smooth and powerful motion is what seek with the bow. I want to play the bow like a deadly instrument and relish in the jazz that flows from arrows flying through space.

Today, like all days now, I shot the bow. First I work on technique. I shoot arrows for accuracy, with ever increasing range. Then I see how fast I can fire 10 arrows and still have the technique to hit the target from close range. I walked briskly and fired the bow while on the move. I worked on facing opposite the target then I turned and shot. I fired the bow while walking towards the target, and retreating from the target. You will never find these methods practiced in a modern kyudo dojo. I bet samurai archers who fought with the bow trained far different than the modern artists do.

I appreciate the traditional, but often I desire training outside the parameters of traditional thinking and practice. I personally seek samurai archery - battle and hunting archery. The zen evolves through a habit of striving for martial perfection. In my art meditation need not be the primary goal. It happens naturally with every practice. I do not want a non-martial version. I seek the martial archery. In my humble opinion the bow is a weapon, not a meditation pillow. I seek to honor it as such.

Monday, November 22, 2010

The difficulties of a knife program

Let's face it martial artists, fighting is really hard. Our art essentially is a series of games with rules to let us work on the principles we see as valuable in conflict. But when it comes down to it, I do not go to the dojo to fight. I go to the dojo, in case I ever find myself in a bad situation I will have some tools to protect self and others. All martial arts run under a system of rules and assumptions. Because as Tomiki Sensei once wrote, "martial arts without rules is just violence."

As some of my readers, teachers and students might know I am currently engaged in training around the concept of finding aiki in tanto jujutsu. It is a shift in thinking from the typical aikido and judo throw-is-goal mentality. I have watched the array of art forms practice with knives. There is some great stuff out there, and predictably there is a lot of work that is incomplete.

I would like to start looking at the problems surrounding knife work. The first problem is that knife fighting is difficult.

I would like to take a look at two art forms today.

The first is a Russian group calling themselves tanto jutsu. They look karate based, or at least atemi based system of fighting. They have knife competitions to add to their striking. It looks to be a dizzying brutal affair. These guys don't mess about. The initial engagement looks like power cuts from a fencing style model. There is some interception with strikes and some grappling.

After watching this, we see how unclean the lines are in engagements. Things get pretty wild real fast. The one thing about this video to consider is that they are all matched opponents for a contest. They know the rules and have certain expectations from their opponents abilities. Also, while I am sure they are not looking forward to getting hit, there likely is not the fear associated with real blades. An interesting case study anyhow.

The second clip illustrating the difficulty of knife work comes from my own beloved art of Tomiki Aikido. Some branches of Tomiki Aikido are known for having a sporting competition as part of their training. It typically looks like a man getting battered by another man holding a pickle. The assault continues for 3-5 minutes with the knifeless man getting cut 100 or so times. However there are very specific rules about how the knife attacker can score points, so most of these cuts are ignored. After getting murderd for a while, the man getting stabbed might get a riough and tumble variation on a judo throw, and everyone tumbles to the floor.

I am not a big fan of this kind of training, but by no means does it look easy. Again we have two trained competitors squaring off, knowing the specific rules and capabilities of the other person.

Needless to say, developing the training and skills to successfully deal with such a difficult situation will be a challenge. The moral of the story, knife fighting looks hard, never get into one. It looks like a a good training challenge though.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Some hot knife work

I have been deep in meditation on the problems that knife work. I have been sorely disappointed with the kata work of judo and aikido. It does not mean that the answers for the aiki of knife work are not out there, they just might come from a different school of thinking. I bumped into this video on my search, and I think this guy would probably best me in a knife engagement.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Aiki in Knife stripping

I think the systema guys are doing good aiki work with the knives.

Friday, November 12, 2010

List of Dojos with Tomiki roots in U.S.A.

There is no single list of all the Tomiki lineage dojos on the United States (till now). It is has been quite a hard task putting this list together. It is invariably incorrect with many details. Many of the dojos have stylistically drifted and changes in the 30 years since Tomiki's passing. Some even no longer call their style a Tomiki style. My qualifier to make it on the list is that school or organization has roots in the teaching methods of Kano, Ueshiba, Tomiki, and Ohba.

