Now in English & French! “Noriaki Inoue: Aikido’s Forgotten Pioneer”

We would like to announce the availability of a rare DVD featuring Noriaki Inoue, nephew of Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba, one of aikido’s trailblazers. This new offering in both English and French is titled Noriaki Inoue: Aikido’s Forgotten Pioneer. Few people in the aikido world know of this incredible teacher who served as O-Sensei’s right hand man for some 20 years.

Noriaki (Yoichiro) Inoue was raised in the Ueshiba home in Tanabe in the early part of the 1900s. He was with Morihei when his uncle studied Daito-ryu Jujutsu in Hokkaido under Sokaku Takeda. Inoue also became a devout member of the Omoto sect having extensive personal contact with Onisaburo Deguchi, and developed a deep spiritual understanding paralleling that of Morihei. When Morihei taught his budo in Tokyo and Osaka during the 1920s and 30s, Inoue served as his senior assistant playing a pivotal role in the creation of Aiki Budo.

This DVD is thus a breakthrough product consisting of never-before-seen footage of Noriaki Inoue during his prime. Technically speaking, these films provide a glimpse of what prewar aikido really looked like. The astute viewer will note that the hundreds of techniques shown share a great deal in common with the Iwama Aikido of Morihiro Saito. Inoue’s bearing and technique reveals an uncanny resemblance to his uncle Morihei. His movements are extremely fluid, precise and punctuated by bursts of power. The technical richness and martial spirit of the art demonstrated by Noriaki Inoue will prove inspiring to aikido practitioners of all styles. The outstanding program is now available in English with French subtitles.

Click here for full details and ordering information for “Noriaki Inoue: Aikido’s Forgotten Pioneer.”

For detailed information on the historical relationship between Inoue and Morihei Ueshiba, refer to the article titled Yoichiro Inoue: Aikido’s Forgotten Pioneer by Stanley Pranin.

Click here for Ellis Amdur’s review of this DVD.


  1. This is absolutely fantastic news. Given that Inoue has been, repeatedly described as a doppleganger of the young Ueshiba, the earlier portions of this DVD give us another chance, I believe to see the kind of aiki-budo that Ueshiba was doing in the thirties. I am eagerly awaiting my copy – and hope that sales are as huge as they deserve.

    Ellis Amdur

  2. Makes you wonder what and who else has languished in obscurity. I suppose it doesn’t make any difference in a sense. We all do what we can. Recognition isn’t all that important and can even get in the way. And, how much good can any one person do in the greater scheme of things? Anyway, I also plan to order this.

  3. Oh. Got the video. Found a lot of interesting material. This morning my students and I worked on a set of Inoue’s variations from ushiro ryote dori that I’d never thought of myself. He started from where we often do juji-nage, then followed the low hand of that technique farther to a kotegaeshi. There’s also (expectedly) shihonage, kokyunage, kokyuho and a couple irimi nage variations from the same lead. The weapons work is really interesting and there is one technique I believe I saw a photo of O Sensei in the middle of which is really unexpected. Will have to see it several more times before I “get it” because it is so different from what we do now.

  4. Dan Penrod says:

    I just wanted to say that I purchased a copy of this DVD. I was fascinated by the footage and watched it over and over again. It was very interesting to see the unique techniques he was teaching. As Stan has outlined in earlier writings, although Inoue was there while O-Sensei was still training with Takeda… Inoue didn’t really spend much time with Takeda and didn’t really care for the old man. Rather he spent his time with his uncle Morihei and the other Omotokyo followers. As a result we see an influential pre-war Aikido teacher that looks very much like O-Sensei, but very different from all the other pre-war deshi from the Kobukan days. The DVD really sheds some new light on history. Thanks Stan!

  5. Tried the progression from kata dori Inoue demonstrated. Interesting (different!) material. Too bad Saito sensei never had the opportunity to share the relationships between pre and post-war technique.

  6. Well, seeing the videos of Inoue Sensei is a treasure.

    Given that he separated from Ueshiba Sensei before the war, the similitude of their work is in contradiction with the theory of the “birth of aikido after the war”, isn’t it ?

    Inoue Sensei seems to share more with his uncle work (even after the war), than any of the students of the founder of Aikido…

  7. Readers may recall that the term “Aikido” was selected by a committee operating under the auspices of the government-controlled Butokukai in 1942. O-Sensei was not directly involved in these meetings or the selection of the word. I think the concept of the “birth of aikido” is rather arbitrary in that the Founder’s art was continuously evolving.

    My research suggests that the postwar dissemination of aikido actually represents a departure from the Founder’s approach in favor of the methods and teachings of such figures as Gozo Shioda, Kisshomaru Ueshiba, Koichi Tohei, and others. There are various ways of looking at the process.

  8. Well, Mr Pranin, didn’t you refer to postwar Iwama as the “birthplace” of aikido in an article ?

  9. Yes, I did, and that is my personal opinion. Others have different opinions. My comment above refers to the postwar “dissemination” of aikido. For me personally, aikido is O-Sensei’s creation and that is my point of departure. For others the starting point is not O-Sensei, but rather the Second Doshu, Gozo Shioda, Koichi Tohei, Kenji Tomiki, etc. It’s a subjective thing.

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