On the 3rd of December, 2016, I officially named Katsuaki Motegi as my successor to lead Aikido Yuishinkai.
Mr Motegi has been my student since the day I started Aikido Yuishinkai. Until then, he did not practice aikido of any variety. Ever since he began training, he has trained, rain, hail or shine, and he has only ever trained with me, without being drawn to other styles of aikido or other budo.
Until April last year, I travelled to the dojo from my niece’s apartment on days when we trained because it was close to the dojo, but he always took me home in his car. During those car rides I taught him all sorts of things that I would not usually mention in the dojo.
In Japanese budo, there is a system known as uchideshi, where students would always be at the side of their teacher, and not only learn techniques, but also the spirit and secrets of the art. In this way, I learned a lot from Ueshiba sensei.
Mr Motegi humbly accepted my teachings with a pure heart, and when training, he demonstrates my techniques exactly as I taught them. His aikido is now just like my aikido. When his ki meets that of an opponent, he is able to blend with it, no matter the maai. I have seen this. This is not just an example of my aikido, but it is an example of Ueshiba sensei’s aikido.
I am grateful to the gods that brought Katsuaki Motegi to me, just as I am grateful to the gods for providing me such wonderful students as Peter and Martijn. I believe that these three will become my three musketeers to spread the true aikido taught by Ueshiba sensei around the world and protect it forever more.