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Daito-Ryu Aiki Jujutsu: The Present State of Affairs

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by Stanley Pranin

Aiki News #79 (January 1989)

This issue will be of particular interest to a large segment of our readers. Several of the featured articles in this number deal with the art of Daito-ryu Aiki Jujutsu and its history. I would like to clarify some of the reasons for this focus on Daito-ryu, the main precursor art to Aikido. The first and foremost reason is a historical imperative imposed by the fact that most of Aikido techniques have as their origin the techniques of Daito-ryu Aiki Jujutsu. The second is the fact that the major role of this traditional jujutsu school in the development of Aikido has been largely ignored or minimized in treatments of Aikido history.

Regular readers of this publication will know that the techniques of Daito-ryu were widely disseminated in Japan beginning in the early 20th century by Sokaku Takeda Sensei. Over a period of some 40 years he taught in literally thousands of locations especially to persons of high social standing. Following his death in 1943 he was succeeded by his son, Tokimune Takeda, who had been prepared for this role from an early age. Among Tokimune Sensei’s important contributions to the preservation and spread of Daito-ryu are the assignment of individual names to the 118 core techniques of the Hiden Mokuroku which has greatly facilitated the learning process and the establishment of some 60 branch dojos throughout Japan. His efforts have yielded fruits as Daito-ryu is the most widely practiced of traditional jujutsu schools in Japan.

Main Trends In Daito-Ryu Today

Present day Daito-ryu has evolved in several directions. The main line is represented by Tokimune Takeda Sensei who is based in Abashiri, Hokkaido, and his recently designated representative, Katsuyuki Kondo Sensei. Of close affinity in a technical sense is the Takumakai organization in Osaka which was originally established by Takuma Hisa Sensei and is presently under the direction of Hakaru Mori Sensei. 86-year old Yukiyoshi Sagawa Sensei, a direct student of Sokaku Takeda represents another tendency within Daito-ryu which includes many technical innovations but is taught on a very limited scale to only a few students. The Daito-ryu Aiki Jujutsu Kodokai and Daito-ryu Aiki Jujutsu Roppokai headed by Yusuke Inoue Sensei and Seigo Okamoto Sensei, respectively, both trace their roots back to the teachings of Kodo Horikawa Sensei, another one of the senior students of Sokaku Takeda. As in the case of Sagawa Sensei, the Kodokai and Roppokai have developed technically along different lines from that of the main tradition. Also, the Kodokai, principally through the efforts of Katsumi Yonezawa Sensei, has set up a network of branch dojos in the United States.

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