Articles

Old Japanese Newspaper Articles about André Nocquet

As an amateur researcher on the history of Aikido, I am lucky to have direct access to some of the last great Masters, direct pupils of O Sensei. Last weekend, I spent some time with Isoyama Hiroshi Shihan and we discussed the evolution of Aikido since the decision was made to present it to the general public. We talked, among other things, about the role of a number of pioneers, including André Nocquet (read his biography here). André Nocquet is known to have contributed greatly to the spread of Aikido in Europe, but his role for the promotion of art in Japan is less known outside the archipelago. Tada Hiroshi Shihan, another pioneer of Aikido and meticulous archivist, had also spoken to me, a few months before, of the role of Nocquet in Japan. In fact, when he learned that I had made my Aikido debut in the group created by Nocquet, he went home to fetch some documents, which he then gave me. Today, I would like to present some of them to you. They consist of four newspaper clippings (Yomiuri Shimbun) dating all the way back to 1954, revisiting the role of André Nocquet and the French Embassy in Japan in the promotion of Aikido and Judo. I would like to thank Tada Shihan from the bottom of my heart for letting me present these invaluable documents.

Article 1

A demonstration of Aikido, sponsored by the Department of Culture and Information of the French Embassy, ​​was held at the Aikido headquarters in the Ueshiba dojo in Wakamatsu-cho, in the Shinjuku Ward of Tokyo, on September 25, 1954 at 3 pm. Its goald was in to "show what Aikido, a new type of Japanese budo, really is". Aikido is defined as "a creation of pure energy combined with a balanced movement using mental strength". On that day, we saw excellent free demonstrations of children and women, and of self-defense. During the latter, one could hear someone yelling "Yaa" and then someone else was already on the ground. André Nocquet, a French third Dan in Judo and first Dan in Aikido who joined the dojo in July of last year, also participated in the session and said about Aikido that "things would be different if the heart of the Aikido could spread throughout the world". (The image shows Nocquet demonstrating Aikido)

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Article 2

"Aikido for world peace"

A demonstration of Aikido organized by the French Embassy took place on September 25, 1954 at 3 pm at the Aikido headquarters, located in the Ueshiba dojo in Wakamatsu-cho, Shinjuku Ward of Tokyo. The demonstration was conducted, among others, by André Nocquet (third Dan of Judo, first Dan of Aikido), who came all the way from France. Nocquet, a Frenchman currently learning art, said that "Aikido is the means to reach peace in the world". The French delegation offered a gift to the head of the dojo, Morihei Ueshiba. Nocquet and other colleagues then presented the "kata" forms, were followed by Mr. Ueshiba who gave his own demonstration. The dojo was filled with a varied audience of 200 people consisting of both Japanese and foreign people, who became fascinated by the dynamism of the demonstrations that were even more exciting than hammer throwing. Venue: Aikido Headquarters in Wakamatsu-cho, Ushigome, Tokyo

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Article 3

France the second largest judo country in the world

towards a development of aikido

the divine skills of mr. Abe, 6th Dan

When talking about Aikido in France, the word "Jujutsu" is still being used, but its definition is limited to self-defense. In its military training, the French army has already integrated Jujutsu into the training in close combat, but in recent years, another Jutsu, which is much more powerful has appeared in Europe. This Jutsu is called Aikido. People began practicing Aikido following Mr. Mochizuki's arrival in France and, more importantly, that of Mr. Abe (6th Dan), a drect student of the founder of Aikido, Mr. Ueshiba. Amazed by the marvelous effectiveness of Aikido and the beauty of its forms, I began its study with Mr. Abe. I then decided to go to Japan to continue my research in Aikido. Like Judo, Aikido is a means of personal development, and its essence is only suitable for certain chosen persons. After my arrival in Japan, I heard about Mr. Ueshiba and when I went to his dojo in Shinjuku, I was deeply moved by his demonstration. It was like the work of a God. He, a 73-year-old master, beat a number of opponents in the blink of an eye. The effects of Aikido were surprising and every movement was like a miracle. Mr. Ueshiba defeated his opponents by applying a variety of non-violent principles with a constant smile on his face, and I could not understand how there could be such energy in this 73-year-old body. The goal of Aikido is to completely suppress violence by using "Ki" or mental strength, and this is the best of all combat methods. Looking at the movements of Mr. Ueshiba, it was as if he was ready for his next move, even before the opponent moved, and he had only to let things run their course. It was because he knew the intentions of the opponent with his "Ki", ​​that he canceled the movements of his opponent. There are already many people who learn Aikido in France, but it will certainly begin to develop all over the world, because like all of the other methods of personal development that are really beneficial, Aikido leads to energy, peace, and beauty of the universe, and it always contributes to the development of human beings throughout the world. (Written by André Nocquet)

