There are only a few direct O-Sensei disciples left alive and Yoshimitsu Yamada Sensei is one of them. He holds a rank of the 8 Dan in Aikikai and is a teacher with a name known all over the world. This is one reason he is so respected and demanded. A bigger reason is his high aikido skill, unique style and colossal contribution to the Aikido.
Yoji Fujimoto (March 26, 1948 – February 20, 2012) was an 8 Dan Aikikai Shihan. At the age of 23, he moved to Italy and became a big part of the Aikido history in the country.
Hiroshi Isoyama was born in 1937. In June 1949 he joined the Iwama Dojo to learn Aikido under the Morihei Ueshiba. Training under O-Sensei continued for around 20 years of his life and is the main part of Hiroshi Isoyama’s knowledge about the martial arts philosophy which he still transmits to the world.
Philip Lee Shihan has a 7th Dan in Aikido Aikikai Shihan based in Singapore. He’s a founder of the Aikido Shinju-Kai organization which is the largest one in the territories of the Malaysian countries.
Nobuo Takase is a 7th Dan Aikikai Shihan and a Technical Director of Aikido in New Zealand. He is a head-instructor in Aikido Shinryukan with headquarters in Auckland.
Yukio Kawahara (August 14, 1940 – June 2, 2011) – was an 8 Dan Japanese Aikido Shihan and official representative of the Aikikai in Canada.
Juba Nour has a 6 Dan in Aikikai and holds a status of a Shihan. He’s one of the first known uchi-deshi’s for Kazuo Chiba. A founder of the Baja Aikido on the beaches of Mexico and one of the Birankai’s heroes.
Seigo Yamaguchi (April 13, 1924 – January 24, 1996) 9 Dan Aikido, Hombu Dojo Shihan and one of the most important, early teachers in Aikikai.
Bjorn Eirik Olsen Shihan represents Norway Aikikai. He is presently holding a 7th Dan and is the Chief instructor of the Norwegian Aikido Federation. He holds seminars regularly in Greece, England, and has a close relationship to Aikido in Vietnam.
Kenji Tomiki was born on March 15, 1900 in Kakunodate, Akita Prefecture. He began to learn under the Morihei Ueshiba in 1926 and was also a Jigoro Kano‘s student. He managed to get 8 Dan at Aikido in 1940 and 8 Dan at Judo in 1978. He taught both of them in Waseda University, Tokyo and this is when he started a development of his own Aikido theories which crossed with what Aikikai was about to become.