It's a bit strange. I searched for Toyama Sensei's students for more than 30 years, and I thought I was relatively complete in my research, and then the unthinkable happened. When my book was printed, I found another student of Toyama Sensei on the Internet.
I would like to share a mini-biography about Niikura Sensei. At the age of 12 Niikura Sensei began studying karate and judo. Unfortunately, it is not known when and how long he trained with Toyama Sensei. However, he probably started training in 1961 in the Shudokan Dojo and received his 3rd Dan in 1963.
Niikura Sensei also practiced aikido and iaido. In 1973 he founded International Ryokukai Karatedo, a new karate style based on the best of what he had discovered through his study of a variety martial arts. In 1984 Niikura Sensei came to the USA and opened the honbu dojo of International Ryokukai in Sterling Heights, Michigan.
Throughout his life, Niikura Sensei worked intensively with ki. He used it on the one hand as a healing method and also incorporated it into his martial arts training. In 2017, Niikura Sensei returned to Japan to intensify his ki work.
Niikura Sensei also told his American students stories about his time with Toyama Sensei. Daniel Cikota, one of his students, shared one of these stories with me:
Toyama Sensei’s students practiced their reverse punches on watermelons. All of the students punched through the watermelons. When Toyama Sensei demonstrated his reverse punch, the following happened: Toyama Sensei punched the watermelon but he didn’t punch through it. Some of the students were snickering to themselves that he was unable to puncture it. Toyama Sensei had one of his students cut the watermelon in half and what they seen was pretty incredible. The watermelon was completely mangled inside. All of the students were amazed and couldn’t believe it. Their watermelons looked nothing like his.
I think that's a nice story. Was it really that way? Maybe, but maybe not.
If you have more information about Niikura Sensei's time in the Shudokan, I would be glad to hear from you.
In this blog I would like to answer some of your questions about the book. In addition, there are a variety of photos and interesting stories that have not found entry into the book. Furthermore, the blog should serve to give you new historical insights immediately, so you do not have to wait for the second edition of my book.