Video: Nobuyuki Watanabe, 8th dan — Fake or real? You be the judge…

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Nobuyuki Watanabe is an 8th dan instructor at the Aikikai Hombu Dojo in Tokyo, Japan appears in this video clips from the 1987 All-Japan Aikido Demonstration. He is known for his soft, no-touch style of aikido that leaves viewers scratching their heads about his technique. Watanabe Sensei’s unique aikido has come under close scrutiny and […]

Nobuyuki Watanabe is an 8th dan instructor at the Aikikai Hombu Dojo in Tokyo, Japan appears in this video clips from the 1987 All-Japan Aikido Demonstration. He is known for his soft, no-touch style of aikido that leaves viewers scratching their heads about his technique. Watanabe Sensei’s unique aikido has come under close scrutiny and many deride his approach. Nonetheless, he is ranked 8th dan by the Aikikai Hombu Dojo and always elicits an enthusiastic response during the All-Japan event. This particular demonstration is closer to a more traditional style where the usual aikido techniques are easily recognizable. What do you think of his technique?

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  1. While there are some spectacular videos on YouTube, much less seems to be known about Nobuyuki Watanabe. He is now 83 years old and retired from acting as an Aikido instructor at the Hombu Dojo last year in March. Over many years he gave regular classes at the Hombu Dojo on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Therefore other instructors were free to give seminars outside of the Hombu Dojo. I am not authorized to give here a however short biography of him, but I would suggest that this would be worthwhile. It would help to understand why and how he developed this interpretation of Aikido. He himself refuses to define it as a style saying that if it would be Watanabe-style it would stop to develop and change. So, only as remarks it should be mentioned that he practiced as a “bone doctor” using the so-called Isogai-method. He was in the beginning of his Aikido career a student of the late Osawa sensei who decided that he should teach at the Hombu Dojo.


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