Please write with any thoughts,changes,additions or add it to the comments box below it. Last Update - November 2010

Numbers of Dojos in Organizations (A few dojos are in multiple organizations)

This section is incredibly inaccurate. There have been a great many political shifts in the past few years in American Tomiki Aikido and it is impossible to track until organizations update their websites.

7 ATAA (American Tomiki Aikido Association)
13 Jiyushinkai
14 Aikido America International
21 Kaze Uta BudoKai (not yet posted all)
28 TAA (Tomiki Aikido of the Americas) formally JAA
51 Fugakakai (might be old information) added members up to New York
2 International Aikido Alliance (maybe 8)
? Zan-totsu Kai (NW group that I currently have no information on)

Top 3 Tomiki States

19 dojos Oklahoma
18 dojos Texas
12 dojos Ohio

Number of dojos on list


The Dojos


Kumayama Dojo *American Tomiki Aikido Association*
Frankie Canant, 6th Dan Aikido
Hueytown, AL
Phone: (205) 497-3151

Onami Dojo *American Tomiki Aikido Association*
Johnathan Mayhall, Rokudan
Jasper, Alabama

Kurokawa Dojo *American Tomiki Aikido Association*
Beau Burchfield
Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Henry Copeland Aikido & Jyodo *Fugakukai*
Henry Copeland, Aikido 8th Dan
2005 Alpine Drive; Florence, Alabama
Phone: (205) 766-6939


Crow Mountain Dojo *Fugakukai*
Dan Martin Aikido 6th dan
Russellville, Arkansas 72802
Phone: (479) 890-0033

The Thicket Aikido Dojo *Fugakukai*
Vicki Goodman 1st dan
Brinkley, Arkansas
Phone: (870) 589-0263

Monticello Aikido Club *Fugakukai*
Robert Kersten Aikido 2nd Dan
256 Mason Hill Road; Monticello, Arkansas 71655
Phone: (870) 853-2320

Monticello Aikido Club *Fugakukai*
Kavan Dodson Aikido 2nd Dan
UAM Wesley Foundation; Monticello, Arkansas 71655

Peder Jensen, 7th Dan Aikido
Little Rock, AR
Phone: (501) 590-2788

Vernon Dutton, 4th Dan Aikido
Phone: (501) 223-3724

Triangle Aikido Club *Tomiki Aikido of the Americas*
Impact Martial Arts
Ed Mink
16 W Township Fayetteville, AR 72703

Conway Aikido *Fugakukai*
Jason Brantley Aikido 2nd Dan
566 Hwy 64 E; Conway, Arkansas 72032
Phone: (501) 733-5412

Little Rock Athletic Club - Aikido *Fugakukai*
Gary Moore, Aikido 4th Dan
Little Rock, Arkansas


Renshinkan *Jiyushinkai*
Charlie Atkinson Instructor
Michael Hacker Instructor
415 S. McClintock Rd #7
Tempe, AZ 85281-2250
Phone: (480) 968-6646 Dojo

Mushin Aikido Dojo *Tomiki Aikido of the Americas*
In Step School of Dance
Tom Manfredi, 4th Dan
340 W. Wickenburg Way
Wickenburg, AZ 85390

Arizona Aikido Clubs *Fugakukai*
Saul Alverez, Phillip Norrell 3rd Dan
Wickenburg and Yuma
Phone: (520) 684-5529 or (520) 783-5160
E-Mail: or


Aishinkan *Jiyushinkai*
Marc Fox, Chief Instructor
PO Box 2292
Alpine, CA 91903
Phone: (619) 445-5968

Shakokan *Jiyushinkai*
Toby Hill, Chief Instructor
2745 Waltrip Lane
Concord, CA 94518
Phone: (925) 798-1111

Pacific Tomiki Aikido *Aikido America International*
Instructor: Marc Kantorow
Los Angeles, California

Bat Area Shodokan *T.A.A.*
Warren Pottebaum, 3rd Dan
Ash Morgan, 3rd Dan
Berkeley, CA (see website for locations)

