Shoji Nishio was one of the major post-war students of Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba O-Sensei. Born in 1927, he entered Aikikai Hombu Dojo in 1952, becoming one of the early students of the post-war era.
A multi-talented man, he was also a student of Karate (5th Dan Shindō jinen-ryū), Judo (6th Dan Kodokan Judo) and Iaido (7th Dan Nihon Zendoku Iaido) as well as other arts. This multi-faceted innovative approach is reflected in this excerpt from an interview with Nishio sensei from 1997 (this quote previously appeared in “Aikido and the Unknown“):
Q: Why has the substance (of Aikido technique) been lost?
A: Nobody listened to what O-Sensei was saying. They just tried to remember the outer form of the technique. Even though O-Sensei said “What use is it to just copy my technique? If you do a technique once it’s already finished.”. Because he spoke like a Kami-sama (God) they thought that nothing he said could be understood, and didn’t even try to pay attention when they were listening. Much later on when they’ve forgotten everything sometimes they’d remember “Ah, so that’s what that meant”. That’s why most people’s practice today is empty. They don’t look at other types of Budo. Right from the start, the value of a Budo is determined by comparisons with other Budo.For the most part, if you set up Kokyu-ho between two Aikido people it’s just useless. That will only be effective in the dojo. I guess that those people say things like “Even though you do Aikido you’re also doing Karate and sword. If you want to do Karate then go to Karate. If you want to do the sword then go to Kendo. If you’re doing Aikido you don’t need to do other things.”. Even in other Budo, everybody is working hard, you know. When we see that we should make an effort to surpass them with our Aiki. That is the mission of Aikido as a Budo. Unfortunately, the senior students who had that as a goal are gradually dying away, and the loss of substance just progresses.The re-education of the younger instructors is necessary for people in the present time who would have the goal of reconstructing (Aikido) as I have discussed. This is not something that can be done in a single morning and an evening. Because this is a path that takes 30 or 40 years, I grow increasingly concerned for the future.
What follows is the English translation of an interview with Shoji Nishio sensei that took place at the Warabi Aikidokai on February 9th, 1999.
Full Contact Karate at the Aikido Sangenkai? Not really, but many of the quotations in this article originally appeared in the January 1996 issue of the Japanese magazine “Full Contact Karate” (フル・コンタクト・カラテ), in an article entitled “Secret Technique: The Secret of Aiki” (秘技・合気の秘密). They present an interesting survey of comments on Aiki from some of the leading exponents of both Aikido and Daito-ryu.
You may also be interested in Sagawa-den Daito-ryu Aiki-Budo instructor Masaru Takahashi’s technical essay’s on the nature of Aiki “What is Aiki?” (Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3). Continue reading…
Chris Li translating for Mitsuteru Ueshiba Waka-sensei Waikiki Yacht Club, Honolulu Hawaii – February 2010
Aikido and the Aikikai, where does it go from here?
Mitsuteru Ueshiba (Waka-Sensei), the great-grandson of Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba, made his first visit to Hawaii in February 2010.
Personally, I have been able to train under three generations of the Ueshiba family – some people at that seminar, and many of my instructors, have trained with all four, starting with O-Sensei to Kisshomaru Doshu to Moriteru Doshu to Mitsuteru Waka-Sensei.
Waka-Sensei himself is the first generation of the Ueshiba family teaching Aikido who did not have a chance to meet the Founder.
Among those practicing Aikido worldwide there are many people holding Dan ranks today who hadn’t even begun Aikido when Kisshomaru Doshu passed away.
This means that we are finally getting far enough away from the origin to see what has (and hasn’t) worked organizationally, and for the traditional ties that have bound Aikido together to this time to come to a pivotal transition point. Continue reading…
Shigenobu Okumura sensei in 1985 giving advice before promotion examinations
Take the initiative from the beginning. This is Aikido.
Shigenobu Okumura was one of the senior instructors at the post-war Aikikai Hombu dojo, and one of only a few Aikikai instructors to have started pre-war.
He was born in Otaru, Hokkaido in 1922, began Aikido in 1940 at Kenkoku Daigaku in Japanese occupied Manchuria with Kenji Tomiki, and passed away on August 12th 2008.
After the war he spent three years and eight months as a prisoner of war in Siberia before being repatriated to Japan.
Okumura sensei, perhaps partly because of his longstanding ties to Kenji Tomiki, acted as an intermediary between Tomiki sensei and the Ueshiba family during discussions concerning Tomiki sensei’s introduction of competition to Aikido, and often advised him to change the name of his art.
This is the second part of a two part English translation of an interview with Shigenobu Okumura sensei. You may wish to read part one of the interview before moving on to this section.
This interview was published in a collection of interviews with students of the Founder published in Japanese as 開祖の横顔 (“Profiles of the Founder”) in 2009. It originally appeared in the January 2008 issue of Gekkan Hiden (月刊秘伝 / “Secret Teachings Monthly”), a well known martial arts magazine in Japan.