Seigo Yamaguchi

Seigo Yamaguchi (April 13, 1924 – January 24, 1996)  9 Dan Aikido, Hombu Dojo Shihan and one of the most important, early teachers in Aikikai.

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Seigo Yamaguchi was born in the Fukuoka prefecture, Kyushu, Japan. His father was a school director which was a reason for young Yamaguchi to read a lot from an early age. He studied in a traditional school of the Edo period and graduated from the University of the Hiroike Gakuen in 1946.

During the WW2 Seigo was serving to the Japanese Empire in a Kamikaze division. Luckily the war was over before he was assigned to a mission. He went back home to Fukuoka, continued his studies and in 1949 he obtained a qualification to work for the government.

In 1950 he was introduced to the Morihei Ueshiba, founder of the Aikido. Seigo Yamaguchi joined Hombu as an uchi-deshi in the next year and in 1958 he was sent to teach Aikido in Myanmar (Burma at the time) for two years.

Upon returning to Tokyo he was teaching in Hombu, other Dojos including the private ones, in the universities. His classes were always full, students were sometimes accepted with the invitations only.

Yamaguchi Sensei did not make much of the explanations. Instead, he was demonstrating more and giving that feeling of the techniques to many. Teachers you know today are proud to learn from Yamaguchi Shihan. Those are Christian Tissier, Yasuno Masatoshi, Seishiro Endo, Yoshinobu Takeda.

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Shihan was teaching outside of Japan on a regular basis. His Aikido is known in Europe, the Americas and even Africa.

What’s interesting about the Yamaguchi’s death is that he knew his diagnosis but declined the treatment because he believed in a natural order. There were more than 1000 people at his funeral. His body is no more but part of his spirit is still with us. His son Tetsu Yamaguchi moves on.

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