Milwaukee Budo Renshukai Aikido Juku
Last edited by Shinobi1126; 8/03/2010 12:45pm at .
Budo Renshikai Aikido
Shinobi has alot of hatred, apparently for a school that I've never had a problem with. I have been training with the Sensei for several years and have never known them to be anything other than genuine and regular folks. Their Aikido is top-notch. I have trained at several other Aikido dojos in the city and can say that their style strikes me as one of the more realistic and combat minded of the area schools. Sensei are most always there for class, and when they arent, the senior students take their place. The our head Sensei is a teacher at a local public school and our head instructor is his son. I personally know most of the former senior members. They have all either left due to moving out of town or have gone to start their own schools. Many of them (those still in the area) still come to classes on a regular basis to visit and compare notes. I'm not sure why you had such a horrible experience, but you might consider coming back without such a horrible attitude and see what the school is all about. If you email me, I'll even comp you a few months of classes free so you can see. Anyone else, see our website at: www.milwaukeeaikidodojo.com
I have known senior students who have come and gone long before you were a member. It is laughable that you thnk you have the authority to "comp me" a few classes; laughable.
That dude said that thing over 2 years ago brother.
I am actually a member of the club that used to be called Budo Renshukai Aikido Juku.
I never attended when it was under that name (I was a member of the Milwaukee Aikido Club at that time), but its web site left me very skeptical for many reasons: the pretentiously long Japanese name, no mention of any lineage or parent organization, and a bio page referring to the 3rd dan founder of the club as a "Shihan".
About a year ago, because of dissatisfaction with the training I was getting at the Milwaukee Aikido Club and because of impending changes to my schedule brought on by fatherhood, I decided to look up the club again and see what it was all about.
What I discovered was that the club had been taken over by Mel Flannagan, a 3rd dan originally from Hawaii with legit Hombu cred (spent more than a year training there under Doshu and earned her 2nd dan there). It is now called Milwaukee Aikikai and has joined the Hawaii Aikido Federation.
I didn't come in here to write a review, but since my club already has a thread dedicated to it here's my two cents:
Flannagan Sensei is top-notch. She is experienced, knowledgeable, and (best of all) unpretentious. She is middle-aged, but in better physical shape than many of her young students, meaning that she can take any ukemi she expects her students to take. There is not a lot of variety in her weapons teaching (mostly a few Koichi Tohei solo kata), but I don't think the average aikidoist would find it lacking -- I came up in an ASU club and so am used to the much more extensive Saotome weapons curriculum. If I must make a complaint about her, it's that she uses the word 'ki' more than I'm comfortable with. She doesn't mean anything mystical or supernatural by it, but it's still a word I'd rather martial arts instructors avoid altogether.
There is something of a drop-off in instruction quality after Flannagan. There is one shodan who is rarely around anymore and there are two brown belt sempai who sometimes teach (one of whom is the above dclaudio). These guys' aikido experience falls far short of Flannagan's own, in terms of both sheer chronology and variety, though they are all experienced in other martial arts. They are still getting used to Flannagan's more mainstream style, and so their teaching often doesn't line up with Flannagan's, which can be confusing, especially around test time. They also seem to have learned from the old Budo Renshukai Aikido Juku instructors that aikido is a practical self-defense system, which means occasional sidetracks into conversations about how a technique would work "on the street"; personally, I'm never attempting a shihonage "on the street", no matter what they say.
The club is in a new place now, rented space from a church group. It is a small space and the mats aren't the best, but it is adequate for a small club.
Dues are the cheapest of any club in the area, aikido or otherwise, and the Hawaii Aikido Federation's yearly dues are much less than those of bigger organizations like the ASU or USAF. Ranks given out there are certified by Hombu so long as you pay your one-time Hombu membership fee (I haven't yet -- I don't see much use in it before shodan). Classes are Monday and Wednesday nights and sometimes Saturday mornings.
All in all, the new Milwaukee Aikikai is a club with some good things going for it: friendly people, good relationships with other clubs and organizations, and a head instructor who is the real deal. The club is still very much a work in progress, though.
Their web site is here: http://milwaukeeaikidodojo.com/index.html. It is not very well maintained, and still contains a lot of outdated stuff from the old Budo Renshukai Aikido Juku.
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