Intel Santa Clara Aikido *T.A.A.*
Shane Branch 1st Dan
Santa Clara, CA

Univ. of California San Diego Tomiki Aikido Club *T.A.A.*
Bob Dziubla, 7th Dan
UCSD main gym (next to Natatorium and outdoor basketball courts)

USC Shodokan
Mark Colopy
USC Campus

Ted Miller Aikido *Fugakukai*
Ted Miller
San Diego, Ca
Phone: (619) 725-3629 and (858) 457-4431


Colorado Shodokan Aikido *T.A.A.*
Dave Nettles, 6th Dan
Alpine Cheer, 18850 Clarke Rd
Parker, CO

DBT Aikido *T.A.A.*
Ron Abo, 5th Dan
Denver Buddhist Temple Gym, 1947 Lawrence St
Denver, CO

Colorado Aikido *Fugakukai*
Mary Steffeck, Aikido 6th Dan
Aurora, Colorado
Phone: (303) 424-1457

Mark Owens, 5th Dan Aikido
Castle Rock, CO
Phone: (303) 589-3456

Hyland Hills Tomiki Aikido *T.A.A.*
Seiji Tanaka, 8th Dan
9165 Lowell
Westminster, CO

Atlantic Aikido
Brian Sutherland 5th dan
1750 30th st, Boulder, CO, 80309
(303) 819-6456


Central Connecticut Tomiki Aikido Club
Tiffany Doan, 2nd Dan
Kaiser Hall "Bubble"
Central Connecticut State University
New Britain, CT


Mushindo Dojo *Fugakukai*
John LaCorte, Aikido 4th Dan
Sebastian, Florida
Phone: (772) 539-1906

Vero Beach Aikido *Fugakukai*
Kevin J. Anderson, Aikido 5th Dan
Vero Beach, Florida
Phone: (772) 559-8193

Martial Arts of Jupiter
Jerry Dooley, Judy Shedd, Mike Exizian
Jupiter, FL
Phone: (561) 744-9025 home, (561) 747-5717 dojo

Ken Nin Dojo *Jiyushinkai*
Jim Hanna, Chief Instructor
Steven Bonett, Asst. Instructor
World Martial Arts Center
6020 NW 4th Place, Suite "G"
Gainesville, Florida 32607
Phone: (352) 375-4348

West Coast Aikikai *Jiyushinkai*
Jim Hanna, Chief Instructor
208 43rd Street Blvd N.E.
Bradenton, FL 34208
Phone:(941) 745-2919

Dharmakaya Aikido *Fugakakai*
Charles M. Crist Aikido 2nd Dan
481 Rio Grande Way; Poinciana, Florida 34759
Phone: (321) 746-9811

Ohrikai Dojo *Fugakukai#
Tim Dudley, Aikido 6th Dan
4020 42nd Street; Sarasota, Florida 34235
Phone: (941) 426-7675

Biscayne Park Aikido Club *International Aikido Alliance*
Ron Gotlin, Aikido 6th dan
Susan Gotlin, 6th Dan
Ed Burke Recreation Center
11400 NE 9th Court
Biscayne Park, Florida 33161
Phone: (305) 945 - 7863

Tampa Judo and Aikido Dojo
Phil Van Treese, Aikido 7h dan
1005 W. Busch Blvd (Chamberlain Square)
Tampa, Florida
Phone: 813-892-5317 or 813-968-7647


Chicago Jiyushinkai Aikibudo *Jiyushinkai??*
Vladimir Stoyanov, Chief Instructor
Arlington Heights, IL

American Aikido Society *T.A.A.*
Gary Wyshel, Mike Walters
Gompers Park, 4222 W. Foster Ave
Chicago, IL

New City Aikido *T.A.A.*
Stan Nevin, 5th Dan
Chicago, IL


Yobushin Dojo *Jiyushinkai*
Paul Smith, Chief Instructor
7487 N. John Young Rd
Unionville, IN 47468
Phone: (812) 336-8036

