by Derek Minus


I met Takayasu Sensei around June 1976.  After 9 years practice, I had left Kyokushinkai Karate – in which I had received 1st dan ranking – to study Taiki Ken (a Japanese form of the Hsing-i-ch’uan style of Wang Hsiang-ch’i) and Shindo Muso Ryu Jodo. Takayasu Sensei came to demonstrate Aikido. It having recently been suggested to him that he would need to stop practising the Aikido taught to him by Saito Sensei in Iwama if he wanted to continue to train with another dojo, he was looking for a place where he could continue his practice.

As I was the most experienced of the students in combative arts, I was asked to be his uke. Takayasu Sensei invited me to punch him. I did so in a cursory fashion – Kyokushinkai Karate taught solid and powerful forms which tended to overwhelm mere practitioners. I didn’t want to hurt him.

Takayasu Sensei seemed politely disgusted by that approach and challenged me to punch him as hard as I could. Well, now that I had received his invitation, it was impolite to refuse. As I lunged at him with full power and total focus – I was thrown. Tsuki kokyu-nage. I didn’t know the name then but it was a miraculous technique. In one moment I landed on my back on the tatami floor and I had no idea how I got there.

Takayasu Sensei was laughing – not at me – but happily absorbed in the energy of the situation. It was a revelation, that moment one reads about in martial arts stories. Seeking the superior technique I had spent the previous two years puzzling over how to increase speed in a punch. How to deliver the first impact to an opponent. Everything from studying the anatomy of the arm to researching other fighting styles – the hard versus soft debate. I had moved from the ‘2-beat’ block/punch of karate to the ‘1 and 1/2’ beat forms of Chinese Boxing. But here was a combined attack and defence in a single beat. What made the movement so devastating – both in speed of delivery and effect – was that there was no energy of collision, just connection. I threw myself. I had to learn that technique! So I became Takayasu Sensei’s first student. That was 25 years ago.

About Derek Minus Sensei, 5th Dan

Derek is the longest serving student of the Association, having trained for more than 20 years. He joined Aikido after watching a demonstration by Takayasu Sensei when he first arrived in Australia, and disbelieving of Sensei’s technique, challenged him. Being then a 1st Dan in Kyokushin karate, Derek was surprised to find that Sensei could easily throw him, and realised this was what he was searching for. Now, after 20 years of training, both in Sydney and at length in Iwama, Derek operates the successful Turramurra branch dojo, in Sydney’s northern suburbs. Derek was also instrumental in helping Takayasu Sensei establish the Takemusu Aiki Association, and is presently one of the major decision makers in its activities. Putting his Aikido skills to good use, Derek is a barrister-at-law and mediator, specialising in conflict resolution at the corporate level.