Interview with Keystone Kokikai Founder Todd Kupper: An Intimate Look Into Shuji Maruyama, Part II

Todd Kupper began aikido in the early 1990s, with Steven Seagal’s popularity reaching a high point in the United States. He did not find Seagal, but rather Shuji Maruyama, founder of Kokikai Aikido. From his teenage years until now, Kupper experienced many things under Maruyama, including a very close, almost father-son type of relationship. Today, … Continue reading Interview with Keystone Kokikai Founder Todd Kupper: An Intimate Look Into Shuji Maruyama, Part II

Interview with Ravenwood Aikikai Chief Instructor David Hurst: Akira Tohei’s Legacy

David Hurst began his aikido journey in January 1988 after watching a demonstration led by Akira Tohei. He was enamored by Tohei’s ability and quickly took to his teachings. In addition to Tohei, Hurst had the opportunity to train under Hawk Durham and Judy Leppert. Currently, he holds the rank of sandan and is the … Continue reading Interview with Ravenwood Aikikai Chief Instructor David Hurst: Akira Tohei’s Legacy

Interview with Chester County Kokikai Founder Jason Martin: The Silent Pioneer and Kokikai Aikido

Growing up with a fascination for the martial arts, it was no wonder Jason Martin found himself in an aikido school under Philadelphia pioneer Shuji Maruyama. Since then, he has continued following the teachings of Maruyama, even opening his own school, Chester County Kokikai Dojo in 2010, spreading what he learned from the Silent Aikido … Continue reading Interview with Chester County Kokikai Founder Jason Martin: The Silent Pioneer and Kokikai Aikido

Interview with Kokikai Regional Coordinator Cecelia Ricciotti: Aikido and Philadelphia Pioneer Shuji Maruyama

Cecelia Rocciotti began training under Shuji Maruyama in 1974 in Philadelphia, following him in that year’s Koichi Tohei split from the Aikikai and Maruyama’s exit from the Ki Society in 1986. She currently teaches at Philadelphia Aikido. Today, Rocciotti took some time to talk about her time and experience with Maruyama while he was in … Continue reading Interview with Kokikai Regional Coordinator Cecelia Ricciotti: Aikido and Philadelphia Pioneer Shuji Maruyama

Interview with Longtime Aikidoka Kiyoshi Yasutake: His Time With Midwest Pioneer Akira Tohei

Kiyoshi Yasutake was Akira Tohei’s first student to go from white belt to black belt under him. Beginning in 1973, Yasutake took to aikido with much vigor, learning from and supporting Tohei in his many endeavors through the Midwest Aikido Center and the Midwest Aikido Federation. Today, Yasutake took some time to discuss his time … Continue reading Interview with Longtime Aikidoka Kiyoshi Yasutake: His Time With Midwest Pioneer Akira Tohei

Interview with Aikido Shihan Darrell Tangman: Aikido with Akira Tohei and Rodney Grantham

Darrell Tangman began aikido while a student at the University of Illinois, unknowing that the art would become a lifelong pursuit. In 1975, he helped establish Twin Cities Aikido Center, and later Augusta Aikido Club in 1985. Throughout his journey, he has trained with pioneers like Akira Tohei and Rodney Grantham. Today, Tangman discusses training … Continue reading Interview with Aikido Shihan Darrell Tangman: Aikido with Akira Tohei and Rodney Grantham

Interview with Californian Aikidoka Robert Noha: Aikido’s Spiritual Aspect

Robert Noha began his aikido journey in 1966 and never looked back after finding a lifelong teacher and friend in Robert Nadeau. Under Nadeau’s guidance, Noha began to experience something more than the technical aspects of aikido – he began to see that the spiritual message left by O-Sensei would influence him for the rest … Continue reading Interview with Californian Aikidoka Robert Noha: Aikido’s Spiritual Aspect

Rodney Grantham and Aikido in America’s Southeast

The following is an excerpt from my recent book, Aikido Comes to America. This originally appeared on Tambuli Media here. Rodney Grantham (~1928-2008) played a pivotal role in the push of aikido in the American Southeast. Grantham began judo in 1950 while stationed in Yokosuka, Japan as a surgical scrub nurse during the Korean War. … Continue reading Rodney Grantham and Aikido in America’s Southeast