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Old 12-14-2013, 12:34 PM   #1
Ellis Amdur
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Kobayashi Hirokazu

I've been looking around the web a little, and decided to split off my discussion of Kobayashi Hirokazu, previously in another thread.

Next month, I'll be posting an IHTBF column on Kobayashi HIrokazu, one of Ueshiba's leading postwar students. I will not take away the import of the essay to note this: Kobayashi's technique, which he learned, as far as anyone knows, directly from Ueshiba, sounds very much - very much - like that of the Kodokai. (I've been searching for this quotation again for awhile, but I read that Takeda Tokimune, upon observing Kobayashi, said to him something to the effect of: "This is real Daito-ryu. Not many people are doing real Daito-ryu these days." Whatever Ueshiba himself did - I still think he used each of his leading disciples as a kind of "crash-test dummy" to really work through different aspects of what he learned and discovered.
And that is one reason I think we can be too quick to assume, when one or another shihan, seems so different from others - or from the few films of Ueshiba - that Ueshiba "couldn't have taught him that." Ueshiba's compatriots - fellow students of Takeda - seem to have mastered their own style - as evidenced by how their disciples attempt to follow in their footsteps - whereas Ueshiba's disciples each seem to have been given and followed a somewhat different path.

HOWEVER, JUST TO CONFUSE THINGS A LITTLE:
Quote:
Takuma asked Kobayashi Hirokazu to run the club. It is at this point that the club went from Daito-ryu to Aikido. Since Takuma had asked Kobayashi, he said that he did well and that is how it went. Kobayashi Hirokazu Sensei had once been a student of Takuma Sensei. He was actually a pretty close student of Takuma.
This, from this interview:

However, if we look at the Wikipedia article on Kobayashi, there is no mention of such a relationship. As always, regarding Daito-ryu and aikido, we are once again faced with the interpretation of a relationship that may have been a teaching relationship, or maybe not. More research is needed here, I think --at least for those who are trying to trace the threads of what Ueshiba knew and what he taught.

Another fascinating item I found, however, is this one:
Quote:
Takeda Sokaku, qui fut un des maîtres de Ueshiba Morihei, enseignait l'aikishintaiso, source principale du kihon d'aikitaiso - -linked to this footnote: Takeda Sokaku fut le maître de l'école Daito. Il enseigna à Ueshiba Morihei qui tira presque toutes ses techniques de l'aikijutsu de Daito. L'aikishintaiso est une pratique énergétique que l'on peut au moins extérieurement comparer au chi-cong chinois et à certains aspects du yoga. L'aikitaiso est une pratique d'énergie interne liée à l'aikido dont l'objectif est la santé et le développement de la conscience par le développement de l'énergie.
Please, someone who is fluent in French - translate this clearly, but the best I can understand is that this refers to basic "aikishintaiso" exercises taught to Ueshiba by Takeda Sokaku, for the development of internal energy.
Kobayashi sensei allowed the creation of an organization of his legacy of teaching, shortly before his death. This is somewhat of an untouched resource - worth further follow-up. I'm told that one of his senior students, Andre Cognard, will be teaching in the US in 2014. It would certainly be worth visiting his classes, to get a sense of what Ueshiba transmitted through Kobayashi.

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Old 12-14-2013, 05:09 PM   #2
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Re: Kobayashi Hirokazu

S'il vous plait:

Takeda Sokaku, who was one of the teachers (masters) of Ueshiba Morihei, taught aikishintaiso, the principal source of the kihon of aikitaiso.

linked to this footnote: Sokaku Takeda was the master of the Daito school. He taught Ueshiba Morihei who got nearly all of his techniques from the Daito Aikijutsu. Aikitaiso is an energetics practice that, at least externally, can be compared to Chinese qi-gong and also with certain yoga practices. Aikitaiso is an internal energy practice linked with aikido with the aim to improve health and the development of consciousness by improving energy.

