Our Technical Director - Shihan Yoji Fujimoto
Shihan Yoji Fujimoto (8th Dan) was born in 1948 in Yamaguchi, Japan on 26 March. His teachers were amongst others Tohei Koichi Sensei and, later on, Masuda Sensei. He also trained with Morihei Ueshiba (O’sensei) and Kisshomaru Ueshiba (the late Doshu).
Fourth of five children, since his childhood he was initiated into the way of the martial arts by his father, an 8th Dan in Kendo. Fujimoto Sr. was instructor at the Kendo Dojo of the local Police. He started Kendo and helped his father in the Dojo. He went to assist at an Aikido class at the Aikikai Hombu Dojo and was stunned by what he saw. A few days after he enrolled and started training in Aikido. Promoted Shodan at about 14 years of age, at 21(1969) he was already Sandan.
In 1971 Fujimoto Shihan who was at the time Sandan, went to Italy where he met with Tada Sensei. He based himself in Milan and contributed to the development of the Italian Aikikai, increasing the number of dojo to over 100. In recognition of his efforts he was promoted to 7° Dan in 1994. He lived in Milan where he established Dojo Fujimoto, Aikikai Milano and became Vice Technical Director of Aikikai d'Italia. He maintained strong ties with the current Doshu Moriteru Ueshiba and the Aikido World Headquarters (Hombu) in Tokyo.
Every summer he held the infamous 10-day aikido seminar in the picturesque town of Laces, in the wonderful Sud Tirol Alps mountain region of North Italy during July. He also teaches in Yugoslavia, Ireland, Germany, Switzerland, Ireland, Russia and other. This seminar seminar in Laces will continue as always.
Fujimoto Shihan met with Elroy Goliath Sensei in October of 1999, when he visited the Paarl School of Aikido on his first visit to South Africa. Elroy Goliath's journey (1st kyu at the time) really started after this introduction to Fujimoto Shihan and he studied aikido under Fujimoto Shihan ever since, absorbing as much as possible from the Master over many years of diligent training both in South Africa and in Europe.
Fujimoto Shihan received the certificate for 8° Dan directly from the hands of Doshu Moriteru Ueshiba during Kagami Biraki 2011, at the Aikido World Headquarters – Tokyo, Japan.
He sadly passed away on 20 Feb 2012 but his legacy, aikido style and strict technical requirements were transferred to his resident student in South Africa, Sensei Elroy Goliath (4° Dan and Chief Instructor of ASA).
Elroy Goliath Sensei continues to uphold a unique standard of aikido in South Africa as he received instruction directly from the Master - visit an ASA dojo in any of the provinces we are represented and form your own opinion based on your observations. Should you need to answer your specific aikido questions in this regard, please contact here him directly.