The 1964 State Aikido Instructors Seminar

The third state Aikido instructors seminar was held at Andrews gym( One block away from my house!) in Hilo, Hawaii. Since 1959, the late Koichi Tohei, Ki No Kenkyukai founder then chief instructor of Aikido headquarters arranged for the state instructors to receive special training every three years in various locations. The picture of the seminar is very interesting for several reasons. The first being that this is long before the split in 1974 so there are all the top instructors of Aikido in Hawaii in this picture ( I realize that some of the early instructors are not in this picture such  Kazuto Sugimoto). Unfortunately, the Chief instructor of the Hilo Aikido club Takashi Nonaka Sensei (Currently 8th dan Ki no Kenkyukai) is not pictured due to being ill. Second, everyone in the picture is smiling! This is quite unusual as with most early pictures of Aikido portrait  a serious or tough demeanor. Being that this was Hawaii, I have heard that Koichi Tohei was more approachable and relaxed here rather than Japan. Perhaps he wanted to reflect the harmony and Aloha he felt when he came to Hawaii in this picture. In my own opinion this picture captures everything about Aikido in Hawaii when i first saw it. This also was the first time I saw my Grandfather in his prime (Takeshi Yugawa) in an Aikido picture. I don’t have much information on the seminar other than Ralph Glanstein’s interview here If anyone has more information or corrections on names please let me know.

Front row L-R – Tokuichi Segawa(1918-1989)- Hilo dojo, long time Children’s instructor, Onuma, Hirano, Yamamoto( These three instructors I think were from Japan), Shinichi Suzuki (1917-2009)- Head instructor Wailuku Aikido Dojo then Maui Ki Aikido , Koichi Tohei (1920-2011) Then Chief instructor of Aikido headquarters founder of Ki Society, Yukiso Yamamoto (1904-1995)Former Judo instructor Chief Instructor of Hawaii, Bishop Gyokuei Matsuura- (1911-2008) Kona Aiki dojo and Kyodu Sensei, Dr. Yorio Wakatake (1907-1990) Then president of Honolulu Aikido dojo, Takaji Ishida Sensei (1904-1996) Former Judo instructor, later established the Central Pacific Aikido Organization, Nobu Fujitani Sensei- Kauai instructor Kapaia Hongwanji Aiki Dojo

Second row L-R-  Palk ?, Furukawa Sensei , Sadato (?)Horiuchi Sensei, Thomas Ishihara Sensei Honolulu Aikido Dojo, Ogawa Sensei,  Katsumi Yano- Honolulu Aikido Dojo, Richard Hirao- Owner of Nisshodo Candy store, Honolulu Aikido Dojo, Richard Iwane Sensei,Kenneth Kawamura Sensei, Sadao Yoshioka Sensei- Became chief instructor of Aikido of Honolulu in 1970, Created the Hawaii Aikido Federation, Meyer Goo Sensei- Hung gar kung fu and Lua instructor, Honolulu Aikido Dojo, Matsukawa Sensei, Takeshi “Grown” Yugawa (1920-2005)- Head instructor of Hakalau Dojo.

Third row L-R- Seiichi Tabata-Currently Chief instructor of Honolulu Ki Society, Murakami Sensei, Noriyasu “Cisco”Matsumura Sensei- Honokaa Aiki Dojo, Kanemoto Sensei, Yasuo Iwasa Sensei- Hilo and Olaa Aikido instructor, Kazuo Takaki- Hilo and Olaa instructor, Clyde Takeguchi- Olaa member, Currently founder and director of Capital Aikikai, William Ahana Sensei, Ralph Glanstein Sensei- Honolulu Aikido Dojo, later founded the Windward Aikido club, Lloyd Nakagawa Sensei- Lihue Christian Church Aiki Dojo, Barbara “Bobbie” Mehoula- Wailuku Aikido dojo on Maui, Charlie Oka Sensei, Sakai Fujimoto Sensei, Nishimura sensei,

Fourth row L-R Henry Horii Sensei- Former President of the Hawaii Aiki kwai, Honolulu Aikido Dojo, Chun Sensei , Takamoto Sensei, Sueichi Kawashima Sensei- Judo and Aikido Head instructor Honokaa Aiki Dojo,  Sugai Sensei, Sueo (?)Sakamoto Sensei, ?, ?, Hajime “Jimmy” Uyeki- Mr. Territory body building champion 1947,1948,1958, Hilo dojo, later Pahoa and Hilo Daijingu dojo, James Lindo Sensei, Nobou  Tengan Sensei, Minoru Gushiken Sensei, Michael (?) Samura- Hakalau Dojo