As literal as possible
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Old 12-14-2013, 05:13 PM   #3
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Kobayashi Hirokazu

Good morning, Ellis,

I will leave the precise translation to others more capable than I, but I think the whole essay bears very close and critical reading. In particular, the remarks on aiki shin taiso need to be compared with what has been stated by others (via Michio Hikitsuchi and Abe Seiseki) concerning Ueshiba's practice of misogi (via Kawatsura Bonji) and chinkon kishin (via Honda Chikaatsu, Nagasawa Katsutate, and Onisaburo Deguchi). I have been searching for material on chinkon kishin and misogi from sources unconnected with aikido and have found a few, mainly in Japanese. But Cognard's essay is quite important.

Best wishes,

PAG

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Old 12-14-2013, 05:30 PM   #4
Ellis Amdur
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Re: Kobayashi Hirokazu

Thank you Patrick and Peter
Ellis

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Old 12-14-2013, 05:50 PM   #5
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Re: Kobayashi Hirokazu

Hello Ellis (again),

I am very curious about Cognard's sources. I am reading the whole essay ("La voie du corps") and the footnotes suggest (to me at least) a combination of serious research and hearsay. For example, there is a whole lot more on norito and misogi than is conveyed by footnotes 8 and 9, respectively. I am also curious whether aiki shin taiso is practiced in Daito-ryu and recognized as such. I suppose it comes down to the question of what Ueshiba learned, or stole, from Takeda, as against what he learned, or stole, from Deguchi and Kawatsura. Of course, there need not be any opposition here.

Some of my thoughts appear in TIE 25, which will come out next month (but I have not taken Cognard's essay into account).

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Old 12-15-2013, 08:42 AM   #6
patrick de block
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Re: Kobayashi Hirokazu

Since I started translating ... the article contains some very interesting thoughts.

Kobayashi's conception of movement is a movement that has to follow a spiral of energy (meguri) which expresses itself around the vital energy center (seika tanden).
...
It uses the centrifugal and centripetal forces and the speed they produce to unbalance the attacker, combined with a system of torsion, rotation or hyperextension of the joints of the body of the attacker after an appropriate dodging movement which permitted to avoid his attack.
...
He conceives meguri as something internal that has to happen before contact and which transforms the techniques. The extent of the displacement of the feet can be made smaller in this way, because stability is ensured by keeping your center while moving, whatever the action, because this does not require external force.
...
This agrees (the teachings of Sumida) with the idea of Kobayashi that meguri is first of all internal. He discovers their natural existence in the muscle and joints chains. These meguri follow these anatomical entities that are paths of energy that become external in the body of Uke, while not being visible. People who are not informed say that the master does not move.
...
In fact, practice shows that meguri is more effective when Tori himself follows the paths traced by the aikido techniques. To do nikyo you do a kote gaeshi on yourself and you do this with every technique.
....
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Old 12-15-2013, 06:57 PM   #7
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Re: Kobayashi Hirokazu

I was very fortunate to follow few seminars with sensei. As there were not many ppl, sometimes sensei applied a technique or two on me. IMO his system is very sophisticated and not well adapted for beginners. They practice very soft way many years, so the efficiency of movements is very low even among black belts. But for somebody with strong basics it is excellent way to progress.

There are many dojo in Italy, Poland, Germany that follow his teaching.

Nagababa

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Old 12-16-2013, 09:22 AM   #8
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Re: Kobayashi Hirokazu

I am glad we are going to discuss Kobayashi in greater depth. What I have seen of him has been a lodestone for me.
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Old 12-16-2013, 12:57 PM   #9
Ellis Amdur
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Re: Kobayashi Hirokazu

An informant who has audited seminars from several of Kobayashi Hirokazu’s students states that one of them quoted Kobayashi sensei as saying, “the uke should always be moving around more than the nage.” My correspondent added as commentary, “Makes sense if you have IP and can pull it off. If not, you just teach your uke to fly around you.” He also noted that one of Kobayashi’s successors, Jacek Wysocki, an 8th dan, “impressed me. He could actual pull off some spiraling, so Kobayashi must have been able to transmit something to some of his students.”

