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Victor Contamin

Victor Contamin was a French structural engineer, an expert on the strength of materials such as iron and steel. He is known for the Galerie des machines of the Exposition Universelle in Paris, he pioneered the use of reinforced concrete. Victor Contamin was born in Paris in 1840, he was admitted to the École centrale des arts et manufactures in Paris in 1857, graduated in second place in 1860. One of his teachers was Jean-Baptiste-Charles-Joseph Bélanger, a disciple of Gaspard-Gustave Coriolis. Bélanger treated Contamin with great affection, gave him much advice when he left the school. Contamin's first work experience was in Spain. In 1863, he joined the Chemins de Fer du Nord railway company as a designer, attached to the department responsible for the tracks, he was successively promoted to Inspector and Chief Engineer. He taught the course on Applied Mechanics at the École centrale from 1865 to 1873, held the chair of Applied Resistance until 1891. In 1874 Contamin published a textbook entitled Cours de résistance appliquée.

As a recognized expert on the strength of materials, in 1886 Contamin was made responsible for control of metal structures in the 1889 exposition. He was to study all projects in terms of the strength requirements for the buildings, he was responsible for checking receipt of materials, strength testing, monitoring the erection of iron structures. His approval of the quality of the materials, workshop production and on-site work was required for release of public funds; as he noted in a letter to La revue le Travail in December 1888, the importance of this work was not appreciated by the public. Contamin and his team checked all the calculations and all the metal installations, including the 300 metres tower that Gustave Eiffel was building, he said of the Eiffel Tower: The flag, flying from the summit of the tower is the flag of'89, the one with which our ancestors have won great victories fighting for progress and science. This flag needed a large pedestal, with large dimensions, it was Mr. Eiffel.

We are glad to honor them Contamin was one of the pioneers of the use of reinforced concrete. He worked with Anatole de Baudot on a design for the Saint-Jean-de-Montmartre church, that used this material, built between 1894–1897. Contamin died in 1893. Contamin worked with the architect Ferdinand Dutert on the design of the Galerie des Machines for the 1889 exposition. Contamin was responsible for the technical design of the Galerie des Machines, including calculations to ensure the structural integrity of the immense arches; the Galerie des machines formed a huge glass and metal hall with an area of 115 by 420 metres and a height of 48.324 metres. There were no internal supports; the iron and glass structure used three-pin hinged arches, developed for bridge building. This was the first time; the Galerie des Machines was re-used for the 1900 exposition, demolished in 1910. Many of the writers who discussed the Galerie des Machines gave Victor Contamin much of the credit, since they assumed it was an engineering feat.

However, more writers have given greater credit to Dutert. Eugène Hénard, who assisted Dutert, said the Palais des Machines combined aesthetic appearance with engineering function; the two goals were complementary. Notes Citations Sources The Palais des Machines of 1889. Historical - structural reflections Paper written by Isaac López César & Javier Estévez Cimadevila about the structure of The Galerie des Machines

Hiroshi Kato (aikido)

Hiroshi Kato. He lived in Tokyo and travelled the world teaching the principles of Aikido. A former student of Morihei Ueshiba, Sensei Kato taught from 1986 onwards in his Dojo "Suginami Aikikai" located in the Ogikubo district of Tokyo and has over 55 students. Kato-sensei was born in Tokyo, he began Aikido training in 1954 at Aikido World Headquarters under the instruction of the Founder of Aikido, Morihei Ueshiba otherwise known as O’Sensei. Introduced to the Aikikai Hombu Dojo through his mother’s network of connections when he was 19, he trained there daily as well as spending long hours perfecting his personal practice. Working during the day as a printer, he attended classes at night, for this reason he was unable to be an uchideshi, does not appear in early photographs with them, he continued to train for over 52 years at the Aikikai Hombu Dojo although he primarily taught at his Suginami Dojo, but he still attended special events at Aikikai Hombu dojo. After his first 10 years at Hombu Dojo, Kato-sensei had chances to serve the Founder.

He pursued Aikido through the Founder’s image, as according to Kato-sensei, “To me, the Founder is not dead. He is still alive in my mind and in my heart.” Kato attended Doshu’s class over three generations: the Founder, the second Doshu, the current third Doshu. He received his first six black belts from the Founder and his next two black belts from the second Doshu, his self-training in Aikido has been ascetic. In his early years, he used to practice weapons by himself through the night, greet sunrise the next morning, go to work again. Kato's Aikido had a measure of personal spirituality to it. Before every class, Kato Sensei arrived early to the dojo to meditate. Since he was young, he visited mountain shrines and stayed up all night practicing weapons and meditating. Kato considered him to be his only teacher, he said, "Aikido is not something to learn by oneself. Ideally, the practice should be for oneself, it should be rigorous and sternly self-disciplined, by one’s own choice." In 1965, an informal practice group named Yagyu-kai was formed under his direction.

Most of the members were black belt holders and he enjoyed teaching, hard training, lively conversation after practice. In 1987, he established Suginami Aikikai in Suginami-ku, as a branch dojo under Aikikai Hombu Dojo; the former Yagyu-kai was incorporated into Suginami Aikikai. At this time, Sensei Kato continued to practice at Hombu, he taught Aikido full-time. In 1994, he received 8th dan and in the same year, he began to teach Aikido in the US, he traveled to the U. S. to teach Aikido at his branch dojos in Texas twice a year. He offers seminars at other Aikikai affiliated dojos as a guest instructor. From 1999 through 2001, he received commendation for his contribution of promoting Aikido in Houston from the Mayor of Houston. In October 2006, he was recognized for his Aikido contributions by a proclamation of Hiroshi Kato Day from the Mayor of Midland, Texas. In 2001, Suginami Aikikai received commendation from the Governor of Tokyo as an Excellent Organization; this year, he began to teach Aikido at the Ogikubo Sports Center in Tokyo, the official place of gathering for the Suginami Aikikai members.

He visited and taught Aikido in Indonesia every year at IAI - Suginami Aikikai. Reflecting its depth and maturity as a dojo, there are now quite a few high level yudansha in Suginami Aikikai. For Kato Hiroshi Sensei, Aikido is a way of life not just a martial art. Sensei Kato's Aikido is a style that resembles much of the one taught at Hombu Dojo by Shihans such as Watanabe Nobuyuki and Endo Seichiro in a sense that he practices the no-touch throws, using the momentum of the uke but without much touching him. Strong Hip movements are applied together with slight feet pivoting movements as well. Kato Sensei derives his Taijitsu movements from his weapons teachings. Due to his advanced age, Kato Sensei's classes are not as vigorous as many would expect but it is the depth and breadth of the technique that his students seek to develop. Hiroshi Kato Sensei died on 2 December 2012. Interview with Aikido Shihan Hiroshi Kato – Part 1 Interview with Aikido Shihan Hiroshi Kato – Part 2