View Full Version : Takeshin Sogo Budo/ Tony Annesi (Roy Goldberg)

21st August 2000, 05:02
Never mind

[Edited by kenkyusha on 10-15-2000 at 08:42 AM]

21st August 2000, 10:45
Just to be fair, you aren't the only one up thataway:cool:

Nathan Scott
2nd October 2000, 20:56
Gee, I just came across a post on another BBS directing readers to a web site hosted by Mr. Tony Annesi.

On this site he is selling a massive amount of self-produced products, including at least two full seminar videos of Don Angier Soke, and a host of other videos including Mr. Angier, Wally Jay, Joe Cowles and many other instructors.

The two other tapes with Angier Sensei (the principles of aiki) imply that Mr Annesi (Shihan) is co-instructing.

One tape that features Mr. Annesi contains in it's tape a description of instructional concepts that matchs identically to terminology used by Angier Soke.

There is also some kind of Jujutsu wall chart that includes aiki lineages, etc. and a book called "Aiki no katei set" that sports a price of $119.00.

His company is called the "Bushido-kai", and seems to be the business side of his own invention "Takeshin martial arts". His page can be found at:

http://www.pobox.com/~bushido-kai (email=bushido-kai@pobox.com)

It occurs to me that there is alot of material being sold there that is based on seminars from other isntructors/groups, but he is the only one selling the videos for them. For instance, Mr. Williams (Bugei) informed me recently that Mr. Angier does not allow video taping of his seminars anymore because previous seminar tapes were being distributed without his permission.

The information found in these expensive products being sold at the Bushido-kai site may (or may not) be benficial, but it makes me wonder if these products are being integrated/reproduced with the permission of the instructors he is borrowing from?

*Does anyone know or care to comment on the products being sold there from a consumer standpoint?

*If they are being sold without the blessings of the instructors, how do you all feel about that?

*Are you o.k with supporting a company that makes a living off of other instructors if that is the case?

Part of Mr. Annesi's site makes reference to a Kenkyukai, which is a research organization, so perhaps he feels justified producing these products under this pretense.


bomb tech
2nd October 2000, 21:12
I posted a question about obtainining a specific video of Angier Soke that another poster had mentioned on another forum. He provided a link to "Bushido-Kai".

Fortunately, a subsequent post alerted me to the fact that these videos were/may be "unauthorized". This also explains why they are not available through Bugei.

To answer your question:

No, I would not buy a video from any company that was selling them without the instructor's permission or consent. It should be up to the instructor as to what he does and does not want disseminated to the public.

Yes, I do think that doing so constitutes unethical practices and brings one's honor into serious question.


Neil Yamamoto
2nd October 2000, 23:42
*Does anyone know or care to comment on the products being sold there from a consumer standpoint?

I have seen these and while not great,there is some good, bad and downright ugly techniques on the videos. Don Angiers performances even are down rated to just good because the camera work is not very well thought out and the audio stinks.

*If they are being sold without the blessings of the instructors, how do you all feel about that?

Pre crash e-budo, I made a few choice comments I won't repeat. It's amazing how many people remembered what I said and know who I am from just one little comment.

*Are you o.k with supporting a company that makes a living off of other instructors if that is the case?

No, I think it is not ethical. But short of sueing the guy, what are you going to do? If the guy who is doing this type of thing doesn't care, then it's pretty hard to get him to stop his actions short of major legal action.

Nathan Scott
2nd October 2000, 23:56

It's kind of hard to believe that someone could actually blatantly sell video of other people and not be called on it legally.

I guess one thing you could do about it if you don't find this kind of business ethical is educate the public and boycot the products...:)

Has anyone had any personal experience with this particular issue or inquired as to the nature of Mr. Annesi's publications?


Cady Goldfield
3rd October 2000, 00:55
Sigh. In the good ol' days, we had dojo storming. I remember a few choice incidents where individuals attempted to open schools to teach bits and pieces of an art, without permission of the system's head or even their former instructor. A "friendly visit" by some of the system's senior practitioners to the unwelcome school helped convince the transgressor that he really should close down and stop teaching/selling books and videos of teachings, etc. It really did put an end to unethical use of other people's arts and talents, lemme tell ya.

Nowadays, though, people have RIGHTS, dammit, and can go about abusing the intellectual property of others, and offending the ancestry of entire systems and arts, with impunity. The only recourse is legal, but too few serious martial artists have the time or desire to pursue that avenue. They just grumble, chalk it up to experience, and get back to shugyo. Too bad, because it lets the schmucks continue their illicit activities. And yet, that's the way it is.

I do miss the good ol' days sometimes.

Dan Harden
3rd October 2000, 03:20
I am quite sure Mr. Annesi has a life full of good qualities and relationships outside that of Budo. Overall he really isn't a bad guy. Maybe his commercial side just gets away from him. Of course not all commercial dojo are that way. The nature of having to make a living teaching these arts to the public opens a very wide door to all sorts of potential compromise. More than one man, of sound pedigree, has faltered in the "quicksand" of business.

