Condolences on the Passing of Yoshimitsu Yamada Sensei

The instructors and students at Nashville Aikikai send their deepest condolences to the family, friends, and students of Yoshimitsu Yamada Sensei, who passed from this world on 15 January. One of O’Sensei’s uchi deshi (live-in student), he moved to New York City in 1964, where he was Chief Instructor of New York Aikikai and the Chairman of the United States Aikido Federation. As a teacher, he emphasized pure technique and strong basics, “It’s part of what I meant when I say that aikido today is too free. It’s important to be responsible with that freedom and remember the basics – irimi, connecting, harmonizing. And if you have those basics and they are strong, then you can be fancy.”  (Yoshimitsu Yamada: On Freedom and Responsibility by Josh Gold, Aikido Journal, July 11, 2022). One of our senior students, Andres Bermudez, who had the opportunity to train with Yamada Sensei at a number of seminars recalls Yamada Sensei as “good natured and encouraging . . . as a person and as a teacher.” His home dojo, New York Aikikai describe him as, “A great proponent of individuality and full-hearted training, his classes soared with the harmony and power of a symphony, inspiring all to give their best.” We can best honor the memory of this great aikidoka, teacher, and human by training with that same spirit.

RW

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