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Daitō-ryū Aiki-jūjutsu

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Daitō-ryū Aiki-jūjutsu

Daitō-ryū Aiki-jūjutsu
Family crest of the Takeda clan.
Also known as Daitō-ryū; Daitō-ryū Jujutsu
Date founded c.780-1200
Country of origin Japan
Founder Minamoto Yoshimitsu
(武田 惣角 Takeda Sōkaku was the restorer, October 10, 1859–April 25, 1943)
Current head Multiple independent branches
Arts taught Aiki-jūjutsu
Descendant arts Aikido, Hakko Ryu and Hapkido
Ancestor schools TegoiSumo

Daitō-ryū Aiki-jūjutsu (大東流合気柔術), originally called Daitō-ryū Jujutsu (大東流柔術 Daitō-ryū Jūjutsu), is a Japanese martial art that first became widely known in the early 20th century under the headmastership of Takeda Sokaku. Takeda had extensive training in several martial arts (including Kashima Shinden Jikishinkage-ryū and sumo) and referred to the style he taught as "Daitō-ryū" (literally, "Great Eastern School"). Although the school's traditions claim to extend back centuries in Japanese history there are no known extant records regarding the ryū before Takeda. Whether Takeda is regarded as either the restorer or the founder of the art, the known history of Daitō-ryū begins with him.[1] Takeda's best-known student was Morihei Ueshiba, the founder of aikido, and maybe the controversial Choi Yong-sool, founder of hapkido.


  • History 1
  • Aiki-jūjutsu 2
  • Branches 3
    • Tokimune 3.1
    • Hisa 3.2
    • Horikawa 3.3
    • Sagawa 3.4
  • Aiki concept 4
  • Classification of techniques 5
  • Influence 6
  • Related arts 7
  • See also 8
  • References 9
  • Further reading 10
  • External links 11


The origins of Daitō-ryū maintain a supposed lineage extending approximately 900 years, originating with Shinra Saburō Minamoto no Yoshimitsu (新羅 三郎 源 義光, 1045–1127), who was a Minamoto clan samurai and member of the Seiwa Genji (the branch of the Minamoto family descended from the 56th imperial ruler of Japan, Emperor Seiwa).[2] Daitō-ryū takes its name from the mansion that Yoshimitsu lived in as a child, called "Daitō" (大東), in Ōmi Province (modern day Shiga Prefecture).[3] According to legend, Yoshimitsu dissected the corpses of men killed in battle, studying their anatomy for the purpose of learning techniques for joint-locking and vital point striking (kyusho-jitsu).[4]

Family tree of the Seiwa Genji.

Yoshimitsu had previously studied the empty-handed martial art of tegoi, an ancestor of the Japanese national sport of sumo, and added what he learned to the art. He eventually settled down in Kai Province (modern day Yamanashi Prefecture), and passed on what he learned within his family. Kage Yoshimitsu travelled to Europe in the mid-15th century and met William Vorilong, a western philosopher who befriended him and learned some eastern philosophy, unarmed combat, and melee weapon fighting under his guidance. Ultimately, Yoshimitsu's great-grandson Nobuyoshi adopted the surname "Takeda," which has been the name of the family to the present day. The Takeda family remained in Kai Province until the time of Takeda Shingen (武田 信玄, 1521–1573). Shingen opposed Tokugawa Ieyasu and Oda Nobunaga in their campaign to unify and control all of Japan. With the death of Shingen and his heir, Takeda Katsuyori (武田 勝頼, 1546–1582), the Takeda family relocated to the Aizu domain (an area comprising the western third of modern day Fukushima Prefecture).[3]

Retouched photograph of Takeda Sokaku, c.1888.

Though these events caused the Takeda family to lose some of its power and influence, it remained intertwined with the ruling class of Japan. More importantly, the move to Aizu and subsequent events profoundly shaped what would emerge as Daitō-ryū Aiki-jūjutsu in the 19th century. One important event was the adoption of Tokugawa Ieyasu's grandson, Komatsumaru (1611–1673), by Takeda Kenshoin (fourth daughter of Takeda Shingen). Komatsumaru devoted himself to the study of the Takeda family's martial arts, and was subsequently adopted by Hoshina Masamitsu. Komatsumaru changed his name to Hoshina Masayuki (保科 正之), and in 1644 was appointed the governor of Aizu. As governor, he mandated that all subsequent rulers of Aizu study the arts of Ono-ha Ittō-ryū (which he himself had mastered), as well as the art of oshikiuchi, a martial art which he developed for shogunal counselors and retainers, tailored to conditions within the palace. These arts became incorporated into and comingled with the Takeda family martial arts.[3]