Moral? Don't make Budo a business
Stay small
Remain a student
and teach for free.

Just my general opinion,


[Edited by Nathan Scott on 10-16-2000 at 05:02 PM]

3rd October 2000, 06:41
he's no aikido guy either, in my opinion. i saw a few of his tapes. i thought lowly of his instruction. he seems to be another person "getting away with it."

Arne Oster
3rd October 2000, 08:24
Would Goldberg Sensei really have returned for more seminars with Annesi Sensei if he was unhappy with the first one appearing on video? Twice?

Arne Oster

4th October 2000, 03:45
Originally posted by autrelle
he's no aikido guy either, in my opinion. i saw a few of his tapes. i thought lowly of his instruction. he seems to be another person "getting away with it."
Have to take exception to this...
Be well,

[Edited by kenkyusha on 10-15-2000 at 08:40 AM]

Neil Yamamoto
4th October 2000, 04:01
I seem to recall I said something about a bokken, not a chainsaw. :D

4th October 2000, 04:07
Be well,

[Edited by kenkyusha on 10-15-2000 at 08:39 AM]

4th October 2000, 09:34

Federation of Better Budo?

Nathan Scott
5th October 2000, 17:13
Shortly after reviving this thread, I took the liberty of sending Mr. Annesi an email letting him know that we were discussing his publications and invited him to the forum to offer his perspective. Below is a copy of the email I sent him, and following that is a reply containing a statement he asked me to post on his behalf (sorry for the length):

My email to Mr. Annesi:

Hello Mr. Annesi,

I came across your web page from a posting on the Aikido Journal bulletin board. Your site was listed in connection with an article recently published in Aikido Journal concerning Don Angier, that you may be aware of.

I moderate an Aikijujutsu forum at e-budo.com, and re-opened a thread there concerning the same topic with your web site and products for the list-ka to discuss or comment on.

In the interest of fairness and objectivity, I'd like to invite you to participate in the discussion or at least offer a statement of some kind as to whether or not the products you sell that include other instructors, such as the seminar tapes of Don Angier, the aiki wall chart and book on Aiki you have written, are produced with the blessings of the instructors associated with them?

The reason I brought it up on our board and even thought about it was an ambiguous mention of someone on the east coast who had used some intellectual property of Mr. Angier's without permission (stated in his recent article), and my own experience of having attended one of Mr. Angier's seminars in which he stated that video taping of his seminars was no longer allowed anymore because someone else was selling copies of his seminars illegally.

The discussion at e-budo can be viewed at:

If you would like to offer a response directly, you can go to the main page at:

and click on the upper right hand icon to register and post a reply. If you would rather not reply to the board directly, I would be happy to post a response for you if you wish.

I don't mean to sound presumptuous in this email, and am open to the possibility that there is a valid perspective to your side of the issue. But since it is being discussed, I thought it would be only fair to make you aware of it and give you an opportunity to offer comments if you wish.

Thanks for your time,

Nathan Scott


Response from Mr. Annesi:

Dear Mr. Scott,

Normally, I would be happy to respond via your WEBsite but my computer is not up to it. It has an older, smaller processor and often "times-out" when loading a site. I expect to get a new computer, funds allowing, in January, but for now I am relegated to e-mail, so I hope you will be kind enough to post this for me.

Thank you so much for the time you took to write your letter and for requesting a response from me. You were correct in deducing that the person whom Soke Angier referred to in his article was me.

It is an understatement to say that I was shocked and saddened by the one paragraph that refers to publishing material of Soke Angier's without credit. I tried to contact Soke Angier twice by phone but found no one home, so I contacted him by e-mail, instead. I am attaching that e-mail and a relevant e-mail for your general information. I was hoping to clear up an apparent misunderstanding with Soke Angier but have not heard from him as yet. I also hoped that readers might ignore the paragraph in his otherwise fine article while, at the same time, I realized that someone would want to know more. I did not want to put Soke Angier and myself on opposite sides in the public's eye nor put him in a position where he felt he had to defend what I feel is a misconception.

For my part, I find myself put in a position of wanting to be respectful to a man that I revere as an aiki practitioner and teacher and simultaneously wanting to strenuously deny any wrong-doing on my part.

Don Angier is the finest aiki stylist in the country and one of the 3 or 4 best in the world, at least in my 36 years of experience. His contributions have been very private and low-key--doing occasional seminars and publishing his Dragon Library videotapes--but to those of us who have learned from him, doors have been opened which have advanced our budo (at least in my case) by decades.

I met Soke Angier by letter around 1979-80 when I wrote him regarding an article he had written for the now defunct Self-Defense World magazine. I noted that there were very few aiki-ju-jutsu practitioners around and that, judging by the illustrations in his article, some of his waza were quite similar to some I was used to teaching from Shihan Albert Church's Kamishin-ryu Aiki-ju-jutsu. He wrote back, gave me the history of his art and invited me to visit. Unfortunately, when I was able to visit the west coast in 1980, he was on location working on a film as a make-up professional; so, we were unable to meet.

