Philosophy · Senseis

Morito Suganuma

We’ve met Morito Suganuma Shihan earlier on the blog in a post with the warmups but he really deserves more… He was born on July 27, 1942 in Fukushima, Japan. He knew about the aikido from the early age and heard about O-Sensei few times but only at Asia University in Tokyo he was able to join a Nobuyoshi Tamura aikido class. He continued at the Hombu Dojo, where future sensei was surrounded by the greats with the Morihei Ueshiba as a head.

suganuma-ueshiba-train-platform
Morito Suganuma and the O-Sensei on the railway station

Then, after graduating from the university and being 23 years old, Morito joined Hombu Dojo as an uchi-deshi (fulltime). At this time Masatake Fujita and Seishiro Endo were practicing along with the others. O-Sensei was 84 years old but, from the words of Morito, he was still a lot to learn from despite his old body and Morito did that for two years until Morihei passed away in 1969. Kisshomaru Ueshiba sent Morito to Fukuoka where the second one founded Aikido Shoheijuku Dojo.

Shoheijuku Aikido evolved till these days and is now a network of 70 dojos and more than 4000 students. They say that Suganuma is considered as the west while the Yasuo Kobayashi is the east of the aikido in Japan regarding the big networks of schools in a country. Video above (and a second part) shows you a great model of a classic aikido not only with the moves and techniques but with the philosophy and talking about the basic and very important aikido mind setups.

Morito Suganuma Shihan gives seminars around the world. Canada, Norway, Israel, Netherlands, China. These are the places where he’s well known but not a full list. On 1:05 Bjorn Eirik Olsen is taking ukemi for the Suganuma Sensei. Bjorn is one of the high ranked students of the hero of the post, is a 7th Dan Aikido Shihan and a father of the aikido in Norway.

You may noticed from the videos that Suganuma Sensei is stretched very well. He makes yoga, practices zen meditation and also he’s a shodo master where shodo is a form of calligraphy or artistic writing of the Japanese language.

Shihan is fully active and, while he’s 75 years old, doing his best on the All Japan Aikido Demonstrations from year to year.

Morito Suganuma is a 8th Dan Aikido Aikikai Shihan. Here’s a site of Shoheijuku Aikido if you want to learn more about how things work there.

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