It is with deep sadness I find myself writing this about our Sensei.
Although Sensei has been unwell for some time it came as a shock when Mami San informed us of his passing on Friday.
To many of the seniors in the BAF, Sensei’s passing is more than a loss of their instructor, it is the loss of someone with whom they have walked a long road together. From the times when they shared the practice with him in classes with Chiba Sensei, through the hard times of his cancer, after which his thoughts and practice developed and would continue to develop for the rest of his time.
As Sensei developed, so we would try to climb that mountain with him, but he would have to come back again and again to show us were we where going wrong. But this he did and he made that part of his practice.
Kanetsuka Sensei has lived a very full life.
In university he trained with Shioda Sensei and was a Nidan in Yoshinkan Aikido. During those time he also met Fujita Sensei who would become an important part of his and the BAF in the future! Life took Kanetsuka Sensei to many places. To Katmandu where he not only opened a restaurant, he also became friends with the Royal Family! He worked in many jobs in India. In fact, sitting with Sensei and listening to his stories made you wonder how he managed to fit so much into his life.
After Chiba Sensei’s departure from the UK, Sensei became BAF Technical Director and from then he also spent time travelling to Greece, the Netherlands and South Africa and in all these countries he held a similar position. He visited many countries during those years and importantly built special relationships with Russia and Poland which have lasted through to today.
Kanetsuka Sensei gave his life to Aikido and he will be missed, leaving an empty space not only in the BAF but in the hearts of many.
An important part of history has passed in losing Kanetsuka Sensei and it is for us to carry on with Aikido as Sensei would wish!
I know you will all join me in sending our condolences to Mami, Masaki, Miyuki and to the whole Kanetsuka family!
Peter Gillard Shihan – 10th March