A few years later, a person who later became a mutual friend, Victor Block, called me at my dojo and introduced himself. Having read some of the articles I had written for Inside Karate (then Kick) magazine and other publications, he suggested that I contact Soke Angier again. He felt we would hit it off well and had a lot in common. When I called, Soke Angier was quite approachable, interested in sharing information (although he had much more to share than I), and we had many long phone conversations regarding martial arts.

I invited him to visit my dojo when I hosted Roland Maroteaux (Aiki Goshin-do, France) for the second time in 1985. I was pleasantly surprised when he attended the seminar and was willing to share some sword etiquette on the video we were shooting.

He was so impressive in his aiki technique and low-key in his demeanor that I immediately invited him to be the featured instructor in the next year's seminar (Soke Don Angier's Yanagi Ryu, 1986). I was especially fascinated by his teaching-by-principle method because I had used a
similar method in the seventies but gave it up as being too complicated.

Soke Angier urged me to reconsider this.

Soke Angier was kind enough to do three other seminars for us: a group seminar with Dennis Palumbo [Hakko ryu Jujutsu], Henri-Robert Vilaire, Miguel Ibarra and Roy Goldberg (Modern Masters of Five Aiki Arts, 1988), and two seminars with me (The Principles of Aiki, 1989, 1990).

I was appointed Soke-dai of the Kamishin-kai International in 1984 by my late instructor's wife, Catherine O. Church, who had inherited his style after his death in 1980. By 1988, I could see that what I wanted for the kai conflicted with Mrs. Church's desires. I contacted Soke Angier to ask for his advice and also visited his home-dojo during that year. He encouraged me to continue without the Kamishin-kai and to consider starting a new style, something I was hesitant to do. In fact, it was in his back yard, looking at a carved logo of his Yanagi-ryu that I got the idea for the name of the system, Takeshin Sogo Budo.

When I started our video company, Bushido-kai Budoya, in 1989, in order to help support a traditional dojo so that it would not have to cave to commercialism, I needed to find someone to dub the videos at a moderate cost. Soke Angier suggested that I send my originals to a friend of his
in California for dubbing. While his friend was relocating his business, I mailed the original videos, including the three that Soke Angier had done at my dojo, to Soke Angier's home, and his friend would drop by to pick them up. My company also has served as an outlet for Dragon Library videos.

During the late eighties and early nineties, I did a number of seminars in Dallas at SMU for Bryan Robbins and Toby Threadgill, new members of our Bushido-kai Kenkyukai. I encouraged them to invite Soke Angier to do a seminar for them. If they thought I was talented or subtle in execution, they would be amazed at Soke Angier's technique. They did so and struck up a cordial relationship with Soke Angier.

A few years later, when Sensei Robbins opted not to continue with our federation because of additional expenses he was incurring and a decreasing draw at the door during seminars, he contacted Soke Angier for direction. Soke Angier offered Bryan and Toby an unusual arrangement which, as I understand it, gave them his recognition (something he does not easily hand out) and freedom to do what they wanted with their curriculum. Bryan and Toby continued inviting Don Angier to teach seminars for them regularly in Dallas. This is relevant because the SMU dojo is now associated with Soke Angier and because I still talk to Toby occasionally on the phone as a friend. Toby Threadgill has spent a lot of time with Don Angier since then, training, traveling and talking. Toby is also a student of the late Yukiyoshi TAKAMURA (Shindo Yoshin-ryu Ju-jutsu), a superb martial artist who both respected and became close to Soke Angier.

In the past 5 or 6 years, I have called Soke Angier a few times a year on one subject or another but found him polite but cool. In talking to Toby Threadgill, I asked him about this, but he had no information except to say that "Sometimes Don can seem kind of moody on the phone." I brushed the coolness off, assuming I had simply disturbed Soke Angier at a awkward time. He never mentioned any misgivings he had about our relationship or anything he found offensive. I was therefore taken by surprise when I read his article in Aikido Journal.

This gives you the background, the attached letters will give you what I have deduced, from talking to Toby, might have been the cause of the paragraph in Soke Angier's article. Admittedly, I cannot be sure.

Finally, let me respond to your direct questions. I think the "intellectual property" that you refer to was a list of Soke Angier's 50 principles which I originally printed up and sold, with his knowledge and permission, on the occasion of the second Principles of Aiki seminar (1990). Later, it may have been 1991, I called Soke Angier on another subject and he used that occasion to ask me to stop publishing this list. I was surprised. His attitude when he had done seminars for us was that knowledge was meant to be shared and, besides, only the most talented of martial artists would comprehend instruction at this level, so his material was, in essence, "hidden in the open," waiting for those
who put in the work to reap the rewards. I reminded him that he had given me permission to publish the list but he remembered it differently, saying that he had been intended just for me and my students. Since it was clearly information that had come from Yanagi-ryu, I agreed to not reprint the list at all.

