Kobayashi Kiyohiro 8th Dan Daito-ryu Aiki-jujutsu – Interview 1/3

How did you start your budo practice? Before starting Budo, I did some athletics, when I was in high school. I became pretty good at it. In 1961, there was a summer course with Nakamura Tempu. It took place in Osaka for 14 days and at the end, Hisa Takuma Sensei did a demonstration. Actually, Hisa Sensei didn’t do himself but he had people who did Judo come on stage, as well as young girls. He taught them things like nikajo shuto zume. If young girls could make it work, I thought I could do it to, in spite of my small body. That said, I hadn’t participated in the exercise but I wanted to do it, so I joined a club called the Kansai Aikido Club. Hisa Sensei had re-opened a dojo in 1959. There was a long time between the time he received the menkyo kaiden [1939] and the end of the war. That said, I think that he was often invited teach to variety of events here and there. That’s how he started. There was no break. The first thing that you saw was the sign that said: “Daito-ryu Aikido”. The sign said: “Aikido Club” In reality, perhaps it should have been: “Daito-ryu Aiki-jujutsu” but the general public would not know what it was so they wrote “Kansai Aikido Club”. The things Hisa Sensei taught me were… A week or two before I joined in October 1961, he suffered form a stroke. I visited his house to see him, but he had hemiplegia. After a while, he did return to the dojo although he walked with a cane. What I learned was… Well, since I was a student, I took most of the ukemi during practice so I could understand roughly the techniques he taught from that experience. Most of those were Ueshiba Sensei’s techniques. That’s why in spite of being called Daito-ryu, the influence of Ueshiba Morihei Sensei’s teachings was huge. Doing this and doing that. If Hisa Sensei taught Daito-ryu, why did he call his dojo “Kansai Aikido Club” instead of “Daito-ryu Club”? This is Ueshiba Sensei’s influence. If it had said “Aiki-jujutsu”, there probably noone would have come. Guillaume, you don’t know this but the Osaka Gas company was located diagonally across from the intersection facing the dojo. It was a first-rate location. It was there. White collar workers would see the sign and come since it was located in the same building as many different businesses such as the Saitama Bank. And they would watch. If it had been called Ju-jutsu, no one would have come. G. E. : Because it looked strict or old-fashioned? I guess that’s how it became Aikido. Well, I never really asked and confirmed but that’s my assumption. Hisa Sensei received the 8th Dan from Ueshiba Sensei. Was it before or after setting up the club? Ummm, it was in 1956. That’s when Hisa Sensei went to Tokyo. I’ll give you some reference materials next time. I have a document that I wrote based on my research. I believe it was 1956. When he went to Tokyo, he received a Dan grade. He said it was the first and last time he ever received one. He said he got an 8th Dan unexpectedly without getting either lower Kyu or Dan grades. That certificate was hanged up at the dojo. G. E. : Yes, there is a picture of it in Mori Sensei’s book. I don’t know about those pictures. Can you talk about the university club that you founded? Ah. I founded a Daito-ryu Aiki-jujutsu club at university. It was at Momoyama Gakuin University. G. E. : but it was separate from Kansai Aikido Club… Yes, yes, it was separate I was studying there so I started a club at that school. I started the club to practice Daito-ryu but there was no such thing in other universities. I did not feel confident doing it but Hisa Sensei was still healthy and well. Hisa Sensei didn’t have a successor. When it came to who would be the instructor, it would have been the best if he did it. But once Hisa Sensei was gone, it wouldn’t work out. Hisa wouldn’t come over all the way because he had difficulties walking with his cane. So instead of being part of the Kansai Aikido Club, our club was affiliated to the Kansai Student Aikido Federation. Now there are others like the Kanto Student Aikido Federation. There are many federations, and there is the National Student Aikido Federation. When I found out, I realized that we should affiliate with them. This is when Kobayashi Hirokazu Sensei was put in charge by Kisshomaru Doshu? It’s at that time that I met Kobayashi Hirokazu Sensei. I was introduced to him by a student of Kwansei Gakuin Univerisity. G.E. : From that point you did only Aikido? From that point I did both. During my college years, I did Aikido at school during the day because Kobayashi Sensei would come. In the evening, I trained [in Daito-ryu] at the Kansai Aikido Club. At lunchtime too. So my technique is quite original. There was no leader at that time. There could have been one but everyone had to work. How old were you at that time? I was about 20. G. E. : You were young… Kobayashi Sensei told me that since I studied very seriously, I should teach Daito-ryu professionally, and that he would support me. But who knows if I would have been able to make a living with it. It was definitely not possible. In 1975, the Asahi Culture Center was created at Senri Kaikan. Then they made a second one in Yokohama. Perhaps the first one was in Tokyo. Soon followed by the second one. When building the second one, the Asahi Newspaper was