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Article 4

France, the second largest judo country in the world

Written by André Nocquet

The Kuroobi kai, a gathering of 1,200 black belt holders

Young men who rediscorvered the essence of chivalry

The history of French Judo began in 1935 when Master Kawaishi (7th Dan), who had been taught directly by the founder of Judo, Jigoro Kano, arrived in France. Thanks to Kawaishi's work, Judo established its position in France and contributed to the popularity of French sports, with excellent results over the 15 subsequentyears. Kawaishi is currently the technical director of federation, and he is assisted by Mr Michigami (7th Dan) and Mr Awazu (6th Dan). The French judo federation currently has about 18,000 members and the number of affiliated clubs is higher than 800, not counting the branches within the armed forces and the sports clubs that have recently joined the federation. In addition,  when they successfully pass the black belt test, Judo practicioners in France are enrolled to the Kuroobi kai which currently has about 1,200 members. Given that 6,000 8,000 brown belts are currently preparing for the test, the number of black belts will probably reach 2,000 next year. The black belt holders (half of which are Judo instructors) and their clubs operate not only in metropolitan France, but also in the regions and territories that are part of the French Union such as North Africa, Black Africa, Madagascar, Indochina and New Caledonia, where they train fellow Judo practitioners. In addition, French judo masters have been very active abroad and all of the Judo practitioners or champions in the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg, and the majority of Judo practitioners in Spain, Switzerland and Austria were trained by the French Masters.

As you can see, French Judoka have played a very important role for the promotion of Judo. The French Judo Federation initially belonged to the French Wrestling Association, but it departed from it in 1943 and became officially independent in 1946, while remaining recognized by the French Ministry of Sports. The president in office since the establishment of the federation is Paul Bonét-Maury (4th Dan), a professor at the Radium Institute (involved in the prevention of nuclear radiation) and advisor for the French government. Due to the significant development of Judo, regional leagues have been created from this year. The role of these leagues is to assist the federation in the planning of regional activities, and the federation will take decisions concerning the regional clubs, so that they can dictate regional decisions.

Anyway, I would like you, Japanese people, to know that after the war, young Frenchmen have recovered the essence of French chivalry and fair play in the Judo that Kano has founded. You should know how this has helped French judo to develops in a meaningful way, and why some young Frenchmen are so passionate about Judo. As judo continue to develop in a significant way around the world, it requires an international organization to solve a number of important issues. Although these questions are the object of the research of all the directors of Judo, it would be ideal for the majority of them to be resolved over a short period of time and with the full support of some good and fair people.

Mr Nocquet is a master at the French Judo Federation, a member of the Kuroobi kai, third Dan in Judo, first Dan in Aikido, and he runs a dojo in Bordeaux, France. Nocquet came to Japan last month and he joined the UeshibaAikidojo in Wakamatsu-cho, Shinjuku, Tokyo. He is also a devoted practitioner who goes regularly to the Kodokan to practice Judo.

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Guillaume Erard
Author: Guillaume Erard
Founder of the site in 2007, Guillaume is passionate about Japanese culture and martial arts. After practicing Judo during his childhood, he began Aikido in 1996 and Daito-ryu Aiki-jujutsu in 2008. He currently holds the ranks of 5th Dan in Aikido (Aikikai) and 3rd Dan in Daito-ryu Aiki-jujutsu (Takumakai). Guillaume is also passionate about science and education and holds a PhD in Molecular Biology. He lives in Tokyo and trains at the Aikikai Hombu Dojo.
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