From agasan’s blog, about Kuroiwa shihan (02.02.2007)

[translations by me, without with permission (see comments on agasan’s blog)]
挨拶だけではナンですので 黒岩先生のこと その1

[About Kuroiwa sensei – 1

There are many things I can share about my teacher, Kuroiwa Yoshio sensei. I will tell about him in separate installments, but first, about rankings.]

先生は昭和7年生まれで、剣道、ボクシングを経験の後、あるできごと(いつか紹介するかもしれません、ちょっとデリケートなもので)をきっかけに 合気会に入門されました。合気道六段です。合気会本部でいわゆる師範とよばれるのは六段からですので、段位に限っていえばぎりぎりのところにいらっしゃる わけです。合気道開祖 植芝盛平先生の直弟子で現在も指導をされているかたの中ではもっとも段位が低いのではないかと思います。
[Sensei was born in 1932, and after gaining experience in kendo and boxing, due to a certain event (I may tell of it some time, but it is a delicate subject), he entered the Aikikai. He holds the rank of 6th dan. In Aikikai Hombu Dojo, all who are called ‘shihan’ are so starting from 6th dan. So, if we were to consider only sensei’s rank, he is at the very bottom. Among the direct students of aikido founder Ueshiba Morihei O-sensei currently teaching, I believe he has the lowest rank.]

合気会の段級位授与が現在のような制度(規準を定めて審査する)になる以前、昭和30年代頃までは、開祖や植芝吉祥丸本部道場長(当時、後に二代 道主)が各人の修行の進み具合を見て、適宜授与していたそうです。そのなかで黒岩先生と同期の皆さんが次々昇段していくのに先生は頑なに段なんかいらない と断っておられたそうです。段位の意義については人それぞれ考えがあるでしょうから、一概にどちらが正しいということは決められませんが、もともと名誉や 肩書きには興味が無く、実力本位のかたですので、だいぶ長いこと固辞されたようです。その後、先生が指導的立場になるに及んで、それにふさわしい段位を受 けざるを得なくなったということでしょう。それでぎりぎりの六段です。『黒ちゃん、たのむから段をもらってくれよ、下の者が困ってるからさー』とは吉祥丸 先生のお言葉だそうで。
[Before the current grading system of the Aikikai (by which examinations are conducted according to set standards), until arouns 1960 the founder or Ueshiba Kisshomaru Hombu Dojo-cho (2nd Doshu) would observe individual practitioners’ progress in training and conferred rank accordingly. Among all of his contemporaries who were being promoted, Kuroiwa sensei stalwartly refused any rank. Everyone has their opinions on rank and therefore it is difficult to say what is correct. In sensei’s case, he had no interest in fame or status and saw things based on ability, and consequently refused promotion for quite some time. Later, when sensei began to hold teaching positions, having an corresponding, appropriate rank became unavoidable – that bottom-most 6th dan. Kisshomaru sensei had apparently said, “Kuro-chan, please just take the rank. It’s a mess for the people under you.”]

また、それより少し後、合気道を広く普及しようという会の運営政策上、本部外の修行者の段位認定を比較的ゆるくしていたようです。その結果、本部 から各地の道場へ指導に赴く若手指導員より、稽古をつけてもらう人のほうが段位が上という状況が出来しました。そうなると、若手指導員の方針にすなおに 従ってもらえないし、格好がつかないということで、自分たちの段位を上げてほしいという声が大きくなったということです。この点について黒岩先生は、いわ ゆるプロの指導者と一般の稽古者との段位の種類を分けてはどうかという提案をされています。プロはみっちり稽古を積んで、しかもやたらに段を上げないよう にするのです。『相撲だって将棋だってプロとアマでは力量に圧倒的な差があるでしょ』とおっしゃっておられます。
[Shortly afterward, as part of the Aikikai’s plans to spread aikido, it appears that the grading promotions were relatively easily given to practitioners outside of Hombu. As a result, there came to be situations in which the young instructors who were sent out by Hombu to various local dojos to teach encountered students who were higher ranking than they were. Under such circumstances, the students had reservations following those young instructors nor did it look “cool” for the instructors, and so there came to be requests for higher ranks from those instructors themselves. On this point Kuroiwa sensei proposed that there be two different types of rankings: one for professional instructors and another for general practitioners. In the case of professionals, they would train very thoroughly but not receive frequent promotions. He has said, “In sumo and even shogi there is an overwhelming difference in skill level between pros and amateurs, isn’t there?” ]


江戸川区合気道連盟という素敵な団体があります。ここでは毎年6月の末に演武会と講習会を開催しておられます。講習会の講師には毎年黒岩先生があ たられますが、何年か前の大会プログラムに『講師 本部師範八段 黒岩洋志雄先生』 と紹介されていました。この連盟の代表の石井輝先生は若いころ黒岩先 生の一番のお弟子さんで、したがって実力も相当なものと拝察いたしますが、その大会当時すでに七段でいらっしゃいました。そこで私の愚かな頭で考えます に、石井先生はご自分の師匠を六段とは紹介しにくかったのでしょう。
[Now for one more small story related to rankings.

There is a wonderful group called Edogawa-ku Aikido Federation. Every year at the end of June they hold a demonstration and seminar. Every year the instructor of the seminar is Kuroiwa sensei. Several years ago, in the program booklet it was printed, “Instructor: Hombu Shihan 8th Dan Kuroiwa Yoshio Sensei.” The representative of the federation, Ishii sensei, was Kuroiwa sensei’s top student when he was younger, and accordingly is of considerable skill. At the time of the event that year, he was 7th dan. And, as my feeble brain sees it, Ishii sensei was reluctant to introduce his own teacher as 6th dan.]

[If it ended there the story would have had a nice, “round” ending. But Kuroiwa sensei was not one to let it be. “Uh, excuse me. I seem to be introduced as 8th dan, but in reality I’m 6th dan, so…” And so Ishii sensei’s consideration had the wind taken out of its sails. Kuroiwa sensei is such a person…]


2 Responses to From agasan’s blog, about Kuroiwa shihan (02.02.2007)

  1. Jackie Agasan says:

    This is an Agasan blog, correct? I have been searching for all the Agasans in the world to hold an international Agasan femily convention. Please email if you are an Agasan. Will be nice to chat.

  2. da2elni4na says:

    Hi. You use “Agasan” as a common noun. I’m not sure what you mean by it. The “agasan” that I know is simply the alias the person uses for his blog, which I read and sometimes borrow from. What is “an Agasan”?

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