Okamoto Yoko Shihan is among the best known Japanese Aikido instructors in the world today. Moreover, she is also one of the very few women to have accessed this status. Her extremely rich and varied Aikido journey, spanning over almost 40 years and on three continents, has made her a symbol of the universality of Aikido beyond genders, cultures, and nations. This documentary attempts to introduce this exceptional practitioner through her dojo and students, for Okamoto Shihan always prefers to put forward Aikido practice rather than herself.
I had wanted to write an article about Okamoto Sensei for a very long time but despite the fact that we meet regularly, either during one of the numerous seminars that she organizes each year with experts such as Miyamoto Shihan or Yasuno Shihan, or during her regular visits to Tokyo, her very busy schedule never allows me the time nor the opportunity to ask her about writing something about her. Fortunately, thanks to the help of my friend and Sempai Gaute Lambertsen, himself a former student of Okamoto Shihan when he lived in Kyoto, things could eventually get set in motion and I was able to quickly make an appointment with Okamoto Shihan. So I took advantage of one of my frequent trips to Shikoku to make a stop at the historical city of Kyoto and attended her Monday morning class.
Once I got to Aikido Kyoto, I grabbed the opportunity to take a few video shots during the class, and proceeded to conduct a long interview with Okamoto Shihan after practice. The entire interview will be published in a written form on this site at a later date. I would like to sincerely thank Okamoto Shihan for her kindness and for allowing me to spend a full morning with her despite her very busy schedule. I sincerely hope that this short video will inspire you to go and practice with Okamoto Shihan, whether you are on a visit to Japan, or through one of the many seminars that she gives around the world throughout the year.
Documentary on Yoko Okamoto Shihan and the Aikido Kyoto
- Directed by Guillaume Erard
- Subtitles and additional translations by Fukuda Megumi
- Music by Guillaume Erard available on iTunes
To go further, visit the official website of Aikido Kyoto