May
27

“Morihei Ueshiba and Sokaku Takeda,” by Stanley Pranin

“In modern psychological terms the association between Morihei Ueshiba and Sokaku Takeda might be characterized as a “love-hate” relationship.”

Few individuals have so thoroughly investigated the origins of aikido as Aiki News’ own editor-in-chief Stanley Pranin. In this new series, originally written for publication in the Japanese-language magazine Wushu, Pranin recounts some of the highlights of aikido founder Morihei Ueshiba’s long career through his association with his teachers and leading students. This first installment focuses on the extremely significant but little understood relationship between Morihei Ueshiba and his teacher, Sokaku Takeda.

Let me begin by stating categorically that the major technical influence on the development of aikido is Daito-ryu jujutsu. This art, which is said to be the continuation of a martial tradition of the Aizu Clan dating back several hundred years, was propagated in many areas of Japan during the Meiji, Taisho, and early Showa periods by the famous martial artist, Sokaku Takeda. Known equally for his martial prowess and severity of character, Takeda had used his skills in life-and-death encounters on more than one occasion.

Takeda was fifty-four years old when Morihei Ueshiba first met him at the Hisada Inn in Engaru, Hokkaido in late February 1915. This encounter marked the beginning of a long, stormy yet ultimately productive association between the two, which lasted for more than twenty years.

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