Kisaburo Osawa (1911-1991) was an influential Aikido master who taught at Aikikai Hombu Dojo and was a close advisor to Kisshomaru Ueshiba
He was born in a small village in Saitama prefecture, Japan. It was a poor but well known village because Kisaburo and two other young men were always getting into fights.
When he was 15 he went to to live in Tokyo and, had to work for a living, as his parents were poor and couldn't afford to give him an allowance. He got pleurisy and told by his doctors to take it easy, so returned to Kumagaya.
Daily he worked hard, and walked along mountain paths to and from the village doctor, until he recovered. At this time he read many books on philosophy and socialism etc.
At 17 and working 8am-10pm he found the time to start practicing judo to help strengthen his body. He practiced every morning, as he was close to the dojo, until he was 25 when he earned the rank of shodan.
In those days, it was harder to get shodan than it is now.
He was impatient and wanted to become strong quickly, and questioned whether judo was right for him. He tried other arts including boxing.
He had to see a doctor who introduced him to Morihei Ueshiba, and even though O'Sensei was teaching martial arts mostly to famous people, Kisaburo Osawa entered the dojo.
Morihei Ueshiba developed the martial art of Aikido from his combat studies of Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu with Sokaku Takeda, and his spiritual studies with Onisaburi Deguchi and the Omoto Kyo.
Aikido focuses on harmony and non-resistance, leading to Success
Up until his practise with Morihei, when he saw people being thrown around easily in the old action movies he thought it was not possible. He knew in judo it was hard enough to deal with just one person.
Kisaburo Osawa wanted to become physically strong, so began his Aikido training, and as he continued to improve his aikido skills and mature, he realised the meaning of the word 'strong' had changed for him.
He became one of the most important and influential aikido teachers during the 1950s and 1970s, and was director of the Aikikai Hombu Dojo for many years until 1986 when he was replaced by Morihei's grandson and present doshu, Moriteru Ueshiba.
Kisaburo Osawa held the rank of 9th dan.
He traveled abroad on many occasions beginning with a 1974 trip to USA. He was one of the major decision-makers within the Aikikai for both foreign and domestic matters.
He served as an adviser to Kisshomaru Ueshiba and was one of the senior instructors of the Aikikai, where he taught one class a week. His style of aikido was known by his slow circular movements. His son, Hayato Osawa is currently a prominent Hombu Dojo shihan holding the rank of 7th dan.