Aikido Kobayashi Dojo

Aikido, My Way.

Part 3 I Become an Aikido Pro

My university days were full of pure passion for practice, but if you missed class too many times, you couldn’t pass the language courses. For students concerned, a summer remedial system lasting one month was established. I made use of this system. Also, if you didn’t show up for a test, you would lose the credit for that class. In this situation, it was possible to re-take the class at night school. At this that time, many of the universities were providing similar options.

Good times can’t last forever, and soon it was time for me to look for a job. In 1958, the year in which I graduated, the era of prosperity for Japan was still to come, and finding a job after graduation was difficult. My fellow classmates were caught up in the competition for a good position, but I was completely absorbed in practicing and didn’t do anything about searching for a job. I felt: whatever I become is whatever [????] Then I got a call from the job center at the University:

“Have you found a job?”
“No, not yet.”
“So go try here.”

They handed me the address of a company, and I put it in my pocket and forgot about it. Once again, after several days, I was called by the job center.

“What happened at the company we introduced you to? We had a message from them that you didn’t show up for the interview.” I had gone to Hombu Dojo for morning practice that day and had completely forgotten about the company interview.
“Yeesss...., I...forgot and didn’t go for the interview.”
“ ????” I fumbled around for something to say as the job center staff person stood there with shock on his face.
“You, you have no excuse for forgetting; this is an embarrassment for the University.”“ Then he said, “That’s it. We will not give you any more introductions.” In those days there were no Hello Work job placement centers; all job-hunting was through introductions, either by the school or an acquaintance. As it was said, I didn’t have any reason for forgetting, so there was no second chance. I graduated that April with no prospects, wondering what I should do. I was just hanging out every day, until my father finally asked,
“Hey, what happened to your job?”
“Uhh....there isn’t any.”
“So, enjoy yourself for a little while.”

I wasn’ too surprise at this comment; my father was not shocked at my not having a job and just doing Aikido. He may not have given up his "rice merchant” dream for me. Anyway, Kisshomaru Sensei also asked me,
“Oh, Kobayashi.....did you find a job?”
“No, I don’t have one.”
“So, you have time?”
“Well, yes.”
“OK, why don’t you bring your briefcase here?

Even today I’m not sure, but in that instant I could say I became an Aikido pro. Did Hombu Dojo really say this was okay? Or did they make allowances for this? In any case, with no paper work of any sort, I became an instructor for Aikikai Incorporated. That said, my life didn’t change much from before.

When I entered Hombu Dojo, there were only two practices a day, morning and evening. But from 1956, when Kisshomaru Sensei quit his job at a securities company in order to devote himself full time to Aikido, practices increased to five a day, and as Aikido became more welll-known, many letters came from all over the country, requesting someone to come and teach.

To respond to these requests and to spread Aikido, many, many instructors were sent off by Hombu Dojo. It was a period of great expansion for Aikido. When I was a university student, I , too, was sent to many locations to teach. The Prime Minister’s Budget Office Aikido Club, NHK, the Self-Defense Forces, the university clubs, all were Hombu-connected. When Hombu was short-handed for teachers, it would send us university students who were at least nidan out to teach.,

This kind of activity occurred when Kisshomaru Sensei was young, still in his thirties. With his competent management efforts, Aikido was spread widely among people.

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