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News Article

Andrew Tsubaki Sensei (5th Dan, Joudan Ki) passed away
Posted 12/18/2009 11:41am [from Craig Hocker]

Sad news from the Kansas Ki Society. Prof. Andrew T. Tsubaki Sensei (5th Dan, Joudan Ki) has passed away (Nov. 29, 1931- Dec. 16, 2009). He was professor of Japanese drama at Kansas University (in Lawrence, KS) since the early 70's. He is credited with teaching and bringing Japanese Noh theatre to North America. In 2007, he was awarded the prestigious 'Order of Japan' in recognition of his promotion of Japanese culture abroad. He began learning Aikido in 1979 at 48. Anyone beginning Aikido later in life should find a wonderful example of inspiration in his story. Aikido wasn't available in Lawrence until in 1979 when Barbara Bloom sensei came from Philadelphia to work at Kansas University. She was a student of Ki-Aikido and started offering classes under the auspices of the Lawrence City Parks and Recreation Department. When she returned to Philadelphia, a group of students, under the leadership of Mary Ann Stewart, resolved to keep the Lawrence training group alive. The Lawrence group received support from Koichi Kashiwaya Sensei, who was at that time in Boulder, Colorado. With his support the Lawrence Ki-Aikido group reformed itself as the Kansas Ki Society and continued training themselves and offering classes. After Mary Ann Stewart completed her college degree and moved away from Lawrence, leadership of KKS came to one of the founding members, Andrew Tsubaki Sensei, who had recently earned the rank of shodan (1st degree black-belt). In 1987 Tsubaki sensei began offering a credit class at KU in the department of Health, Physical Education and Recreation (HPER) and the KU class and KU Ki-Aikido Sports Club became the center of Ki-Aikido activity in Lawrence. Literally hundreds of students have experienced Ki-Aikido training through these organized activities. In 1990's the program expanded and he made many trips to Japan with his students to train with Koichi Tohei Sensei at Ki Society HQ in Japan. He was a delightful instructor and through him, Kansas Ki Society became one of the largest schools in the Midland Ki Federation. KKS expanded to an off-campus program overseen by his student Andrew Lebar Sensei. A lot of work went into renovating and old building into a wonderful traditional dojo which I was lucky enough to attend the seminar celebrating it's opening. It's been a while since I have seen him and I am saddened and shocked that he has passed. He left a huge legacy to all his students (Andrew Lebar Sensei Yondan, Owen Livingston Sensei Yondan, Bob Lavendusky Sensei Sandan and numerous others), his former undergraduate and graduate students at Kansas University, and his family. He is survived by his wife, Lily, brother Yoshihiro, and sons, Peter and Arthur and their grandchildren (more details in the Lawrence Journal obiturary link).

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