Apr
21

The Daito-ryu legacy… “How Sokaku Takeda’s art shaped modern aikido!”

If a friend were to ask you about the origin of aikido techniques, could you answer intelligently? The sad fact is that few practitioners today know that, technically speaking, aikido is based on Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu, a Meiji era jujutsu art taught by the famous Sokaku Takeda. The saga of this fascinating historical connection between the two arts is of vital importance to an understanding of modern aikido.

The history of Morihei Ueshiba’s study of Daito-ryu has been carefully documented, and irrevocably leads to an affirmation of the martial roots of aikido. The Daito-ryu curriculum contained hundreds of joint-locks and throwing techniques, many of which have been incorporated in modified form in aikido. Practice was very severe, and the art’s techniques were highly effective, even devastating.

Although modern aikido techniques are descended from Daito-ryu, many styles of aikido today pay little attention to the martial pedigree of the art, and practice what could be better described as an exercise or health system. The fact is that aikido techniques were “defanged” in the postwar era to match the mood of the times.

Many uninformed aikido practitioners have swallowed the story that Founder Morihei Ueshiba studied several traditional martial arts and combined the best of each, inventing his own art called “aikido”. This is an intentional distortion of the facts!

Morihei Ueshiba began his study under Sokaku Takeda in 1915 in Hokkaido. He became a certified teacher of Daito-ryu in 1922, and taught as Takeda’s representative for about 10 years. There is no escaping the fact that Morihei was one of the leading experts of Daito-ryu, and that most of aikido’s techniques have their roots in this old-style jujutsu. It would be ingenuous to deny this well-documented connection.

So how is it that a large segment of the aikido world blissfully continues forward without acknowledging the art’s roots and the relevance of Daito-ryu in aikido training today? Could it be that a concerted effort has been made to obscure the historical link between aikido and its jujutsu ancestry?

If this is the case – and it is! – what would be an intelligent approach to remedy this long-standing situation? Where could serious instructors and practitioners go to fill this gap in their training and knowledge of this crucial subject? The video linked here broaches this subject more in detail and explains how aikido practitioners can explore the martial dimensions of the art through a study of its precursor, Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu…

Click here to watch video

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