Interview with Sanbukan Dojo: Mits Yamashita, In Memoriam

Mits Yamashita was a powerful force for Yoshinkan Aikido in California. In this special interview, eleven of his black belts and senior students came together to issue a few words of remembrance and memorial for Yamashita. In it, they narrate important parts of their teacher’s life, how they began training under him, and what kind … Continue reading Interview with Sanbukan Dojo: Mits Yamashita, In Memoriam

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 Keystone Kokikai Founder Todd Kupper: An Intimate Look Into Shuji Maruyama, Part I

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 I

Interview With Aikido of Monterey Dojo-Cho Danielle Smith: Aikido in Northern California, Part II

Danielle Smith began training under Stanley Pranin in 1973, eventually taking over Pranin’s Aikido of Monterey three years later. As she continued through her aikido journey, she had the opportunity to experience many different early instructors, like Frank Doran, Mary Heiny, Linda Holiday, and Motomichi Anno. She also trained in Hakko-ryu Jujutsu, Seibukan Jujutsu, and … Continue reading Interview With Aikido of Monterey Dojo-Cho Danielle Smith: Aikido in Northern California, Part II

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 USAF Technical Committee Member Andy Demko: The Early Years in the American Northeast

Andy Demko began training martial arts and combat sports while he was in high school. After seeing an aikido class at Youngstown University, he joined, eventually meeting Koichi Tohei and Yoshimitsu Yamada in the mid-1960s. He later opened his Aikido Center of New Castle in 1971. Today, Demko discusses the fledgling years of aikido in … Continue reading Interview with USAF Technical Committee Member Andy Demko: The Early Years in the American Northeast

Interview with Aikido Instructor Salvatore Forestieri: Aikido in the Martial Arts Industry

Salvatore Forestieri began his aikido training under Fumio Toyoda. After his passing, Forestieri became an understudy of Steven Seagal. This is a transcript of an interview conducted in the spring of 2019, discussing the current state of aikido and its place in the martial arts industry. All images provided by Salvatore Forestieri. Martial Arts of … Continue reading Interview with Aikido Instructor Salvatore Forestieri: Aikido in the Martial Arts Industry

Interview with Sam Combes: Yoshinkan Aikido in Southern California Part II

Currently holding the rank of nanadan in Yoshinkan Aikido and teaching at the Kadokan Dojo, Sam Combes began his aikido journey in 1963, in Hawaii, studying under Yukio Noguchi. After moving to Norwalk, California in 1967, he began his own school and has stayed within the Los Angeles area for more than thirty years. In … Continue reading Interview with Sam Combes: Yoshinkan Aikido in Southern California Part II

Interview with Bruce Wonnacott: Experiences Under Frank Doran

Bruce Wonnacott, a long-time student of aikido pioneer Frank Doran, began his training in 1991 at the height of Steven Seagal’s popularity while in college. By 1997, he found Doran and accompanied him on his many national and international seminars. Here, we discuss what it was like training during the height of Seagal’s popularity and … Continue reading Interview with Bruce Wonnacott: Experiences Under Frank Doran