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Recalling Kodo Horikawa Sensei

by Katsumi Yonezawa

Aiki News #75 (August 1987)

Background of Horikawa Sensei

Kodo Horikawa Sensei

Taiso, the father of Horikawa Sensei, received a teaching license (kyoju dairi) in 1913 and Horikawa Sensei studied jujutsu with him. Horikawa Sensei started his training of Daito-ryu on May 12, 1914 while in his 21st year. He officially became an elementary school teacher in 1917 and later was on the staff of various elementary schools in northern Hokkaido. Sokaku Sensei visited the school Horikawa Sensei was working at and remained there for several days transmitting to him the secrets of Daito-ryu.

He received three scrolls of the inner mysteries (okugi) from Sokaku Sensei in 1931 at age 37. They were: the Hiden mokuroku, transmission scroll of secret arts in January; the Hiden Okugi Mokuroku, transmission scroll of mysteries of the art in June; and the Hiden Aiki Okugi Mokuroku, a transmission scroll of Aiki mysteries in October. In September of 1937 he completed the 84 techniques of Daito-ryu Nito-ryu Hiden (jo, chu, ge).

He also received the “Eisei Meijin” award for his long, distinguished service in the martial arts. Horikawa Sensei established the Kodokai in 1950 and became its president. In spite of his advanced age he remained hale and hearty while teaching Aiki Jujutsu in Sapporo, Muroran, Takigawa, Yubetsu and Kitami.

First Meeting with Horikawa Sensei

It was in 1965 that I first met Horikawa Sensei when he was traveling about Hokkaido teaching. The place was the Hokubukan in Muroran City.

I was teaching Judo there and heard that a Daito-ryu master was coming. I observed Horikawa Sensei’s instruction out of idle curiosity. I was expecting a fierce, muscular budo master and so the appearance of an old man only about 4 feet, 11 inches tall surprised me. My curiosity was excited and I felt that he was someone extraordinary.

There in the Hokubukan more than ten students holding ranks of up to 4th dan of Horikawa Sensei who had been studying under him for ten years were practicing. Seeing the sharp effect of his techniques with Aiki which were different from those of Judo, I, who had been feeling the limits of my physical power, found them ideal. His technique was so brilliant that I was tempted to imitate it immediately. I can understand the reason why Sokaku Sensei himself said the following: “I never show the techniques in the presence of others since they are very easy to learn.” (From an interview with Takeda Sensei in 1931).

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