Aikido club of Lafeyette
Not a tomiki school but they have a Tomiki kata 15 study group
Thomas Burdine
111 South 7th Street
Lafayette, IN 47901
(765) 423-1962


Walter Lee, 5th Dan Aikido
Wichita, KS
Phone: (316) 978-6139


Gentle Wind Dojo *Jiyushinkai*
Denzil Miracle, Chief Instructor
11153 Muriel
Baton Rouge, LA 70816
Phone: (225) 272-8500

Mokurin Dojo *Jiyushinkai*
Shane Mokry, Dojo cho
1430 W. Elm St. Suite B
PO Box 698
Jena, LA 71342
Phone: (318) 992-8045

Shodokan of New Orleans
I cannot find information about this dojo
I did find a youtube site

New Wind Dojo *Fugakukai*
Chainn Gahagan, Aikido 2nd Dan
301 Memorial Drive; Ruston, LA 71270
Phone: (318) 255-4291 or (318) 280-0841

West Monroe Aikido *Fugakukai*
Steve Horne, Aikido 4th Dan
5709 New Natchitoches; W. Monroe, LA 71292
Phone: (318) 255-4291 or (318) 280-0841


Aikido - Baltimore Tomiki Center *Aikido America International*
Frank Faris
Baltimore, Maryland
Phone: 410-727-5457

Atlantic Martial Arts *Aikido America International*
Jeff Mims Aikido 2nd dan
Baltimore, Maryland
Phone: 410-944-1559

Catonsville Aikido Club *Aikido America International*
Dean Clarke
Catonsville, Maryland
Phone: 410-747-5779

Chesapeake Aikido Club *Aikido America International*
Richard Kelley, Glenn Beaumann, Ray Mack
Arnold, Maryland
Phone: 410-360-1328

Columbia Aikido & Judo Club *Aikido America International*
Dr. Yoji Kondo
Columbia, Maryland
Phone: 410-730-6744

Loyola College Aikido Dojo *Aikido America International*
Bert Graham
Baltimore, Maryland
Phone: 410-435-6871

Aikido of Maryland *Fugakukai*
Roma Strathman, Aikido 7th Dann
College Park, Maryland
Phone: (301) 441-2647

Towson Aikido Dojo *Aikido America International*
Brian Sutherland, Bert Graham
Towson, Maryland
Phone: 410-435-6871


Uptown Aikido *Fugakukai*
Deanna Newman, Aikido 5th Dan
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Phone: (612) 377-2154


Mississippi State University Aikido Club
Dr. John Usher, Aikido 6th Dan
Starkville, Mississippi
Phone: (662) 325-7624

Mokuren Dojo
Patrick Parker, Aikido 6th Dan
Magnolia, Mississippi
Phone: (601) 248-7282

Dallas Lloyd, 2nd Dan Aikido
Longbeach, MS
Phone: (228) 871-7003

New Hampshire

Manchester YMCA Aikido Club *Aikido America International*
Manchester, New Hampshire
Instructor: Ben Duggar

New Jersey

New Jersey Shodokan *TAA*
Ari Reinstein, 3rd Dan
Sussex County YMCA
15 Wits End Road
Hardyston, NJ

New Mexico

New Mexico Aikido Club *Fugakukai*
Robert Romero, Aikido 6th Dan
Espanola, New Mexico
Phone: (505) 753-1892 or (505) 747-2285 (Gym)

New York

Kinetic Symmetry Aikido *Fugakukai*
Nicholas George, Aikido 6th Dan
Hudson Falls, NY
Phone: (518) 926-8688

CNY Tomiki Aikido *Fugakukai*
Dan McCarthy, Aikido 3rd Dan
4936 TinderBox Circle; Manlius, NY
Phone: (315) 682-0825

Tomiki Ronin *TAA*
Manny Vargas, 5th Dan

Vassar College Aikido *TAA*
Sean Flynn, 3rd Dan
Vassar College, 124 Raymond Ave, #424
Poughkeepsie, NY

Yama Arashi Dojo *TAA*
Alex Izaguirre, 2nd Dan
200 Hamilton Ave. Suite 15 B
White Plains, NY

