Durango Shin-Budo Kai Aikido follows the teachings of Shizuo Imaizumi.We are not a commercially oriented dojo, but a local group who enjoy practicing and teaching the extensive curricula Imaizumi Sensei has set out, covering Aikido, Ki-Class, and traditional Japanese weapons training in Bokkendo: the Way of Swordsmanship with bokken (wooden sword), and Jodo: the Way of training with the jo (wooden staff).

Ki (pronounced "key") is frequently discussed in the martial arts, and contained to some degree in all martial arts. Ki is the life energy force of the universe. Ki power is the dynamism of the mind and body in harmony, and manifests itself when you are present, connected and relaxed. Aikido seeks to develop Ki with regular practice, starting from your first day of class.

The current shodan (black belt) criteria is successful demonstration of 287 techniques, and roughly one hour of weapons katas, including solo and paired bokken (sword) and Jo (staff). It generally takes about five years of training before the student is ready to take the shodan test.

We do not utilize colored belts; students should wear a white gi and white belt upon starting practice, or at least upon completing their initial 5th Kyu exam. The hakama (the black pleated pants) is worn upon promotion to 3rd kyu. Students progress at their own rate, and test individually when they are ready.

Imaizumi's style of Aikido is soft and flowing, utilizing movement and 'ki', rather than conflicting force or joint manipulation. Yet this soft and flowing style generates tremendous power, and remains true to Aikido's martial roots. Students are taught to remain clam, natural and relaxed while dealing with their partner. One of the main goals of training is to be able to employ this calm state to stressful situations off the mat. As a style, it more closely resembles O'Sensei's art near the end of his life, after many years of refinement, synthesized with Koichi Tohei Sensei's influence, and Imaizumi's 40+ years of practice.

 

 

 

 

Background

Imaizumi Sensei began his Aikido career in April of 1959 while a student at Waseda University in Tokyo. Waseda was a 15 minute walk from the Aikikai Honbu dojo, and on May 1st, Sensei saw the Aikido demonstration by Morihei Ueshiba (O-Sensei, the founder of Aikido).

In 1965, with a rank of sandan, Imaizumi Sensei became an apprentice to the teaching staff (shidoin) at the Honbu dojo and his career as a professional Aikido instructor began. During this period he frequently took ukemi for O-Sensei during the early morning Aikido classes when O-Sensei would demonstrate and teach. After O-Sensei's death in April of 1969, Imaizumi Sensei was chosen to accompany Waka-Sensei (the son of O-sensei) and his wife to enshrine the remains of O-Sensei at the Ueshiba family graveyard at Tanabe.

Imaizumi Sensei was an instructor at the Aikikai Honbu until 1974 when he joined Koichi Tohei Sensei in his new organization, the Ki-no-kenkyukai (Ki Society; Shin-Shin Toitsu Aikido). In July 1975, Imaizumi Sensei came to New York to found the New York Ki Society and assume the role of Chief Instructor for the Eastern Region and the US.

In September of 1987, he resigned from the Ki Society. Shin-Budo Kai was founded in October 1988. Imaizumi Sensei continues to follow the teachings he received from O-Sensei, while developing and offering his own perspectives on technique, form and philosophy. His weapons instruction draws from a variety of traditions, including Itto Ryu, Shinkage Ryu, Aiki Kenpo and Nihon Kendo styles of swordsmanship, and the Muso Ryu and Aiki Joho styles of jo, or wodden staff, training. With very rare exception, you'll find Imaizumi Sensei teaching every weeknight at Shin-Budo Kai NY.

In addition to the main New York City dojo, there are other affiliated dojos around the world. See the Resources page for more information.

To read an in-depth interview of Imaizumi Sensei from the Aikido Journal 1998 go here.