Hiroshi Isoyama

Hiroshi Isoyama was born in 1937 and started to move through his aikido way at the age of 12, in June 1949 at Iwama Dojo under the Morihei Ueshiba. Training under O’Sensei continued for around 20 years of his life and is the main part of Hiroshi Isoyama’s knowledge about the martial arts philosophy which he still transmits to the world.

O’Sensei with Isoyama Sensei on the right

Hiroshi Isoyama’s motivation to do Aikido was to become strong and never lose a fight.  Training with the O’Sensei was really hard physically and it was easy to count the fingers with those, who were able to continue. Kids had important privileges from O’Sensei. They felt the way from an early age and O’Sensei took ukemi for them sometimes.

Isoyama Sensei has been a Chief of Defensive Tactics for the Japan Self Defense Force Academy and also instructed the U.S. Army in self-defense tactics starting from 1958 in Chitose Air Base. Convincing army people that aikido really works could have been not an easy task and he was forced to put 100% of his power and will every time he was giving his lessons and this made Hiroshi Isoyama a much stronger man and a stronger teacher of course.

Take a look at his demonstration on 1987 at All-Japan Aikido Demonstration in the video above and see his special move 🙂 The name is Ganseki Otoshi but his unique aikido style is recognizable even when he doesn’t perform this one. At 2:00 he makes a very short and powerful variant of Irimi Nage. You definitely could see this way from this Seagals movies or demos. That is because Steven Seagal is a Hiroshi Isoyamas mostly known and one of the high ranked students.

Hiroshi Isoyama Sensei currently holds the rank of 8th Dan Shihan in the Aikikai and is a Technical Councillor in the organization.  Also, he is an Executive Advisor and senior instructor in the Iwama Dojo. Isoyama Sensei served for many years as a Senior Council Member for the International Aikido Federation and he is notably responsible for the demonstrations at the end of each congress.

For a better understanding and feeling at least visual parts of how Sensei is giving his knowledge here’s a long video of the seminar in Gothenburg, Sweden.


Sensei is currently retired as a teacher but not like an Aikidoka. I’m sure that there’s a chance to learn even from eye contact only if you have a chance of course.

There’s one more Isoyama on the aikido scene these days. Toshihiro Isoyama is a Hiroshi Isoyamas nephew.

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