Video: “Kenji Shimizu, Favorite Uke of Morihei Ueshiba O-Sensei”

“Kenji Shimizu, Author of Zen and Aikido

This video features Kenji Shimizu, one of the last generation of Aikikai instructors under Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba. Shimizu Sensei had a strong judo background and quickly came up through the ranks in his early aikido career. He was one of Morihei Ueshiba’s favorite uke during O-Sensei’s latter years. A few years after the Founder’s passing, Shimizu became independent of the Aikikai and established “Tendokan Aikido” centered in his private dojo in Tokyo.

Since the late 1970s, Shimizu Sensei has traveled extensively, mainly to Europe, where he has large student bases in several countries. He was also a participant in the 2nd Friendship Demonstration sponsored by Aiki News is 1986. Shimizu co-authored a book titled Zen and Aikido with Shigeo Kamata of Tokyo University.

Shimizu Sensei’s aikido is both powerful and graceful at the same time. His ability to blend is exemplary and his technical repertoire varied, partially due to his judo background, which is revealed in certain throws. As this is a promotional film, the production quality is very high and there are many spectacular techniques displayed.

Duration: 7:56
Access: Free through Monday, December 26

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  1. Henri Dianti says:


    First, excuse me for my English. I’m French and I don’t often use your language.
    Just a few words to say how I find amazing the number of aikidokas claiming: I was the founder’s favorite uke, or even simply I was a founder’s student. It happened sometimes when I was checking the history background of these people that they began their aïkido studies in the late sixties. As they were beginners that time on, and in the same time O sensei not only old, but not living in Tokyo, I’m wondering what they are trying to make us to believe?

    Isn’t it dishonest?

    • Just for reference, here is Ellis Amdur’s comment on this subject from the Aikido Journal Members Site today:

      “He truly was Ueshiba Morihei’s favorite in the mid-sixties. Terry Dobson recalled that on a number of occasions, when Osensei went to teach, he would look for Shimizu, and if he wasn’t there, he’d loudly demand his presence, and wouldn’t get on the mat until he was found.”

  2. Thank you for letting us see that excellent demonstration. There were a few techniques in there that I have never seen before.

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