A Tribute to Yasuo Kobayashi Soshihan


My deep sense of appreciation toward my dearest Yasuo Kobayashi (Aikikai 8th dan, bestowed in 1990), the Soshihan of Aikido Kobayashi Dojo

It took 2 months for a newsletter to be delivered…

Aikido Kobayashi Dojo publishes the Kobayashi Dojo Aikido Newsletter twice a year, in May and in November.  I had been wondering about the November 2022 issue, and it finally arrived with the corners of the envelope ripped a little and scar marks on both sides of the envelope, just like a well-battled samurai.

I am not a member of Aikikai.  Therefore, I am not a member of Kobayashi Dojo who is affiliated with Aikikai.  Nevertheless, not only has Yasuo Kobayashi Soshihan led a seminar at Nippon Kan in Denver, Colorado twice, but I have also accompanied Yasuo Kobayashi Soshihan to Iran in support of a seminar he led.

When I had a chance to visit him and his son Hiroaki Kobayashi dojocho in Japan late last year, Yasuo Kobayashi Soshihan gave me a few books about Budo as a gift.  Moreover, Hiroaki Kobayashi dojocho has traveled to Nepal with me to teach Aikido to members of the Nepal Military and civilian Aikidoists in Nepal.

It was about 30 years ago when I had an opportunity to see Yasuo Kobayashi Soshihan again.  It was in Iwama during Aiki Jinja Tai Sai Festival.  When I introduced myself to him, he traced back his memories from decades ago and said, “Oh, you used to always accompany the Founder of Aikido to Hombu!  You were wearing a school uniform most of the time, were you not?!”  I feel very fortunate and honored that I have been able to maintain a good standing and mutually respectful relationship with him ever since then.  Yasuo Kobayashi Soshihan used to be the head shihan of instructors at the Hombu Dojo when the Founder of Aikido was still healthy and active.

While Aikido Nippon Kan is not at all in the same league as Kobayashi Dojo led by Yasuo Kobayashi Soshihan, I would like to express my deepest and sincerest appreciation toward Yasuo Kobayashi Soshihan for his open heartedness and open mindedness to have taken me under his wing, for our fortuitous brief encounters at Hombu over 50 years ago, without asking me, even for once, to consider becoming affiliated with Kobayashi Dojo.  As people’s relationships seemingly have become more and more based on vertical affiliations among organizations in the world of Aikido, it has become increasingly difficult to come across high-ranking Aikido Shihan like Yasuo Kobayashi Soshihan.

The Founder of Aikido had treated Kobayashi Soshihan with love and respect, and Kobayashi Soshihan used to be second to none at the Hombu Dojo with his smooth and fluid-like techniques in “suwari waza”.

My dearest Kobayashi Soshihan, you are one of few Aikido Shihan who has not only witnessed firsthand but also lived through a dynamic yet fraught and less certain period of time in the history of the development of Aikido after the demise of the Founder of Aikido, and I wish you good health in the years to come (but I would really like you to consider to stop taking ukemi…) for you to continue being a guiding beacon in the world of Aikido to help guide us in our pursuit of Aikido.

Aikido Kobayashi Dojo:  http://www.kobayashi-dojo.com/english/

Biography of Yasuo Kobayashi Soshihan:  http://www.kobayashi-dojo.com/english/biography/

With my utmost respect,

Gaku Homma

Founder & Kancho, Aikido Nippon Kan