It is difficult to compare Budo masters from different eras, but if we look purely at who studied the most styles, gained proficiency and trained at the highest level, it would be very difficult to argue with Minoru Mochizuki. Here is a look at some of his training.
Minoru Mochizuki was born April 7, 1907 in Shizuoka. His grandfather was the last descendant of a line of samurai and taught Kenjutsu.
Mochizuki began his martial arts training in around the 1910s. His first style was Gyokushin Ryu Jujutsu under the grandmaster Sanjuro Oshima. After this he studied many other arts but in his advanced years, recognised as a 9th Dan Nihon Jujutsu by IMAF, he tried to assemble all his knowledge into bringing back Gyokushin Ryu and wrote a manual on Nihon-den Jujutsu.
Mochizuki’s first Judo teacher was Toku Sanpo. Because Toku was Okinawan and was known to perform breaking demonstrations it is not too much of a stretch to think he may have taught Mochizuki Karate as well. Although Toku was feared and revered Kyuzo Mifune was held in even greater regard and he became Mochizuki’s next teacher. The young Mochizuki even came to the attention of Judo founder Jigoro Kano who asked Mochizuki to go and learn other arts and bring his knowledge back to the Kodokan.
Mochizuki went to study Daito Ryu Aikijujutsu under Morihei Ueshiba and stayed a student of Ueshiba all of his life. Mochizuki was awarded a mokuroku (similar to 2nd or 3rd Dan) in Daito Ryu and later awarded the 10th Dan Aikido by IMAF on the authority of the Ueshiba family.
Mochizuki’s Karate studies are not so well documented but it has been claimed he trained with Gichin Funakoshi and may have received the grade of 5th Dan. Mochizuki taught the first ever European Karateka and among the first European Aikidoka in Jean Alcheik and Claude Urvois and later he sent Hiroo Mochizuki, Mitsuhiro Kondo (9th Dan IMAF), Shoji Sugiyama and Tetsuji Murikami to teach in Europe.
Tenshin Shoden Katori Shinto Ryu
Mochizuki studied Japan’s oldest extant martial arts Ryu and so impressed the headteacher that according to some sources he was offered marriage to the headmaster’s daughter so he could become the new Soke. Mochizuki also held the Budo grade of 8th Dan in Kendo.
Muso Shinden Ryu
Mochizuki studied this style of Iaido with Hakudo Nakayama (10th dan IMAF) and achieved the grade of 8th Dan.
Shindo Muso Ryu
Mochizuki trained under headmaster Takeji Shimazu and attained the grade of 5th dan.
Grades of Minoru Mochizuki:
- 5th Dan Karaté
- 9th Dan Nihon Jujutsu
- 8th Dan Judo
- 10th Dan Aïkido
- 8th Dan Iaïdo
- 5th Dan Kendo
Video of Minoru Mochizuki:
Minoru Mochizuki was succeeded by his son Hiroo Mochizuki as Soke of the Yoseikan school.
This article was researched by Simon Keegan (5th Dan Karate, 4th Dan Jujutsu, 2nd Dan Judo, 2nd Dan Nihon Jujutsu)