John Messores, Shihan

Saotome Shihan and Messores Shihan in Aikido and the Harmony of Nature (Shambhala Press, 1986)
Saotome Shihan and Messores Shihan; From the book “Aikido and the Harmony of Nature” (Shambhala Press, 1986) by Mitsugi Saotome Shihan

John Messores is ranked as shihan (master instructor) and nanadan (7th degree black belt) in Aikido. He is one of the most senior instructors of the Aikido Schools of Ueshiba organization, and is among the highest- ranked Americans affiliated with Aikido Hombu (the world Aikikai headquarters).

Messores Shihan began martial arts training in Sarasota, Florida, in 1968, studying Karate under Mark Smith.  Five years later, in 1973, he started learning Aikido from Bill McIntyre Sensei, the instructor who, in 1975, brought Mitsugi Saotome Shihan to the United States.  Messores Shihan was among the students who helped McIntyre Sensei in this cause, and therefore became one of Saotome Shihan’s first American Aikido students.  In those initial years Messores Shihan and a few other early students helped establish a dojo in Sarasota which became Saotome Shihan’s first United States dojo.

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John Messores Shihan at Redlands Aikikai, fall seminar 2014

John Messores Shihan trained with him several hours a day under very intensive conditions for several years as Saotome Shihan’s uechi deshi (apprentice).  Messores Shihan has been a personal student of Saotome Shihan for more than forty years.

Messores Shihan was featured in the 1986 book “Aikido and the Harmony of Nature” (Shambhala Press) by Mitsugi Saotome Shihan; the 2002 production The Budo Experience (Budo Productions LLC); and the 2002 Aiki Expo Demo video. He is also listed in the Aikido Journal‘s encyclopedia.

Messores Shihan has been the senior ASU Aikido instructor of the Tampa Bay area since the early 1980s. He has been invited to teach seminars and perform demonstrations all over the United States and abroad, and a number of his students have gone on to create dojos of their own.  Both Messores Shihan and his students have a strong reputation within the Aikido community.

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