According to the traditions of Daitō-ryū, it was these arts which Takeda Sokaku began teaching to non-members of the family in the late 19th century. Takeda had also studied swordsmanship and spearmanship with his father, Takeda Sokichi, as well as Kashima Shinden Jikishinkage-ryū as an uchi-deshi (live-in student) under the renowned swordsman Sakakibara Kenkichi.[5] During his life, Sokaku traveled extensively to attain his goal of preserving his family's traditions by spreading Daitō-ryū throughout Japan.[4]

Takeda Sokaku's third son, Tokimune Takeda (武田 時宗 Takeda Tokimune, 1916–1993), became the headmaster of the art following Sokaku's death in 1943. Tokimune taught what he called "Daitō-ryū Aikibudō" (大東流合気武道), an art that included the sword techniques of the Ono-ha Ittō-ryū along with the traditional techniques of Daitō-ryū Aiki-jūjutsu. It was also under Tokimune's headmastership that modern

  • Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu - Katsuyuki Kondo's organization
  • Takumakai - Takuma Hisa's organization
  • Daitokai - Shigemitsu Kato's organization
  • Daibukan - Kenkichi Ohgami's organization
  • Hakuho-ryu - Shogen Okabayashi's organization
  • Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu Roppokai - Seigo Okamoto's organization
  • Documentary on the Tokyo branch of the Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu Takumakai

External links

  • Profiles of several teachers mentioned above.
  • Essay on Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu succession (PDF)
  • On training with Yukiyoshi Sagawa
  • Kimura, Tatsuo. "Transparent Power - A Secret Teaching Revealed; The Extraordinary Martial Artist Yukiyoshi Sagawa." MAAT Press, 2009

