Hirokazu Kobayashi VIII Dan (1929 – 1998) was a Japanese Aikido teacher and student of the founder of Aikido Morihei Ueshiba. At the age of 35 he became the youngest person awarded 8th dan rank by the founder. Already by the age of 7 years he was studying, Karate, Kendo and Judo. In 1946 his Karate teacher gave him a recommendation letter for Morihei Ueshiba. With this letter he went to Tokyo, in order to learn the martial art Aikido.
Kobayashi described the long time at Ueshiba’s side not only as uke, but also outside of the Dojo as company of the impulsive Aikido founder, as extremely hard. In Tokyo Kobayashi stayed altogether about nine years. In 1954 he moved to Osaka. Morihei Ueshiba was nearly each month in Osaka, in order to hold ten-daily training courses. According to Ueshiba 10 days at a time is the optimum in order to learn and understand Aikido.
The Aikido practiced by Hirokazu Kobayashi implies a use of the body which goes far beyond simply controlling it by will or developing reflexes.
The founder Morihei Ueshiba developed his techniques by analogy with the movements in nature, particularly by observing water. According to his concept of movement, it should follow a spiral of energy (meguri) which is expressed around the centre of vital energy (seika tanden). He used centrifugal and centripetal forces, and the speed they create in order to unbalance the attacker, combined with a system of twisting, rotating or stretching the latter’s body articulations that an appropriate evasive movement has allowed to seize while avoiding the attack. He developed an idea of harmony and universal aesthetics which is strongly linked to the basis of Japanese culture and to a mystic concept of the world particularly inspired by the Omotokyo doctrine, which had finally evolved into a pacific ideology after many tribulations.
The non-violence of this Aikido resides in the idea of not physically countering the attack but deflecting it so that the attacker is dominated by the conjunction of technical mastery, suppleness, the spirit of non-resistance and unity with the world.
In 1964 he was asked by the Aikido founder for the first time to teach Aikido in Europe. Until 1996 Kobayashi visited Europe each year for several weeks. He gave regular training courses in France, Switzerland, Belgium, Italy, Germany and the Netherlands.