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Troy Man Says 'Ki Energizes: It Heals"
by Ted Braude
The Observer & Eccentric - March 5, 1998 - www.observer-eccentric.com

Katsumi Niikura, you might say, is an expert on energy. The use of it is central to the various martial arts taught by Niikura, 54, a Troy resident and martial arts experts, at his Aikido studio on Dequindre and Maple road in Sterling Heights at Troy's border.

Aikido itself is a Japanese system of self-defense in which various holds and movements are used to cause the opponent's strength and weight to work against him.

Niikura, however, has taken the arts of using energy to new levels with a system he has developed over 30 years that the he calls ki.

It's similar to the Chinese healing art of "Quigong", which involves channelling the body's "qui", or vital energy. But Ki, which is the Japanese pronunciation for qui, is more external. It involves channelling "universal energy" through breathing techniques and than projecting the energy outward to others.

It's a technique that Niikura claims can promote inner strength, relaxation and good health, as well as help cure ills. In fact, during ki class at his studio, Niikura and his students, try to help those who are ailing by projecting "ki" energy to them.

Niikura, a Japanese native who immigrated in 1983, previously was a martial arts competitor and coach. A former world champion in karate, he has coached seven world champions in the martial arts.

He opened his studio in 1984, and retired from the competitive arena in 1992, saying it was "too much politics."

Now, " I help people", he said.

Ki energy

During a recent evening ki class, Niikura faced three students and instructed them to run at him.

"My energy going out!" he called as the trio ran towards him.

Suddenly the three seemed tossed in the air by an invisible force as Niikura exhaled "ki" energy with a sweep of his arm in the their direction.

It's energy channelled from the sky and ground, he says.

"He is able to take his energy from space, plants, everywhere," explained Ai Yoshino, 21, of Rochester, a two-year student, helping Niikura translate to English from his native Japanese.

At the end of the class, students than directed ki energy, using techniques Niikura had taught them, to people with various ailments who had come to the studio.

Debbie, 45, was among them. She said last year she was diagnosed with colon cancer that had spread to her liver. She said she is being helped by the methods. "I feel so good when I leave, and pain free."

Debbie asked that her last name not be used because she works in the medical field and would rather that her associates not know that she is rely on ki.

Student Pat Dohery of Gross Pointe said she started to study ki after it helped her heal a shoulder that was not healing with physical therapy.

She said she sees ki help others " all the time", although " like everything else, It's not 100 present. It's very exciting."

" He is a pioneer in this", said Nancy Llombart of Clinton Township. "He's constantly creating new techniques."

Niikura's students call him "sensei," which Japan is a title for respected teacher.

Being studied

Niikura conducts class in New York and in Colombia, Ohio. Researchers at Ohio States University Neuropsychiatric clinic in Columbus are studying the techniques and Columbia University Medical School is setting up a research project.

Dr. Pat Forman, general psychiatrist at Mounduilders guidance Center in Newark, Ohio, has traveled to see Niikura's class with Dr, Hisako Koizemi of Ohio States University, who has done preliminary studies on Niikura and may do more.

"It's fascinating," said Forman. "The belief that Ki energy is very real and can be mobilized t help other parts of the body and go to a part of the body that need healing. The question is, just how does it help? Is there something here that merits looking into? This is just in the very beginning of being studied.

" I think the general medical consensus about things like this are, as long as people are continuing to do what medical doctor tell them and they doing this in addition, it certainly could be helpful. Certainly it's good, healthy, light energy and also, it has relaxing properties."

Karen Murphy, spokesman for the American Cancer Society, meanwhile, said as far as she knows, the society has no official stance on such alternative method of treatment.

"From what I understand, many organizations are just now looking into tracking the effectiveness of the alternative methods," she said.

Niikura began developing ki as a body in Japan. his wife and daughter still live in Kanagawa, Japan.

He claims ki helped his then 7-year old daughter heal from a recurring malignant brain tumor.

"It fixes it in, any people," he claims of ki and it's impact on cancer.

He also claims it's helped those with arthritis, muscular skeletal difficulties and poor eye sight, among other ailments.

Niikura uses donations from those with ailments who visit his studio to take students to other cities to demonstrate his techniques.

Last November, Niikura was honored with the Ki master of the Year award at Second World Congress on Quigong in San Francisco, which attracted scientists, practitioners and physicians.

During Niikura's recent class, a group of students arrived from Philadelphia for a weekend of learning ki.

They included Naoko Cauller, 37, who said she felt helpless when her late father developed,and subsequently died, from cancer.

" Now I feel so much better. I am healing my mind while I 'm healing people. The most important thing they say is that Ki is love.

For two-year student Yoshino, however there is a simpler reason for going to the ki class.

"It just feels good," she said.