View Full Version : N. Tamura Shihan Passes Away

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07-09-2010, 10:31 PM
I just read that N. Tamura Shihan passed away tonight.
He will be missed. My condolence to him and his family.

Rest In Peace.


07-09-2010, 11:05 PM
Hi everyone,

Can anyone else please corroborate this piece of news for me? I'd like to make sure before I put out a front page news item.

If the news is, indeed, true, my condolences go out to Tamura sensei's family, friends, students, and loves ones.

Thank you,

-- Jun

07-09-2010, 11:54 PM
Per Wikipedia, Tamura Shihan passed away on July 8, 2010.

My heartfelt condolences and prayers of support go to his family, his students, and to the wealth of individuals who benefited from knowing Tamura Shihan, and were indelibly touched by his graceful manner, along with his powerful and inspiring leadership over so many decades.

May his hard won legacy of integrity, passion for Aikido, his loyalty to both the Founder and to the Ueshiba family, all be deemed worthy of praise and admiration by all within, and those surrounding the Aikido community.

Please rest in peace, Tamura Sensei.

07-10-2010, 12:54 AM
I just read that N. Tamura Shihan passed away tonight.
He will be missed. My condolence to him and his family.

Rest In Peace.


If indeed Tamura Sensei has passed away I offer my own heartfelt condolences to Mrs Tamura, family and friends.Tamura Sensei was not only one of the finest aikido masters he was a really nice man with a great sense of humour.I am sure I am not alone when I say he will be sadly missed.

Carsten Möllering
07-10-2010, 01:32 AM
Maybe this could verify this sad news
http://www.aikido-france.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=6331 (Maybe this could verify this sad news?)
http://www.leotamaki.over-blog.com/article-deces-de-maitre-tamura-53695797.html (Here you can find details.)

It is said he died on 9th of July about 19:00. (7pm).


07-10-2010, 04:36 AM
Yes it was confirmed for me on yahoo.fr questions. This is the official link.


It is very sad news. Tamura Sensei was modest and unassuming and gentle and funny and his aikido was wonderful.

Mark Uttech
07-10-2010, 05:05 AM
Condolences. In every breeze that comes is the spirit of a warrior; in every breeze that goes is the spirit of a warrior. These are dreams.
In gassho,


07-10-2010, 06:34 AM
Very sad news indeed. His spirit will endure in the many touched by his teaching.

Hitoshi Nagai
07-10-2010, 07:00 AM
I got a very sad news.
Extend my condolence.
I learned a lot from Tamura sensei.
This is a really sad news.

