Tetsuro Nariyama

Shihan, Japan Aikido Association

Tetsuro Nariyama, Shihan of the Japan Aikido Association.
Tetsuro Nariyama, Shihan of the Japan Aikido Association.

Tetsuro Nariyama Shihan, is the chief instructor for the Japan Aikido Association (JAA), which is the main governing body for Shodokan Aikido (also known as Tomiki Aikido).

Tetsuro Nariyama was born on November 21, 1947, in Yamadera, Yamagata City, Yamagata Prefecture, Japan. He is the oldest son of Hachiro and Chiyo Nariyama.

As a teenager, Tetsuro Nariyama studied at Chuokoko High School, and joined the Judo club there. He viewed the Judo from the 1964 Olympics, in Tokyo, and decided then and there he wanted to become good enough to compete as an Oympic Judo player.

In 1966, when 19 year-old Nariyama entered the Kokushikan University’s Law Department, he enrolled in their Aikido club. There he met Kenji Tomiki Shihan, the founder of Tomiki-style Aikido. This chance meeting opened his eyes to Aikido, and changed the direction his whole life.

By 1968, Nariyama was captain of the Kokushikan University Aikido club. And, at the founding ceremony for the Nihon Budo Gakukai (Japan Martial Arts School), Tetsuro Nariyama had the great honor of being Kenji Tomiki Shihan’s Uke.

(Uke is the training partner who attacks you and gets thrown for his troubles. One has to be exceptionally skilled at breakfalling to be chosen as Uke for a high-ranking teacher. They are going to hurl you around unmercifully as they show off their skill, and will probably apply some pretty painful Aikido locks and pins to halt you.)

In October the same year, at Momoyamagakuin University, Osaka, he instructed six Kansai area universities in Randori practice.

When he graduated in March 1970, Nariyama was sent by Tomiki Shihan to Kansai, to help spread the Randori Kyogi system of Sport Aikido. Whilst teaching Aikido students in Randori ho, Nariyama also helped as an assistant to the Kansai Honbu (Aikikai) Shihan of that time, Hirokazu Kobayashi Shihan, who repaid Nariyama by some high-level teaching.

At The First Japan Budo Festival, at Exposition Park in Senri, Osaka, in August 1970, Nariyama Shihan gave an Embu demonstration. In November 1970, the First All Japan University Aikido Competition was held at the Tokyo Okubo Sports Hall.

In November 1972, The Second Japan Budo Festival was held, and again Nariyama Shihan was asked to give an Embu demonstration. This was a historic competition as it was held with cooperation from the three main Aikido groups; Aikikai led by the 2nd Doshu, Kishomaru Ueshiba, Yoshinkan led by its founder, Gozo Shioda, and the Japan Aikido Association (JAA or Nihon Aikido Kyokai) led by its first president and founder, Kenji Tomiki Shihan. In 1973, Nariyama Shihan was part of a group taken to Taiwan by Kenji Tomiki Shihan. They gave demonstrations to police and military academies in several cities and received much praise from the Overall Commander of The Taiwanese Armed Forces, Field Marshal Shoikoku.

In March 1976, Tetsuro Nariyama became the Shihan at the JAA Kansai Honbu Dojo, the Shodokan.

Also that month, Tomiki Shihan opened what would become the central Dojo of his Shodokan style, the new Shodokan Honbu Dojo in Showacho, Osaka.

In September 1976, at Waseda University, Tokyo, Nariyama Shihan won the gold medal in the individual men’s Randori competition at the 4th Kanto Shakaijin Competitive Aikido Tournament.

To mark the first anniversary of Shodokan, on the 21st March, 1977, the First All Japan Shakaijin Competitive Aikido Tournament was held in the Osaka Municipal Budokan (community martial arts hall), in the grounds of Osaka Castle.

Later, Kujiraoka Sensei, Jigoro Kano’s favourite Deshi praised what he saw at the tournament as “wonderfully impressive”. (Kano was the founder of Judo, and Deshi means a living-in student, or disciple.)

At this tournament, Nariyama Shihan won both the Yudansha (Black Belt) Embu and the Men’s Individual Randori gold medals.

1982 Obeying Tomiki Shihan’s dying wishes, he began actively spreading the Shodokan system in 1982 both in Japan and around the world.

In 1985, Nariyama became a visiting lecturer at Kokushikan University.

On June 16, 1989, the First International Competitive Aikido Tournament was held at Tenri University in Nara. This was a direct result from Nariyama Shihan’s many years of overseas instruction.

Competitors from some ten countries and 20 clubs took part.

In 1992 he became a visiting lecturer in the Physical Education Department of Waseda University.

In 1995, Nariyama was appointed a visiting lecturer at the Police Academy at the Osaka Municipal Police Headquarters.

In May 1997, a party was held to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of Shodokan at the Niko Hotel in Chuoku, Osaka.

Many instructors from Japan and all over the world, took part, and a special book was published to commemorate 30 years of Shodokan Aikido.

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