North Carolina

Asheville Aikido *Fugakukai*
David Russell, Aikido 6th Dan
Asheville, NC
Phone: (828) 628-0462

Raleigh Aikido Club *Aikido America International*
Jason Koch
Green Road Community Center, Raleigh, North Carolina
Phone: 919-694-4919

UNC at Chapel Hill *Aikido America International*
Erik Townsend
UNC Fetzer Gym, Chapel Hill, NC
Phone: 919-622-4928

Winston-Salem Aikido *Aikido America International*
Brian Wright
Winston-Salem, North Carolina


David Szerensci - Aikido
David Szerensci, Aikido 5th Dan
Richfield, Ohio
Phone: (216) 659-6985

Massillon Aikido Academy
John Brown, 3rd Dan Aikido
Massilon, OH
Phone: (330) 833-2396
Email: sandan1@ibm,net

Black Walnut Dojo *TAA*
Bob King, 5th Dan
1342 US Highway 42
Ashland, OH

Churchill Aikido Club *TAA*
Michael Gelum
189 Churchill-Hubbard Rd
Liberty, OH

Warren Budokan/Academy of Arts and Humanities *TAA*
Michael Gelum
261 Elm Road
Warren, OH 44483

Warren Budokan - Shizuka na Arashi Aikido Dojo *TAA*
Michael Gelum
1549 Transylvania
Warren, OH

Crossroads Aikido *TAA*
Keith Sigler
Vandalia Parks and Recreation
Vandalia, OH

CSM Aikido *TAA*
Wade Current, 5th Dan
12475 State Route 29
Conover, OH

Just This Aikido *TAA*
Moe Stevens, 6th Dan
The Mojo, 1470 Hiner Rd
Orient, OH

KCW Aikido Club *TAA*
Carol Apple, 5th Dan
Butler H.S. Student Athletic Center, 600 S. Dixie Dr
Vandalia, OH

Mansfield Aikido Club *TAA*
Scott Calderhead, 5th Dan
Sensei Bob King, 5th Dan
Mansfield YMCA, 750 Scholl Rd
Mansfield, OH

Piqua Tomiki Aikido *TAA*
Steve Wood, 6th Dan
Miami County YMCA, 223 West High St
Piqua, OH


Windsong Dojo *Kaze Uta Budo Kai*
Nick Lowry, Aikido 8th, Judo 8th, Jyodo 8th
Oklahoma City, OK
phone: (405) 943-6246

Autumn Wind Dojo
Jason Junkens, 5th Dan Aikido
Tahlequah, OK
Phone: (918) 633-4219

Charles Corey - Aikido
Charles Corey, Aikido 6th Dan
Edmond, Oklahoma
Phone: (405) 340-7918

Shobu Aiki Dojo *Jiyushinkai*
920 W. Britton Rd
Oklahoma City, OK
David Martin (5th dan)

Elk City Aikido Club
Paul Firth, Aikido 2nd Dan
Elk City, Oklahoma
Phone: (580) 821-1202

Hikari Aikido Dojo
Will Gable, Aikido 8th Dan
Edmond, Oklahoma
Phone: (405) 495-8128

Lawton Aikido
George K. Spriggs, Aikido 6th Dan
Lawton, OK
Phone: (580) 536-3697

Mountain Spirit Dojo
Mike Lewis, Aikido 2nd Dan
Claremore, Oklahoma
Phone: (918) 740-2958

Stepwaters Dojo *Kaze Uta Budo* Kai
Jack Burdett, Aikido 4th Dan
Norman, OK
Phone: (405) 364-0966

Rafael Nerris, 4th Dan Aikido
Lawton, OK
Phone: (580) 353-7955

Wes Griffee, 3rd Dan Aikido
Phone: (580) 510-0309

Preston Rash, 1st Dan Aikido
Stilwater, OK
Phone (405) 747-6444

Ed Cunliff
Edmond, OK
Phone (405) 341-2926

Shadow Mountain Dojo
Jimmy Jones, 5th Dan Aikido
Claremore, OK
Phone: (918) 344-0938

