Yoshio Kuroiwa Sensei was one of the most original and innovative students at the post-war Aikikai Hombu Dojo, often integrating movements from his extensive knowledge of boxing into his Aikido. One of the strongest practitioners at the post-war Aikikai Hombu Dojo, his reputation led to an attempt by Gozo Shioda to recruit him into the Yoshinkan. Although he ultimately refused Shioda’s offer, he also refused all Aikikai rank promotions past sixth dan and gradually distanced himself from the post-Morihei Ueshiba Aikikai organization.
He was a participant in the first Aikido Journal Friendship Demonstration, along with Kanshu Sunadomari, Mitsugi Saotome, Morihiro Saito, Shoji Nishio and Yasuo Kobayashi, and published two articles in the Aikido Journal magazine: Training and Cognition and A Common Sense Look At Aikido.
If you are interested in Kuroiwa Sensei you may also with to read Ellis Amdur’s tribute to his passing from AikiWeb – In Memory of Kuroiwa Yoshio. In a separate interview Ellis also spoke about some of his recollections of Kuroiwa Sensei:
I particularly liked Kuroiwa Yoshio Sensei. He started training around 1954. He was six months junior to Kato Hiroshi Sensei, who broke his arm on the first class (laughs). Kuroiwa Sensei told me that Kato Sensei’s mother dragged him by the ear to his house to apologize to his mother. Kuroiwa Sensei was an interesting man; after World War II, there was a return to normality and boxing came up again. He probably fought over 200 bouts with no weight classes. Unlike a lot of the fellows who became Shihan at Hombu, he was not a middle class bourgeois, he came from Asakusabashi, in downtown Tokyo. He was a tough kid and he had that kind of anger that poor kids sometimes have. He used to walk around and pick fights with strong-looking high school or college students, knock them out, and steal their school badges as trophies. He took up Aikido when he realized that his ways were probably not the best for his own safety, hoping that Ueshiba Sensei might help him straighten himself up. The specificity of his practice was that he linked all of his techniques to boxing, not in terms of hitting but by putting every Aikido technique in a framework of hooks or uppercuts, never extending his arms, everything being a spiral on a figure-eight frame. For the rest of my Aikido time, he was my main influence.
This is the first part of a two part interview with Yoshio Kuroiwa that originally appeared in the January 2006 issue of Gekkan Hiden (月刊秘伝 / “Secret Teachings Monthly”), a well known martial arts magazine in Japan.
This interview was also published in a collection of interviews with students of the Founder published in Japanese as 開祖の横顔 (“Profiles of the Founder”) in 2009. There was a short introduction to this work in the article “Morihei Ueshiba – Profiles of the Founder“. A number of English translations of interviews from that collection appeared have appeared previously – Nobuyoshi Tamura Sensei (Part 1 | Part 2), Hiroshi Isoyama Sensei (Part 1 | Part 2), Shigenobu Okumura Sensei (Part 1 | Part 2), Nobuyuki Watanabe Sensei (Part 1 | Part 2), Masatake Fujita Sensei (Part 1 | Part 2) , Yoshimitsu Yamada Sensei (Part 1 | Part 2), Kanshu Sunadomari Sensei (Part 1 | Part 2) and Hiroshi Kato Sensei (Part 1 | Part 2). Continue reading