The Initiator – Interview with Motokage Kawamukai

by SIMONE CHIERCHINI - Motokage Kawamukai Sensei, 6th dan Aikikai, is considered by many to be the father of Italian Aikido. This interview reveals new aspects of the beginning of Aikido in Italy, addresses thorny issues such as the fragmentation of Italian Aikido and its causes, but also extra-tatami topics, such as Italian economy, the drama of the Japanese tsunami and the nuclear dilemma

Uka (Haru) Onoda, Aikido’s Sculptress

by SIMONE CHIERCHINI - "When one day it will be possible to trace a history of Aikido in Italy, a chapter will undoubtedly be dedicated to Haru Onoda, a pioneer of Aikido in our country, since the days when the existence of this art was only known to a few lovers of martial arts and Japanese things". With these prophetic words, Giovanni Granone, a column of Italian Aikido for over three decades, in 1973 described the importance of the role played by the young Onoda in Italy in her ten years of stay and work in our country

The Forgiver – Interview with Ichiro Shishiya

by SIMONE CHIERCHINI - Ichiro Shishiya is one of the world's leading exponents of that Aikido system that refers to one of the Founder's most noticeable direct students, the late Shoji Nishio. Here are the results of our cyber chat

The Martialist – Interview with Antonino Certa

by SIMONE CHIERCHINI - Antonino Certa spent 55 years of his life training and teaching some of the main Japanese martial arts. He was part of the pioneers' era of Aikido in Italy and practised Aikido for over 30 years, until in 1991 his pursuit of martiality led him to Abashiri and to the discovery of the complex and fascinating world of Daito-Ryu Aikijujutsu. Today Certa Shihan is a reference figure for Daito in Italy and the world, having taught in 11 countries and shared practice with hundreds of fellow tatami mates. His uncommon position as an expert in both Aikido and Daito-Ryu makes his experience particularly interesting

Saineikan Enbu 1941 – The Aikido Imperial Demonstration

by SIMONE CHIERCHINI - In 1941 Morihei Ueshiba presented a special Enbu for the Imperial family at the famous Saineikan, the Imperial Guard Dojo, situated within the Kōkyo, Tokyo's Imperial palace grounds. This is one of the highlights in the history of prewar Aikido

Takako Kunigoshi, Kobukan Dojo Artist and Budoka

by SIMONE CHIERCHINI - In Ueshiba's Kobukan dojo gender didn't matter much once you bowed onto the tatami. Here's the story of Takako Kunigoshi, the female prewar Aikido pioneer that is behind Morihei Ueshiba's first-ever book "Aikijujutsu Renshu"

The Great Old Man – Interview with Danilo Chierchini

by SIMONE CHIERCHINI - Danilo Chierchini is the great old man of Martial Arts in Italy. Judo pioneer in Italy in the 1950s and national team champion in 1954, founder of the first regular Aikido dojo in Italy and signatory of the letter to the Hombu Dojo that brought Hiroshi Tada to Italy in the 1960s, first Shodan Aikikai in Italy (in the company of other 18 pioneers) in 1969, Danilo has been the director of the Central Dojo in Rome from 1970 to 1993, founding member and then President of the Italian Aikikai for 12 years and a 5th Dan Aikikai in 1979. He is a column of Italian Budo, even if he has retired for years and hasn't given news of himself for a long time. I dug up him in his Tuscan retreat, and with the help of a little Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, I melted his tongue, but don't expect the classic interview on Aikido...

I Train Ergo I Am! Or Not?

by SIMONE CHIERCHINI - Often, too often, we hear calls to practice Aikido at all times, 168 hours a week, in the morning and in the evening, at night, on Christmas day, on Workers Day, during your wedding and honeymoon, when pregnant, with broken bones, on the evening of your partner's birthday... Beyond the obvious and necessary bi-three-weekly commitment, are we really sure that an average developed human being does not also need other and different sources of inspiration for his/her own psychophysical and socio-cultural well-being?

Katori Shinto Ryu – The Ancient Sword School, Its Divine Heritage and Its Journey to the West

by ADRIANO AMARI - In this essay we will present Tenshin Shōden Katori Shintō Ryū, a school that has lasted more than one hundred years, offering a unique model of preparation for the Japanese warrior. A national treasure of Japan, Katori Shinto Ryu occupies a unique place in the history of Budo thanks to its uninterrupted technical-pedagogical continuity

Salvatore Mergé, the First Westerner Student of Morihei Ueshiba

by SIMONE CHIERCHINI - At least 15 years before the French André Nocquet, another westerner had been accepted into Morihei Ueshiba's Kobukan Dojo in Ushigome. He was the multifaceted and mysterious Salvatore Mergé, an esotericist, orientalist, painter and Italian diplomat on a mission as cultural attaché at the Embassy of Italy in Tokyo from 1937 to 1943. In all likelihood Mergé was also the first to teach Aikido outside of Japan starting from 1947, when he gave lessons of the art of Ueshiba, then completely unknown, to a select few in the city of Rome, making Italy the first foreign country ever to know Aikido