AikiWeb System
07-10-2010, 09:06 AM
Posted 2010-07-10 09:04:51 by Jun Akiyama

Nobuyoshi Tamura sensei (8th dan, Aikikai) passed away on July 9th, 2010. He was born in 1933 in Osaka, Japan and started out as an uchideshi under Morihei Ueshiba sensei in 1953. He was sent to Marseille, France, by Ueshiba sensei in 1964; according to Wikipedia, "he arrived in France in the port of Marseille in 1964 as the final destination of his honeymoon cruise (he paid part of his trip by performing aikido exhibitions on the ship). In France, he succeeded Tadashi Abe as the Aikikai representative there and decided to stay in this country teaching aikido as a living, despite the fact that he was barely speaking French at that time." My condolences go out to his family, friends, students, and loved ones.

~~~ To submit a news item to AikiWeb's front page, click here (http://www.aikiweb.com/news/submit.html). ~~~

07-10-2010, 09:07 AM
Very sad news.

Condolence to his family and students.

Aikido Philippines

07-10-2010, 10:48 AM
Hadn't heard the name before, but looked him up. Peace to you Sensei..........Tribute:


07-10-2010, 12:35 PM
A true gentleman and a Budo giant.

07-10-2010, 01:39 PM
My condolences to his family, friends and students. I only met him briefly but his technique and bearing left a deep impression. I will always remember the beer he poured me after I passed my shodan exam and that he took the time to chat at every table in the pub after the seminar (in his impeccable French).

07-10-2010, 01:43 PM
Such sad news.
Perhaps fittingly I heard the news on my way back from an Iai-do event.

So many happy memories - I knew Tamura Sensei for over 30 years- and will always treasure his knowledge, warmth and friendship.

A true giant of Aikido.

Goodbye Sensei with great love


James Kirkpatrick
07-10-2010, 08:39 PM
Very sad news.
Another great man to pass away.


oisin bourke
07-10-2010, 10:33 PM
I never got a chance to train with him, but, from what I've seen, he's my favourite "Aikikai" Aikidoka. Elegant, effortless, effective, a true Artist.

His Aikido never stopped developing.


Those of you who trained with him were very lucky indeed.

I would recommend his Tanabe video from last year to anyone.


07-11-2010, 06:56 PM
Mr. Greg O'Connor asked me to post the following message from him.

Regarding Tamura Sensei's passing

I always enjoyed Tamura Sensei. I had the opportunity to take ukemi a few times, and had a few opportunities to visit off the mat. Tamura Sensei seemed always kindhearted to me and always the gentleman. I remember that in one of his classes I had a special training partner for the entire class—Sugano Sensei. That class also one of those times I was honored to have the opportunity to take some ukemi from Tamura Sensei.

Several years later he purposely came over to several of my students and I at a banquet to join us for an extended period of relaxing and laughing. We were already having a great time and I think he was drawn by our open frivolity. He posed for photos all around and those photos always remind me of his kindness and the good feelings we all shared.

His good humor, combined with his intensity and technical mastery will be missed. He has left a legacy to be honored.

Greg O'Connor
Dojo Cho, Aikido Centers of New Jersey

-- Jun

07-12-2010, 09:26 AM
Hi folks,

If you have any personal recollections of training with Tamura sensei, please share them with us below.

-- Jun

07-12-2010, 11:39 AM
Tamura sensei is one of major influences of my aikido development. I can’t find right words to express the sadness after his passing.

I did my first seminar with him, not having even 5th kyu. After warm-up, as usual, he walked from one person to other for some personal practice. I had a chance to attack him, young and stupid I said to myself: Now! full power attack on this old guy! …I even didn’t understand what happened, but after crashing on the tatami I saw him smiling with happiness..I knew I was hooked to aikido for good.

Sensei was quite small, and didn’t have large muscles. May be because of that he developed almost magical capacity to perfectly adapt his teaching to everybody, strong or weak, big or small, beginner or advanced… Very often he attacked us, teaching by using some kind of mental and physical paradoxes. His attacks were very powerful but you had to remain very soft and still do an efficient technique..

He controlled you even before you was able to touch him. That was the first time I physically experienced ‘aikido before contact’. Tamura sensei taught by seminars, he never really developed his own dojo. So with my wife we followed his seminars all over the Europe for more than ten years. His teaching was very strict and such high quality; many failed their dan test even before starting it – by not following right etiquette. You didn’t arrange your weapons correctly before the test – you already failed test!

The same was for technique – many times he repeated: “One millimeter too much to the right or too much to the left and you are not doing aikido anymore..” A simple walk with him through the town was full of special teaching… During summer camps he served himself meals, cakes to all participants during farewell party…he was teaching us by example every minute of his life…It was very difficult to learn from him, he was so high level… after 25 years I’m scratching merely the top of iceberg..

Great human being, charismatic aikidoka, forever will be inspiration in my heart.

07-12-2010, 11:53 AM

That was a beautiful tribute.

I'm sorry I never met Tamura Shihan.


07-12-2010, 02:17 PM
I am so sorry to hear of the recent death of Tamura Sensei who was a credit to all things Aiki. My condolences to Tamura Sensei's family.
Tamura Sensei first visited the UK in 1968 at the invitation of TK Chiba Sensei to take part in his first Bracknell Summer School, along with Ichamura Sensei and Tada Sensei. Chiba Sensei asked me to take both Tamura Sensei and Ichamura Sensei on a tour of London.
I have added some photos of these two very happy young men taken that day. They are on the front page of ``British Aikido
History `` at http://www.british-aikido.com/

Henry Ellis

Rob Watson
07-12-2010, 03:07 PM
I was lucky enough to attend a Tamura sensei seminar when he once came to Berkeley Aikikai back in the 1990's. He was ill (maybe a slight cold) and had come from a long flight and the seminar was packed. We did a series of 'warm ups' that were quite unusual and no one had ever seen them before. Of course the seminar was amazing and his movements and mental projection very palpable. Really remarkable to watch him receive ukemi and completely stifle everyones technique with seemingly no effort until they got it exactly correct.

