Video: Seigo Yamaguchi, 8th dan, at 2nd IAF convention in Honolulu, 1978

We present yet another excellent demonstration by Seigo Yamaguchi, 8th dan, filmed in a rather unusual venue. This performance was given at the Second Convention of the International Aikido Federation in Honolulu, Hawaii, in 1978. Many top teachers of the era from the Aikikai Hombu Dojo were on hand.

His uke for much of the demonstration is Francis Takahashi Sensei, to whom we owe a debt of gratitude for contributing this footage. Francis was a formidable opponent being about six feet two inches tall, and weighing in at around 220 pounds while being very agile.You’ll notice a difference in tempo when he attacks compared to the other ukes.

Yamaguchi Sensei was 54 years old at the time of this demonstration and in top form. This was also the period he had begun receiving frequent invitations to travel abroad. Soon, he would make regular visits to foreign destinations, especially France, where one of his top students, Christian Tissier, had become highly successful.

Duration: 2:55
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  1. What a powerful and dynamic exhibition from Yamaguchi sensei! I’ve never seen before like that. Thank you so much for share this.
    Pequeños Universos (

  2. Incredible fluidity in the waza. Superb stabilty, even when uke crashed into him, Yamaguchi Sensei’s stabilty didn’t change. Inspirational. Thank you.

  3. A great video, thanks for sharing!

  4. EdmundBett says:

    Yamaguchi was the 1 Aikidoka that I encountered who was capable of completely fluid movement – like a few Taichi that I encountered later.

    At the time (29 years ago) I had never encountered anyone quite like Yamaguchi – although a few tried to varying degrees of accomplishment. He was like a matador with young angry bulls, lulling them into a false sense of security, before effortlessly either tying them up in impossible knots (and countering from them as well) or dispatching them like a ping-pong ball – without ever transmitting his intent to uke – or indeed anyone watching, such was his subtlety of kuzushi, timing, awase and kokyo. Taking hold of Yamaguchi was like taking hold of water in a river – which he always redirected at the last possible instant.

    If anyone remembers the BAF Spring course at Oxford 1985, they may remember some of the outrageous bio-mechanics that Yamaguchi exhibited as Tori and counter escaping – particularly from a fellow called Tanaka.

    I encountered folk who followed in the foot-steps of Shihans Chiba, Saito and Tamura – all with great credit, but no-one (that I personally encountered) who could quite recreate in their own manner, the subtlety of Yamaguchi.

    I did in more recent years encounter this subtle quality with some Taichi folk (but not many) in various pushing hands drills, techniques and applications.

    However, Yamaguchi still remains an inspiration for me, that I might grasp a very small measure of his subtlety and bio-mechanics.

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