The following article was prepared with the kind assistance of Brian Workman of the USA.
Hakaru Mori (8th dan) General Affairs Manager of the Takumakai. Born in 1931. Mori was first taught Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu by Takuma Hisa in 1962. He received Kyoju Dairi certification in 1965 and 8th dan in 1973.
Following his graduation from Kobe Commercial College, Takuma Hisa found employment first at a small firm called Suzuki Shoten, and later, through the introduction of his university senior Mitsujiro Ishii in 1927, at the Tokyo offices of the Asahi News.
In March of the following year, an editorial error at the newspaper led to the accidental publication of an article containing language deemed by some as insulting to the Imperial Household, and the newspaper offices became the target of violence by lobbyists from the Seiyukai and other right-wing groups. Such circumstances obligated the newspaper to install a stronger security staff and compound its security measures in general.
In 1932, Hisa was transferred to the newspaper’s Osaka offices to take up a new post as General Affairs Manager, which included responsibility for security. Shortly thereafter, Ishii introduced him to Morihei Ueshiba, whom he called “something of a genius among jujutsu practitioners.” Hisa and several of his security and other staff began learning Ueshiba’s jujutsu as an official part of their duties.
At the time, Hisa was living in Sonezaki-cho in company housing that had once been the residence of former Asahi News president Murayama. Along with his staff, he learned jujutsu from Ueshiba early each morning in a dojo on the premises. This training continued until one day in June 1936, when Ueshiba’s teacher, Sokaku Takeda, suddenly appeared at the newspaper offices and Ueshiba left Osaka. The techniques that Ueshiba taught Hisa and the others are documented in the first six volumes of the Soden, the eleven-volume collection of techniques transmitted by Morihei Ueshiba and Sokaku Takeda, as well as on a film made by the Asahi News.
From these materials, and from descriptions by Hisa, it is clear that what Ueshiba taught Hisa and his staff during his stay in Osaka was pure Daito-ryu, and more significantly, techniques containing enough Daito-ryu fundamentals to allow the group to learn the more mature techniques that Sokaku would teach them later. According to Hisa, Sokaku asked the group what they had learned so far and had them demonstrate some of the techniques. He then said it would be unnecessary to re-teach what they had already learned from Ueshiba, and that he himself would continue the instruction at a higher level. The techniques subsequently taught by Sokaku at the Asahi News dojo are documented in Volumes Seven and up of the Soden.
When we practice the body of techniques documented in the Soden today, the progression from those taught by Ueshiba to those taught by Sokaku seems very natural, with none of the discontinuity one might expect between the techniques in Volume Six and Seven.
Incidentally, while Hisa never had another opportunity to study under Ueshiba directly, on May 31, 1956, he did receive an aikido eighth-dan certificate bearing Ueshiba’s seal.
The upshot is that the techniques Hisa learned from Ueshiba clearly form the basis of the Takumakai curriculum. Further, the agreement of these with the techniques later taught by Takeda clearly suggests that at that point, Ueshiba was still teaching from Sokaku Takeda’s Daito-ryu tradition (although perhaps imprinted slightly with his own personal style) and not from the significantly different curriculum he would later teach widely as aikido.
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