Re: It Had to Be Felt #36: Clyde Takeguchi: Ecce Homo
The first thing I noticed about Takeguchi Sensei was his smile and the positive energy surrounding him. I first met Sensei through an interesting coincidence in working on my Aikido in Hawaii project. He was very forthcoming with information and gave me a great deal of help in my project. We are very fortunate to have Takeguchi Sensei visit our dojo in the last couple of years due to the fact he has family on our island.
The first thing I noticed about Sensei's technique was that he has meticulously worked on every detail about body movement and positioning. When teaching class he often goes over minor details often left unexplained or unnoticed by other teachers. His movements are small and minimalistic but with very effective results. We are often scratching our heads trying to reproduce the same waza usually to no avail. Takeguchi Sensei's approach seems to be a very detailed pedagogical approach to Aikido.
Another interesting aspect I learned from Takeguchi Sensei was every movement was Kokyu. This may seem obvious to many but for me it "clicked" in seeing his movements. Whether in tenkan or subtle body movement, Takeguchi Sensei's integrated kokyu in his movement has you off balance before you even really touch him.
I have three memories that stand out from my experiences with Takeguchi Sensei. The first was a technique from tsuki. I punched him, he avoided my punch, he positioned one hand over another in a kokyu movement ( Kinda like crossing your arms but with a space between for your hand), caught my arm between his, he shifted his weight subtly and dropped me. Sensei barely moved yet shifted my weight to my back corner to which I fell.
The Second was a nikkyo technique. I felt some painful nikko from many people before but this was a different feeling. When he applied it to me my entire body locked up and I could not even say a word. It felt as if he was crushing me down through my feet past the floor. Later I jokingly said to Sensei that I think my descendants felt the pain from that nikkyo.
The last was a kotegaeshi technique. As Sensei avoided my tsuki he grabbed my hand with his last two fingers and his thumb (The infamous eagle grip!!), then pinned my arm between his elbow and knee. He than said with a smile " That doesn't feel good does it!" to which I painfully agreed. He then threw me with ease with a smile on his face.
One of the early pioneers of Aikido in Hawaii, Takeguchi Sensei is truly an inspirational person and a phenomenal teacher. He was here in Hilo when O Sensei visited the Big Island and took part in the demos also. Even though he is a senior teacher he still takes ukemi. At Aikido Celebration 2011 and our 2012 Winter camp in Hilo, Takeguchi Sensei was there taking ukemi and training with all of us on the mat. Takeguchi Sensei is one person I would consider to be the definition of Shihan.