Shoji Nishio (1927-2005) was an 8th Dan Japanese aikido shihan with the Aikikai. He was born in Aomori Prefecture, in Japan, and began his training at the Aikikai Hombu Dojo in 1951. He started teaching Aikido around 1955.
Before aikido, Shoji Nishio studied judo (4th Dan), karate (4th Dan), iaido (7th Dan), jodo, Shinto Muso-ryu jojutsu and Hozoin-ryu sojutsu. He smoothly included these skills into his own aikido style.
He developed his own weapon system that was different to Morihiro Saito's. His techniques could also be performed with the wooden sword (bokken).
He also created a new school of Iaido called Aiki Toho Iaido or Nishio-ryu Iai, which included forms from the art of aikido.
In 2003 he received the Budo Kyoryusho award from the Japanese Budo Federation for his lifetime contribution to development and promotion of aikido.
When Shoji Nishio saw Morihei Ueshiba O'Sensei do sword techniques at lightning speed, he wondered how this was possible. He asked his teachers but no-one seemed to know or could/would teach him.
So he decided to practise alone and train himself in the Aikido bokken.
O-Sensei developed Aikido from his combat studies of Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu with Sokaku Takeda, and his spiritual studies with Onisaburi Deguchi and Omoto Kyo.
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Nishio used atemi to temporarily neutralize an opponent’s fighting ability, and correct their attitude, allowing them to become a lot more reasonable.
He said that the number of people who know how to use atemi correctly is gradually decreasing, and thought atemi skills should be preserved.
He was concerned that the special message of love and harmony, was not being taught thoroughly. He found that so many individuals, and organisations could not find a way to get along together in harmony, and support each other.
He said Aikido was moving away from being a martial art of power. He thought that O-Sensei’s way of thinking was very advanced...
" Forgiving, giving, and leading "
He also said that O'Sensei disliked kamae in his final years, and would say...
“ Why should we take a stance when the purpose of aikido is not to fight?
Aikido doesn’t need kamae. That is the old way ”