Kanshu Sunadomari (1923-2010) is a Japanese Aikido master who founded the Manseikan Aikido style.
He was born in Kagoshima Prefecture, Japan and in his teens became an uchideshi (live-in student) of Morihei Ueshiba, the founder of aikido.
His live-in apprenticeship under O'Sensei took place during World War II, and he also spent a brief period at the Aikikai Hombu Dojo after the war.
In October 1953 he gave the first public demonstration of aikido in Kyushu. The following January he opened up the Manseikan dojo at the Tetori Shrine, in the heart of Kumamoto City.
Sunadomari spread the art of Aikido throughout Kyushu to cities such as Fukuoka, Kagoshima, Nagasaki, and Miyazaki, and the number of students rose to over 20,000 with over 3,000 reaching black belt level.
In 1961, at the age of 38, Kanshu Sunadomari received 9th Dan from O'Sensei, and dedicated himself to teaching the art of aikido.
He came from a family of devout believers in Omoto, the religion on which Morihei Ueshiba based the spiritual foundations of aikido. The Sunadomari family maintained a very close relationship with the aikido founder.
Kanemoto Sunadomari, the elder brother of Kanshu, studied under the founder in the early 1930s and published the first biography of the Founder in 1969 entitled Aikido Kaiso Morihei Ueshiba.
An updated version of this book was later published under the title Bu no Shinjin. Fukiko (Mitsue) Sunadomari, the elder sister of Kanshu, was a close personal confidante of the founder until his death and was also a high ranking practitioner of aikido.
After Ueshiba's death in 1969, Kanshu Sunadomari founded his own independent style and began his further study of the spirit of aikido.
In 1999, he renamed his style Aiki Manseido, which symbolized his conviction to help spread world peace by transmitting the spirit of the founder across the world through physical technique.
Morihei Ueshiba developed the martial art of Aikido from his combat studies of Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu with Sokaku Takeda, and his spiritual studies with Onisaburi Deguchi and the Omoto Kyo.
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In 2008, Sunadomari chose to return to the name Manseikan Aikido to pay homage to the Founder and to re-emphasize his organization's dedication to the study and manifestation of the philosophy.
Practitioners recite the Spirit of Aikido at the beginning each class. Practice consists of flowing warm-up exercises, paired movements that train taisabaki body movement, breath-power, practice of kihon waza basic technique, as well as paired sei no undo warm-down exercises.
Training also includes bokken (wooden sword) and jo (staff).
Kanshu Sunadomari is known for his emphasis on kokyu ryoku (breath power) and his extremely soft and powerful technique.
He is widely acclaimed for his dynamic performance in the First Friendship Demonstration which was held in Tokyo in 1985 and became one of the most famous modern aikido demonstrations captured on film.
He has written several books about the art, and in 2004 his book Enlightenment through Aikido (Aikido de Satoru) became the first to be released in English translation.
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