Shortly thereafter I undertook a project that I had been working on since I first had been reintroduced by Don Angier to teaching by principle. I wanted to try to unify both karate and aiki by discovering principles that both arts shared. The result of ten years of work was my Principles of Advanced Budo which is published in chart, book and video format. Naturally, there were a number of overlaps with what I had been taught by Soke Angier. I called him, explained that I was writing two books in which I mentioned him and, knowing that he did not like being mentioned in publications, made sure it was all right.

One cannot learn how to do a martial technique more efficiently and then suddenly opt to perform it inefficiently. However, one can too easily forget, conveniently or accidentally, from whom one had learned that more efficient method. Too often in the martial arts' non-academic atmosphere, people do not credit their sources, pretending that they secretly always had that more efficient method in their style. I made sure that where I used principles I had learned from someone else, I credited my source. Don Angier was, of course, credited several times. However, I consciously used a completely original way to organize the principles and when other teachers' concepts were similar to those I wanted to emphasize, I used different names (mentioning, when relevant, that Soke Angier or Shihan Church or Sensei X called this principle something else or used it a different way.)

In every aiki seminar I have done even to the present day, I credit Don Angier if I perform a technique his way or emphasize a principle learned from him. Even in my own small dojo classes, I credit him when appropriate as I credit other martial artists from whom I have learned.

I can only assume that the little instructional article referred to in the attachments struck a nerve with Soke Angier and that he assumed that I had something to do with it. I did not know until much later that the article in question was even published. You can refer to the attached
e-mails for details.

As far as I know, I am one of the few martial artists who regularly and publicly credit other martial artists for what they have taught. That is why I was so upset that Soke Angier might consider me someone who would publish his material without his permission or neglect to credit him
when credit was due.

Thanks for giving me this opportunity to comment on this issue. I appreciate your sense of fairness in a martial arts world that tends to fall into political squabbles too easily and sometimes unnecessarily.

Best of success in your WEBsite and in your martial studies.

Tony Annesi
Takeshin Sogo Budo


Not the kind of response I had expected, and interestingly enough, ties in pretty closely to the thread on "what is really yours to teach?"

There are two attachments that Mr. Annesi asked me to post as well, but I have to convert the format first and will post them here when I get a chance.


[Edited by Nathan Scott on 10-05-2000 at 12:19 PM]

5th October 2000, 20:17
Hi Cady and others,
this might be my first post here, so forgive any huge problem with the format of the post please?

I don't think there were good ol' days. there were just days before the invention of video and the printing press for that matter and the days after it.

fighters have always borrowed and taught what worked ino other systems. If they didn't then village A would eventually have
controlled village B. it's the $ that gets it all screwed up and confused these days.

mis-representation of techniques goes way way back, but that doesn't make it right. there never were
people who kept up their art and didn't change when they came across something better.

anyway, Rony's response if true does sound like a rather believable story. It also raises another problem though. Now there is someone going around demonstrating things they say they learned from Angier Sensei. what he is showing is his understanding of principles he learned from Angier Sensei. this is worth qualifying. The only way to say it is how Angier Sensei does it is for him to explicitly say you can do that.

In a way this is more damaging to Yanagi-ryu then just
selling video footage. at least that is showing something Angier Sensei really did. rather then drediting him for being responsible for the
thing being shown which he may not have really created and can't be responsible for.

It's worth noting that Dan's plan for how not to inherit the Earth would also solve this problem, cuz you would
not be selling and promoting yourself. In a way you're much better off by not saying where the principles you are showing people come from *laugh*

Does anyone know if the full text of this article is available in electronic format anywhere?
I'd like to read it.


Joel Zimba

Nathan Scott
6th October 2000, 17:37
Following are the two attachments sent to me by Mr. Annesi of what he says are emails sent to Angier Soke:



Dear Don,

Needless to say, I was distressed by the paragraph from your article (page 22 of the most recent Aikido Journal, #119). As you know, I called you up immediately upon seeing it, but you were not home. I then called, Toby Threadgill to see if
he had any further insights into what prompted the paragraph. The only thing he came up with was an article in a pamphlet by Troy Price who represents of branch of Shindo Yoshin Ryu in South Carolina. Mr. Price is on my mailing list, but I have never met him.

Toby informed me that Mr. Price used a number of your Yanagi Ryu principles in an explanation of technique and that since he did not credit you or Yanagi Ryu but used one of my books in his bibliography, you assumed that he got those principles from me. It was an understandable assumption since Troy comes from South Carolina, the state in which Kamishin-ryu is based, since I was the soke-dai of Kamishin at one time, and since you had taught me a number of the Yanagi Ryu principles.

