Ishu Ishiyama Shihan Fifty Years Teaching Aikido 1973 – 2023

Ishiyama Shihan started studying Aikido in 1968 in Japan. He received Shodan from Abe Shihan, O-Sensei's calligraphy teacher. He studied with Tanaka Shihan; one of O‑Sensei's close pre-war disciples and received 2nd and 3rd dan from him.

In North America, he trained closely with Kanai and Kawahara senseis. He also 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.

Ishiyama Shihan has been teaching Aikido since 1973. In 1974, he was invited to teach Aikido by then National Coach for Judo Canada (Nakamura Sensei) and founded Aikido Kensankai at Nakamura’s dojo in Montreal. He also taught Aikido at other dojos and colleges in and around Montreal. In 1979, Ishiyama Shihan was invited by chief instructor Gary Mols to head Victoria Aikikai in Victoria, B.C., and the University of Victoria Aikido Club.

Ishiyama Shihan moved to Vancouver in 1986, and founded Point Grey Aikikai which was later renamed Vancouver West Aikikai (VWA). He later built a full-time dojo at Jericho Hill Centre which operated until the pandemic forced its closure. Living again in Victoria, Ishiyama Shihan guest instructs at Victoria Aikikai and travels frequently to teach at VWA’s new locations. He has taught at many seminars and camps across Canada. 

Ishiyama Shihan received his 4th through 7th dan by recommendation from Yamada, Kanai, and Kawahara senseis. On July 10th, 2012, the Aikikai Foundation (Hombu) awarded him the title of Shihan (master teacher). He sits as a senior member on the Canadian Aikido Federation (CAF) Examination Committee. Ishiyama Shihan has produced dozens of yudansha, in ranks up to 7th dan, including many of the current head instructors in B.C., and other members of the CAF Examination Committee.

Ishiyama Shihan’s contributions to society are not limited to Aikido. His 50 years teaching Aikido are matched by his professorships of Counselling Psychology at the universities of Montreal, Victoria, and British Columbia, as well as guest professor at Tokyo University. He has sat on multicultural committees and was honoured to receive Emperor Akihito during his visit to Canada in 2009.

The BC Aikido community is honoured to have had Ishiyama’s dedicated instruction, dojo creation and instructor support, and we celebrate his 50-year milestone of spreading the teachings of Aikido.

Liz McKinlay, 5th dan, shidoin

"Aiki is not a technique to fight with or defeat the enemy. It is the way to reconcile the world and make human beings one family."

- O’Sensei