Archive Video: O Sensei teaching on the roof of the Defense Ministry (1957)

I am pleased to present some long lost archive videos. This footage was shot circa 1957 on top of the Japanese Ministry of Defense, which was located at the time in Tokyo's Akasaka district. It shows several professors of the Aikikai Hombu Dojo demonstrating and teaching Aikido in front of the cameras. This video was brought back from Japan by master André Nocquet, who at the time was living with the founder of Aikido and his family and trained daily at the Hombu Dojo.

Demonstrators are Tada Hiroshi, Tohei Koichi, Ueshiba Kisshomaru Doshu and Ueshiba Morihei O Sensei. One of the main uke in this demonstration is Tamura Nobuyoshi Sensei who also lived at the dojo as an uchi-deshi at the time.

Tada Hiroshi

Tada Hiroshi is one of the most prominent post-war Aikido instructors. He entered the Hombu Dojo on March 4, 1950 and became an instructor in 1954. He is now one of the last direct pupils O Sensei still in activity.

Tada Hiroshi in action

Tohei Koichi

Tohei Koichi was one of the most prominent teachers of the Aikido headquarters where he served as head instructor from 1969 to 1974. He was also one of the few instructors to have been awarded the 10th Dan (1970). Tohei is also seen as being responsible for the introduction of Aikido in the West during his journeys to the US starting in 1953. Following the discovery of those reels, I sent a section of this demonstration to Stanley Pranin as I knew he was preparing his DVD on Tohei Koichi. Stanley actually had several original reels from this shoot but upon closer scrutiny, we realized that we did not own the same sections. The part that particularly interested him was this one where Tohei Sensei demonstrates his preparatory exercises, which you can also find on the DVD.

Koichi Tohei in action

Ueshiba Kisshomaru Doshu

Ueshiba Kisshomaru was the son and successor of the founder of Aikido, Ueshiba Morihei. He occuped the function of Second Doshu from 1969 until 1989. He is largely responsible for the growth and spread of Aikido in Japan and throughout the world, and it is under his leadership that the Aikikai foundation was instigated, as well as the International Aikido Federation. He has written several books on Aikido, including a biography of his father, as well as several books on the techniques and philosophy of the art.

Kisshomaru Ueshiba in action

Ueshiba Morihei O Sensei

In this video, the founder of Aikido Ueshiba Morihei demonstrates the core techniques of the Aikido curriculum, both empty-handed and through the use of weapons (Jo and Bokken). His main uke in this class are Tada Hiroshi and Tamura Nobuyoshi.

Morihei Ueshiba in action

I would like to thank Mr Frank de Craene and Mr Claude Duchesnes who entrusted by Master Nocquet with these reels.

Guillaume Erard
Author: Guillaume Erard
A resident of Japan for nearly a decade, Guillaume Erard trains at the Aikikai Hombu Dojo, where he received the 5th Dan from Aikido Doshu Moriteru Ueshiba. He also holds a 3rd Dan in Daito-ryu Aiki-jujutsu, the secretive art that Morihei Ueshiba learned from Sokaku Takeda. Erard is the Information Director of the International Aikido Federation and the Deputy Secretary of International Affairs of the Daito-ryu Aiki-jujutsu Shikoku Headquarters. He is also passionate about science and education and holds a PhD in Molecular Biology.
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