I had not seen the article in question, so I called up Mr. Price. He was very nice and forthcoming. I asked him to fax me the article that he thought might be in question and he did so. If I have the correct article (on Irimi Nage), it is clear that, with the exception of a few of concepts gleaned from other arts, he did, in fact, use names associated with Yanagi Ryu principles.

I called him back a couple of days later and asked him what his sources for these terms were. We agreed that it was not my text since I do not use those names and whenever I use a Yanagi concept during instruction, I credit you, directly or
indirectly, as the source of the information.

He felt that the terms (which he has used frequently enough to have assimilated) had come from two sources: (1) The Principles of Aiki videos which we did together in the 80's, and (2) a few Danzan-ryu stylists who had taken seminars with you in California.

He said that although he tried to properly credit all his sources, had he obviously neglected the primary source of the principles in question, thinking that it must have been covered in the bibliography. He said that had he recalled the source more clearly, he would certainly have given credit where credit was due. I will be sending him a copy of this e-mail as a suggestion to write an e-mail to you to confirm this.

I want you to know that I did not and would not consciously show disrespect to you or Yanagi Ryu. I am constantly saying, "this idea came from Don Angier" or "Don Angier calls this concept Back Pressure" -- or whatever the principle may be at the time. I do this even in my own dojo classes with students who have known who you are and have heard me reference you for the past 15 years as well as with new students who do not know you at all. I am sure that I do not mention your name or the Yanagi Principle every time I use Triangulation or another principle but when I teach something I try to make sure my students know where I got the information, whether it is from you or Shihan Church, Sensei Demas, Hanshi Bruce Juchnik or even some fellow instructors I don't especially favor or get along with.

I also want to make clear that there is no list of Yanagi principles in my dojo nor do I sell such a list. I think it was around 1989 that you asked me to not sell the list so I never reprinted it and I removed it from my dojo wall. Neither do any of our member dojo have your list posted.

Finally, in writing my books, I always credit you both for relevant specifics like technique or concepts and also in general as been one of the most positive and important influences in my martial arts development. I do not represent myself as your student or a Yanagi stylist but only as a person who was lucky enough to learn from you. I am not saying this to butter you up. It is simply fact.

I hope I have touched upon the items that may have been bothering you.

I can only determine these by what you mention in your article and from talking to Toby. Please, if you have any further concerns, feel free to call or e-mail.

Best wishes,
Tony Annesi


[then an email from Mr. Price - no date included]:

Dear, Soke Don Angier

My name is Troy Price, I am writing to you in reply to the recent E-mail from Shihan Tony Annesi. I would like to confirm that Shihan Annesi had contacted me about the issue in question refered to in his E-mail. I will agree that the
statements refered to in his E-mail are a fair account of our conversations. I would like to apolize for the oversite in not including you or giving credit to Yanagi Ryu in the references for the influences in assimilating the terms used in my article. In the future, if the article is ever used I will be sure to include you in the references.

Troy Price


Cady Goldfield
6th October 2000, 17:43
If only plagiarists in academe were as polite and forthcoming.

10th October 2000, 15:10
Hi guys,

I really have mixed feelings about posting anything on this topic but I feel the need to clarify my involvment in this situation because like it or not I have been sort of swept into a position of being in the middle of this thing. I have recently received numerous E-mails asking questions and offering opinions about this subject. Some of them border on the absurd.

First I would like to say that some very unflattering things have been written here about Tony Annesi that I feel are totally unwarranted. Admittedly Tony has repeatedly stepped into bovine scatology of his own creation, but the implication that he is somehow malevolent or maliciously conspiratorial in these actions I personally dismiss. I have known Tony for a great many years now and although we have very different opinions concerning numerous specifics of martial training, we have managed to maintain a cordial although admittedly at times awkward relationship. Several people posting here have attacked Tony in almost everyway possible. To these individuals I would like to point some things out. Unlike so many others who come under criticism here, Tony Annesi is not claiming to teach some ancient martial tradition passed to him by some chinese laundry man or tengu. He unapologetically teaches an art of his own organization and formation and is very upfront about it. Tony was a legitament student of both Larry Garron & Albert Church, both acknowledged Hakko ryu jujutsu instructors. The statements by some here that he has never had any genuine exposure to aiki lineage martial arts is simply untrue and occasionally a lie of malice. People who attack his ability are free to do so as this is a subjective opinion but I wonder how many of these individuals have really trained at any length with him. I might also add that some of the people attacking Tony as being untalented have received similarly damning criticism from other individuals I personally know to be martial artists of the highest calibre. One rather virulent critic of Tony’s has himself been described by an absolutely top notch instructor of aikijujutsu as “ totally clueless” after a personal hands on encounter.

How enlightening.

Be that as it may........

