Tag Archives: ueshiba

Mr. Kimura’s Aikido Memories, Part 2

Morihei Ueshiba at the Noma DojoAikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba at the Noma Dojo, around 1936

 In 1938 the Prime Minister of Japan was Prince Fumimaro Konoe (近衛 文麿) – he was a patron of Morihei Ueshiba and served on the board of directors for Morihei Ueshiba’s pre-war Kobukai Foundation.

In 1938, when he began training with Morihei Ueshiba at the Kobukan Dojo in Tokyo, Mr. Kimura was a 19 year old Japanese exchange student from Dairen (大連 / Dalian), the Japanese occupied seaport in Northeast China. At the time the art was called “Ueshiba-ryu Aiki-jutsu”, and the students were a laundry list of influential political and military figures.

What follows is the second part of a two part English translation of his memories of that time dated June 24th 1987 which originally appeared in the tenth anniversary edition of “Aikido Kodaira” (「合気こだいら」十周年記念誌), published on October 30th 1988. You may wish to read Part 1 before reading this section.

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Mr. Kimura’s Aikido Memories, Part 1

Technical Manual Budo, Page 38
Morihei Ueshiba’s Technical Manual “Budo” – published in 1938 

1938 saw the continuation of the Japanese war in China, increased economic sanctions against Japan by the United States, and and the formation of the precursor to the “Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere” (大東亞共榮圏), the “New Order in East Asia” (東亜新秩序). It saw the passing of the National Mobilization Law (国家総動員法) in the Japanese Diet, putting the national economy of the Empire of  Japan on a war-time footing.

1938 was also the heart of the golden years of Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba’s Kobukan Dojo, known as “Hell Dojo” for the severity of its training.

Mr. Kimura began training with Morihei Ueshiba O-Sensei in 1938, in an art called “Ueshiba-ryu Aiki-jutsu”, at the Kobukan Dojo that had been opened in the Shinjuku area of Tokyo in 1931. What follows is the first part of a two part English translation of his memories of that time from June 24th 1987 which originally appeared in the tenth anniversary edition of “Aikido Kodaira” (「合気こだいら」十周年記念誌), published on October 30th 1988.  Continue reading »

A Leap of the Spirit – Moritaka (Morihei) Ueshiba in 1932

Kami no KeshinKami no Keshin” (“Embodiment of God” / 神の化身)
Kanzou Miura (三浦関造) – Ryuo Library (竜王文庫), 1960

Kanzou Miura was born in Fukuoka, Japan on July 15th 1883, just five months before Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba O-Sensei was born in Wakayama Prefecture.

After graduation from Aoyama Gakuin’s Theological School he spent one year working as a Methodist minister in the southwest of Aomori Prefecture, in Hirosaki City. He became active in the Rikugo Zasshi (六合雑誌), a Christian magazine started in 1880 by the Tokyo YMCA, and went on to publish a large number of books and translations, including translations of works by Dostoyevsky and Tolstoy. He also become interested in researching India’s first Nobel Laureate, Rabindranath Tagore.

Rabindranath TagoreRabindranath Tagore in Tokyo, 1916
seated, middle of the first row

After the Second World War he organized the Ryuo-kai (Dragon King Society) and introduced theosophical teachings (including Alice Bailey and Agni Yoga) to Japan with his Synthesis Yoga practice (綜合ヨガ団体竜王会). He also translated “The Voice of the Silence” by Helena Petrovna Blavatsky and a number of other works.

Mokuroku issued by Moritaka UeshibaMokuroku (目録) issued by Moritaka Ueshiba in 1934
Stamped “Aiki-jujutsu”
From “Aikido Kaiso Ueshiba Morihei-den” (合気道開祖植芝盛平伝)

What follows is a section of a book published in 1932 by the publishing company Nito Shoin (日東書院) called “The Spirit Leaps Forward – Emergence of the Superhuman” (心霊の飛躍 – 現出の超人”/ “Shinrei no Hiyaku – Genshutsu no Chojin”). In this excerpt from that work  Mr. Miura interviews Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba, who was then using the name Moritaka (守高). Continue reading »

Interview with Aikido Shihan Yoshio Kuroiwa – Part 1

Yoshio Kuroiwa, boxerThe boxer – Yoshio Kuriowa (黒岩洋志雄), 1932-2010

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 »

Interview with Aikido Shihan Hiroshi Kato – Part 2

 Hiroshi Kato and Morihei Ueshiba
Morihei Ueshiba O-Sensei in 1961, directly before leaving for Hawaii
Hiroshi Kato Sensei by the door next to Kisaburo Osawa Sensei

Hiroshi Kato was born in Tokyo on March 24th 1935, and entered Aikikai Hombu Dojo in 1954 at the age of 18.

He was one of the early post-war Aikido students at Aikikai Hombu Dojo, but chose to work as a printer rather than making a full time career of the martial art. Known for his strict self-training in Aikido, in his younger years he would practice weapons by himself through the night, greet the sunrise the next morning, and then head off to work at the print shop.

In 1975 he formed an informal practice group at the Suginami Ward Koenji Gymnasium near his home, and then in April 1987 he established the Suginami Aikikai (杉並合気会) dojo in the Suginami Ward of Tokyo, Japan as a branch dojo of the Aikikai Foundation.

This is the second part of a two part interview with Hiroshi Kato that originally appeared in the April 2007 issue of Gekkan Hiden (月刊秘伝 / “Secret Teachings Monthly”), a well known martial arts magazine in Japan. You may wish to read Part 1 of this interview before reading this section

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) and Kanshu Sunadomari (Part 1 | Part 2).

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