Passing of Yukio Kawahara Sensei, 8th Dan

Yukio Kawahara Sensei (1940-2011)

Aikiweb.com has reported the passing of Yukio Kawahara Sensei, 8th dan, Chief Instructor of British Columbia Aikido Federation on Thursday, June 2. Below is a short biography of Kawahara Sensei from the British Columbia Aikido Federation website.

“Kawahara Shihan (8th dan) is the Technical Director of the Canadian Aikido Federation and the British Columbia Aikido Federation. He has been designated by the Hombu Dojo in Japan as their official representative to Canada.

Kawahara Shihan began Aikido in the 1950′s as a student of Bansen Tanaka in Osaka. Tanaka Shihan started studying with O’Sensei in 1935 and continued until the War. After WWII he built the Osaka Aikikai in 1951 under O’Sensei’s direction. O’Sensei would frequently stay in Osaka for extended periods during those years.

Before coming to Canada in 1975 Kawahara Shihan taught for a period in Taiwan. His first 2 years in Canada were spent in Montreal but he re-located to the West Coast in 1977. Since that time he has travelled extensively to encourage the growth of Aikido in Canada. He also teaches a yearly summer camp in British Columbia that draws participants from across the continent as well as from overseas. The first of these camps was held in 1979 in the small town of New Denver. Since that time the camp has grown and included such guest instructors as the present Doshu, Fujita, Miyamoto, Masuda, and Osawa Shihans from Hombu dojo as well as North American Shihan such as Yamada, Kanai, Chiba, Tohei, and Sugano.”

Aikido Journal wishes to add its condolences to Kawahara Sensei’s family and students.


  1. Carlo A says:

    A Viewing for Kawahara Shihan is scheduled to occur at

    First Memorial Funeral Services,
    4725 Falaise Drive, Victoria, BC

    Saturday, June 11, from 3:00 pm to 4:30 pm.

  2. Brett Jackson says:

    In honor of Kawahara sensei. We had a moment of silence in my aikido classes this past Sunday in honor and memory of Kawahara sensei.

    I knew him from 1988 to 1992. After that I moved overseas to pursue a career and lost contact with him. I had hoped to see him again but waited too long. I had many seminars with him and summer camps and was influenced by him though his senior students who were my senseis for those years. He was an amazing martial artist. So powerful yet fluid in his movements with amazing balance and poise.

    He tested me for 4th and 3rd kyu. Once he didn’t like the way I did a technique as it wasn’t the form he expected; afterwards, he told me that next time if I made one mistake again I wouldn’t pass. While his grading was very strict, his aikido was traditional and faithful. He knew a lot of daito ryu techniques too. I remember him holding down a bunch of students in a pile on top of each other, and when Kawahara sensei held you down, most likely you were tapping. Anyone who ever took an ukemi from Kawahara sensei knew the power of aikido. Though he was sociable, he was pretty quiet, even over a beer, preferring to let his demonstrations do the talking.

    He was also a very humble man. I think it was about 1990 about when he had turned 7th dan, if my memory serves me right, that he started wearing a white belt! Can you believe that, a 7th dan shihan wearing a white belt! He didn’t draw any attention to it either, as one might imagine he would; nope, he just wore it like it was the most natural thing in the world and never mentioned it, but you could see it under his hakama. He wore it for quite some time, as I recall, at least half a year and maybe a lot longer than than.

    He was a great, classic, aikido teacher, a humble gentlemen, a true, martial artist and an inspiring, living example of aikido. That’s how I remember him. I remember him all this time very clearly though my powers of memory are nothing special. We thank him for his consideration contribution to aikido and wish him all the best. My condolences to all who knew him, especially his senior students.

    • GL Chew says:

      It was very nice to read the words of Sensei Auge and my old friend Brett Jackson. It is hard for me to believe it has been 40 years or so since I first started training with Kawahara Sensei. I’m sure for all those who knew him but were unable to say good-bye to him he would say: Train sincerely. Train with a good heart. Remember that beginners are precious and treat them as you would a younger member of your own Family. Respect your teachers and honour the traditions but also think for yourself. Hone the basics but explore as well. Everyone’s aikido is unique but if your heart is true, your eyes are clear, and your spirit judicious, it is still Aikido.

  3. Patrick Augé says:

    I met Kawahara Sensei in Montreal in 1977, shortly after my arrival in Canada, then again when he came to Mochizuki Sensei’s clinic in Montreal in 1979. He was one of the people who inspired me and I am grateful to him.

    My condolences to his family and students.

    Patrick Augé

  4. Tuve el privilegio de ser alumna de Kawahara Sensei y de recibir su enseñanza y su consejos. Aqui en Aiki Calli México siempre lo recordaremos. Gracias Sensei por todo.

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