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Martial Arts Film Celebrity Visits Colorado


MATSUOKA SENSEI teaches AIKIDO seminar near Denver

[This article was originally posted in 2008]

In early February, Castle Rock AIKIDO hosted a three-day seminar with a guest from the Hollywood area. HARUSO MATSUOKA was actor Steven Seagal’s martial arts partner for almost twenty years. MATSUOKA has acted in and performed stunts in Seagal’s popular martial arts movies including, Above the Law, Hard to Kill, and The Glimmer Man.​ MATSUOKA ‘SENSEI’ or “teacher” was born in OSAKA, Japan in the late 1950s.  In the early 1980s he moved to the United States with his instructor, Steven Seagal, who had been teaching martial arts in Japan. At the time, Seagal was an emerging martial arts movie star in Hollywood. Today, MATSUOKA SENSEI teaches the Japanese martial art of AIKIDO (pronounced ‘eye’-‘key’-‘doh’) at his two California martial arts schools; one in Culver City, the other closer to his home in Orange County. ​

A very busy man in California, MATSUOKA SENSEI still finds time to travel to European countries like France and Spain regularly to teach AIKIDO. While he has taught martial arts seminars in Russia to as many as 500 students at a time, this past weekend he accepted an invitation to come teach a very intimate seminar to 25 dedicated AIKIDO students at Castle Rock AIKIDO. One excited attendee was Routt county police officer, JD Paul came from Steamboat Springs. “I’ve wanted to study with MATSUOKA SENSEI for many years,” he said. “There is an old saying: ‘When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.’ But, I had no idea that this martial arts master would ever appear here in Colorado!” 

Rather than focuseing on high-flying throws and falls that one might expect from a movie actor, MATSUOKA SENSEI instead on the subtleties of one’s body awareness, economy of movement, and a neutral, balanced posture. Repeatedly, MATSUOKA SENSEI spoke of moving one’s body as an integrated, connected whole instead of in an overly-mechanical, step-by-step fashion. He illustrated the importance of fluidity, instead of rigidity, and powerfully demonstrated how an opponent will innately react with tension if you initiate a self-defense move with your own tension. This only creates a stalemate during a conflict. MATSUOKA SENSEI showed the students that, contrary to popular belief, the speed of a self-defense technique is a function of softness instead of hardness.​​ If learning to move your body in this way is of interest and sounds fun to you, come try a free AIKIDO class by completing the form on the homepage: HERE.

Guest from all over the Denver Metro area attended the seminar. MATSUOKA’s teachings were very well received by the seminar attendees. “He’s an inspiration, not just as a martial artist, but as a human being, as well. MATSUOKA SENSEI possesses a friendly disposition, a calming confidence, vibrant health, and he exudes a charisma that many people, no doubt desire in themselves,” say Sean Hannon SENSEI, owner of the school (DOJO). “We were very fortunate to have such a master join us here in Castle Rock and we look forward to hosting him again.”  Visit MATSUOKA SENSEI’s DOJO website.

MATSUOKA SENSEI’s with Castle Rock AIKIDO DOJO-CHO, Sean Hannon SENSEI (back in 2008).