Chuck Rowden, 3rd Dan Aikido
Claremore, OK
Phone: (918) 343-1393

Bruce Selby, 3rd Dan Aikido
Enid, OK
Phone: (580) 242-3356

Tulsa Tomiki Aikido Club *TAA*
Dave Axe
111th and Memorial
Tulsa, OK

Tulsa Tomiki Aikido and Jujitsu *TAA*
William Sharp, 3rd Dan
8190 South Memorial
Tulsa, Oklahoma

Lawton Aikido Club
J.W. Bode
Lawton Oklahoma


Portland Jiyushinkai Dojo *Jiyushinkai*
8440 SE 55th Ave
Portland, OR 97206
Steve Duncan, Chief Instructor
Yoko Sato, Instructor


Philadelphia Judo and Aikido
John J. Disimone, 4th Dan
Philadelphia, PA
Phone: (215) 888-4354

Aikido of Pennsylvania *TAA*
David Thorne
Wayne, PA


Red Dragon Martial Arts Center
John Kirby, Aikido 5th Dan
Jefferson City, TN
Phone: (865) 475-8510


Clif Norgaard
Clif Norgaard, Aikido 9th Dan
Phone: (956) 793-1896

Kitae Dojo (Houston) *Jiyushinkai*
Denis Dorris
Phone: (281) 364-0531

Clear Creek Aikido *American Tomiki Aikido Association*
Tim Cleghorn
Clear Creek Aikido
11419 Hall Road
Houston, Tx

Charles Harris Tae Kwon Do & Aikido
32932 Katy Freeway Suite 106
(Mason Creek Business Park)
Katy, Texas 77450

Ray Williams *Aikido America International*
League City, TX
Phone: 281-338-4668

Aikibudokan *International Aikido Alliance*
L.F. Wilkinson 8th dan
Crown Door Business Park
5701 Bingle Road (at 290), Suite B - 101
Houston, Texas 77092-2155

Full Circle Aikido *American Tomiki Aikido Association*
Jeff and Gail Duncan, Aikido 3rd dan
2707 Poage Circle
Killeen Tx 76543

Dallas Aikido Club
Mark Morgan, Aikido 6th Dan
Dallas, Texas
Phone: (972) 396-1438

Jita Kyoei Dojo *Jiyushinkai*
Chamberlain Studios of Self-Defense
Bill Parker, Aikido 4th dan
2739 Bachman Drive
Dallas, TX 75220
phone: 214-351-5367

Denton Aikido Club *Kaze Uta Budo Kai*
Jack Bieler, 7th Dan Aikido
Denton, Texas
Phone: (940) 382-0780

Karl Geis Judo School, Inc.*Fugakukai*
Karl Geis, Aikido 10th Dan
Houston, Texas 77080-7611
Phone: (713) 468-4879

Robert Graham - Aikido
Robert Graham, Aikido 4th Dan
Pottsboro, Texas
Phone: (903) 786-2715

Kihara Budo System *Fugakukai*
Rianard Jackson, Aikido 7th Dan
Corpus Christi, Texas
Phone: (512) 882-9655

Tim Joe's School Judo-Aikido *Fugakukai*
Tim Joe, Aikido 9th Dan
Amarillo, Texas
Phone: (806) 353-1011

Weatherford Aikido Club
Robert Himes, Aikido 2nd Dan,
Nathan Himes, Aikido 2nd Dan
Weatherford, TX
Phone: Robert (817) 374-3368;
Nathan (817) 565-7452

Galvan's Martial Arts
Emmanuel Galvan, Aikido 1st Dan
Brownsville, TX
(956) 504-5566

KyuRyu AikiBudo *Kaze Uta Budo Kai* *A.T.A.A.*
(South Austin)
Eric Pearson, 4th Dan Aikido
Glen "Scooter" Dembowski, 1st dan Aikido
Austin, TX
(512) 947-9585

Austin Center For Martial Arts or Austin Budokan
(I-35 and 51st)
Zdenek Matl, 9th dan Judo
Eric Pearson, 4th Dan Aikido
Austin, TX
(512) 947-9585

