Aikido Kobayashi Dojo

Aikido, My Way.

Aikido, My Way: The Story of Kobayashi Dojos Forward

...If you are able to climb the steps (kaidan), gradually (dandan), you will rise in rank (dan), practice faithfully, gradually (dandan), you will realize your dream higher and higher you go gradually (dandan) ascending.

These are the words of Sadago Kusaji, former chair of the Japan Jyukendo Federation and former head of the Gunsanbo (Local Militia). I like what he wrote and read them so often I committed them to memory.

I started Aikido in the spring of 1954 and have continued practicing for fifty years now. I am very grateful to the 2nd Doshu Kisshomaru Ueshiba from whom I received my 8th Dan.

However, my sense is that I am still striving to attain the spiritual level of an 8th Dan. Through the strict training in Hombu dojo, and later my experience as an instructor, I finally came to build my own 18-mat dojo at my house in Kodaira in the spring of 1969. It was the time of protests against the renewal of the U.S.- Japan Security Treaty, so Meiji University and Saitama University students, along with students of other universities, were locked out, so many students were at loose ends. This worried me, so the dojo became a place where the students and my three-year-old son could practice seriously; that was Kobayashi Dojo. Thirty-six years later, that humble dojo, blessed by time and place and it’s circle of people, grew into today’s 136 dojos and places of practice under the Kobayashi Dojos umbrella, with instructors in over eighteen countries abroad as well.

My gossiping uchideshi used to say that my wife was a 5th dan and I was a 3rd dan, so together we were 8th dan. That’s true, in a way, because I couldn’t have made it this far without my family’s cooperation. I also remind people that I was born in Kudan no ue (above 9th dan). I’ve tried to summarize my fifty years of Aikido life up to now. I love Aikido, it’s a wonderful thing, so I’ve focused on spreading it. I’ll carry on with this spirit to work hard. I truly pray that we can all continue to work together, to practice, and to teach together, spurring us all on to greater achievements together.

October 31, 2004
Yasuo Kobayashi

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