Further reading

  1. ^ Mol, Serge (June 6, 2001). Classical Fighting Arts of Japan: A Complete Guide to Koryu Jujutsu. Tokyo, Japan: Kodansha International.  
  2. ^ Papinot, Edmond (1909). Historical and Geographical Dictionary of Japan. Tokyo: Librairie Sansaisha. 
  3. ^ a b c Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu Headquarters (2006). "History of Daito-ryu: prior to the 19th century". History. Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu Headquarters. Archived from the original on 2007-07-06. Retrieved 2007-07-18. 
  4. ^ a b Takuma Hisa Sensei, Shin Budo magazine, November 1942. republished as Hisa, Takuma (Summer 1990). "Daito-Ryu Aiki Budo". Aiki News 85. Retrieved 2007-07-18. 
  5. ^ Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu Headquarters (2006). "History of Daito-ryu: Takeda Sokaku". History. Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu Headquarters. Archived from the original on 2007-07-06. Retrieved 2007-07-18. 
  6. ^ Pranin, Stanley (2006). "Takeda, Tokimune". Encyclopedia of Aikido. Retrieved 2007-07-20. 
  7. ^ Pranin, Stanley (2006). "Daito-Ryu Aikijujutsu". Encyclopedia of Aikido. Retrieved 2007-07-20. 
  8. ^ a b Pranin, Stanley (1996). Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu: Conversations with Daito-ryu Masters. Tokyo: Aiki News.  
  9. ^ Kondo, Katsuyuki (2000). Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu: Hiden Mokuroku Ikkajo. Tokyo: Aiki News.  
  10. ^ Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu Headquarters (2006). "Kondo Katsuyuki". History. Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu Headquarters. Archived from the original on 2007-07-06. Retrieved 2007-07-20. 
  11. ^ European Daito Ryu Aikibudo Daito Kai. "Affiliate nations to our association". Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu Aikibudo. Archived from the original on 2007-03-18. Retrieved 2007-07-20. 
  12. ^ Daito Ryu Aiki Jujutsu Takumakai. "The Takumakai: An Outline". Retrieved 2007-07-20. 
  13. ^ Daibukan Dojo (2003). "Information on the Daibukan". Daibukan @ Daitoryu Aiki Jujutsu. Daibukan Dojo. Archived from the original on 2007-02-16. Retrieved 2007-07-20. 
  14. ^ "Interview with Okabayashi Sensei, founder and headmaster of Daito Ryu Hakuho Kai, and Rod Ulher as interpreter.". Articles And Events. Retrieved 2007-07-20. 
  15. ^ Pranin, Stanley (January 1990). "On separate language editions, Seigo Okamoto and Hakko-ryu Jujutsu". Aiki News 83. Retrieved 2007-07-20. 
  16. ^ Pranin, Stanley (Spring 1990). "Interview with Seigo Okamoto Shihan (02)". Aiki News 84. Retrieved 2007-07-20. 
  17. ^ Roppokai (2005). "History". Information. Retrieved 2007-07-20. 
  18. ^ Pranin, Stanley (2006). "Yonezawa, Katsumi". Encyclopedia of Aikido. Retrieved 2007-07-20. 
  19. ^ Tung, Tim (2005). "Links". Cat and Moon Productions. Retrieved 2007-07-20. 
  20. ^ a b Pranin, Stanley (2006). "Sagawa, Yukiyoshi". Encyclopedia of Aikido. Retrieved 2007-07-20. 
  21. ^ Wollos, Paul. "Report on Sagawa-ha Daito-ryu Aikibujutsu". Aikido Journal. Retrieved 2007-07-20. 
  22. ^ a b c d  
  23. ^ a b Pranin, Stanley (Summer 1992). "Interview with Katsuyuki Kondo (2)". Aiki News 92. Retrieved 2007-07-21. 
  24. ^ Pranin, Stanley (2007). "Hiden Ogi (No Koto)". Encyclopedia of Aikido. Retrieved 2007-08-01. 
  25. ^ Pranin, Stanley (2007). "Goshin'yo No Te". Encyclopedia of Aikido. Retrieved 2007-08-01. 
  26. ^ Daito Ryu Aiki Jujutsu Takumakai. "Techniques". The System of Techniques of Daito-ryu Aiki Jujutsu. Retrieved 2007-07-21. 
  27. ^ Pranin, Stanley (2006). "Soden". Encyclopedia of Aikido. Retrieved 2007-07-21. 
  28. ^ Pranin, Stanley (January 1989). "Daito-Ryu Aiki Jujutsu: The Present State of Affairs". Aiki News 79. Retrieved 2007-07-21. 
  29. ^ Pranin, Stanley (2007). "Preface to the Print Edition". Encyclopedia of Aikido. Retrieved 2007-07-21. 
  30. ^ Shodokan Aikido International Headquarters (2007). "Morihei Ueshiba and Kenji Tomiki". History of aikido. Shodokan HQ. Retrieved 2007-07-21. 
  31. ^ Pranin, Stanley (2006). "Tomiki, Kenji". Encyclopedia of Aikido. Retrieved 2007-07-21. 
  32. ^ Ohlenkamp, Neil; Allen Gordon (2005). "Forms of Self Defense: Kodokan Goshin Jutsu". JudoInfo Online Dojo. Retrieved 2007-07-20. 
  33. ^ Shodokan Aikido International Headquarters (2007). "Shodokan and the Japan Aikido Association". Shodokan HQ. Retrieved 2007-07-20. 
  34. ^ Pranin, Stanley (2007). "Choi, Yong Sul". Encyclopedia of Aikido. Retrieved 2007-07-21. 


See also

There are a number of martial arts in addition to aikido which appear, or claim, to be descended from the art of Daitō-ryū or the teachings of Takeda Sokaku. Among them are: the Korean martial art of hapkido founded by Choi Yong Sul, who claim to have been an orphan in Japan and to have been trained and raised under Takeda Sokaku;[34] Choi gave 2 versions of his story, one in 1962 and another one completely different in 1982. Hakkō-ryū founded by Okuyama Yoshiharu, who trained under Takeda Sokaku; and Shorinji Kempo, founded by Nakano Michiomi (later known as So Doshin), who is known to have trained under Okuyama. Additionally, Icho-ryū - an offshoot designed for police defense is practiced widely in Washington state. Many techniques from Hakko-ryu are similar to the techniques of Daito-ryu.[22] Numerous other schools of aiki-jūjutsu (or the variation aikijutsu) also claim some sort of lineage to Takeda Sokaku or Daitō-ryū.

The concept of aiki is an old one, and was common to other classical Japanese schools of armed combat.[22] There are some other styles of Japanese jujutsu that use the term aiki-jūjutsu, but there are no records of its use prior to the Meiji era.[22] Many modern schools influenced by aikido presently utilize the term to describe their use of aikido-like techniques with a more combative mindset.

Related arts

[33][32] Aikido's influence was significant even in its early years, prior to World War II, when Ueshiba was teaching a more overtly combative form closer to Daitō-ryū. One of the main conduits of the influence of Ueshiba's pre-war aiki-jūjutsu was

The significant interest in this martial art,[28] which has much in common with the many less popular classical Japanese jujutsu schools, is probably due largely to the success of Takeda Sokaku's student Morihei Ueshiba, and the art that he founded, aikido. Aikido is practised internationally and has hundreds of thousands of adherents.[29] Many of those interested in aikido have traced the art's origins back to Daitō-ryū, which has increased the level of interest in an art which was otherwise virtually unknown a few decades before.