there, so they constructed a building on that spot. I guess that’s when they decided to build it for Budo purposes. They asked Hisa sensei. Well, an Asahi Newspaper employee who used to be Hisa Sensei’s colleague back in the asked him to send a disciple . “Would you like to do it?” That person, his name is Yamada, but he asked : “How about you, Kobayashi”. I decided to take the offer and teach. Slowly we institutionalized it. The disciples then started creating branches. Did Kobayahsi Hirokazu Sensei learn any Daito-ryu Aiki-jujutsu from Hisa Sensei? He learned some, but it was only for a brief period though. A became a [Aikikai Hombu Dojo] uchi deshi after the war and came back to Osaka only afterwards. There was already a branch in Osaka led by Tanaka Bansen. So then there were two. In the past, there would have been only one branch per prefecture. Ueshiba Sensei would visit Mr Kobayashi instead of Mr Tanaka. Once every two months or so, there was time for instruction. He would come to teach us. During those times, we would have combined training with both students and adults at the Fukushima Station gymnasium. You actually did study under Ueshiba Morihei for a while didn’t you? I got a reference letter from Hisa Sensei to go train under Ueshiba sensei. So I went to Ueshiba Sensei’s dojo in 1965. It wasn’t for long though, about one month. I did like the uchi deshi. G. E. : It was in Tokyo? Yes, it was at the old Tokyo Hombu Dojo I believe O Sensei’s classes were on Mondays. I think it’s still the same nowadays. All the uchi deshi were gathering there and practice was intense. The other days were taught by the Dojo-cho Kisshomaru Sensei. Actually, there was no Dojo-cho a the time… G.E. : Wasn’t it Osawa Sensei? No, actually, it was Tohei Sensei. Tohei Sensei used to come and teach during the second morning class. G.E. : The one at 8 a.m. Fujita Sensei also taught some of the second morning classes on Mondays. Tohei Sensei taught on the other days. They had a rotation schedule. After the two morning classes, I would go back to rest for a while, and around 3 or 4 o’clock, I would go to the Yoshinkan. After that, I went back to Hombu Dojo to train in the evening. I did this routine for about a month. G. E. : The Yoshinkan was in Iidabashi, right? Yes, it was in Iidabashi, it was the oldest training place. It’s not there anymore because they moved. How did the techniques you learned at Hombu compare to that of Daito-ryu? The Sensei of the Hombu Dojo had different styles. Techniques that are common now were common then, too. Not much has changed. Ikkyo, nikyo, sankyo, yonkyo, shiho nage, irimi nage… against strikes and grabs. There was no hanza handachi [hanmi handachi], nor ushiro dori at the Hombu Dojo. There was ushiro ryote dori though… Other than that, there wasn’t much. Did you know Arikawa Sensei? Not well, but Arikawa sensei was a big fan of the Takumakai. Whenever there was a demonstration, he would always come see. I don’t not too much about it, but apparently, Mr Kobayashi, a student of Tokiumne Sensei from Kobe was in contact with him. Personally, I didn’t have much contact with him. Arikawa Sensei was very passionate. When I watch Arikawa Sensei’s demonstrations, I’m often reminded of Daito-ryu. I can’t say whether it was an influence. There was a handout made that listed the first 118 Daito-ryu techniques. It was given as a reference. It was a handwritten book published by Ueshiba Sensei. G. E. : Yes, it’s the book called “Budo Renshu”. Yes, the really thick one. I received it. G. E. : The one without photographs… That’s right, without photos. I’m still taking a good care of it since there probably isn’t anything like that nowadays. There were also stories about the pictures and films taken at the Asahi Journal. It showed the techniques taught by Ueshiba Sensei. Stanley Pranin found the film shot at the Osaka Asahi Newspaper and organized a projection. During the projection, Takeda Tokimune Sensei got angry. “Ah! This is Daito-ryu isn’t it?” I guess to Ueshiba Sensei, Daitoryu is Daitoryu because Kisshomaru sensei performs it. I don’t know what the difference is. Ueshiba Sensei learned many techniques from Takeda [Sokaku] Sensei, but he modified and unified them to facilitate the movements. Well, of course the origin is Daito-ryu, and it must have had a great influence. Many teachers have different backgrounds like Yagyu shinkage-ryu and Kitou-ryu for an example. So obviously it’s very difficult to tell which techniques come from which school. It may also be connected to the sword of Ono-ha. Daito-ryu values greatly the sword from Ono-ha during training.

4 Replies to “Kobayashi Kiyohiro 8th Dan Daito-ryu Aiki-jujutsu – Interview 1/3

  1. Thanks everyone for joining me on the chat for the live premiere! Youtube seems to have cut it as soon as the stream finished so I did not have to to thank you for coming. It was an interesting experience. I might do that again in future if you guys feel that adds something. I wish it did not stop with the video though but anyway, thanks again!

  2. I wish I had the ability to learn Diato Ryu Aiki Jujutsu. As a practitioner of Aikido for awhile now I feel it would really be beneficial in helping one achieve mastery in Aiki as well as super charge the martial aspects of ones Aikido.

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