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Takeno Shihan

Interview with Takafumi Takeno Shihan

Aikido Yoshinkan International
Vol.2 - No.1
June 1991

Q. What is Aikido for you?

A. It is many things. Of course the beauty of the technique and above all the mental training. The first thing I felt when I joined the Yoshinkan was the mental strength. I had never experienced it before. There was a special atmosphere in the dojo. I felt the relationship between the seinor and junior members at the dojo was more brother-like than with my own brothers. I loved this atmosphere. We say that Aikido creates harmony and love, but I believe that this kind of feeling needs a particular atmosphere in which to spring. This is the Aikido I want to do and this is the Aikido I want many people to know.

Q. Do you think youe Aikido has changed since leaving the Honbu Dojo and moving to Yamanashi Prefecture?

A. Basically there is no change. I just want to put into practice the teaching that I have learnt from Gozo Shioda Sensei. I also want to present this teaching to as many people as possible. This has always been my dream.

Q. How do you see your role as a branch dojoin relation to the Honbu Dojo?

A. Basically the branches are there to teach the students who cannot train at the Honbu. At a local level, we can try to open more branches to enable more people to study Aikido. The result will be the further promotion of the Honbu Dojo.

Q. Do you ever train with bokken, "the wooden Japanese sword?"

A. Gozo shioda Sensei always talks about the riai of the sword, the distance and also the technique. When I hold the sword I feel unified, as if I can concentrate myself. So I raise and cut and train distanceing and power. Using the Yagyu Shinkage Ryu I learned at the honbu Dojo as a base, I train with bokken at my dojo.

Q. As an Aikido teacher, where do you find new ideas and what do you think is important to teach?

A. I find good ideas from other forms of Aikido or even other forms of budo, I consider them and try them, and if they are goodI use them. You can learn not just from Aikido but from everything. I learn from all things--Karate, Judo, Kendo, whatever.

There are many different styles and schools, but I think we have to consider Aikido as a complete unit. There are different approaches or ways of thinking, different bases, and it is good to have these variations. Even within Yoshinkan it is the same. Some teachers place more emphasis on the spirit, others on technique, on legs and footwork, or on the hands. I don't think there are strict rules, what you should and shouldn't do. The problem is how you can be yourself, put everything together in the form. What I say about the different approaches is true here too. If you don't forget the goal, the im, you will reach the summit whichever way you choose.

Without loosing the basic, you should think about the many ways of practice. I don't think aboutth emany of pracitce. I don't think there are bad ways, but you should have a very strong base. It is because you have the base that you can start to creat. The problems start when you want to change and vary before you have a strong base. Im my view of things, first comes the base. With the basics as a center, techniques can be applied . You should cherish the basic movements.

Whatever you do, never forget the Aikido spirit. For example, to encourage children to walk in shikkoho, have them train while playing a game. Shikkoho is painful and children don't like it. Make them forget the difficulties, inconveniences, or pain by distracting them.

We say that Aikido is the art of love and peace, but love is not something easly attained. Although we can say with words that we are friends, to really mean it is another thing. For me, budo inspires us tp open our hearts and teaches us how to do it. It takes time, but when the heart finds this opening it can communicatewith other kindred spirits. But this is not something that comes easly.