FMA Circle of Negros Island, Philippines FMA Circle of Negros Island, Philippines

Sunday, October 02, 2005


History was made when Bacolod City played host to the first Japanese aikido shihan (master) to ever visit the province of Negros Occidental as well as the highest ranking Aikikai recognized instructor to have taught a seminar in the city and the Negros Islands.

Fukakusa, Motohiro Sensei (Thai name: Somchai), ranked 7th dan by Aikikai Hombu Dojo in Tokyo, Japan, is the acknowledged “Father of Aikido in Thailand,” having been a pioneer and one of the first aikido instructors in Thailand. He had taught since 1964. Fukakusa Shihan is the President/Chief Instructor of the Aikido Association of Thailand and the organizer of the Asian Aikido Federation. He was appointed by Aikido World Headquarters as the caretaker for aikido in Southeast Asian countries.

Fukakusa Shihan is responsible for the teaching of aikido in various parts of Bangkok, among them the Cadet Academy, Royal Thai Navy Academy, Chulachomklao Royal Military Academy, Kasetsart University, Wat Leap branch Metropolitan Electricity Authority, Thai-Japan Youth Center, Chiang Mai University, Wachirawuth School, and Ubolrachathani Military camp.

The Easter Gasshuku 2005, Philippine Aikido Seminar with Motohiro Fukakusa Shihan, 7th Dan Aikikai, was composed of two stops - Manila (March 22-24, 2005) and Bacolod City (March 25-27, 2005). The Bacolod seminar was held at the Casino Filipino, Goldenfields Commercial Complex and then at the Mayfair Plaza Hall 7, Lacson St. Fukakusa Shihan was accompanied by Giovanni Capannelli Sensei, 4th dan Aikikai, Chairman/Chief Instructor of the Aikikai Center of the Philippines. Hosts were Noel and Stella Fuentes Senseis of Kyokan Dojo.

Many aikidokas from Bacolod, Cebu, Manila, Nueva Ecija, etc. came to the seminar to learn from the shihan, who was visiting the Philippines for the first time ever.

Fukakusa Shihan has a charisma that makes students comfortable and enjoy their practice of aikido. He is very sensitive, always going out of his way to help students who have missed the finer points. He often points out to students small details that they would often miss by themselves. The master explains the logic behind the things he teaches and he makes sure the participants get the message. He is very patient and very accommodating. Truly a master teacher in every sense of the word.

At many times, Fukakusa Shihan made the class lively with his humor. There was one instance when he pointed out that some martial artists use their hands to break bricks. He said he uses a hammer. Then he smiles.

Fukakusa Shihan taught kinorenma and other aikido exercises characteristic of Tohei, Koichi Shihan’s shinshintoitsu aikido as well as aikido fundamentals associated with the Aikikai strain of aikido. Fukakusa Shihan also taught aiki-ken (Japanese “harmonious spirit sword”) and aiki-jo (Japanese “harmonious spirit short staff”) that reminds us of the teachings of the late Saito, Morihiro Shihan. He taught the 20 basics for the aiki-jo and the 13 steps jo kata.

A visiting master of the Filipino martial arts paid his respects to the visiting shihan by giving him a gift (a blade) in appreciation of his unselfish effort to share his art to the Filipino people. There’s no greater testimony to one’s knowledge and skills than an appreciation from a fellow master, much more from someone representing a different art.

With the ongoing martial arts renaissance in Bacolod and Negros since 2003, Fukakusa Shihan’s visit to Bacolod was a very welcome development for Bacoleños, Negresanons, and other Filipinos of ethnic descent. Truly, Fukakusa Shihan had left a lasting impact on the training of the younger aikido generations, the bearers of the art in the future.


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