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Noriaki Inoue: Aikido's Forgotten Pioneer ($29.95)

  • Noriaki Inoue
  • Aikido Journal (2009)
  • 55 min., b&w, color
  • DVD-R

Morihei Ueshiba is widely recognized as the founder of aikido, a modern Japanese martial art with a strong spiritual emphasis. What is known only to a few, however, are the contributions of Ueshiba’s nephew, Noriaki Inoue, to the development of the precursor of aikido called “Aiki Budo.”

Noriaki Inoue was raised in the Ueshiba home in Tanabe in the early part of the 1900s. He was with Morihei when his uncle studied Daito-ryu Jujutsu in Hokkaido under Sokaku Takeda. Inoue also became a devout member of the Omoto sect having extensive personal contact with Onisaburo Deguchi, and developed a deep spiritual understanding paralleling that of Morihei. When Morihei taught his budo in Tokyo and Osaka during the 1920s and 30s, Inoue served as his senior assistant playing a pivotal role in the creation of Aiki Budo.

This DVD is thus a breakthrough product consisting of never-before-seen footage of Noriaki Inoue during his prime. Technically speaking, these films provide a glimpse of what prewar aikido looked like. The astute viewer will note that the hundreds of techniques shown share a great deal in common with the Iwama Aikido of Morihiro Saito. The technical richness and martial spirit of the art demonstrated by Noriaki Inoue will prove inspiring to aikido practitioners of all styles.

Inoue’s bearing and technique reveals an uncanny resemblance to his uncle Morihei. His movements are extremely fluid, precise and punctuated by bursts of power.

The role of Noriaki Inoue has long been minimized in the annals of aikido history despite his long-term collaboration and support of his famous uncle, Morihei Ueshiba. We are of the firm belief that a viewing of the material contained in this DVD will go a long way toward kindling a new-found appreciation for one of aikido’s forgotten pioneers.

Contents include:

Documentary: “Noriaki Inoue: Aikido’s Forgotten Pioneer”

8mm Historical films taken between 1972 and 1976

Inoue speech on Shin’ei Taido

A practice with Noriaki Inoue, Tokyo 1988

English with French subtitles

For detailed information on the historical relationship between Inoue and Morihei Ueshiba, refer to the article titled Yoichiro Inoue: Aikido’s Forgotten Pioneer by Stanley Pranin.

Click here for Ellis Amdur’s review of this DVD.

Readers’ comments

“This is absolutely fantastic news. Given that Inoue has been, repeatedly described as a doppleganger of the young Ueshiba, the earlier portions of this DVD give us another chance, I believe to see the kind of aiki-budo that Ueshiba was doing in the thirties. I am eagerly awaiting my copy - and hope that sales are as huge as they deserve.”

Ellis Amdur

“Oh. Got the video. Found a lot of interesting material. This morning my students and I worked on a set of Inoue’s variations from ushiro ryote dori that I’d never thought of myself. He started from where we often do juji-nage, then followed the low hand of that technique farther to a kotegaeshi. There’s also (expectedly) shihonage, kokyunage, kokyuho and a couple irimi nage variations from the same lead. The weapons work is really interesting and there is one technique I believe I saw a photo of O Sensei in the middle of which is really unexpected. Will have to see it several more times before I “get it” because it is so different from what we do now.”

Charles Warren

“I just wanted to say that I purchased a copy of this DVD. I was fascinated by the footage and watched it over and over again. It was very interesting to see the unique techniques he was teaching. As Stan has outlined in earlier writings, although Inoue was there while O-Sensei was still training with Takeda… Inoue didn’t really spend much time with Takeda and didn’t really care for the old man. Rather he spent his time with his uncle Morihei and the other Omotokyo followers. As a result we see an influential pre-war Aikido teacher that looks very much like O-Sensei, but very different from all the other pre-war deshi from the Kobukan days. The DVD really sheds some new light on history. Thanks Stan!”

Dan Penrod

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