Seigo Yamaguchi was one of the most important of the first generation of aikido instructors of the postwar era. He taught at the Aikikai Hombu Dojo in Tokyo for several decades until his passing in 1996. Having now become nearly a legend, Yamaguchi Sensei influenced several generations of practitioners within the Aikikai system during his career including many of today’s senior instructors of the Headquarters school.
This is a video taken in Japan at the Hombu Dojo in December, 1973. Excerpts are from the Monday afternoon and evening classes. This video is especially interesting as Yamaguchi Sensei was a vigorous 45 years of age. In it, he executes a variety of techniques repeatedly. The main focus is on yokomenuchi shihonage, shomenuchi iriminage, katadori ikkyo, and several others.
You will notice Yamaguchi Sensei’s special emphasis on sword principles when explaining and demonstrating these techniques. It is clear that he was in the camp favoring the inclusion of sword study as a part of aikido training. This is further evidenced by the approach taken by his leading students such as Christian Tissier Sensei of France who cross-trained in the study of the Kashima Shin-ryu sword.
It is by viewing such high-level aikido by great instructors such as Seigo Yamaguchi Sensei that today’s practitioners can pick up important hints to speed their own progress in the art.
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