The really amazing thing was after the seminar he took questions and someone asked about the unusual warmups and Tamura sensei said he was reading about them in a book he found on the airplane flight over. Imagine that going to a seminar and finding a book on the way and using that material to open the seminar! Not exactly takemusu but certainly spontaneous enough. That such a talented and senior practitioner can be so open about new materials is truly inspirational and a lesson for one and all. Maybe it was just a big joke - subtle, but still a good lesson on many levels.

07-12-2010, 04:24 PM
Due to my oncoming senility, dates become jumbled, but events remain fresh and clear. The event described occurred more than 20 years ago.

In an Aikido related venue in Hawaii, I was approached by a contingent of relatively young Aikido members of the Honolulu dojo, who felt that, as the future leaders in Aikido, they were being excluded and ignored by the established core of senior Aikido instructors in matters regarding Aikido's future in Hawaii.

This is not an uncommon complaint, and one I have heard countless times before whenever consecutive generations struggle to find common ground for mutual respect and meaningful interaction. Why they asked me for help, I still am not sure.

I decided to ask Tamura Sensei if he would take the time to meet with these well meaning, but clearly unhappy and frustrated students, and perhaps share some of his unique insights into generational issues, and Aikido.

He not only enthusiastically agreed, but proceeded to listen carefully, and then remind all present of the obligations that they, as the next generation of leaders, had to their sensei's, to their commitment to the Founder's Aikido, and to themselves, to live the examples they were seeking from their elders, and would now need to give to their eventual students.

This was well received, and allowed me to appreciate yet another dimension of this marvelous direct student of the Founder.

07-13-2010, 12:49 AM
Just a couple of memories:

Tamura Sensei playing football with my 3year old son on my parents back lawn - "losing" him at Manchester airport - whispered instructions whilst I was being served green tea (which I hate!!)

One particular Aikido memory though,

When doshu fitted Paris in 2001 I remember walking into the dojo and literally (almost) bumping int Sensei with Doshu. After the normal greetings Sensei "tapped" me in the midriff and asked "How heavy?" "105 kilos" was my reply.
With a broad grin Sensei pointed to himself and replied "50".

Naturally 10 minutes late in full view of not only the seminar but French TV cameras I am being comprerhensively dumped several times (I distinctly remember being horizontal at one point). Demonstration over and reiho complete Sensei gives me a huge wink and walks away laughing. Something that will always stay with me!

07-13-2010, 07:54 AM
I remember being at a seminar in Hereford (I think) and we were doing koshi nage. Tamura wandered over to give my partner a few pointers and dumped me over his hips. Upon seeing how little I enjoyed that ukemi (I have always hated koshi!!), he proceeded to pound me into the mat a dozen or so times, much to his and my partner's hilarity!! :) It was good for me, honest!

Add to that the times he would wander up and give you his unbendable arm and ask you to bend it. When you couldn't he would laugh (a lot!) and walk away. :)

king mob
07-13-2010, 01:56 PM
My first and last time seeing Tamura sensei was 3 years ago in Montreal.. What a gentle/gracefull/calm technique he has.. What whisper quiet ukemi he had.. He was sooo centered one of the senior instructors at Montreal's Aikido De la Montagne COULDN'T even irimi passed sensei's extended arm..

It is truly a shame all aikidoka will never get to experience his seminars again.. Eventually, all of o-sensei's uchi-deshis will simply exist as dojo-myths and youtube videos; TRAVEL to more seminars NOW..

Rowan Thompson
07-13-2010, 03:56 PM
I was very sad to hear of the passing of Tamura Sensei. I saw him teach on a number of occasions in courses in France and once in Hereford, England in the early 90s. He was a great statesman for aikido and produced some excellent aikidoka as well as encouraging teachers of aikido in Europe to express themselves and maintain high standards using intense practise.
I was very sad that he passed away before returning once more to the UK. I know he was due to teach a course in Scotland, for the first time, in October this year and the organisers will be devastated.
I hope that his summer school in Britanny this week becomes a joyful memorial to his art and that his legacy lives on for many years to come.

07-26-2010, 12:03 PM
The website www.aikido-yamada.eu (http://www.aikido-yamada.eu) has posted a message from Yoshimitsu Yamada sensei on Tamura sensei's passing:
Dear Aikido friends in Europe,

It was very sad for all of us to hear the loss of Tamura sensei. He will be missed by many people all over the world but I'm sure his Aikido philosophy will remain in everyone's mind. To me, he was not only my Aikido senpai, but was also a very good teaching partner and somebody I look up for my life.

It is too early to talk about the future. Needless to say, there will be some changes but nothing big changes right now. There is a strong Federation in France and people will follow Tamura sensei's philosophy and teachings. I will be helping You in many ways. So please be positive.


-- Jun

08-10-2010, 08:16 PM

it was the spontaneous initiative that he took,
the spatial connection,
mai -
that foiled and consumed
each strong young man.

in the moment of aiki
his body grew and glowed
like the roots of a tree,
drawing nourishment
from unseen depths below.

when he attacked
there was no opening left.
we might as well have been trying shihonage
on a rubber hose.

then he appeared kneeling in front of me.
i grasped his wrist
focusing all my power and strength,
stopping the world in its’ place.

his eyebrows whispered a confused surprise.
when our eyes touched
he saw his opening
and took it.

then it was my turn,
and his wrist froze in space
behind his head.

i perceived
a slim shift in his concentration,
a tiny opening -
like a dim light
through a densely wooded path.

without hesitation
i plunged through

and tamura sensei rolled away
in a most graceful manner,
a smile chiseled on his amber face.

bob toabe august ‘9
hampshire college

raul rodrigo
08-10-2010, 09:20 PM

08-11-2010, 10:12 AM
A fitting tribute...