Thru consistent misunderstanding, miscommuniaction and outright omission Tony has carelessly compromised his relationship with Don Angier. I periodically tried to point this out to Tony but for whatever reasons he was either unaware or unwilling to directly address this situation. Don Angier is a uniquely generous man with his knowledge as long as he perceives a certain selfless desire within the idividual seeking his knowledge. However, at the slightest hint of flippant stuffiness or careless commercialism he can change his mood to icy indifference. Don simply does not suffer what he perceives as foolishness lightly. As the headmaster of Yanagi ryu, that is his perogative and some would say his responsability.

In Tony’s letter that Nathan posted he mentioned that Bryan Robbins and I were for a short time associated with his organization. This relationship was beneficial for a time,( in fact it was thru this relationship that we first met Don Angier) but evenually it became a financial strain as well as a relationship of diverging objectives. You see, Bryan Robbins, founder of the SMU Martial Arts Club is an instructor of literally world class ability and distinction. He was our U.S. Diving Team Coach for two Pan American Games and two Olympic Games. He has spent a lifetime of immersion and teaching at the highest levels of competitive athletics. He has also been teaching martial arts for over 30 years. You can only imagine that someone so well versed in teaching world class athletics would also excell at teaching so strong a personal passion as martial arts. I can honestly credit Bryan Robbins for being the main reason I am still involved in martial training. The martial arts community is a sea of the bizarre mixed with macho bravado. Bryan by comparison is a calm and fantastically talented instructor with as even a keel as anyone I’ve ever met. His calm demeanor is I believe a direct response to the years of struggle & stress involved in Olympic class competition, Bryan saw our martial arts club as a oasis of relaxation, a place of teaching for the joy of teaching instead of winning. Tony’s organization although non-competitive was demanding in a way that wasn’t really compatable with the objectives Bryan and I desired for the club. In the end it was decided that Tony’s organization and the SMU Martial Arts Club were heading in different directions and we decided to withdraw.

A short time later, several months I believe, we approached Don Angier for advice on how we should proceed. He encouraged us to just continue what we were doing which was essentially a derivation of Hakko ryu. We expressed discomfort with this option because we didn’t feel we were qualified to continue without someone as a formal mentor. ( I had considered our formally approaching the Hakko ryu as I had met and trained with the very talented Julio Toribio.) At this point Don offered us an option we could not believe. He offered to formally adopt us as a affiliate dojo to the Yanagi ryu. We would not be a formal Yanagi ryu dojo but in time would create an new curriculum separate from but based on Yanagi ryu. This art was to be called Yokage aikijujutsu “willow shadow” and would be a Yanagi ryu derivation supported by Yanagi ryu’s headmaster with Bryan Robbins receiving formal certification as the chief instructor/Ryuso. This all occurred around 10 years ago. The club has thrived under Bryan Robbins expert direction and Don comes to Dallas at least three times annually to critique our progress and introduce us to new techniques and principles. Several instructors in our club also frequent the Yanagi ryu hombu as often as possible. One recently spent almost seven months there. My dojo currently operates a research group on Yanagi ryu kenjutsu as an addition to the SMU clubs aikijujutsu curriculum.

We in the SMU Martial Arts Club are disappointed in the unfortunate turn of events that are the subject of this thread but ultimately it is none of our business. This is a personal and professional disagreement between Don Angier & Tony Annesi and as such is best left to them to sort out. I think the continuing discussion of this topic here or thru E-mails by uninvolved parties achieves nothing so I will not answer any further E -mails directed to me on this subject.

Toby Threadgill

[Edited by Toby Threadgill on 10-10-2000 at 05:15 PM]

Nathan Scott
10th October 2000, 19:40

Thanks for the reply. I'm sorry to have put you in the position to make such a post, but I hope you understand that from an outsiders perspective it appeared on the surface as though Mr. Annesi may have been soley "in the wrong".

Given the recent interest in this subject by Angier Sensei's article, I though it might be prudent to try to establish whether the products sold by Mr. Annesi were being produced with or without the contributor's permission.

I admit to approaching the topic with preconceived suspician, and was pleasantly surprised at the polite, considered responses offered by Mr. Annesi.

In my own head, I had already written the subject off as a misunderstanding between the two parties, and was hoping to see the thread die. The parties concerned can hash it out further on their own if they wish, it's not necessary to delve further into it here.

Apologies for any negativity I may have contributed to this subject. But in all honesty, most people had assumed from the aritcle and hearsay that Mr. Annesi was completely in the wrong. At least the public now has a chance to hear the other side of the story from Mr. Annesi, and make up their own minds.

On a more uplifting note, the mention of the "Yokage" study group is really great! Lucky you!


[Edited by Nathan Scott on 10-10-2000 at 02:53 PM]

10th October 2000, 22:10

My previous post was in no way directed towards you. You are a wonderful moderator for this column. All the posters here owe you a great debt of gratitude for an effort that must take up enormous time with little or no rewards.



