Instructors can impart only a fraction of the teaching. It is through your own devoted practice that the mysteries of the Art of Peace are brought to life.Morihei Ueshiba, O'Sensei
Aikido is a Japanese martial art developed by Morihei Ueshiba (often referred to by his title 'O Sensei' or 'Great Teacher'). On a physical level it is an art involving throws, joint locks and pins that are derived from Jujitsu, and other techniques derived from Kenjutsu, spear and bayonet. Aikido does not focus on punching or kicking opponents but rather uses the attacker's own energy as a means to deflect the attack and immobilize the attacker by either placing him/her in a controlled position until help arrives or by throwing the attacker so the victim is able to get away safely.
When faced with a serious confrontation, the Aikido practitioner looks for a way to end the conflict quickly, rather than place the focus on fighting, inflicting pain or causing serious bodily injury to attacker(s).
At New Jersey Takemusu Aiki Dojo, there are no competitions or trophies. Keiko is cooperative and conducted according to the Iwama Style curriculum. The syllabus follows the philosophy of Aikido's Founder, Morihei Ueshiba (O'Sensei), and the training acumen of Morihiro Saito, Shihan, 9th dan, and his son, Hitohiro Saito Shihan, 8th dan. Training consists of Taijutsu (empty-hand arts) in Kihon (basic) and Ki-No-Nagare (flowing), Aiki-ken, (wooden sword), Aiki-jo, (wooden staff), and Tonto (wooden knife).
Classes are taught by NJTAD's Yudansha Staff, who are supervised by our mentor and technical advisor, Vince Salvatore Sensei, 6th dan, (Dojo-cho of Aikido of Reno). New Jersey Takemusu Aiki Dojo is a member of the California Aikido Association, under Division 1 Director, Pat Hendricks Shihan, 7th dan.
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(excerpt from Aiki Journal)
Morihei Ueshiba began his martial arts training in his youth to combat his early childhood illnesses. In his teens, he participated in sumo to strengthen his body. As a young adult, he studied the traditional forms of Jujutsu, Kenjutsu and Judo, amongst many others.
O'Sensei began his study of Daito-ryu Jujutsu under Sokaku Takeda in 1915 in Hokkaido. He became a certified teacher of Daito-ryu in 1922, and taught as Takeda’s representative for about 10 years. Ueshiba Sensei was one of the leading experts of Daito-ryu. Many of aikido’s techniques have their roots in this old-style jujutsu. His mastery of the sword, staff, and jujutsu has filled volumes.
Until World War II, Ueshiba held the position of Chief Instructor and was extremely busy teaching at the Kobukan, as well as holding special classes for the major military and police academies. In 1942, he moved to the Ibaraki Prefecture and the village of Iwama, where he built an outdoor dojo and the now famous Aiki Shrine.
Iwama is considered by many to be the birth place of modern-day Aikido, "the Way of Harmony." Prior to this move, his system had been called Aikijutsu, then Aiki-Budo, still primarily a martial art rather than a spiritual path. From 1942 (when the name Aikido was first formally used) to 1952, Ueshiba consolidated the techniques and perfected the religious philosophy of Aikido.
(excerpt from Aiki Journal)
Morihiro Saito first met Morihei Ueshiba in Iwama in July of 1946. WWII had recently ended and the practice of martial arts was prohibited by the GHQ. The founder had been “officially” retired from his position as Chief Instructor of the Kobukan since 1942. He was engaged in intensive training and meditation in virtual seclusion in Iwama. It was during the Iwama years that Morihei Ueshiba was immersed in the process of perfecting modern aikido.
When Saito Sensei began his training, he was given little encouragement and had to silently endure the intensive, often painful training. As a newcomer to the dojo he was on the receiving end of countless, vigorous techniques from strong seniors like Tohei and Abe. Saito’s tenacity paid off and in a few short years he became one of the mainstays of the Ueshiba dojo. His reward was the unique opportunity of serving as the founder’s training partner, particularly in the practice of the aiki-ken and jo, over a period of some 15 years. Morihei Ueshiba would usually practice weapons during the early morning hours when regular students were unable to be present. O'Sensei and Saito Sensei enjoyed a very close relationship.
