“Historical photo: Hiroshi Tada, 9th dan, Aikido’s Mr. Dynamic!,” by Stanley Pranin

Observers of the annual All-Japan Aikido Demonstration have for decades been impressed with the performances of a tall, slim man with amazing technique. It is as though his body is filled with a pulsating electric current. His movements flow in a rippling cascade and the man seems deep in a trance. This would be Hiroshi Tada, 9th dan.

Today, Tada Sensei is a noble looking Japanese gentleman 82 years of age. The execution of his techniques appears to be that of an athlete in his prime. I have always admired his healthful lifestyle and regal bearing. He has outlived all of the senior level instructors of his generation. He is a sterling example of what is possible through a lifetime of training.

Take a look at this photo taken early in his stay in Italy about 1966. Even in this still shot, the strong connection and projection of energy in Tada Sensei’s execution of the technique is obvious.

Tada Sensei is the Aikikai’s senior representative for Italy and makes regular visits there to conduct seminars. From this base, he has taught all over Europe for many years.

In addition, Tada Sensei developed a system of breathing and meditative exercises to supplement aikido training called “Ki no Renma” (Cultivation of Ki). No doubt this regime has also contributed to his dynamic health and youthfulness.

Although this is a wonderful photo, Tada Sensei’s aikido must be seen to be appreciated. It goes without saying that we have an excellent example of this. We have archived the demonstration of Tada Sensei from the 2004 All-Japan Aikido Demonstration on the Aikido Journal Members Site. Paid subscribers may click on the link below to log in and view this mesmerizing video clip:

Video: Hiroshi Tada, 9th dan, at the 2004 All-Japan Aikido Demonstration (member video)


  1. …a bit like another long, lean, dynamic aikido instructor of my acquaintance… 😉

  2. Norm Heller says:

    Sometimes I would be fairly early for practice when Tada sensei was teaching at Hombu dojo in the seventies when he returned from Italy. As I walked past the open door to the mat area to the dressing room, I would see Tada sensei there by himself doing seated meditation. He was the only Hombu teacher I saw doing that. His classes were always very dynamic. Very lively.
    Years later I met a man from Japan in America who trained with Tada sensei while he was an university student. He said Tada sensei would emphasize irimi and have the students practice entering over and over.

    I am very fortunate to have trained with Tada sensei.

  3. I was able to taste some of Tada Sensei’s splendor indirectly through one of his students, Kenji Hayashi, who has a very beautiful aikido dojo (he calls what he teaches there “shizen-taido”) with his wife in Hannover, Germany, which happens to be my home town. I discovered him after years of doing aikido abroad. I greatly appreciate his kindness, the beauty of his aikido, the extensive breathing exercises at the beginning of class, and his love of zen. Thank you for giving me a better idea of who his wonderful teacher is. I saw him at the All Japan Aikido Demonstrations this year. Very impressive performance. I can’t believe his age!

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