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The history of Tendokan

Kawaraban No. 17


Questions to the Tendokan office

Could you provide us some information about Tendokan history.

Already from childhood Shimizu-Sensei had the intention to study judo. Later he received the 4th dan in judo (kodokan) at Meiji university. After his final examination in 1962 he had been adressed by Morihei Ueshiba, the founder of aikido, in January the following year, and consequently made the far reaching decision to change from judo to aikido.

As the last uchideshi of Morihei Ueshiba he had to spend a tough apprenticeship. During his training he started teaching at different locations like the Parliament, universities and companies.

Among the Parliament’s aikido students Sunao Sonoda, then foreign minister, was practicing. He being a representative of the first generation of ministers, whereas on the other side Shimizu Sensei was a representative of the first generation of teachers.

In 1968 the dojo of Toyo Film Productions in the district Setagaya – one of the locations where Shimizu-Sensei was teaching – kindly was made available three times a week. At that location about 25 students gathered, among them being Keiichi Yamamoto, Shigeo Konuma, Daizaburo Ninomiya, who by all means wanted to study aikido under Shimizu Sensei. That was the beginning of Shimizu Sensei’s aikido.

About half a year later they moved to the Satō- judo dojo in Setagaya/Sangenjaya, which had been named newly to ‘Shimizu Dojo’. In 1969, another half year later, they moved again, this time to the Sawa building near to the present location. Five years passed before Shimizu Sensei established a dojo at the present location changing its name to Tendokan.

‘Tendo’ originates from a word from the classical Chinese works ‘The Golden Mean’, saying that sincerity is the way to heaven. But at the same time it is also the name of Shimizu Sensei’s birthplace (prefecture Fukuoka, district Kaho, town Honami, Tendo).

Pictures from Shimizu Sensei’s days as uchideshi are available in the books ‘Zen and Aikido’ and ‘Aikido Tendo’.

© translated by Birgit Lauenstein 08/2002