Yoshinobu Takeda Shihan
Yoshinobu Takeda Shihan (8th dan) began his study of Aikido in the early 1960’s at the Hombu Dojo in Tokyo and trained for many years under the late Seigo Yamaguchi Shihan (9th dan), himself a direct student of O-Sensei, the Founder of Aikido. He was soon recognised as one of Yamaguchi Sensei’s most gifted students, and was urged by his teacher to start his own dojo.
Today he is regarded as one of the greatest masters of Aikido. Takeda Shihan’s style is incredibly beautiful, dynamic and powerful, yet overwhelmingly soft and effortless. This unique combination of qualities has attracted and inspired students and Aikido dojos all over the world.
Takeda Shihan is the director of Aikido Kenkyukai International (AKI), and is also a member of the Aikikai Board of Directors at Honbu Dojo in Tokyo. A recent interview with Takeda Shihan on the occasion of his promotion to 8th dan can be found here.
The human spirit
has the wondrous capacity
to extend a hundred million light years
beyond the limits of space…
Let us try to purify our minds in practice.
If you can focus clearly
only for an instant,
in that moment you will know yourself
with the mind of the Universe.
Aikido Kenkyukai International (AKI)
When Takeda Shihan first opened his Higashi Totsuka Dojo, he approached a close friend of his, a Zen monk named Soken Motomiya who lived near Mount Fuji, to brush some calligraphy for the new dojo. The scroll hanging in a typical Aikido dojo comprises the three characters which make up Ai-ki-do: ‘ai‘ meaning ‘confluence’, ‘ki‘ meaning universal energy or spirit’, and ‘do‘ meaning the ‘path’ or ‘Way’. When Sensei received the scroll from Motomiya-san, the third character had been omitted. “But where is the Way?”, asked Sensei. Motomiya-san laughed and smiled. “You must find your own Way“, he replied.
And so began Aikido Kenkyukai (‘Aikido Research Group’), a collaboration of like-minded individuals inspired by the idea of supplementing classical Aikido technique with the freedom to develop a creative and individual expression of the Art for themselves. People from all over the world have been drawn to this fascinating way of practice, and AKI dojos can now be found in countries such as Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Canada, USA, Chile, Uruguay, England, Germany and Tanzania. Each dojo has its own unique feeling so go and visit them all!