大東流合気武道大東会
DAITOKAI
DAITO-RYU AIKIBUDO ASSOCIATION

Kato Shihemitsu

  Life of Kato Shigemitsu Soshi
 »  WRITTEN ORIGINAL BY KATO SHIGEMITSU [1/2]

The beginning

«After along matured consideration, I decided to entitle this book "Michi" [also read DŌ]. Among many possibile ways I chose, because of my poor health during my youth, the one of Budo, especially the old one and I got to the Daito-ryu. At the beginning the engagement and the hardness of the lessons induced fear to me but, learning to training like everybody else, I started going to the dojo both during the daytime and evening time. Then, one day Shinpachi Suzuki Sensei recommended me to study also the Shodo (Japanese calligraphy) and although, at the beginning I was not particularly skilled in calligraphy I convinced myself the Budo and the Shodo had the same aim, so I began to improve almost both bujutsu and literary arts. After obtaining, in the year 49 of Showa era (1974), both Shodo and Aikibudo degrees, I started to teach these two arts and became Technical Director of Daito-ryu Aikibudo´s headquarters, while in the Shodo practice I reached the Shihan degree an in the National association of Shodo culture (Zen-Nihon Shogei Bunkain) I was nominated Executive Director. My life, then, was so full of energy and activity (in addition to my regular job) and it was very challenging. In occasion of the Shunseiki foundation (Shodo association) by my master Suzuki Shinpachi, in the year 51 of Showa era (1976) I became his Deputy Director and I started to teach the Shodo all over the country and also maintaining in parallel the Budo teaching . In the year 53 of Showa era (1978) I became General Secretary at the Daito-ryu Aikibudo´s headquarters and assumed the full responsibility in teaching this art [the Daito-ryu]. The following year 54 of Showa era (1979) upon the City request I accepted the managing Director position in charge of Sport in Abashiri.»

Budo Promotional Association

«During the same year I attended the constituent meeting of National association promoting the Ancient Arts and assumed the position of Deputy Director of the City young athletes association, thus contributing to the development of tho sport activity in the city [Abashiri]. During the year 55 of Showa era (1980) I participated to the foundation of the Budo promotional association of which I became Executive Director and I remained so until now [2000]. In the meanwhile, because of family reasons, I moved to Kyosato city [about 40 km from Abashiri] were I constituted a local dojo of Daito-ryu Aikibudo, responding to the demand and becoming its director. In addition to this Daito-ryu development I also tried to extend the Shodo practice as the Director of the Koinshowin association. During the year 56 of Showa era (1983) I took the position of Executive Director of the Abashiri Shodo Federation. At that time I was already living in Kiyosato but I accepted because I was already working in Abashiri and so I remained there for sometimes as main organizer. Then, in order to hand down the teaching of the late Soke Takeda Tokimune and to carry out his wishes, I gave a new life to the Nihon Daito-ryu Aikibudo Seishinkai Association [a new association with a new dojo called Nakagawa Ise Budokan; together to Matsuo Sano Sensei], in the year 4 of Heisi era (1992.) In the year 6 of Heisi era (1994), upon request of the Italian Headquarters of Nihon Daito-ryu Aikibudo Seishinkai, the six of us, including myself, reached in Italy and tried to spread the art in several places [Milan, Vicenza and Rome] keeping basis in Milan's main dojo. For example, we had the opportunity to give a demonstration of Daito-ryu at the elementary school in Noventa Vicentina and I believe that good results were achieved. In November of the same year, in the occasion of the first anniversary of Tokimune Sensei's death [1993] I attended the Buddhist ceremony of commemoration at the invitation of the 37th family successor who inherited the title of Soke in Tokyo [Takeda Masanobu]. Then we gave a demonstration of Budo in the ex-Daitokan and altogether we deeply reflected on the past. I realize that my present behavior is overall due to the example of the past 36th Soke Takeda Tokimune and to my partners and masters too. As far as Shodo concerned, I received so many advices from the past Suzuki Shinpachi Sensei, from Sensei Bundo Iwata and Sensei Sokaku Matsuhashi and so many others and I want to thank the people who brought me their support.»

Meeting with the Daito-ryu

«As a child I was passionate about martial art and everyday I was practicing the Sumo or the fight with tough boys>>, so was telling Kato Sensei (Administrator Director of the Seishinkai headquarters of the Nihon Daito-ryu Aikibudo), when he was recalling the days of his childhood. However the first meeting with the Daito-ryu dates back to the time when he started working. Kato Sensei is, in fact, a public officer and still now works at the Prefecture of Abashiri. In the year 41 of Showa era (1966), he visited for the first time the Daitokan dojo, there he found a world completely different from the one seen before in his previous experiences in martial arts matter. A small sized practitioner could make flying a much larger one. It seems to me that the Sensei Kato is not physically a huge man but when they told him that the founder Takeda Sokaku was even frailer that him, his curiosity towards the Daito-ryu became stronger. So in January of the following year 42 in Showa era (1967) Kato sensei became a student practitioner of Daito-ryu. <<It was very hard, not as light as today>> he says about lessons and practice at his time. For example nage-waza (projections) were preformed in such a manner that the opponent could not act properly like ukemi and this scene was played everyday with someone fainting, hitting their head when falling and for a lot of ukemi achieved bruises, almost alway were tending to be blanked colored rather than gray to light blue. Kato Sensei went to practice intensely the Daitokan dojo, every day after work [Tokimune Soke gave lessons in the morning, lunchtime and evening]. After a couple of years of this practice he obtained the Shodan degree. It is clear that maintaining a continuous attention and commitment in both work and martial art is very tiring and unfortunately a lot of people often stopped or reduced their practice after obtain the dan degrees, but he worked hard and went on practicing more intensively even during lunch break. This behavior shows how great was his passion for Daito-ryu.»