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Howard Prior
09-26-2007, 05:35 PM
I recently read something from one Ani Forbes describing a teacher shift at what was once the Osaka dojo of Tanaka Bansen. Having spent a bit of time in Aikawa just past the mid 80's I have a certain interest in hearing more about what happened, to whom it happened, why it happened, etc. Can you help fill me in or help me find a way to contact Ms. Forbes?


09-29-2007, 12:19 AM
If you lived in the kansai region and practiced at aikikai dojos, you have probably heard of Kazuo Nomura. He was the top Shihan of Osaka Aikikai for 10? 15? years (I don't know how long Kawahara Shihan has been in Canada). In 2005, we heard that he was asked to retire, or resign. He is only 55 years old, loved by everyone, and a very decent human being. His faithful followers were shocked, but there was nothing we could do. So we started new dojos in Osaka and Nara. The number of members is still small, but I would say there is a certain quality of experience. I vaguely overheard some people talking about how a lot of people are starting to ask questions, and why don't they give an explanation for firing him. Honzawa Shihan is now the top shihan, and I've never really practiced with him, so I really can't say anything. maybe soon they will be forced to make a statement.
Nomura Shihan is still only 6th dan, which Bansen Sensei gave him 20 years ago, I would at least like to see him given 7th dan sometime. But it's not like I have much say in that however.

09-29-2007, 07:43 PM

This is kinda' off-topic, I know, but have you ever seen Tanaka Sensei demonstrate aikido? If so, what was it like? Was it light and flowing like Ueshiba Kisshomaru Doshu or more solid and powerful like Saito Sensei? Perhaps it was an even balance of both? If you can't answer about Tanaka Sensei himself, could you describe what the aikido of his senior students is like?

Thanks in advance for your answer!

(I'm a long-time student of Kawahara Sensei, which should somewhat explain my questions.)

09-30-2007, 12:41 AM
Sorry, I have only lived here for 10 years, and being only 31, I have only seen the current doshu (today actually). Nomura's style is very solid. He says there is nothing wrong with the light style, but emphasizes that we need to start from a firm attack (katatedori) and learn how to move from there, which is more difficult that moving first in my opinion. We work on moving first with shomen, yokomen attacks. Kawahara sensei and his students visited and did a demonstration in Osaka a few years ago, and I thought that it looked very similar to how we do it under Nomura sensei's instruction. Did you come?

09-30-2007, 02:11 AM
Political machinations aside.

A few years ago one of his Nidans asked me to see a practice at Shodokan Honbu and that was followed by an invitation to train with Kazuo Nomura. At the time I was not yet dan graded. His approach to aikido was quite different from Shodokan with a lot of body manipulation from relatively static grabs. I could not hold him and conversely he could always move me. All that with very subtle body movement. I found that very interesting and if living in Osaka after dan grading I might have spent at least once a week trying to catch a bit of that.

I also enjoyed my after training beer with him very much. The conversation was very interesting - covering points a view quite different from what I had been exposed to up till that point. I wont repeat it here - but personally I liked him very much.

One thing I will say that his personal approach to Aikido seemed quite different to a lot of Aikikai that I have seen since then although his teaching seemed pretty standard. Perhaps that is the cause of the difficulties or maybe just the foibles of the human condition.

raul rodrigo
09-30-2007, 05:15 AM
A good friend of mine spent July in Osaka and spent several sessions with Nomura shihan. He too found him to be impeccable both technically and personally. Nomura insisted on doing a lot of work from katatedori, using solid grabs with intent, which would knock tori back on his heels if he wasn't solidly placed yet relaxed. My friend came back really impressed and he's been trying to implement some of what he learned at his dojo. He would be very glad for the chance to train with him again. As for the political stuff, afraid we don't know much about that.