Tom Douglas
13th October 2000, 19:06
Just some impressions and questions (for what they're worth), after studying the two tapes "Principles of Aiki" produced following Mr. Angier's 1989 and 1990 seminars at Mr. Annesi's dojo:

(1) By alternating segments of Mr. Annesi and Mr. Angier, who are teaching separate groups at opposite ends of the dojo, the tapes create the impression that Mr. Annesi is teaching on a co-equal basis with Mr. Angier, although Mr. Angier's presence is the "hook" used to market these tapes on Mr. Annesi's website and in his promotional literature.

(2) In his segments, Mr. Annesi does not appear to credit Yanagi ryu for the "principles" which he discusses, or mention that they are in some way derived from his training in, or understanding of, Yanagi ryu principles. The impression I come away with is of watching a "potluck" seminar, with each teacher bringing his own, separately-developed ideas and style to the dojo.

(3) Did Mr. Annesi obtain express permission from Mr. Angier to market these seminar videotapes featuring Mr. Angier's teaching? If the partial list of Yanagi ryu principles that Mr. Annesi discusses in the e-mails posted by Nathan Scott above are any indication, I doubt that Mr. Annesi did obtain such permission. Certainly Mr. Angier is aware that he is being videotaped, and is careful and considerate to adjust the viewing angle his physical demonstrations for the benefit of the camera as well as the seminar participants. Was Mr. Angier under the impression that the videotapes were being shot for the benefit of seminar participants (as he intended to limit the distribution of the list of Yanagi ryu principles)? Mr. Annesi notes that he sent certain videotape originals (not necessarily the "Principles of Aiki" tapes, however) to Mr. Angier for referral to a friend of Mr. Angier's who could handle the dubbing at a reasonable cost. That does not answer whether Mr. Angier had given his express permission for the tapes to be sold or distributed to other than seminar participants.

(4)Was Mr. Angier compensated financially for use of his teaching and participation on the videotapes? This is distinct from any fee he received for teaching at the seminars shown on the videotapes.

(5)Mr. Annesi's verbal style is fast-paced and subtle. This is apparent not only in his marketing, but also in the e-mail he wrote to Mr. Scott explaining his side of this matter. Why, for example, did Mr. Annesi feel a need to include the detail that one of the times he tried to meet with Mr. Angier he was not able to, because Mr. Angier was on location working on a film--"as a make-up professional"? I know it is one small detail, but it left the impression (in more than one person) that Mr. Annesi is deliberately trying to contrast the distinctively non-martial nature of professional make-up art with martial art, or to emphasize that Mr. Angier was not at work on a film as a martial artist or fight consultant. In other words, it's a detail included to belittle or subtly distract from Mr. Angier's reputation.

(6)Although Mr. Annesi's e-mails posted above describe a number of contacts, as well as attempts to contact, Mr. Angier, nowhere does he state that he obtained express permission from Mr. Angier to use or refer to Yanagi-ryu principles in his teaching. In copyright law, certain exceptions are made for fair-use or educational purposes. However, selling tapes for profit without having obtained express permission or providing compensation to Mr. Angier for Mr. Angier's participation ON THE TAPES may violate copyright law.

(7) Mr. Angier is a man with a unique and dedicated history. Although I do not know him personally, I've never seen any credible challenge to his ability and love for his martial art. Mr. Angier took the scattered principles of the Yoshida family art and organized them for more effective teaching, in the process developing those principles further into Yanagi ryu. At the same time, he took (and takes) great pains to ensure the continued transmission of the art by limiting his teaching to those students that he can get to know on a personal basis and take the time to nurture their growth in the art. Mr. Angier could have made a great deal of money mass-marketing this art, but would have lost the personal connection to his students that he--and the teachers before him--considered an essential element to martial arts teaching. Mr. Annesi has taken those same principles, at whatever level he understands them, and peddles them for pure profit using Mr.Angier as the marketing hook--without clear permission from Mr. Angier.

(8) Mr. Annesi can walk his talk on the aiki mat, according to people I've spoken to who have either studied with him, or under one of his senior students. I don't know how successful his attempted melding of different martial arts is.

(9) Mr. Angier is a rare treasure in the martial arts world. He strictly limits his teaching. Without the tapes produced by Mr. Annesi, many of us out here would never have had the opportunity to see Mr. Angier in action, and see what dedicated practice and insight into an art can achieve. I'm sorry that Mr. Angier and Mr. Annesi are in disagreement on this issue, and sorry that Mr. Annesi seems to have taken advantage of a once-trustful relationship with Mr. Angier. I'm not sorry that I've got those tapes, however.

13th October 2000, 20:09
Hello all,

This topic seems a sore one, and I am now sorry that I brought it up. A sincere apology to Toby Threadgill for any part that this may have played in his having to play 'middle' between the two involved parties.

Be well,

Tom Douglas
16th October 2000, 14:40
Mr. Threadgill has been caught in the middle of this literally for years--on videotape #2 of "Principles of Aiki" with Mr. Annesi and Mr. Angier. ;-]

I agree with the preceding post. This matter is obviously a sore point for a number of people, and up to them to resolve on their own. I'd like to commend Mr. Threadgill for stepping forward to comment, and helping illuminate a matter which in retrospect isn't really our--or at least my--business.

