This video is one of the most important visual documents in the Aikido Journal archives. Rinjiro Shirata, 9th dan Shihan, demonstrates scores of prewar Aiki Budo techniques in commemoration of his 70th birthday. This document, nearly 30 years old and virtually unknown, will help aikido instructors and practitioners bridge the gap between the prewar curriculum of Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba and modern aikido. It constitutes an excellent tool in the endeavor to track the evolution of aikido technique.
In this video, you will discover many Aiki Budo techniques you have never seen before. As with the Kanemoto Sunadomari book we released a few days ago, the techniques covered are closer to Morihei Ueshiba “Aiki Budo” film than to modern aikido.
Born on March 29, 1912 in Yamagata Prefecture to a family of Omoto believers, Rinjiro Shirata was accepted into the Kobukan Dojo of aikido founder Morihei Ueshiba as an uchideshi in 1933. Known for his modest character and great physical strength, he quickly became one of the star pupils of the “Hell Dojo,” as the founder’s early school was called. Shirata later spent a short period teaching aiki budo in Osaka before being drafted into the Japanese Imperial Army. He spent the war years stationed in Burma until his repatriation.
Shirata’s training was interrupted for several years due to the war, but he began actively teaching again in Aomori in 1959. In 1962, he received the 8th dan rank from the founder. At this time his teaching activities were concentrated in his native Yamagata. Shirata was awarded 9th dan in 1972 by Second Doshu Kisshomaru Ueshiba and is one of only a handful of people ever to have achieved this rank. Shirata was also active in the International Aikido Federation following its establishment in 1976. He occupied several high posts and served on the technical council. He traveled to Honolulu in 1978 in connection with the IAF and to Chicago in 1984 at the invitation of Akira Tohei Sensei. On both occasions foreign practitioners responded enthusiastically to his skillful, yet gentle approach to teaching.
Devoted to the spread of aikido and one of the staunchest supporters of the Ueshiba family, Shirata was a regular participant over the years in major Aikikai-sponsored events such as the All-Japan Aikido Demonstration, the Iwama Taisai, and the Kagami Biraki New Year Celebration at the Tokyo Hombu Dojo.
Duration: 27:27 minutes
Access: Free through Monday, December 19
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