He also quote from a Japanese yudansha, a former student of the Shirata line of aikido:
Quote:
The old Shihan (7-dan) precisely inherits characteristics of Kaiso (Morihei Ueshiba) and his style is very martial arts. He is a disciple of Kobayashi-shihan, who had a characteristics of straight back (and did not move very much) when he used techniques. He moves like dancing but has extraordinary destructive powers”.

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Old 12-16-2013, 01:09 PM   #10
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Re: Kobayashi Hirokazu

My own teacher spent 6 years living with him and following him around as he taught. The dogma I heard is he inherited the powerful wrist rotations from him.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 12-16-2013, 01:28 PM   #11
Ellis Amdur
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Re: Kobayashi Hirokazu

That would be Nariyama sensei, right Peter? Tomiki sensei and Kobayashi sensei had a professional (and perhaps personal friendship), one that belies the assumption that the different factions of aikido were adamantly separated (and I think I'm going to start a new thread on Tomiki sensei).

Ellis Amdur

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Old 12-16-2013, 02:33 PM   #12
Bernd Lehnen
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Re: Kobayashi Hirokazu

Quote:
Szczepan Janczuk wrote: View Post
I was very fortunate to follow few seminars with sensei. As there were not many ppl, sometimes sensei applied a technique or two on me. IMO his system is very sophisticated and not well adapted for beginners. They practice very soft way many years, so the efficiency of movements is very low even among black belts. But for somebody with strong basics it is excellent way to progress.

There are many dojo in Italy, Poland, Germany that follow his teaching.
Don't know if they really follow his teaching.

A senior pupil of Nocquet, after a good work out, once had invited me to watch with him a film of Kobayashi Hirokazu where he obviously and clearly explained how in principle it was done.
In fact, it is quite easy and extremely effective. Your whole body moves internally like a big tree in the wind, combined with a slight winding wave - up or down - with your feet well rooted to the ground . That's all. Externally, you haven't got to move very much and you haven't got to keep your feet widely apart.

But it's strange, every now and then when I did things (t)his way, nobody in my aikido-world seemed to be able to replicate this.
This is very different from what Aikikai or any other Aikido branch ever has taught me ….

If we are speaking of the same things, that is.

Best,
Bernd

Last edited by Bernd Lehnen : 12-16-2013 at 02:36 PM.
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Old 12-17-2013, 05:07 AM   #13
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Re: Kobayashi Hirokazu

Quote:
Ellis Amdur wrote: View Post
That would be Nariyama sensei, right Peter? Tomiki sensei and Kobayashi sensei had a professional (and perhaps personal friendship), one that belies the assumption that the different factions of aikido were adamantly separated (and I think I'm going to start a new thread on Tomiki sensei).

Ellis Amdur
Yes that is who I mean. Kobayashi would hold his own class at Shodokan Honbu once a week a tradition that I think still continues. Its been awhile since I confirmed that.

Interestingly, those in the know, say Nariyama is more like Kobayashi than Tomiki but I think this reflects body type.

Anyway - Kobayashi's influence is great.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 12-20-2013, 07:09 PM   #14
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Re: Kobayashi Hirokazu

Hello everyone,

Ellis: Thank you for starting this thread. I actually study Kobayashi's style of Aikido, and I didn't know about any of the stuff in the opening post. Very interesting. I was always interested in the history of Kobayashi aikido, but there are not many sources to choose from. I'm really looking forward on your article about Kobayashi sensei next month!

