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Under the dynamic leadership of George Simcox Sensei, the VKS continued to grow as new member schools from around the Mid Atlantic joined. The Merrifield facility became the headquarter’s dojo for the VKS. Simcox Sensei (on the left in the picture below) led the Virginia Ki Society for almost 25 years, from 1975 until his untimely death in November 2000.
Steve Wolf Sensei was appointed head instructor of the Northern VA dojo in 2002 and served through 2023. Marion Lebensbaum Sensei, assumed the role as of January 2024. In 2003 the Virgina Ki Society home dojo was re-christened Northern Virginia Ki-Aikido, and the following year, the Eastern Ki Federation was inaugrated when the VKS joined with the NJ and SC Ki Societies. David Shaner, previously Chief Instructor to the South Carolina group, was appointed Chief Instructor of the new federation. As of 2024, Rich Fryling Sensei, assumed the role of EKF Chief Instructor, and now oversees instruction and testing standards for all member dojos within the EKF.
Northern Virginia Ki Aikido continues as the home dojo of The Virginia Ki Society, which was incorporated in the Commonwealth of Virginia in the early 1980’s as a non-profit (501c 3) corporation. It is organized with a Board of Directors, which is elected annually by VKS dojo members. In turn, the Board appoints officers to conduct the day-to-day business of the organization.
George Simcox Obituary
As written for Aikido Today Magazine, by Matt Firor
George Simcox Sensei, beloved teacher, mentor, and friend died on November 10th, 2000.
As Chief Instructor of the Virginia Ki Society, located near Washington, DC, for 25 years, Simcox Sensei specialized in teaching the Ki and Aikido principles of Koichi Tohei Sensei. He studied directly under Tohei Sensei when the Ki Society founder visited the America, and is considered by the Ki Society to be one of its earliest and most respected Chief Instructors.
Simcox Sensei was profiled extensively in the popular book, “Aikido in America”, which describes him as one of the most effective American teachers of Aikido in the United States.
He served in both the Korean War and Vietnam, and retired from the army as Lieutenant Colonel. His beloved wife of more than 40 years, Norma, passed away earlier this year.
Simcox Sensei was renowned in the Aikido community for bridging the gaps between Aikido styles. He often traveled to seminars hosted by non-Ki Society Sensei, and was a leading member of Aikido-L, an internet based non-partisan Aikido discussion group.
An important figure in the history of American Aikido, Simcox Sensei will be remembered most for his kindness and gentleness of spirit.
Article about Aikido by George Simcox
A thoughtful commentary on the philosophy of Aikido (1933-2000)
AIKIDO: A civilizing martial art and, Ki: The force that makes it that way.
Homo Sapiens has been called a hunter and fighter. History has shown us that this is pretty true. Civilization is one name for efforts over the years to evolve human social life from a dog-eat-dog existence where the environment is an enemy to be subdued, into a society where we care for one another and have a concern for what we leave to successive generations.
Sports are often highly competitive, focused on winning, sometimes at all costs. Ethics and kindness, civilizing functions, have both been sacrificed on the altar of WINNING. Many martial artists have followed a similar path, stripping away those concerns for our fellow persons which have made us civilized, focusing instead on the perceived need to stomp an opponent into the ground and “teach a lesson that will not be forgotten”. Some martial arts stress a high intensity of emotion and hostility in pursuing self defense strategies. Yet, there are some martial arts which stress inner forces and focus on calmness in action and control of emotions. Aikido is one of these “other arts”. Morihei Uyeshiba (often called O’Sensei meaning great teacher), the founder of Aikido, created a martial way which focused on the harmony of nature rather than conflict within nature.
This approach requires that the practitioner be calm and relaxed in order to respond effectively to the energies of the attacker and to utilize his or her skill. Punishment was never a goal.
Ki training is the path to meeting the performance objectives of Aikido. As taught by O’Sensei, Ki was developed through diligent practice of Aikido. Koichi Tohei, founder of the Ki Society International and last Chief Instructor appointed by O’Sensei, found that, by employing a few simple principles which he developed during his teaching of others, he could speed the development of Ki awareness within students and show them how to improve the flow of Ki energy in their body. This revolutionized instruction in Aikido and is developing a group of Aikido students which start their training with relaxation and softness as a part of their “going in philosophy”. This results in a martial artist who has their civilizing forces strengthened, rather than weakened, during training.
As we progress in our attempts to live in a society which is decidedly schizophrenic in its approach to living, we need to keep working on the objective of increasing our civilizing nature. We need to use our power to spread calm rather than contributing to the din of conflict.