Mr. Angier's personal story and consummate skill remain a beacon of excellence to me, regardless of how his teachings may have been coopted by others.

Tom Douglas

Nathan Scott
16th October 2000, 17:09
How 'bout we just close this?


16th October 2000, 20:09
To whom it may concern,

I have been involved with Tony Annesi Sensei since the 4th Annual Aiki Festival, in the late 1980's. I have also participated in joint seminars with him; "Aiki Large and Small", "Cutting Edge of Aiki", and others, which were all taped and sold to the public.

I informed Tony that during these seminars, I would not allow myself to be taped. This restriction originated from my instructor, North American Headquarters President and Chief Instructor Kiyama Shihan as well as our Japanese Headquarters in Kitami.

I never had reservations, at anytime, that Tony would do anything to dishonor my relationship with my instructor or the Japan Headquarters, and he has consistently kept his word!

These videos consisted of my commentary only, which was previously agreed upon between Tony and myself.

Over the years, I have noticed during Tony's open seminars that he always gave recognition to the instructor and other instructors that he has worked with through-out his career.
He has always spoken about his experience with Angier soke, expressing that he felt he is the leading aiki practitioner in the United States.

In my opinion, I think there is too much, 'he said, she said' in the Budo Community. Instead, we should all strive to work harder and grow in our art, concentrating on 'shugyo' to purify our souls through training. both on and off the mat.

Yours in Budo,

Roy Allan Goldberg
East Coast Representative
Daito Ryu Aiki Jujutsu Kodo Kai

[Posted by Manny Jimenez on behalf of Roy Goldberg. NS]

Nathan Scott
16th October 2000, 21:02
Hello Mr. Goldberg,

Welcome to e-budo!

Thanks much for taking the time to offer your commentary. I was happy that Mr. Annesi and Mr. Threadgill were willing to offer their statements as well, so that this particular subject would not become a matter of conjecture and hearsay.

While I have to admit to being curious about some of the products Mr. Annesi sells, I would not have liked to contribute blindly to something that might have been produced through "unsavory means", and as a result, exploitive towards instructors that I respect.

(edited for clarification)

Therefore, I am happy to find that this does not seem to have been the case, so that I, or anyone else that might be compelled to buy one of Mr. Annesi's products, can do so in reasonably good conscience.


[Edited by Nathan Scott on 10-16-2000 at 05:42 PM]

Nathan Scott
16th October 2000, 22:36
You've either misread my post, or I didn't express myself clearly enough [originally posted in response to a local troll. NS]:

1. Of what you accuse Mr. Annesi of (in the above paragraph of being "unsavory means and exploited)? Has he done this to you, is your statement first hand experience? Have you done video tapes with Mr. Annesi? I ask this because your post seems to imply you have. Please correct me if I am wrong. I am sure others see the same implications and it would be to your best interest to clarify.

You are wrong on all accounts. What I was trying to carefully express was the motivation for choosing to revive the topic. It had come up on the AJ BBS after the Angier article, and the buzz was already strong that Mr. Annesi was the person referred to in the article.

I would personally (as would many others I suspect) be curious to see several of the products Mr. Annesi offers, but wanted to find out (publicly, for all to benefit from) whether or not these products featuring other instructors were produced ethically or not. My statement regarding "unsavory means and exploited" was in reference to what I was afraid might have been happening, and why I wanted to look into it so that I would not be *possibly* giving money to a person that had acted inappropriately towards other instructors that I respect.

The point of my previous post that you site was that, while it is unfortunate that the whole thing was brought up publicly, that at least it produced statements from the other side of the issue (Mr. Annesi) as well as two other instructors who have first hand knowledge of the issue.

Things were not as clear cut as they seemed, and I have no problem whatsoever with Mr. Annesi. I don't know him.

2. I am no lawyer, ...

That is very surprising to hear.

Therefore, may I suggest to avoid such future uncomfortably that you may be able to post your unflattering perspective of Mr. Annesi i.e. as you describe as a person of "unsavory means and exploitive" of others on Mr. Cunningham's board? He has set up a forum for such discussions. Therefore, this would make myself and others I am sure more comfortable. I am sure no one wants this forum to go sour as others have.

Thank you once again for another well considered, well informed and insightful point of view.

May I suggest, as the moderator, that you avoid slandering Mr. Cunningham's board here on e-budo for the same reasons you just gave above for all or us (especially me)?

I appreciate you pointing all this out to me, and allowing me to clarify my very important position on this matter.

As always, your comfort is job number one here at e-budo. Have a pleasant flight, and please do not yank on the emergency door release lever, kick in the door (ala Captain Kirk) to the pilots cabin or start screaming uncontrollably while inflight. Otherwise, we'll have to....

Well, you know the rest. :)

Warmest regards,