By the late 1950s Saito had become one of the top Shihan in the Aikikai system and taught regularly at the Iwama Dojo in Ueshiba’s absence. He taught weekly at the Aikikai Hombu Dojo in Tokyo and was the only teacher besides the founder allowed to teach weapons techniques there. Saito’s classes proved extremely popular and many Tokyo students would gather on Sunday mornings to practice taijutsu and the aiki ken and jo. When O'Sensei passed away in April 1969, Saito became head of the Iwama Dojo and also the guardian of the Aiki Shrine.
In 1974 Saito made his first instructional trip abroad to the U.S. The popularity of Saito’s books and his extensive foreign travels have resulted in the Iwama Dojo becoming a Mecca for foreign aikidoka wishing to train intensively and gain experience in the use of the aiki-ken and jo. Over the years, literally hundreds of students have received training at the Iwama Dojo.
Vincent Salvatore Sensei began his aikido training while in his teens in New Jersey and was heavily influenced by his uncle, an Aikido black belt in the early 1970s. His personal study of the art took him to Japan, and to the Iwama dojo, where he spent 10 years as an uchi-deshi and soto-deshi learning his craft under the tutelage of Morihiro Saito Shihan, 9th dan, and his son, Hitohiro Saito Shihan, 8th dan. Vince Sensei presently holds the rank of 6th dan, Aikikai and enjoys a close relationship with many former Iwama uchideshi.
Vince Sensei opened his first dojo in Runnemede, NJ., where he hoped to build a dojo and Aikido practice that offered sound and vigorous training to all people who expressed a sincere interest in learning this unique form of conflict resolution and personal development. His life's journey took him back to Japan, and to the Iwama dojo. In 2000, Aviv Goldsmith, 5th dan Shidoin and Dojo-cho of Aikido of Fredericksburg (Va.) recruited Vince Sensei from Japan to relocate in Nevada. Vince Sensei settled in Reno, where he opened Aikido of Reno. Vince Sensei has been teaching at the Aikido of Reno on a full-time basis since 2002.
(pictured on right)
Diaco Sensei has been practicing martial arts for over 30 years. His study of the martial arts began under Robert Turner (11/28/47-3/30/13), Do Ju Nim of TSAA Tae Kwon Do.
Diaco Sensei presently holds the rank of 3rd dan Aikikai, under Vince Salvatore Sensei, 6th dan, and is a member of the California Aikido Association (CAA) under Division 1 Director, Pat Hendricks Shihan, 7th dan.
Diaco Sensei also holds dan rankings Tae Kwon Do, the Yoshitsune Jujitsu systems under Soke Michael DePasquale, Jr. and, he is a certified instructor of Silver Tiger Tai Chi, studying with Master Ting since 1998. In addition to his role as Sensei, Joe Diaco is a full-time college professor at Camden County College in Blackwood, NJ., where he instructs both mathematics and self-defense classes.
(pictured on right)
Ralph Yansick, 2nd dan Aikikai, began his study of the martial arts over 30 years ago. Originally a student of Shotokan Karate under Kisaka Sensei (JKA), he saw the practicality of the joint-lock and body controls that were a part of the various jujutsu systems and how they could readily be applied in law enforcement settings. Ralph began studying Aikido at an AAA affiliated dojo (Fumio Toyota Sensei) but gravitated more toward the precision and solid training of the Iwama style. Ralph joined Vince Sensei's Runnemede dojo and was the first student promoted to both Shodan and Nidan from New Jersey Takemusu Aiki Dojo.
Ralph retired from law enforcement after 27 years of public service. He has spent a significant part of his career gaining practical experience using the martial arts as a means of prisoner restraint and control, as well as using them as a means of personal self-defense while employed in the New Jersey Department of Corrections.
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