Ray Oldman Shihan Promoted to 7th Dan
Ray Oldman Shihan Nanadan started his Aikido training in 1972. Let's take a moment to celebrate Oldman Shihan's remarkable achievement of reaching the rank of 7th Dan. Oldman sensei's aikido journey serves as an inspiration to us all, and we are thrilled to see him receive this well-deserved promotion.
After 52 years of continuous training, Oldman Shihan achieved the rank of 7th Dan in January 2024. ‘Uncle Ray’ Sensei, as he’s better known, serves as an inspiration to us all. He teaches regularly at Clifton Hill dojo, and is present at most Special Days and TTC weekends in Victoria. He has been the backbone of National Summer Schools always. He is an exemplary student, and we are thrilled to see him receive this well-deserved promotion.
He believes Aikido has changed his life: ‘Well, in relation to people, it’s made me accept the differences in people more. You know someone about your size might have made comment about we’re eccentric, but I don’t see it as eccentric, we’re just different. Really, everybody comes from different lifestyles, workplaces, some with long hair, straggly beards, and I used to have the idea that people who didn’t conform were a bit different and to be wary of them, but I have become more aware, that I’m more liberal — what would be the right word? — I accept them for what they are and not what they look like.’
Oldman Sensei was particularly impressed by Sugano Sensei during his early training: ‘The 1st year that I was training, I used to go to Monash, and he came down for a weekend. I believe that the technique was Ikkyo but I finished up with bruises all along both wrists because obviously I was doing it incorrectly. But he used to join in with bokken work and we were doing a routine once where I had to cut, take the head off and turn, but when I turned he was already waiting and came towards me, and I felt it. Physically I felt it, and I was very impressed. That was in the first 12 months of training. It was a wonderful feeling.’
At this stage of his aikido journey: ‘Well, I think at my age I’m just glad to be on the mat. How many other martial arts have people in their 80’s still training? I love to help students, especially junior instructors and students. I focus on getting them to leave their muscles on the dining table’.
Uncle Ray Sensei does not see himself as remarkable or deserving of any of his promotions. He says he cannot see what others see in him, which speaks volumes about his natural humility. Regardless, his classes are inspiring in how effortless he makes aikido feel, and how he joyfully trains with anyone. When he picks up a jo, he is magic in motion.
Ray Oldman Shihan recently promoted to 7th Dan