The following articles were submitted by Linda Holiday Sensei of Aikido of Santa Cruz:
On January 12, 2009, at the Budokan in Tokyo, Motomichi Anno Sensei was given the Japan Martial Arts Distinguished Service Award for Aikido. Anno Sensei, 8th dan, is the current chief instructor of the Kumano Juku Dojo in Shingu, Japan, succeeding the late Michio Hikitsuchi Sensei. Anno Sensei began his study of Aikido in 1954 and received direct instruction from the founder of Aikido during Osensei’s frequent visits to the Kumano area. Anno Sensei has traveled many times to teach Aikido in the US and Europe; he is well appreciated for his emphasis on the heart and spirit of the art.
The Japan Martial Arts Association (Nihon Budo Kyogikai) consists of nine separate budo organizations, such as the All-Japan Federations of Judo, Kendo, Kyudo, Sumo, Karatedo, etc., and the Aikikai (for Aikido). Each January, they get together at the Budokan in Tokyo ceremonially to start off the new year of budo training. Since the early 1980’s, the Association has annually selected one instructor from each martial art, to receive the Martial Arts Distinguished Service Award. Previous recipients who are internationally well-known for their devoted service to Aikido include Senseis Michio Hikitsuchi, Morihiro Saito, Rinjiro Shirata, Seiseki Abe, Seigo Yamaguchi, Hiroshi Tada, and many other wonderful shihan.
Anno Sensei wrote a short essay which was published in the February issue of the Aikido Shinbun from Aikikai Hombu Dojo. In it, Anno Sensei describes his search for a meaningful path after the end of the war, and his appreciation for the presence of Aikido in his life for over 50 years. He writes, “I would like to express my gratitude to the Founder Osensei, the second Doshu, the current Doshu, and all teachers and students, offering these words of appreciation as a prayer for the increasing growth and development of Aikido.”
2009 Japan Martial Arts Association Distinguished Service Award for Aikido
given to Anno Motomichi Sensei, 8th dan,
Chief Instructor of Aikido Kumano Juku Dojo in Shingu, Japan
Anno Sensei’s essay, published in Aikido Shinbun, February 10, 2009
I am sincerely grateful to receive the Martial Arts Distinguished Service Award from the Japan Martial Arts Association. This is an honor I do not deserve. It is entirely due to the support and guidance I have long received from Doshu and all the members of the Aikido community. For this I express my deepest gratitude.
As I recall, when I began the study of Aikido in 1954, it was a chaotic time. We had not yet emerged from the confusion following the end of the war, and neither the nation nor the people of Japan had a clear goal in mind.
Born in 1931, I had two older brothers, but they fell in the war, and it was only after the war ended that we were informed. I lived with my grieving parents in a quiet farming village. I was always thinking I wanted to study something meaningful, to which I could dedicate myself.
One day, at the paper manufacturing plant where I was employed, I heard that an amazing martial arts teacher was coming from Tokyo to Shingu, and that it was possible to receive direct instruction from him. Without hesitation, I enrolled as a student–of Aikido.
To be honest, at that time I had no knowledge of Aikido, and I had no idea what sort of person the martial arts teacher from Tokyo was. From that time to this day, for over fifty years, I have lived my life following the path of Aikido. The fact that the martial arts teacher from Tokyo was Aikido’s founder, Ueshiba Morihei Osensei, brought a sense of purpose and determination to my life.
As you know, the Founder teaches Aikido as the path of kami. In particular, he had a deep reverence for the Kumano kamisama, so he would visit Shingu from time to time. On occasion, he would stay for a longer period and give personal instruction to us young Aikido students.
Currently I am in charge of the Kumano Juku Dojo (in Shingu City, Wakayama Prefecture), having succeeded the former chief instructor, the late Hikitsuchi Michio Sensei. I am applying myself day and night, together with all teachers and students, taking as a “motto” the faithful transmission, to the next generation, of the techniques and spirit conveyed directly by Aikido’s Founder.
In conclusion, I would like to express again my gratitude to the Founder Osensei, the second Doshu, the current Doshu, and all teachers and students, offering these words of appreciation as a prayer for the increasing growth and development of Aikido.
–Anno Motomichi Sensei
translated by Linda Holiday