Minoru Kanetsuka (December 8, 1939 – March 8, 2019) was the official representative of the Aikikai in the United Kingdom since 1978. He had a big influence on Aikido in the West Europe as a Japanese master teaching the art abroad.
Minoru Kanetsuka was born in Tokyo, Japan. At the age of 18 he entered the Aikido club of the Takushoku University where he studied. His first teacher was Gozo Shioda and promotion were set from the Yoshinkan up to the Nidan. During this time he also met Masatake Fujita who became very important for the life of a future Shihan.
In 1964 Sensei travelled to Eastern Asian countries to gather teaching experience in Aikido. He spent 8 next years in India and Nepal overall working including with the royal household bodyguards and police training school in Kolkata.
In 1971 Kanetsuka Sensei met Kazuo Chiba and got an invitation to train in Aikikai of Great Britain where he obtained his future Dan promotions. He learned the ways and after Chiba’s departure to USA took over the organization, renamed it to British Aikido Federation (BAF).
With that he got appointed as the Aikikai Hombu representative in the country, his school became one of the few at the time European Aikido centers with the official Japanese teacher. BAF was growing. Summer and winter camps, seminars with friend Japanese Shihan and multiple event were regular.
With time Sensei became a Technical Director of the federations in Netherlands, Norway, Greece and South-Africa. He was an often guest in Scotland, Ireland, France, has a students and respect in the countries mentioned including Moldova, Russia, Poland, etc. Do basics and work hard – Is what they often heard. Sensei was the one of a few to anchor some of the native Japanese traditions and etiquette details inside of the European Aikido community. He was also known for controlling the ukes with the minimum physical effort.
Minoru Kanetsuka dedicated his life to Aikido and was promoted to 8th Dan by Aikikai Hombu Dojo during the Kagamibiraki 2015. His death is a big loss for the Aikido community overall but you can still get a little closer to what he was through the articles published on the web from the Oxford Aikikai and Diverse Japan.