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President Kisho Inoue Interview


2013 Aug

Interviewer: Finland Branch chief/shihan Ilpo Jalamo
* This interview was originally published in the memorial magazine of international seminar 2013, which was held in Finland.

Inoue Kisho, Menkyo Kaiden Hanshi is the President and Chief Instructor of Ryukyu Kobujutsu Hozon Shinkokai (RKHSK) and Yuishinkai. He is also the son and successor of Inoue Gansho (Motokatsu) and has been in charge of the preservation and promotion of his father's heritage since 1993. Travelling and teaching seminars all over the world has made him well known as an instructor of correct etiquette and accurate kata but how many of us really know about the man behind the title of Hanshi?

-Ilpo
Thank you for coming to Finland. It is a great honour for the Finnish Branch to organize the International Seminar for the first time in Europe. Could you tell us something about the early years of the International Seminar. How and when did it all begin?

-Inoue
I am glad we can have The International Seminar 2013 in Finland. I am grateful for having received so much support for this opportunity. Overseas activities gradually increased in the 1970s. Late grand master Gansho Inoue sensei fixed his eyes to the future, and wished for an opportunity for international members to gather in one place to meet and train together. As a result, we had the first International Seminar in Hakone, Japan, in 1990. There were representatives from four countries when I look back on that time. Finland is a precious branch participating from the early days.

-Ilpo
I suppose that the seminar has become larger each time?

-Inoue
There are now more and more branches outside Japan and the number of participants has increased. Nowadays there are usually 200 or more from five continents in our seminars.

-Ilpo
Would you give us a hint where it is going to be next time?

-Inoue
We have the international seminar every three years. If it is organized outside Japan, the next one will always be in Japan which is the country of origin. So in 2016 the seminar will be in Japan. I hope we will be able to continue fostering interchange of emotional strength and technique with international members .
-Ilpo
You have the title of Menkyo Kaiden Hanshi. What does that mean?

-Inoue
It is a title which is given to a person who has been taught the whole system. It means that the holder of the title is the successor of the system and he has learnt everything there is in that particular ryu or style.

-Ilpo
How old were you when you started training in martial arts?

-Inoue
Because my father was a martial arts professor, I was raised in the martial arts environment. I learned naturally. I started learning basics of Toshu-jutsu from Gansho Inoue sensei at the age of seven years old.

-Ilpo
What was your training like in the early years?

-Inoue
There was martial arts environment in my daily life as I already told you. I followed my father naturally; if he punched, I punched; if he kicked, I kicked, if he did ukemi, I did ukemi. When I was old enough to enter elementary school, I started learning basics of Toshu jutsu and then gradually Taijutsu and Kobujutsu.
-Ilpo
How was your father as a teacher?

-Inoue
My father was rather quiet and I was brought up to see a trained figure. His kokoro (mind and heart) and spirit were always same even when travelling with his family. He continued his own training every day. After finishing his own training, he taught at the dojo. He always used to say; "Body learning is important", and "The person standing on top must practise many times more than his students ". He carried it out.

-Ilpo
What other martial arts than Yuishinkai and Kobujutsu have you practised?

-Inoue
I did Kendo. It was compulsory that we belonged to a club when we entered junior high school. I joined the Kendo club after consultation with my father and began training. I continued it even after entering high school, university and employment. I was blessed with a good teacher, good seniors, colleagues and with good juniors in the high school and university.

-Ilpo
I suppose that your plan as a young man was not to become the headmaster of Ryukyu Kobujutsu and Yuishinkai. What did you study?

-Inoue
I studied law at a university in Tokyo. I was aware of my position as the successor since junior high school. When I graduated from the university, I thought about finding a job in Shizuoka. However, my father advised me to have a look at the world first.

-Ilpo
You worked for a while in Kuwait. How did you find the life there?

-Inoue
I worked for nearly three years in Kuwait in the 1980s. Because I spent every day with people who had come from many countries, I kept the importance of friendship in my mind. Friends are always important and especially when you live away from your family.
I practised every day in the open ground outside the company house after work. Gradually other employees would join me. As a result, it led to smoother relationships in work. This is what I value in bujutsu training very much. Good human relationships through training. Through training it is possible to feel that the heart and spirit of the people are the same, even though the color of the skin, language, religion and culture may be different.

-Ilpo
Do you have any memories of the famous Fujita sensei?

-Inoue
Fujita sensei suggested the name for me so it is a memory of him for the rest of my life! He was a great teacher and he loved my parents like he was their father and loved me like his grandchild.

-Ilpo
Since your father's death 1993 you have been in charge of Ryukyu Kobujutsu Hozon Shinkokai.
The organization has become world wide now. What do you think about the development?

-Inoue
Kobujutsu has gradually spread outside Japan after Gansho Inoue senseifs death. Gansho Inoue sensei made the dream of Shinken Taira sensei come true. He made an enormous effort in mainland Japan and his early students repeated the effort in their home countries under his guidance. I feel strongly that the efforts and cooperation by all members makes us what we are now.

-Ilpo
There is more and more interest for foreign students to go to Japan and learn kobujutsu. What would be your advice for them so that they could benefit most from their visit?

-Inoue
It is nice that international members are interested in visiting Japan. This gives them the possiblity to train in the Sohonbu dojo with myself and meet Japanse shihans who have studied directly from Gansho Inoue sensei.
Ryukyu Kobujutsu belongs to two traditional martial arts organizations "Nippon Kobudo Shinko Kai" and "Nippon Kobudo Kyokai" and we have several demonstrations during the year in Japan. It is very useful to go and watch these demonstrations. Please refer to our Sohonbu web site to check the annual plan. www.ryukyukobujutsuhozonshinkokai.org

-Ilpo
What are the most important goals of RKHSK?

-Inoue
Kata of Ryukyu Kobujutsu are the heritage of the old masters. It is part of Japanese culture. It is important to learn kata from a teacher exactly and to preserve them for the next generation. We must keep always the importance of kokoro cultivation in our minds. Kokoro cultivation will improve technique and helps us to grow as human beings. It is the ultimate purpose of martial arts training.
 · Kokoro cultivation is most important.
 · To learn kokoro and technique by body.
 · To study the teachings from Gansho Inoue sensei correctly. Never create new kumite or kata.
 · Practise what you have studied throughout your life.
 · Never forget to support your friends, training partners, teachers, your dojo, your art and the association you belong to.

-Ilpo
Your father wrote many books on kobujutsu. Have you ever considered writing a book of your own?

-Inoue
I regard my daily training as more important than writing a book. However, as Hanshi I have been continuing my father's heritage by writing documents. It is Yuishinkai & Ryukyu Kobujutsu Hozon Shinko Kai commentaries which consist of approximately two thousand pages.

-Ilpo
What is your favourite kata?

-Inoue
As for karate, I like Naifanchin in Shorin style and Sanchin in Goju style. In kobujutsu my favourite is bo and its kata.

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