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Hiroshi Isoyama

Hiroshi Isoyama was born in 1937. In June 1949 he joined the Iwama Dojo to learn Aikido 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.  Not much could stand training with the O-Sensei because it was really hard physically, especially when you are a 12 years-old boy. As Sensei said in his interview: “Kids also had privileges from O-Sensei, like making him go on ukemi.”

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 in Aikido forced him to put 100% of his power and will every time he was giving his lessons. This made Hiroshi Isoyama a much stronger man and a stronger teacher of course.

Isoyama Sensei used a special technique that is considered to be his trademark in Aikido. 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 Seagal’s movies or demos. That is because Steven Seagal is a Hiroshi Isoyama’s mostly known and one of the high ranked students.

Hiroshi Isoyama Sensei currently holds the rank of 8th Dan Shihan in the Aikikai and was a Technical Councillor in the organization.  Also, he was an Executive Advisor and Senior Instructor in the Iwama Dojo. He served for many years as a Senior Council Member for the International Aikido Federation and was 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.

Shihan is currently retired as a teacher but not like an Aikidoka but Isoyama is still on the Aikido scene these days. Toshihiro Isoyama is a Hiroshi Isoyama’s nephew.

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