Profiles of the Founder: Nobuyoshi Tamura, Part 2

An interview with Aikido Shihan Nobuyoshi Tamura

This article is Part 2 of the translation of an interview with Nobuyoshi Tamura which originally appeared in "Profiles of the Founder" (開祖の横顔), published in Japanese in 2009. See "Profiles of the Founder of Aikido: Nobuyoshi Tamura, Part 1" for Part 1 of the interview.

(English translation by Christopher Li  (, republished here, edited and translated to Spanish by Aikidosphere with the generous permission of Mr. Li.)
Nobuyoshi Tamura with Morihei Ueshiba O-Sensei and Koichi Tohei
meeting Hawaii Governor William F. Quinn in 1961.
When Tamura arrived in Hawaii as Morihei Ueshiba's Otomo in 1961 he was immediatly nicknamed "the Stone Wall" because of his ability to remain immovable before the efforts of the local Hawaiian Aikido students.

Nobuyoshi Tamura with Morihei Ueshiba O-Sensei in front of the Honolulu Aiki Dojo
(ハワイ合気會本部 - Hawaii Aikikai Hombu)
A Short History of French Aikido

Then, after you had spent ten years at Hombu...

I left because I was going to get married, I was around thirty years old.

And after that you left for France, didn't you?

No, that's not right. At that time my wife was playing the violin, and some time after we met I asked Osawa (Kisaburo) Sensei, "We would like to get married, could you speak to her parents?". Then her parents, who were probably looking for a way to refuse, said, "Our daughter is going to Europe to study the violin.". At that I said, "Well, I'll go too!" (laughing). So there was no way to get around giving their permission, and the two of us went to Europe together.

So your trip overseas had nothing to do with Aikido?

No, I went as an Aikido instructor. At that time there were invitations from many foreign countries.

Speaking of France, wasn't that the territory of Tadashi Abe, the Aikidoka who was known as a fighter?

Abe had returned to Japan at that time。Around then Nakazono (Mutsuro) Sensei, who was in France, came up with travel money from the local people. Just one or two years before, my fellow Uchi-Deshi Noro-kun went, and I followed after. They said, "We're building an Aikido Dojo", but when I got to Marseille there wasn't anything there yet (laughing).
The three "Abe" - Kenshiro Abbe, Tadashi Abe and Ichiro Abe
So you must have had many struggles after that.

Well, I was young, and I had a wife. At that time Judo was very popular in France, and Nakazano Sensei was teaching Aikido at the Provence Judo Club, which was run by a person who was the former French Judo champion. I also went to teach the Foreign Legion with Abe Sensei, I have a lot of anecdotes. At that time the name "Abe" was very famous. There were three Budoka named "Abe", one was the Judoka Kenshiro Abbe (阿部 謙四郎 - one of only four Judoka to defeat Masahiko Kimura), and of course one of them was the Judoka Ichiro Abe (currently a 10 Dan in the Kodokan), and then Tadashi Abe. Tadashi Abe-san was especially famous for fighting (laughing). With a person like this playing the bulldozer and opening the road for me, even a greenhorn such as myself could make it. Previously, there were also people like Minoru Mochizuki Sensei. Mochizuki Sensei was also trained in Katori Shinto-Ryu kenjutsu, so in Mochizuki Sensei's time he stood against both wrestlers and fencers.