Aikido Los Angeles
Aikido Classes in Los Angeles
Aikido dojos in Los Angeles
Aikido lessons in Los Angeles
Aikido lessons in Los Angeles
Aikido lessons in Los Angeles

Instructors

 

Instructors & Lineage:

 

 

From O-Sensei to Chiba- and Yamada-Shihan:

 

By the early 1950’s O-Sensei had ‘perfected’ his new budo (martial way) calling it, Aikido (the way of spiritual harmony).  He held demonstrations throughout Japan, thereby attracting hundreds of students, whom he taught at the large central training hall he set up in Tokyo (Honbu Dojo, today Aikido World Headquarters), and Iwama Farm, where he often went on retreat. 

While Honbu Dojo’s doors were open to any able-bodied student, O-Sensei reserved his harshest training and deepest personal insights for his uchi-deshi (personal disciples).  Uchi-deshi lived in spartan conditions at the dojo for years at a time, serving as his personal assistants during his extensive travels.  In return, they received relentless full-time training.  Most went on to teach, spreading Aikido through Japan, Asia, Europe, and North and South America.

Two uchi-deshi who played major roles during this period of global expansion were Kazuo Chiba-Shihan and Yoshimitsu Yamada-Shihan (master instructor).  The Aikido instructors at Couprie Martial Arts trace their lineage to the founder, through the legacy of these two men.

From Chiba Shihan to Couprie-Sensei:

T.K. (Kazuo) Chiba-Shihan, 8th Dan (1940-present) was already well-versed in the techniques of Judo and Karate, when, at the age of 18, he began seven years of grueling training as one of O-Sensei’s personal disciples.  By the mid-1960’s he was teaching at Honbu Dojo, the Japanese Self-Defense Force, university clubs, and his own dojo in Nagoya Prefecture.

In 1966, Chiba-Shihan was dispatched to teach Aikido in the United Kingdom, where he became known as an exponent of a precise, “hard” style of practice, with an emphasis on practical, powerful technique.  He also became a strong advocate of integrating traditional weapons (sword, staff and knife arts) into modern Aikido practice, both to improve form, alignment and posture, and instill an appreciation for the martial roots of budo.

Aikido is based on the traditional swordsmanship of Japan… we move like a swordsman without having a sword. Weapons [training is] particularly important in place of offensive, or dualistic training [and] help us develop martial spirit and … aspects like timing, distance, centering etc…

I try to stick to the traditional ways as much as possible. The martial, warrior spirit is something I admire greatly and is something I try to preserve. The [martial] arts have a profound … history [embodied] in them and I don't want to lose it. But it's more than that. We follow the art, which is struggle. And through the struggle, we transcend into the path of Aikido. Eventually, it brings harmony between you and the external world.

Chiba-Shihan established his first Kenshusei (teacher-training) program in the UK, and he and his students established the British Aikido Federation, an association of dojos led by his students, which retains close ties with several aikido dojo (training halls) in France, Greece, Switzerland and Germany. 

In 1975, Chiba-Shihan returned to Japan and took up administrative duties at Honbu Dojo, and played a major role in establishing in the International Aikido Federation (IAF), an umbrella organization for Aikido schools worldwide.  Then in 1981, he accepted an invitation from the United States Aikido Federation (USAF) to head the Western Region of that organization.  Chiba-Shihan moved to San Diego, California, and began to teach a new generation of students.  He also began incorporating the formal disciplines of Zen Meditation and Iaido (the art of drawing the live Japanese blade) into his teaching curriculum, and revived his teacher-training program.  In 2000, he and his students established Birankai International, an association uniting dojo led by his students in the USA, UK and Europe.

While Chiba-Shihan has recently retired from extensive travel to teach at seminars, he still teaches at weeklong annual camps worldwide, and chairs the committee on teaching and standards at Birankai International.

Appolline Couprie, Fukushidoin, 3rd Dan (1960-Present)devoted much of her life to the study of martial arts, and presently holds instructor-level rank (3rd Dan or higher) in three systems: Taekwondo, Hapkido and Aikido. 

 

Couprie-Sensei began her study of Aikido in 1980’s, under Arnold-Shihan at Aikido Daiwa, and later, under Chiba-Shihan, as a student in his Kenshusei program.  She has also achieved ‘adept’ ranking in the art of Japanese swordsmanship, holding 2nd Dan ranking in Iaido and Kendo, and has also spent shorter periods of time training in Western Boxing, Hatha Yoga, and the Chinese internal arts of Chi-Kung and Tai Chi Chuan. A lay Buddhist, she has practiced zazen (zen meditation) in the Soto Zen tradition for nearly 20 years.

 

A full-time professional martial arts teacher, Couprie-Sensei is noted for exacting, highly detailed instruction and powerful throwing and pinning technique.  At present, she teaches a children’s aikido class on Sunday afternoons, and adult aikido classes on Friday night and Sunday morning.

 

From Yamada- and Morales-Shihan to Pepe-Sensei:

 

Yoshimitsu Yamada-Shihan, 8th Dan (1938-present) was 17 years of age, when he became one of O-Sensei’s uchi-deshi and endured 6 years of harsh training, after which he taught in the Tokyo area, and polished his English language skills teaching American servicemen.  In 1964, O-Sensei dispatched him to teach in United States.  Yamada-Shihan settled in New York City, taught at the New York Aikikai.  He also traveled extensively, giving demonstrations and teaching wherever he went.

 

A charismatic, inspiring and popular teacher, Yamada-Shihan became known for his open personality, strong emphasis on basics, and a broad, expansive style of movement.  As a result Yamada-Shihan and his students, deserve much of the credit for the spread of Aikido across the eastern seaboard of the United States and throughout much of Central and South America.

 

"I had no idea this many people would be involved in aikido."

 

He continues to teach at the NY Aikikai and camps and seminars worldwide, and holds leading positions in both the United States Aikido Federation and the Latin American Aikido Federation.  In 2010 Yamada-Shihan founded Aikido Sansuikai, an international association uniting dojo under the direction of his students in Latin America and Europe.

 

As a teenager, Miguel Antonio Morales-Shihan, 6th Dan (1953-Present) became a lifelong devotee of martial arts, simultaneously training in Aikido (under Yamada-Shihan), Karate and eventually Tai Chi Chuan.  Today Morales-Shihan is the highest ranked aikidoka in Peru.  He teaches at his own dojo, the Central Aikikai of Peru, and at camps and seminars in Brazil, Chile, Argentina, Mexico, Cuba, Ecuador, Venezuela and Columbia.  As an attorney and an administrative officer in both the Latin American Aikido Federation and the Latin American section of the Japan Karate Association, Morales-Shihan has played a major role in the spread of modern budo throughout Latin America.

 

A trained massage therapist and devoted follower of the spiritual teachings of Prem Rawat, Pepe-Sensei, 3rd Dan,studied under the direction of Yamada- and Morales-Shihan.  He teaches the Thursday night class at Couprie Martial Arts where he is noted for his solid technique, patience and his warm teaching style.

 

Aikido Los Angeles

Los Angeles

Los Angeles, CA 90046

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