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BELGIUM, HISTORY OF AIKIDO IN

The beginnings of aikido in Belgium go back to the early 1950s. Various French-speaking Belgian judoka received instruction from Minoru MOCHIZUKI and Tadashi ABE, early Japanese teachers in France. One of these, J. Naessens continues to operate an aikido dojo in Brussels. By the early 1960s several dojos had already opened. Aikido was also given a boost by the presence of Aritoshi MURASHIGE who taught in Belgium until his untimely death in an auto accident.

Following Murashige's death, Nobuyoshi TAMURA began regular visits. The early 1970s saw the introduction of other styles of aikido. While the influence of Tamura predominated, Hirokazu KOBAYASHI began instructing in schools in the northern part of Belgium (Antwerp, Turnhout). In 1979, Seiichi SUGANO arrived as official representative of the AIKIKAI. Sugano remained in Belgium for about eight years before relocating to New York. YOSEIKAN AIKIDO was introduced in Turnhout in the late 1970s by Alain FLOQUET, a high-ranking student of Mochizuki. Also, TOMIKI AIKIDO became established c. 1980 due to the efforts of Ah Loi LEE of London and Itsuo HABA, a former university champion. Recently, a proposal to unite aikido in Belgium under a single organization where individual styles preserve their autonomy has gained support.