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 a main part of Hiroshi Isoyamas knowledge about the martial arts philosophy which he still transmits to his the world.
From the words of the Sensei, trainings with the O-Sensei, while being a teen, were really hard physically and it was easy to count by fingers on those, who was able to continue. It also gave important privileges to kids like O-Sensei allowing to put himself on ukemi or making them feel what it takes from the early age.
Isoyama Sensei has been 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 Sensei 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. By the way, on 2:00 he makes a very short and powerful variant of Irimi Nage. You definitely could see this way from this mans movies or demos. That is because Steven Seagal is a Hiroshi Isoyamas mostly known and high ranked student.
Hiroshi Isoyama Sensei currently holds the rank of 8th Dan Shihan in the Aikikai and is that organization’s Technical Councillor, he also is an Executive Advisor and senior instructor of Iwama Dojo, served for many years as a Senior Council Member for the International Aikido Federation and he is notably responsible for the introduction of 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 but I’m sure that there’s a chance to learn from him if you even have just a single eye contact.
There’s one more Isoyama on the aikido scene these days. Toshihiro Isoyama is a Hiroshi Isoyamas nephew.