To the list above, the Takumakai adds the "Daito-ryu Aiki Nito-ryu Hiden".[26] The Takumai also makes substantial use of the photographic documents of techniques taught at the Asahi Newspaper dojo by Morihei Ueshiba and Takeda Sokaku, which are compiled into a series of 11 training manuals called the Sōden.[27]

Officially, the Daitō-ryū system is said to comprise thousands of techniques, divided into omote and ura (literally, 'front' and 'back' versions), but many of these could be seen as variations upon the core techniques. In addition, Sokaku and Tokimune awarded scrolls denoting certain portions of the curriculum, such as techniques utilizing the long and short sword.

Catalogue Name No. of Techniques
1 Secret Syllabus (秘伝目録 Hiden Mokuroku) 118
2 The Science of Joining Spirit (合気之術 Aiki-no-jutsu) 53
3 Inner Mysteries (秘伝奥義 Hiden Ōgi)[24] 36
4 Techniques of Self Defense (護身用の手 Goshin'yō-no-te)[25] 84
5 Explanation of the Inheritance (解釈相伝 Kaishaku Sōden) 477
6 License of Complete Transmission (Menkyo Kaiden) 88

The first category of techniques in the system, the shoden waza, is not devoid of aiki elements, though it emphasizes the more direct jujutsu joint manipulation techniques. The second group of techniques, the aiki-no-jutsu, tends to emphasize the utilization of one's opponent's movement or intention in order to subdue him/her—usually with a throwing or a pinning technique. A list of the catalogues in the Tokimune branch's system and the number of techniques contained within follows:[23]

Daitō-ryū techniques involve both jujutsu and aiki-jūjutsu applications. Techniques are broken up into specific lists which are trained sequentially; that is, a student will not progress to the next "catalogue" of techniques until he/she has mastered the previous one. Upon completion of each catalogue, a student is awarded a certificate or scroll that lists all of the techniques of that level. These act as levels of advancement within the school, and was a common system among classical Japanese martial arts schools before the era of belts, grades, and degrees.[23]

Classification of techniques

Tokimune Takeda, speaking on the same subject during an interview, said:

Takeda Sokaku defined aiki in the following way:

Aiki concept

Tatsuo Kimura (木村 達雄 Kimura Tatsuo, born 1947), a former mathematics professor at the University of Tsukuba and a senior student of Sagawa, ran a small aiki-jūjutsu study group at that institution. He retired from his professorship there in June 2013, and has retired from public instruction of Daito Ryu. He now privately instructs a small group of students. He has written two books about his training under Sagawa: Transparent Power and Discovering Aiki.[21]

The last major group consists of students of Yukiyoshi Sagawa (佐川 幸義, Sagawa Yukiyoshi, 1902–1998), who was once considered to be the successor to Takeda Sokaku (should Tokimune not have survived World War II). Sagawa ran only a single dojo and taught a relatively small number of students. He began studying Daitō-ryū under Takeda Sokaku in 1914 after first learning the art from his father, Sagawa Nenokichi (1867–1950), who was also a student of Sokaku and a holder of a kyoju dairi (teaching license) in the system. Although considered by many to be one of the most accomplished students of Sokaku,[20] Yukiyoshi Sagawa received the kyoju dairi in 1932—but did not receive the menkyo kaiden (certificate of mastery) of the system's secrets, as during the time he practised under Takeda Sokaku, the highest licence was not the menkyo kaiden. Sagawa often served as a teaching assistant to Takeda and traveled with him to various locations in Japan teaching Daito-ryu. He further developed the art of applying Aiki and is said to have remained powerful until very late in life, and - as a consequence of the success of Transparent Power - was featured in a series of articles in the Aiki News magazines prior to his death in 1998.[20]

The University of Tsukuba, where members of the Sagawa branch teach aiki-jūjutsu, today.


