Sensei Mutsuko Minegishi, 7th degre black belt

Ms. Mutsuko Minegishi was born in 1940 in Tokyo, Japan, but her family had to move to her father's home village in Saitama Prefecture, 100 kilometers north west of Tokyo, a few months before Tokyo was air raided during the war.

On January 10, 2010, at the Kagamibiraki at the Aikikai Hombu Dojo, she was promoted to the 7th degree black belt that is the highest among the female Aikido students. Her rank was certified from the Aikikai Foundation where the founder Ueshiba Morihei founded and taught Aikido throughout Japan and also to the outside world.

She trained under the second generation Kisshomaru Ueshiba Doshu, son of the Founder, and his grandson, current Moriteru Ueshiba Doshu, Koichi Tohei, the Founder of the Ki Society, and every highest ranking instructor at the Hombu Dojo. Her style is the mixture of all of these instructors and it accommodates the needs for the varieties of the students.

She registered at the Aikikai Foundation in 1972, 45 years ago, and since then she has been continuously training and teaching with her total devotion and dedication. In 1974, she was sent to the United States as a Fulbright Exchange Lecturer to teach Japanese language at Smith and Amherst Colleges where she taught for eight years. During her stay in Massachusetts, she opened her first Aikido dojo called Nonotuck Aikikai in Florence, Mass., as well as teaching at the clubs of Keen State College, New York University in Albany, Amherst College, Smith College and the University of Massachusetts. 

She was in the Republic of Kiribati in the Central Pacific for 6.5 years from 1988-94.  While working for a Japanese government's grand aid project, she taught Aikido to the islanders.  She tried to train the islanders with her intention to spread Aikido throughout the Pacific islands.  However, she was loosing her health due to the lack of healthy food, and she had to give up her plan to spread Aikido from the South to the North in the Pacific to finally connect them to the country where Aikido was originated.  Thus, she moved to Saipan in 1994 to establish herself all over again to try this time to spread it from the North to the South.

Since the beginning of 1998, after 27 years of continuous training and as soon as she was promoted to her 6th degree black belt from Aikikai Foundation, she finally decided to make Aikido as her life time profession.  While conducting classes at Saipan Aikikai, she began contemplating her plans to expand her activities to Guam and other countries all over the world.

In 1999, Ms. Minegishi founded Guam Aikikai while she was the chief instructor of Saipan Aikikai and the advisor to the Korean Aikikai.  She often traveled to many countries to attend seminars and workshops as well as holding her own in such countries as Sweden, Singapore, South Africa and Italy.

Although she is only 5.I feet tall and 77 years of age, her powerful and quick movements give tremendous energy and enthusiasm to the participants.  Her fluency in English enables her to give clear explanation about every detail about Aikido.  She is admired as a raw model to female students.

In her activities in Aikido, she is particularly interested in training youth and children. This came from her long experiences as a teacher from a primary school in Japan to colleges in the United States. She accepts children of any age.  She says that the children can start as soon as they make their first step to walk because if they are introduced to the friendly atmosphere without any competitions or fear, they grow with physical and mental balance and they become good members of their peer group.

Ms. Minegishi established Guam Aikikai in 1999 in order to make her base to expand her Aikido activities.  In 2004, she became involved in Croatia and in 2009, she became the technical advisor to Monaco Aikikai and the honorary president to Aikido Federation of South Africa (AFSA).  In 2010, she became a technical advisor to Inochikan Aikikai in Greece, and in 2012, she was requested to become a technical advisor to Regional Aikido Federation of Russia. She makes annual tours to Russia, Croatia and Greece two time a year. In addition to these countries, she has visited 41 countries such as Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, Hong Kong, China, Philippines, Russia, Ireland, England, Holland, Sweden, Switzerland, Vienna, Macedonia, Bulgaria, Italy, Belgium, Hungary, Singapore, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos, Pohnpei, etc.

In 2017, she visited Pohnpei for the first time to promote Aikido. Timely to this, one of the students in Kiribati happened to contact her on Guam, and they are now in the process of reviving Kiribati Aikikai after 25 years since she left the island. She is visiting Kiribati at the end of 2017.

Guam Aikikai has been very active in seminars and workshops on “violence against women and children”. Every year, a number of seminars are held at schools, mayor’s offices, business offices, institutions for women and children, etc. Ms. Minegishi is a very active member of the Rotary Club of Tumon Bay on Guam, and her projects are often funded by the Rotary Clubs.

Her dream is to host some students from the Pacific Islands such as Kiribati and Pohnpei and Asian nations to give leadership training. She is planning to establish Pacific Island Aikido Federation with Guam, Kiribati and Pohnpei in order to make a debut to the International Aikido Federation.