NY Aikido Center
Shaun Ravens - Founder, President and Chairman
I began my training in martial arts in 1981 with Tae Kwon Do, under Arthur Cohen, at the Massapequa Park Mu-Duk-Kwan - Tae Kwon Do Academy. I developed an intense focus on both forms competitions and fighting. In 1989 I was introduced to Aikido, and immediately recognized that it was a synthesis of my martial, artistic and academic studies. One month later, I went to Japan to seek out a path of study of Asian culture and the martial arts. Upon my return from Japan, I began training at Steven Seagal's Aikido Tenshin Dojo under Seagal's main disciple and Chief Instructor, Haruo Matsuoka Sensei. Matsuoka Sensei has been my teacher from that point forward. He continues to inspire me and keep me motivated to continue on along the path of Aikido.
I have spent the last fourteen years studying and sharing the key elements found within Matsuoka Sensei's unique and gentle method of teaching. Matsuoka Sensei's focus is to use powerful techniques to train and develop the total human being. "Training begins with the body, is sourced by the spirit, and guided by the heart as it is focused by the mind."
Assisting Matsuoka Sensei, I have helped to bring Aikido 10th degree black belt and Master Calligrapher Seiseki Abe Sensei, along with other masters, to the United States for several festivals entitled, "The Celebration of the Human Spirit." As a result of what was taught at these events, I began to incorporate the dynamic principals of both "misogi" (ascetic ritual purification) and macrobiotics into my training routine and daily life. Over the past fifteen years I have traveled back and forth from the United States to Japan to pursue my study of aikido, misogi-no-gyo and macrobiotics, the three main points of focus in our Power Triad training program.
When I returned from Japan in the latter part of 1998, I felt motivated to capture, formalize and share the many unique experiences in which I had been lucky to partake. I founded 3rd Power Foundation in the middle of 1999, and changed the name to NY Aikido Center in July of 2002. This was simply to emphasize that the central focus of our training is in the art of Aikido. As a member of Aikido Doshinokai, our goal is to share Matsuoka Sensei's and Seiseki Abe Sensei's approach on how to seek the Founder of Aikido, Morihei Ueshiba - O-Sensei and his art, and to do this in a way that raises the spirit and improves the lives of ourselves, our loved ones and others in the community.
NY Aikido Center is a nexus point for those seeking to develop their own spirit through shugyo, the traditional method of study, learning and growth.
You could say that I began training early in life when, at five years old people began noticing what was remarked as a "vast artistic ability." I spent the next eight years being classically trained in oil painting and sculpture and showed a high level of aptitude in the areas of spatial relationships and architectural design. I studied under local artists and teachers, quickly orienting myself towards training under the watchful eyes of a master. My early years were profoundly influenced at family gatherings where I was encouraged to participate in lively debates between my father, and my three uncles. My father is a former Administrator for the NY State Board of Education, and was also a religious school studies Principal. My uncles, Dr. Marvin Zimmerman, noted Scholar, social critic, Professor, author and former head of the Philosophy Department at the University of Buffalo, and Leonard Zimmerman, nationally renown Actuary, Public Speaker and National Public Health Committee advisor, and Stanley Ravens, an Engineer & Architect who helped design some of New York City's prominent sky scrapers, with their varied backgrounds, expertise and accomplishments created an environment that challenged me on many levels. I learned to sharpen both my wit and tongue, but most importantly, my mind.
Throughout my years in secondary school and college, I had a propensity for developing critical perspectives on world events and complex social issues. There, with the encouragement of several of my teachers, I began to develop a unique style of writing wherein I weave elements of my passions and studies. Since 1986 my studies have focused on Asian cultures and language, Eastern and Western religions, Anthropology, and Philosophy and Sociology as they relate to both macro and microeconomics. I moved to the West Coast in 1987 to further my studies, where for a period of two years, I focused exclusively on Ontology - the study of human beings - under the personal tutelage of both Bayard Hora and Werner Erhard and their main disciples.
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© Shaun Ravens & NY Aikido Center, 1999-2010