VWA Chief Instructor: Ishu Ishiyama Shihan, 7th dan

Ishu Ishiyama Shihan received shodan from Seiseki Abe Shihan (O-Sensei's calligraphy teacher), 2nd dan and 3rd dan from Bansen Tanaka Shihan, and 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th dan by the recommendation of the Shihans on the North American Aikido Federation Technical Directors Committee (esp. Yamada, Kanai, and Kawahara Senseis).

Ishu Ishiyama Shihan has been studying Aikido since 1968. He studied with the late Tanaka Shihan (one of O-Sensei's close pre-war disciples), who founded an Aikido dojo in 1936 which later became Osaka Aikikai Foundation. In North America, he trained closely with Kanai and Kawahara Senseis. He has studied with Yamada, Chiba, Tohei, Nakazono, and Saito Shihans, and received occasional instructions from the late Doshu Kisshomaru Ueshiba and the current Doshu Moriteru Ueshiba over the past 30 years.

Sensei has been teaching Aikido since 1973. In 1974, he was invited to teach Aikido by the then National Coach for Judo Canada (Nakamura Sensei) and founded Aikido Kensankai at his dojo, Shidokan Academy of Martial Arts, in Montreal. Sensei also began teaching Aikido at several dojos and colleges in and around Montreal. In 1979, Ishu Ishiyama Sensei was invited by the then chief instructor Gary Mols (a student of Yoshioka Sensei, Hawaii) to head the Victoria Aikikai (located in Victoria, B.C.) and its affiliated University of Victoria Aikido Club. Sensei has since conducted many seminars across Canada.

Sensei moved to Vancouver, British Columbia in 1986, and founded Vancouver West Aikikai (formerly known as Point Grey Aikikai). He later built a full-time Aikido dojo located in the Jericho Hill Centre building where he has been teaching Aikido taijutsu (body work) and weapons (Aiki-jo and Aiki-ken) regularly as the Chief Instructor and the Executive Director (dojo-cho). He and his senior students offer three Aikido programs for children, adult beginners and regular adult classes.

Ishiyama Sensei was awarded the designation of Shihan on July 10th, 2012 from Hombu, the center for International Aikido in Tokyo, Japan. The title of Shihan roughly translates to “Master Teacher”. Ishiyama Shihan is a member of the CAF (Canadian Aikido Federation) Examination Committee.

VWA Honourary Dojo-Cho: Kawahara Shihan, 8th dan

Yukio Kawahara Shihan
Aug. 14, 1940 - June 2, 2011

For many years, Kawahara Shihan was the Technical Director of the Canadian Aikido Federation and the British Columbia Aikido Federation, as well as a member of the North American Technical Committee. He had been designated by the Hombu Dojo in Japan as their official representative to Canada. Kawahara Shihan was also the Honourary Dojo-Cho of Vancouver West Aikikai. The members of Vancouver West Aikikai are immensely saddened he is no longer among us and they will long cherish his memory .

Kawahara Shihan was born in Nagasaki Prefecture, Japan, in 1940. He began Aikido at age 17 as a student of Bansen Tanaka Shihan in Osaka and became uchideshi. Kawahara Shihan was Assistant Instructor at Osaka Aikikai from 1960 to 1972.

Kawahara Sensei was dispatched by Tanaka Shihan to Taiwan as a resident Shihan at Taiwan Aikikai from 1972 to 1973. From 1973 to 1975 he was Deputy Shihan at Osaka Aikikai under Tanaka Shihan’s leadership, and also taught for various university Aikido clubs in the Kansai area of Japan. From 1975 to 1976 Kawahara Sensei became Shihan at Okayama Aikikai.

Kawahara Shihan came to Canada in 1975 (5th dan at that time), at the invitation of Ishiyama Sensei. Kawahara Shihan’s first two years in Canada were spent in Montreal, and then he re-located to the West Coast in 1977. As a Hombu-dispatched instructor, Kawahara Shihan taught extensively through North America, Japan and Europe. He worked with other Japanese Shihans such as Yamada, the late Chiba, the late Kanai, and the late Tohei Senseis. He taught summer camps in BC and Atlantic Canada and gave highly popular seminars throughout Canada and the world.

Kawahara Shihan passed away peacefully in Victoria on June 2, 2011, after many years of battling cancer. He was held in great respect and affection by all who knew him. He dedicated his entire life to Aikido, improving our lives through his teaching and by example. He will be sorely missed by all of us in the Aikido community.

Sensei's ashes were dispersed at a ceremony in T'souke.

Some archival videos of Kawahara Sensei may be found on the CAF YouTube channel.

VWA Instructors