Etsuji Horii Sensei was born on May 5, 1964 in Osaka, Japan. When he was at Junior High School, at the age of 14, he joined the local Aikido Club. During the spring holidays he was able to go to Hombu and trained there for a full week and became fully dedicated from this time on. Two years later Etsuji Horii joined the technical college where the Aikido Club was absent and he organized his own. He spent 5 years more years doing Aikido there. Right after his graduation Sensei joined Hombu again but this time as an uchideshi.
Becoming an uchideshi meant to become a professional in a perspective. It was very much about attending all the classes from the early morning till the evening and the other everyday tasks related to the Hombu Dojo itself. There also were Yukimitsu Kobayashi, Sugawara Shigeru and Takanori Kuribayashi among the uchideshi’s at the period. Active Senseis from the time were: Okumura Sensei, Yamaguchi Sensei, Arikawa Sensei, Tada Sensei, Ichihashi Sensei, Masuda Sensei, Watanabe Sensei, Sasaki Sensei, Moriteru Ueshiba of course and his father Kisshomaru Ueshiba who was a Doshu. All Etsuji Horii Sensei was thinking about was to make good falls and soon he was able to improve enough to take ukemi for the Waka Sensei and the Doshu. He joined the group of the best ukes: Tsuruzo Miyamoto, Yoshiaki Yokota and Osawa Hayato. You know them well today.
Etsuji Horii was also honored to be an Otomo for Doshu, Waka Sensei (Moriteru), Shoji Seki Sensei and Okumura Sensei. Otomos job was to accompany a Sensei during the trips, take falls and take care of things. This made him travel around the world with the Aikido early but it was a hard job in the first place.
Horii Sensei stayed at Hombu for 3 years as an uchideshi and 7 more years as a sotodeshi. Sotodeshi meant pretty much the same but living in his own apartment, not the Dojo. 5 of these years he was teaching a Beginners Class at the Tokyo Hombu. After 10 years with Hombu Sensei decided to open his own Dojo at Sanda, Japan. This is the Dojo he runs today and the name is Aikido Aioikai. There’s a kanji for Aioi in the Japanase which symbolizes the strong relationship of a couple. Aioikai Aikido celebrated 20 years Anniversary in 2017.
Etsuji Horii Sensei has a very powerful Aikido and puts his accent on the basics. He converts simple moves to the advanced ones step by step. He is a 7 Dan Aikikai certified Shihan today.
At the early age Sensei made around 4 years of the Kendo. This could be one of the reasons he developed his own bokken style from what he had learned through years with all of his teachers. Not only a bokken but bukiwaza overall. You may often see him giving classes with the Jo.
Shihan has a big respect in the Birankai Schools of Chiba Sensei. You may learn more on Birankai from the interview with Piotr Masztalerz and Juba Nour which are the Birankai Senseis. He is very welcomed around the world and gives seminars on a regular basis in the countries like USA, Bulgaria, Moldova, Poland, Vietnam, Malaysia and many others. This means he has lots of students anywhere he goes.
Last seminar in Moldova was during a weekend on 26, 27, 28 October 2018. This is a Big Annual Aikido Event in Moldova. It does attract all the practitioners and the groups around, those who love the Etsuji Horii Shihan and those who are dedicated to Aikikai Aikido. There were 10 hours of classes with the Sensei this year and he’s coming in 2019! Join a facebook group ETSUJI HORII Sensei Annual International Seminars in Moldova to stay tuned.