Nobuyuki Watanabe was born on July 25, 1930 in Miyazaki Prefecture. Sumo was the first budo on his way and at secondary school he started Judo. He also made Jukenjutsu but really liked and considered Judo to be the best martial art possible before he got thrown with the Shiho-Nage…
And Watanabe Sensei started aikido in a club at Prime Minister’s office where he had a job at the age of 22. Classes were in the afternoon but after receiving a Shodan he entered at Hombu Dojo. He went there in the morning (instead of the job) and in the evening (after the job).
Hiroshi Tada, Nobuyoshi Tamura, Koichi Tohei, Sadateru Arikawa were the uchi-deshis at the time Watanabe Sensei joined. He also became one and was influenced a lot by the O’Sensei and Kisaburo Osawa.
Nobuyuki Watanabe is something different than any other Senseis you know and it seems like he refuses to apply force when making a technique. They say that he makes Kokyu throws without a touch, that his Aikido is contactless. There’s an opinion that he was more to demonstrate aiki principles than self-defense and he went pretty deep with that despite the contrast of impressions.
You can call him a total fake but he has been a senior instructor at the Hombu Dojo for years and does have an 8th Dan Aikido Aikikai. By the way, his profession name is chiropractic. Not sure who was first a chicken or an egg but there’s a straight line between his Aikido style, don’t you think?
Nobuyuki Watanabe traveled a lot with his Aikido. He is well known around the world and is loved in some particular countries like Germany, Russia, New Zealand and many others. He’s an old-old man now and is 87.