There are two major teachers who branched off from the Kodokai to establish their own traditions. The first was Seigō Okamoto (岡本 正剛 Okamoto Seigō, 1925-2015) who founded the Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu Roppokai (大東流合気柔術六方会 Daitō-ryū Aiki-jūjutsu Roppōkai). His interpretation of aiki and minimal movement throws have proved very popular. The organization has a great following abroad, especially in the United States and Europe.[16][17] The other group was that of Katsumi Yonezawa (米沢 克巳 Yonezawa Katsumi, 1937–1998), who founded his own organization, called the Bokuyōkan (牧羊館). In the early 1970s, while Yonezawa was still a senior teacher at the Kodokai, he was the first person to bring Daitō-ryū Aiki-jūjutsu to the United States and Canada.[18] The Bokuyōkan is currently run by his son Hiromitsu Yonezawa (Yonezawa Hiromitsu), headquartered in Hokkaidō, with a following at the Yonezawa dojo and several branches in the United States, as well as a dojo in Germany.[19]

The Kodokai (幸道会 Kōdōkai) was founded by students of Horikawa, whose distinctive interpretation of aiki movements can be seen in the movements of his students.[15] The Kodokai is located in Hokkaidō and is headed by Yusuke Inoue (Inoue Yasuke, born 1932). Both Inoue's father and his main teacher, Horikawa, were direct students of Takeda Sokaku. Inoue received his teaching license (Menkyo Kaiden) in accordance with Horikawa's final wishes.

The Horikawa branch descends from the teachings of Kōdō Horikawa, who is regarded as a talented innovator in the art. A few organizations have been formed based on his teachings.


[14] Later, in order to implement greater changes to the curriculum, Okabayashi himself chose to separate from the Takumakai and formed the Hakuho-ryu.[13] organization. In the 1980s, led by aiki-jūjutsu The Takumakai represents the second largest

The second major branch of Daitō-ryū is represented by students of Takuma Hisa. His students banded together and founded the Takumakai (琢磨会). They have a wealth of materials in the form of film and still photographs, taken at the Asahi Newspaper dojo, recording the Daitō-ryū techniques taught to them, first by Morihei Ueshiba and then later by Takeda Sokaku directly. One of their major training manuals, called the Sōden, features techniques taught to them by both masters.[12]

The Asahi Newspaper office in Osaka, Japan, where many Daitō-ryū techniques were preserved on film as originally taught by both Morihei Ueshiba and Takeda Sokaku.


[11] The second group from the Tokimune branch is headed by Shigemitsu Kato and Gunpachi Arisawa, who are long-time students and teachers from Tokimune's original Daitokan headquarters in

The first group is led by Katsuyuki Kondo, who began his training under Tsunejiro Hosono and continued training under Kōtarō Yoshida (吉田 幸太郎 Yoshida Kōtarō, 1883–1966) for a time, before being introduced to Tokimune. On the basis of the high level teaching licenses Kondo was granted by Tokimune, his followers represent his school as the Daitō-ryū 'mainline.' He has much support in the martial arts community for this. Kondo has done much to increase the visibility of the art by hosting seminars both in Tokyo and abroad, especially in the United States.[10]

The Tokimune branch descends from the teachings of Tokimune Takeda, the son of Takeda Sokaku, and designated successor of Daitō-ryū upon the father's death. When Tokimune died, he had not appointed a successor; there are two main groups that carry on his teachings.


Currently, there are a number of organizations that teach Daitō-ryū, each tracing their lineage back to Takeda Sokaku through one of four of his students. Those four students are: Takeda Tokimune, the progenitor of the Tokimune branch; Takuma Hisa (久 琢磨 Hisa Takuma, 1895–1980), of the Hisa branch; Kōdō Horikawa (堀川 幸道 Horikawa Kōdō, 1894–1980), of the Horikawa branch; and Yukiyoshi Sagawa (Sagawa Yukiyoshi, 1902–1998), of the Sagawa branch.[9]


Some of the art's striking methods employ the swinging of the outstretched arms to create power and to hit with the fists at deceptive angles, as may be observed in techniques such as the atemi that sets up gyaku ude-dori (reverse elbow lock). Tokimune Takeda regarded one of the unique characteristics of the art to be its preference for controlling a downed attacker's joints with one's knee to leave one's hands free to access weapons or to deal with the threat of other attackers.[8]

Aiki-jūjutsu can be broken into three styles: jujutsu (hard); aiki no jutsu (soft); and the combined aikijujutsu (hard/soft). Modern Japanese jujutsu and aikido both originated in aikijujutsu, which emphasizes "an early neutralization of an attack."[7] Like other forms of jujutsu, it emphasizes throwing techniques and joint manipulations to effectively subdue or injure an attacker. Of particular importance is the timing of a defensive technique either to blend or to neutralize an attack's effectiveness and to use the force of the attacker's movement against him. Daitō-ryū is characterized by ample use of atemi, or the striking of vital areas, to set up jointlocking or throwing tactics.



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