If you ever tried to find some good educational videos about ukemi there’s a good chance that you stopped looking right when Donovan Waite “Meeting the Mat” explanations were found. You may get no idea why it’s attractive but you will get the feeling that everything should work just like that because of the softness and smoothness of the moves.
Dang Thong Phong was born in 1935. He started his Martial Arts career from Han Bai Duong (Vietnamese Shaolin Kung-Fu) and Judo. From 1958 he added Aikido and Taekwondo to the list of his favorite activities and he continues to follow his choices up, after almost 60 years.
Yoko Okamoto holds a rank of a 6th Dan in Aikido Aikikai, a status of Shihan. She is the most respected female-Sensei in Aikido and is very important in Japan.
Patrick Cassidy is a 6th dan Aikikai Aikido instructor. He is a founder and a Dojo-Cho at Aikido Montreux in Switzerland.
Hiroshi Ikeda holds a 7 Dan in Aikikai and is a Shihan based in the USA. He learned from the Misogi Saotome and is a founder of the Boulder Aikikai Dojo.
Haruo Matsuoka was Steven Seagal‘s most important student for more than 20 years. He followed Steven to the USA from Japan, participated in the movies, was a Chief Instructor in Steven Seagal’s Tenshin Dojo in Los Angeles for 8 years…
Mitsugi Saotome Shihan is one of the few former OSensei’s uchi-deshi’s still alive. He saw with his eyes all those things we read about. Sensei fully devoted himself to the Aikido and Ueshiba’s and you will learn why inside.
Kazuo Chiba (February 5, 1940 – June 5, 2015) – has been an 8 Dan Aikido Aikikai teacher. He learned directly from the Morihei Ueshiba and his son Kisshomaru. Dedicated life to Budo where 50 years were about the Aikido in the first place.
Seiichi Sugano (17 December 1939 – 29 August 2010) was a Japanese Aikido instructor who held an 8 Dan in Aikikai. Learned from the O-Sensei directly.
Mitsunari Kanai (April 15, 1939 – March 28, 2004) was one of the last live-in students trained by the O-Sensei. 8 Dan Aikido Aikikai Shihan, Iaido teacher and a founder of the New England Aikikai.
Yoshimitsu Yamada Sensei (February 17, 1938 – January 15, 2023) was one of the direct O-Sensei disciples and the 8 Dan Aikikai holders. His name is known all over the world for his high aikido skill, unique style, and colossal contribution to aikido as a martial art.
Juba Nour has a 6 Dan in Aikikai and holds a status of a Shihan. He’s one of the first known uchi-deshi’s for Kazuo Chiba. A founder of the Baja Aikido on the beaches of Mexico and one of the Birankai’s heroes.
Robert Savoca Sensei is a 6th Dan teacher from Birankai base in New York, USA. He is one of the T.K. Chiba Shihan’s successors and a founder of the Brooklyn Aikikai Dojo. This interview was conducted on Saturday, February 2, 2019, during Savoca Sensei’s seminar at Wroclaw Aikikai, Poland.