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How I came across Shimizu Sensei

Kawaraban No. 20


by Yamamoto Keiichi

In spring 1967 when I said farewell to my life as an oily and sweaty machine engineer and found a job onshore, I paid a visit to the Aikido school at Komazawa, which I always watched from a bus window.

I think I rather was attracted by the name ‘Ladies City’, where the Dojo was located, instead of the wish of learning Aikido. I was looking forward to the environment with young, friendly women. At the reception was a young lady, and I immediately decided to join. The motif for my enlistment was dishonest. This lukewarm engagement reached the ears of the teacher, Shimizu Sensei; I changed my attitude and decided to definitely follow the way of practice.

Sensei had a sportive haircut and was a young (I, too, was young then), robust and very vital giant.  He came from Kyushu and was praised as Judo talent since his days at the high school. In the Judo group of the Meiji University he gained experience, changed to Aikido thereafter and became the teacher’s pet of the adored founder of Aikido, Ueshiba Morihei.

I already was happy to be able to remember one technique after the other. You may laugh, if you want, but the only merit of which I could be proud of, was my ability to identify the true and the real things. And there is no doubt about that my enthusiasm for Aikido results from the fact, that I can feel the true Budo spirit, the true techniques of the Aikido of Shimizu Sensei.

Later Shimizu sensei cut off the connection to the Aikido Hombu Dojo and decided to become independent. We students followed him, practiced in the beginning at the Dojo of Toho Film-Studio, where the two students Konuma and Kusakawa were working, and later pushed along from Dojo to Dojo like gypsies. The group, which was band together by the joint wish to learn Shimizu Sensei’s techniques, was sticking together quite strongly and we did not care about any inconveniences.

When we participated in major demonstrations and watched the techniques of the other Dojos, we were happy to learn from Shimizu Sensei.

I now remember various memories and episodes, but because I cannot write everything on this limited piece of paper, we should meet again some day and talk about old days.

Finally, I want to thank Shimizu Sensei full heartedly, that he is teaching somebody like me, who understands slowly and is ham-handed.

© translated by Peter Nawrot 10/2006