Hirokazu Kobayashi

Born in 1929, Hirokazu Kobayashi began his martial arts career studying Karate, Kendo, and Judo. In 1946, he moved to Tokyo to learn Aikido studying with Morihei Ueshiba. In Tokyo, Kobayashi spent about nine years then, in 1954, he moved back to Osaka. In 1957, he started training full-time in Aikido and teaching the martial arts in several universities in the cities of Osaka and Kobe. In 1964, kobayashi was awarded the 7th dan by the Founder. The same year he was also tasked by Ueshiba with teaching Aikido in Europe.  In 1970, now a 8th dan, Kobayashi was appointed chief instructor for the Kansai region. Up until 1996, he led yearly seminars in France, Switzerland, Belgium, Italy, Germany and in the Netherlands.  Hirokazu Kobayashi died on August 1998 after a brief illness. 

Kobayashi was in vert friendly terms with Morihiro Saito, with whom he shared the role of uke to Ueshiba. If Saito was the Founder's favorite uke for taijutsu, Kobayashi was his favorite uke to show sword techniques. For this reason Kobayashi felt always extremely connected to aikiken. Kobayashi described his years at Ueshiba's side as uke and as companion to the impulsive Aikido founder, as extremely hard. He also entrained a very cordial relationship with Kenji Tomiki, the founder of Shodokan Aikido. On 10 October 1969, Kobayashi invited Tomiki to Osaka to introduce competitive Aikido to students from six local universities. In more conservative Aikido circles competitive Aikido was poorly considered. Kobayashi thought that the reason was because only a few other shihan knew Tomiki's theories and the core principles of his  Aikido. After the two met, Kobayashi asked Tomiki to show his Aikido to his students considering it the best way for everyone else to understand. The relationship between the two grew to the point that one of Tomiki's best instructors, Tetsuro Nariyama, became one of Kobayashi's closest uchideshi for six years. He accompanied Kobayashi to class and had the chance to introduce many students to Tomiki's concept of randori. Kobayashi was also close to Hisa Takuma, the founder of Takuma-kai Daito Ryu Aikijujitsu. While he never formally studied Daito Ryu Aikijujutsu, many of Kobayashi' students were exposed to it or became members of Takuma-kai.

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