Fifth row L-R Alan Gusukuma Sensei- Hilo or Mountain view?, Hisashi (?)Kimura- Kona Aiki Dojo, Isa Sensei, Stanley(?) Hashimoto, Robert Kuniyoshi Sensei, Yamauchi Sensei, Dr Denis Teraoka Sensei- Retired Dentist, WW II vet Honolulu Aikido dojo, Takahashi, Saito, Saito, Matsuura, Yoshida

Sixth Row L-R Yanagizawa, Kanda Sensei, Kimura, Miyashiro, Robins, Ralph Uyema ( Possible misspell), Haruo Sato Sensei, Robert Aoyagi Sensei (1920-2010) Chief instructor of Aikido of Honolulu, Howard Sato Sensei- Former Chief instructor Aikido of Honolulu, Isamu(?) Takaki Sensei, Yodogawa Sensei, Callahan Sensei, Takaki, Earl Takeguchi- Olaa dojo, Jack (?)Ouye- Hakalau Dojo

(Aikido of Honolulu, Wailae dojo and Honolulu Aikido dojo are the same)

Special thanks to Kenneth Kimata sensei for the picture and Takashi Nonaka Sensei for information about the seminar.


14 thoughts on “The 1964 State Aikido Instructors Seminar

  1. Great photographs!

    I think that the smiling thing is mainly a Hawaiian urban legend. I never heard it much anywhere else, but many people around here always insist that the Founder never smiled (this despite the many films and pictures of him smiling). In 1932 Sugino Yoshino met Morihei Ueshiba and said “Ueshiba was always smiling or laughing cheerfully like some sort of playful god”.

    Check out the smiling faces in this picture with the Founder in Osaka from 1935 ( Not only are they smiling, but several of them are showing their teeth – another thing that I’ve heard some local instructors insist that Japanese people don’t do in photographs.

    • Glansten Sensei was only nikyu or ikyu in that picture. I think he was the only non don in the group. However, his reputation as a phenomenal uke earned him the title Uke from Tohei sensei, Koa Kimura Sensei, and others. I remember that trip, albeit I was very young at the time. I also have a copy of that photo, but with his notes, also.

  2. Thank you for sharing this picture and the explanation of it, it is a great work keeping recorded all this history, I know you are doing it for fun, that is very nice. The smiles maybe should show how everybody enjoyed this new martial art in Hawaii, it was no costum in Japan at that time, but now for example we always smile after a seminar, our smile although is tired but happy;)

    • Thank you! I have a lot of fun doing this and enjoy historical information in general. I also have support from a lot of the Hawaii Sensei here also which helps.

  3. My father and Sensei, Ralph Glanstein, was a staunch advocate of Aikido with love. He often made an analogy to a spring that is constantly flowing water. Impurities cannot enter the spring since it is always giving. Smiling is the natural product of friendship tendered with love. The early seminars in Hawaii captured the spirit of Aloha and comradery that was an essential part of the aiki of Aikido. Although smiling was looked on as a negative factor by some instructors. My brother, Steve Glanstein Sensei, was failed for Sandon (I think) because he smiled. It didn’t matter that he knew everything they threw at him and there was nothing for them to mark down. He smiled the true smile of an Aikidosa enjoying Aikido and practicing Aikido as it should be. He has survived the “do not smile” attitude and is now a unique sensei among the older sensei of Aikido. If you can not smile something is missing. A smile is a window to the soul. Aikido is perhaps the only martial art that you ever see people smiling. Let’s keep Aikido unique as it was designed. The “no smiling” attitude may be a “martial arts thing,” I do not believe it is an Aiki thing. A few senseis I remember did not smile. Those senseis are not to whom I seek instruction. Perhaps I was lucky to be exposed to the smiling senseis.

    • Thank you very much Mr Glanstein for you comments! If you or Steve Sensei have any stories you would like to share you are welcome to post them in the comment sections. Thank you again.

  4. One more thing, I think Glanstein Sensei was Ikyu at the time of this instructors seminar. Since the exam for Shodan was given twice a year (I think) and he had some 7 Ikyu certificates, and we only got to Hawaii in June of 1963 at the best he was ikyu. But as Sensei he was extraordinary in his dedication to Aikido.

  5. Aloha,

    I still practice in Hawaii as well as Argentina. I’m still smiling. For your information, smiling is infectious. It transfers to others and improves the quality of one’s teaching and practice. A few other thoughts: safety is paramount. Eliminate your ego and enjoy the beauty of two or more stones polishing each other/.

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