“It was easy to say that Hirokazu Kobayashi was doing Daito-ryu rather
than aikido, and delete him from the list of students of Morihei Ueshiba.”
The following is excerpted from a recent email I received from André Cognard Sensei of the Kokusai Aikido Kensukai Kobayashi Hirokazu Ryuha. It contains very interesting information about the close historical connection following the war between aikido and Daito-ryu in the Osaka region. After reading Cognard Sensei’s comments, it will become clearer why the name of Hirokazu Kobayashi, one of the truly outstanding aikido masters, is so poorly known. — Stanley Pranin
During our meeting, I spoke to you about the fact that my teacher, Hirokazu Kobayashi Sensei, had been a Daito-ryu shihan active in the Kansai area.
You asked me if there were any links between him and the Takumakai. I was not able to clearly answer at that time, but I checked into the matter. I found the answer in an interview with Kiyohiro Kobayashi, Director of the Takumakai, conduced by Olivier Gaurin.
This is Kiyohiro Kobayashi Sensei’s comment:
The reason I was practicing Daito-ryu and aikido is that when I was a student I began a university club. It was in fact a group of clubs with branches in several universities in Osaka. These Kansai universities contacted us for a meeting because they wanted us to arrange for a permanent instructor. Hirokazu Kobayashi was chosen. He was a student of Morihei Ueshiba in the postwar period.
Our instructor, Takuma Hisa Sensei, had been a sumo wrestler and his knees were in bad condition, and he couldn’t take responsibility for the club. I thought that after I graduated the club might cease to exist, and therefore it might be better to join Ueshiba Sensei since he already had an aikido federation. So I proposed that we affiliate the club with the aikido federation, and Hisa Sensei accepted. Kisshomaru [Ueshiba] Sensei was in change of technical matters in the Kansai area while the club still remained under the supervision of Takuma Hisa as a matter of courtesy. Takuma Sensei asked Hirokazu Kobayashi to oversee the club since he had once been a close student of Takuma Sensei. So although the club was originally a Daito-ryu club, it became an aikido club under Kobayashi Sensei. Takuma told him he had done well and everything was arranged.
I was really surprised! Kobayashi Sensei had never talked to me about that even though he didn’t hide his affection for Daito-ryu. I think the Aikikai made every effort to erase Hirokazu Kobayashi from the history of aikido. Because the Aikikai officially recognized Kobayashi Sensei’s links to Takuma Hisa, it was easy to say that he was doing Daito-ryu rather than aikido, and delete him from the list of students of Morihei Ueshiba. This is why, after the death of Morihei Ueshiba, Kobayashi Sensei maintained that he had only studied with the Founder.
Recently, I gave classes at a seminar in which various schools participated including Takumakai students and the shihan of Daito-ryu in Europe. At the end of the seminar, they asked me how long I had practiced Daito-ryu since they saw their techniques in mine.
One day I would like to be able to talk to you about this again. I appreciate your courageous work to reveal the truth about aikido history.
Kokusai Aikido Kensukai Kobayashi Hirokazu Ryuha
Dai Nippon Butokukai
Translated by Stanley Pranin
Please see this article for an updated and expanded view into this topic.