Here at the frontier, the leaves fall like rain. Although my neighbors are all barbarians, and you, you are a thousand miles away, there are still two cups at my table.

Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn, a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter. If your mind isn't clouded by unnecessary things, this is the best season of your life.

~ Wu-men ~

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Kushida Sensei Passes Away

 The Winter Lion
Issuing his last roar,
Leaves all behind.

I just learned that Kushida Sensei, one of Gozo Shioda's first Uchi Deshi passed away on May 10th. I studied aikido under Kushida Sensei in the late 70's and on and off into the early 90's. He was a great martial artist and a great human being. I can honestly say that he's had quite an impact on my life.

I had previously posted a short video of Kushida Sensei. I thought it was appropriate to post it again. There is a black and white sequence in it from the 80's of him doing freestyle. That's how I remember him.

If you click on the link above, you'll be directed to the Gottsupidia wiki article. Below is an excerpt.

Kushida Takashi, born May 2, 1935, is an aikido instructor and founder of Aikido Yoshokai. Kushida began studying aikido under Shioda Gozo during the very early days of the Yoshinkan Dojo, which he entered together with Inoue Kyoichi. Not long after he began his training, he was asked by Shioda to become one of the first uchideshi (live-in student) at the Yoshinkan Dojo. For ten years, Kushida lived in the dojo as an uchideshi. He became a certified instructor in 1964 but continued to focus on his own training in addition to teaching students junior to him.

For twenty years, Kushida stayed with Shioda. During this time, he was Shioda's number one uke (for demonstrations and in class). In addition, Kushida handled Shioda's administrative duties. In 1973, a request for an instructor was sent from Kimeda Takeshi, who would later go on to found Yoshinkai Canada and currently lives and teaches in Toronto, Canada. In response to the request, Kushida left his position as chief instructor at the Yoshinkan honbu dojo and went to North America.

In 1976, Kushida started the Aikido Yoshinkai Association of North America (AYANA). In 1991, Yoshinkai Aikido in Japan established the International Yoshinkai Aikido Federation (IYAF, now defunct and replaced by AYF. See article Yoshinkan). Representatives of various countries discussed the mission, policies, and activities of IYAF with Kushida and Yoshinkai leaders in 1990. However,

Kushida did not wish to change AYANA's standards to conform with those of the IYAF and was subsequently dismissed from Yoshinkan by Shioda in August 1990.

Much like Tohei Koichi after he left the Aikikai, Kushida's contributions to early Yoshinkan Aikido have since been all but erased from the official records.

In December 1991, Kushida changed AYANA's name from Yoshinkai Association of North America to the Yoshokai Association of North America and began operating as an independent organization. Kushida's headquarters for the Aikido Yoshokai Association of North America in Ann Arbor Michigan is the Genyokan dojo.


Charles James said...

It would seem this age, the years 2010 t0 2020, could be a decade of great loss to the marital world.

Sometimes we forget that our forefathers in martial arts are reaching the late "winter years."

My Sensei is about 75 years now as well and has health issues.

Sigh, it will create such a vacuum.

walt said...

Very poignant to realize one's teacher is no longer here ... though I'll bet he's still present to you.

Felicia said...

So sad and sorry to hear :-(

Rick Matz said...

The comment by Charles got me thinking ... the result is that I added the haiku and changed the picture.

Rick Matz said...

@Charles and Walt,

Autumn leaf falls,
A space is left behind.
The branch trembles.

walt said...

Your 'Ku fu is strong!

Anonymous said...

Hi Rick,

Many of the aikido greats have passed on, or close to it. I think of Kawahara Sensei here in western Canada who died recently as well.



Charles James said...

Nice, Rick, Nice .....

Drew said...

I haven't seen you in a while. Hope all is well.

And my condolences for your loss. As Charles stated, many of Aikido's first generation students are passing on. One of my sensei is 75 this year and although he's strong for his age, I can only imagine what the next 10 years might bring. Osu

Rick Matz said...

Eventually, if we're lucky, we become the old ones and an example to the young ones...

Ron & Ronnie said...

I studied under Kushida Sensei from 1980 to 1994. I have just learned of his death, and I am shocked and saddened. However, he forged a great brotherhood of Aikidokas, and I feel closer to my brothers and sisters of Aikido than ever before. He lives on through all of us.

Rick Matz said...

He left a very strong legacy.

Bonspy said...

You and I were at the Gemyokan at the time, though I went to study under Hadden Sensei at the Ann Arbor YMCA for a number of years since the schedule there fit better for me while raising 2 baby daughters.
But Kushida Sensei is the one who taught me to love Aikido and got me to learn the Japanese language. All of that led to studying Kenjutsu Shodo, Chado and bonsai. So Kushida Sensei's teachings have had a profound effect on my life.
This is the first time I have been aware of his passing. He will be greatly missed by everyone who came into contact with him.
One of my greatest memories of him will be having a few beers with he and Jim Hadden at the Greek restaurant, whose name escapes me, in Ann Arbor. Both Kushida Senset and Hadden Sensei let their hair down a little and a few of us got to enjoy their company those few nights so long ago.
I will carry memories of those nights for the rest of my life.
After some hectic years with divorce and job changes, I am finally able to return to martial arts studies with my original style of Wing Chun Kung Fu and sword styles of multiple types. Have you ever heard of the Sword Experience with Adrian Paul? He played Duncan MacLeod on the Highlander TV Series for 6 seasons and now does the Sword Experience around the US and the world. I have had a lot of health issues with TBI from the military but as I said am finally able to start training again and am excited to try the Sword Experience. I trained in fencing for a little over a decade, so the sword is near to my heart. Adrian Paul's Sword Experience uses bokken, which is great for my memories of Aikido and Kushida Senset.
He was a superb teacher and an even better human being. He has always held a special place in my heart and will be deeply missed by me. I always wanted to return to Ann Arbor and thank him personally for his thoughts and teachings.
Thank you for posting your thoughts and to Rick Matz especially for his original posting. I'm deeply saddened to learn that Kushida Senset is no longer here, but he will always live in the thoughts of his students and with anyone who came into his sphere of influence.

Bonspy said...

Yes Sir, he certainly did, with me and anyone else who knew him.

Rick Matz said...