This may read like the brag post that it is but I think it is important when I wax on lyrical about the workings and mindset of Aikido that you get some idea of my background for this.
Firstly – About my introduction to and development in Budo. When around 17 years old I began seeking answers to life and existence and my pursuit lead me, via Karl Jung, to Zen and in particulars Japanese Zen as expressed through the budo ways. Judo, kendo, kyudo, etc. After reading more books on Zen and Asian philosophies I enrolled with the local Judo Club as a means of Zen practice and my Budo life began there at 19 years of age.
After a break away from judo due to time spent with performing in bands I found my way to Shotokan karate in 1984 which came to town just as I retired from performance work. During my time with Shotokan I was introduced to Miyamoto Musashi’s “Go Rin no Hon” and also talk about Aikido. A Sandan aikido instructor came to town in 1989 and started classes at the local Judo dojo and I was right in there. Bill Sensei was 68 years old and I was quite impressed. As student membership grew Bill and I formed Tauranga Aikido Club in 1991 affiliated to NZ Aikikai headed by Nobuo Takase Shihan.
At this time I had my first introduction to Hombu Dojo Shinjuku instructors. Masuda Shihan came to visit Bill so we ran a small seminar and invited other dojo students from other towns and aikido styles. It was also at that event that I met Alan Wade Sensei from Gisborne Dojo.
Alan was a weapons man and had trained under Chiba Sensei in the UK before coming to NZ. On his way to NZ Alan stopped off at Iwama and trained ushideshi with Saito Sesnsei for a while. I formed a close friendship with Alan and trained with him often, attending weekend seminars in Gisborne and also inviting him to Tauranga to teach.
Hence my bokken Aikiken work is based on Chiba Sensei’s style and Aikijo is from Saito Sensei. Although I have trained extensively later with Sawada Shihan from Kimori Dojo, Nagoya, my base styles are still those I learned from Alan.
In 1992 I attended my first national Gasshuku in Auckland with Ichihashi Shihan (RIP) and this followed on with Masuda Shihan, Miyamoto Shihan, Ng, Sawada, Seki, and others over the years, including Doshu.
While attending the 8th International Congress at Yoyogi in Tokyo, September 2000, I managed to fit in classes with Endo, Tissier, Yokota, Yamada and Tamura Shihan, also Doshu. I managed to bring back so much material for my classes over the following years, plus the whole thing was a once in a lifetime experience with many great memories. 28 instructors and senior students of Shinryukan travelled from New Zealand with Takase Shihan to Tokyo and we stayed at the Olympic Village (1974) in Yoyogi Park for the week.
So, hiking back to 1996. Bill for health reasons left Tauranga and resettled on Waiheke Island. I suddenly found that I was Dojo Cho at Nikyu. Takase Shihan became my Sensei and I forged on running the show with help from Hamilton Dojo who invaded the dojo one Sunday each month to check up on progress, offer some mentoring and generally see that we were doing it right. I gained Shodan in 1998 and formally closed Tauranga Aikido Club. Takase had recently launched Aikido Shinryukan as his national school and organisation under the patronship of his sensei, Masuda Shihan, thereby astablishing a direct link to Aikido Hombo Dojo, Shinjuku. Greerton Dojo was formed as a direct branch of Hombu Dojo Auckland and an integral part of Aikido Shinryukan.
After gaining my Sandan, Takase had me registered as an assistant instructor (fukushidoin) with Hombu Shinjuku.
So that is my Aikido lineage: myself –> Takase Shihan –> Masuda Shihan.
And, yes, I did get to train at Hombu Shinjuku in 2000. We all took an afternoon off from the Congress programme and Takase took us in to attend a class with Yokota Shihan and formally meet Doshu. Also, even though I missed the class with Sugano Shihan (RIP) because of that, I did get to spend the evening drinking beer with him, although I think he may have been drinking whisky!