Anyway, I think our dojo is the only Kobayashi Ryu dojo in my country, and in fact belongs under Polish aikido association. Which is why I was lucky enough to attend so far 3 seminars held by shihan Jacek Wysocki (8th Dan), the third one was last weekend actually. Really wonderful teacher with amazing skill. Though my knowledge is very limited, as this is the only style I have ever studied and I'm still only yonkyu, from my understanding the main differences are indeed the circular movements (meguri), weapons training, more minimalistic movement and slightly different posture than usual. I can imagine it could be considered more complex and harder to lears, because of all the small details, though as I said, I have nothing to compare it with from my own experience.

Even though it's almost exclusive to Europe, I know about at least one dojo in US (LA), where both sensei Wysocki and Conrad (as Ellis has mentioned) visit from time to time and hold seminars.

Martin
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Old 12-25-2013, 09:51 AM   #15
Ellis Amdur
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A Video of Kobayashi Hirokazu

Here's a video of Kobayashi HIrokazu. There are, of course, this being aikido, some over exaggerated responses by uke at many points, but there are also some very good moments of Kobayashi sensei teaching where one can see the subtleties of his approach. One good example is his work with the young woman at appr. 4:04

Here's a video of Jacek Wysocki (easier to watch without the background music, I think, who has a reputation of being one of Kobayashi's top successors in his methodology.

Ellis AMdur

Last edited by Ellis Amdur : 12-25-2013 at 09:56 AM.

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Old 12-25-2013, 11:01 AM   #16
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Re: A Video of Kobayashi Hirokazu

Quote:
Ellis Amdur wrote: View Post
Here's a video of Kobayashi HIrokazu. There are, of course, this being aikido, some over exaggerated responses by uke at many points, ...
...
Thanks Ellis for posting the link to the video but can't see exaggerated responses by uke in the video. They just do what they have to do. And they have.
By the way, André Cognard and Jean-Francois Riondet are acting as uke in great parts of the video.

regards
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Old 12-26-2013, 10:50 AM   #17
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Re: Kobayashi Hirokazu

There is still a video available at mutokukaivideos.com: 'Hirokazu Kobayashi, un maître, un style / Aix-en-Provence - 1992'. Two videos, one runs for 50 minutes and the other for 45, if you want to see more.
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Old 09-12-2014, 05:25 AM   #18
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Re: Kobayashi Hirokazu

Ellis Amdur,

in the first post you mention a possible IHTBF on Hirokazu Kobayashi Sensei. I cannot find it anywhere. Any guidance please?

Many thanks.
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Old 09-12-2014, 09:11 AM   #19
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Re: Kobayashi Hirokazu

IHTBF-Kobayashi H
There is also a three-part interview with Philippe Cognard on Aikido Journal right now.

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Old 09-14-2014, 02:33 PM   #20
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Re: Kobayashi Hirokazu

Thanks. I think you meant Andre Cognard
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Old 09-15-2014, 07:14 AM   #21
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Re: Kobayashi Hirokazu

Unfortunately I never got to train with Kobyashi senior, but his movements reminds me somewhat of my former teacher, now deceased, Hirosh Kato.
Kato sensei's footwork was very small and essentially he was dismissive of studying footwork. He often said the head moves the hands but the center moves the feet. He taught that placing the feet first usually meant being to late so he taught move the center in space and the feet will naturally have to follow. He moved his center in a spiral fashion and was capable of generating a lot of power that way.
Bernd mention the wave force, I think this is comparable to Bolang Jin in CMA and is also what both Dan and Ark refer to as using the bows.
Keeping a straight back seems to be very important but misleading in that it is what is built in terms of tensile, springy, spiral force between head and pelvis that is actually the wave source. The non movement of the feet requires the ankles, knees, and kua to be sufficiently open to allow the torque to build. Spiral force can be likened to a spring in that it combines an up/ down movement with a side to side movement into what the Chinese IMA folks refer to as Chan Tsi Jin (silk reeling power). The idea that finely spun silk eventually becomes as tough as steel whilst retaining its essential pliability,
Peter de Block's translation of this idea of "maguri" seems to fit this exactly.
Any further info from this lucre would be most welcome to those of us still pursuing IP (quietly)
Alec

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