NOLA Aikido Martial Arts in New Orleans
Robert Brian Levy, Chief Instructor/Dojo Cho
Our chief instructor, Robert Brian Levy Sensei, 3rd Dan (3rd-degree black belt), a native Louisianan, moved back from Sweden in the fall of 2007 to be part of New Orleans’s continuing re-birth in part by sharing and helping to spread what he has been so privileged to have received at the hands of his excellent teachers and mentors in Sweden and elsewhere. Levy Sensei’s Aikido training has involved over 18 years of sustained consistent practice under many great teachers of various styles of the art, and culminating in five years of intensive study with his main teachers and sources of inspiration, Jorma Lyly Sensei, 5th Dan, and Jan Nevelius Shihan, 6th Dan at Vanadis Aikido Dojo, Mitsu Domoe Aikido Dojo, and Izanami Aikido Dojo in Stockholm, Sweden. He has also studied extensively with Frank Ostoff Sensei, 5th Dan, from Aikido Zentrum Hamburg in Germany.
Levy Sensei studies on an ongoing basis with our shihan (master teacher) Endo Seishiro Shihan, 8th Dan, from Hombu Dojo (Aikido World Headquarters in Tokyo, Japan). He has also studied with Christian Tissier Shihan, 7th Dan, from Vincennes (Paris), France. All of these masters practice and teach a relatively gentle, yet powerful, and deeply contact-based Aikido in the tradition of Yamaguchi Seigo Shihan, a close student to Aikido founder Ueshiba Morihei O’Sensei.
Levy Sensei has also practiced Daito-ryu Aikijujitsu for many years. This art is one of the roots of Aikido, and a style which Ueshiba O’Sensei practiced for years and mastered before going on to create Aikido. It emphasizes small circles and the use of ‚ “aiki” (hard to put into words, but, roughly, “harmonizing energy”) to resolve attacks. Levy Sensei has practiced Daito-ryu for many years with one of his main teachers, Jorma Lyly Sensei in Stockholm. He has also participated in a number of intensive seminars with Daito-ryu Aikijujitsu masters.
Levy Sensei has also practiced Qigong and Tai Chi Ch’uan under the guidance of Sifu Janis Gabriel of Phoenix Virtue Temple in Shreveport, LA, completing nearly two years of daily practice in several forms.
All these additional influences, in addition to those which Levy Sensei’s teachers in Sweden have studied and go on studying, contribute to the style of Aikido practiced and taught at NOLA Aikido Dojo with its emphasis on gentle and powerful Aikido.
Chistopher Jeansonne holds the rank of 2nd Dan (2nd-degree blackbelt). Over a 20-year period, he has trained in aikido for over 11 years, including an intensive 7-year period of training in Shiga Prefecture, Japan, in the tradition of Nishio Shoji Shihan (8th Degree Black Belt). During his last 3 years in Japan he served as the Instructor for the Seisen University Aikido Club.
He has had the opportunity to study Aikido in the Czech Republic, France, and in Mexico while traveling with Shishiya Ichiro Sensei and Yoshida Koji Sensei, two teachers who continue the late Nishio Shihan’s exploration of the connection between weapons and open-hand techniques in the spirit of Aikido. Chris also holds a Nidan in Aiki Toho Iaido, a school of Iaido (the japanese art of sword-drawing) created by Nishio Shihan. During periods in which he was unable to practice aikido, Chris has also gained limited experience in Shotokan Karate and Judo.
Having recently returned to Aikido training, Chris is looking forward to exploring new paths in his Aikido and sharing his own knowledge with other members of the NOLA Aikido community.
Charles Clebert LeBlanc
Clebert LeBlanc holds the rank of 1st Dan (1st-degree blackbelt) and has practiced Aikido for more than ten years. He has renewed his pursuit of Aikido practice under the guidance of Levy Sensei. While at NOLA Aikido he has had the opportunity to receive instruction from Endo Seishiro Shihan, 8th dan, Jan Nevelius Sensei, 6th dan, Frank Ostoff Sensei, 5th dan, and Lars Stjernstedt Sensei, 5th dan among others.
Stephen Haedicke holds the rank of 2nd kyu and has been practicing Aikido for over 7 years. He is passionate about the art and enjoys sharing this passion with new students.