Aikibudo Dojo
Russell Waddell, 6th dan Aikido
1128 W. Main
Lewisville, Texas 75067

Bonsai Dojo *Kaze Uta Budo Kai*
James Bedwell, Aikido 5th Dan
Shelby Bedwell, Aikido 2nd Dan
Arlington, TX
Phone: (817) 563-6769


David Sipe, 1st Dan Aikido
Anacortes, WA
Phone:(360) 395-5829

Jiyushinkan *Jiyushinkai*
Monroe, WA
Aaron Clark, Dojocho Aikido 6th dan
C. Clark, Chief Instructor Aikido 8th dan
Phone: (360) 863-2627

West Virginia

Almost Heaven Aikido/Judo Academy
John C. Allen, 8th Dan Aikido
Parkersburg, WV
Phone: (304) 991-2150

The Tomiki Aikido Club of West Virginia University
*Aikido America International*
Dr. Marc Kantorow
Morgantown, West Virginia
Phone: 304-293-5201, ext 2557

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Yamada Senta Sensei

It is with deep sadness and regret to announce the passing of, Senta Yamada Sensei, who died at 5pm on the 8th August 2010, after battling with Pancreatic Cancer. His daughter, Tomiko, was at his bedside, lovingly nursing him throughout his illness. He was 86 years old. John & Pepi Waite........., Peter Martin and Adrian Walters, managed to visit Yamada sensei a few times during their visit to Fukuoka and although he was in too much pain to speak they did manage to obtain recognition from him by the way he smiled and held their hands.He will be greatly missed by all his Family and many, many Friends worldwide.The funeral will be held on Thursday the 12th of August.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Some Dai San thoughts

I have been working through some of the problems of the Tomiki Koryu Dai San kata lately. I will try to make Wilkinson Sensei (my internet kata enthusiast friend) happy and practice them more regularly. The Koryu Dai San is a large 2 person collection of techniques.

To be honest I am not always the biggest fan nor advocate of the rigid and overly structured kata system. There are hundreds of redundant techniques piled haphazardly together in this gargantuan system.

But not to keep my students from being exposed to the katas, we have been digesting various pieces from time to time. I am beginning to find a new relationship with the higher kata of the Tomiki system. They remind me of chess puzzles. In chess they have puzzles that are the last few moves of a game. They take the skills you have, and allow you to exercise them in a particular context. Thus, the theory might be that it exercises the mind to play effectively in more circumstances and with differing patterns. Ok I buy it. They may not be the meat and potatoes of the system, but they may be a useful game to play.

To add one stipulation though, I do find that I change the techniques around my ideal of what aikido should be. , but I will fix all the bad ideas as I go. Isn't that the way it should be? (I can already hear the strict kata buffs groaning and gnashing their teeth.)

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Sanctum Sanctorum

While I know Grad School has seriously damaged my budo blog, I have decided to stretch myself even thinner and have a casual side blog project called Sanctum Sanctorum. It will be a warehouse of images, videos and esoterica that expresses my sweet tooth for the bizarre. I hope to see ya'll there.

Sanctum Sanctorum

Differing connections through weapons

I feel that the usual Aikido weapons ciriculum is somewhat lacking. There is the Jo and Bokken. Sometimes the tanto is used, bit only to be taken away.

In the history of Aikido we see OSensei exploring and using a variety of implements. I know he studied spear, jo and sword. He has been pictured using fans. I read he even explored the naginata upon request. I think modern players can expand greatly upon his work.

So here at the Dragon's Orb blog I would like to suggest budoka start exploring different weapons and different connections through objects. Last week I posted a lovely randori with escrima men with sticks. At my dojo we can been using hula hoops, ropes, knives, double sticks, wakizashis and sai lately.

Today I have a short film with my favorite Silat teacher, Guru Maul. His scarf work is worthy of some deep study.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Dr Lee Ah Loi promoted to 8th dan.

According to facebook friend Shaun Hoddy, the Japan Aikido Association has promoted Dr Lee Ah Loi Shihan to 8th Dan.

Aikido Journal