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Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu: Conversations with Daito-ryu Masters ($25.95)

  • Edited by Stanley A. Pranin
  • Aiki News (1996)
  • ISBN 4-900586-18-8
  • 7” x 10”, 224 pages
  • Paperback

Sokaku Takeda was one of the outstanding figures of 20th century Japanese martial arts. For over fifty years he taught his art of Daito-ryu aikijujutsu to nearly thirty thousand students, including Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba. Today, Daito-ryu is perhaps the best known of the Japanese jujutsu styles, but there has been surprisingly little information in print in any language on this fascinating and complex art. Daito-ryu aikijujutsu: Conversations with Daito-ryu Masters is the first book in English to explore the life of Takeda, the history of his art, and the techniques that are practiced in Daito-ryu today.

The heart of this book consists of a series of interviews with the leading exponents of Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu—including several direct students of Sokaku— featuring Tokimune Takeda, Yukiyoshi Sagawa, Chieko Horikawa, Yusuke Inoue, Takuma Hisa, Keisuke Sato, Katsuyuki Kondo, Hakaru Mori and Seigo Okamoto. Also, a rare newspaper article from 1930 that spotlights Sokaku is featured.

In addition, Conversations with Daito-ryu Masters includes an authoritative essay on the life of Sokaku Takeda and the history of the art by Aikido Journal Editor-in-chief Stanley Pranin.

Tokimune Takeda: The third son and successor of Sokaku Takeda, Tokimune Takeda underwent extensive martial arts training as a youth under his father beginning in 1925. He completed the Hokkaido Police Officer Training Course in 1946, and in 1947, a police course in stick handling techniques. While a member of the police force, Tokimune received several awards for outstanding service in arresting criminals. He joined the Yamada Fishery Co., Ltd., in December 1951 and worked there until his retirement in 1976. Tokimune established the Daitokan Dojo in Abashiri, Hokkaido in 1953, and organized Daito-ryu techniques, incorporating into them elements of Onoha Itto-ryu to create his own Daito-ryu Aiki Budo. Received the Cultural Social Education Award from Abashiri City on 3 November 1987.

Yukiyoshi Sagawa began his formal study of Daito-ryu under Sokaku Takeda at age eleven. He was certified as an instructor by Sokaku in 1932. Later, he accompanied his teacher to various locations in Japan as an assistant instructor. One of the most prominent students of Sokaku Takeda, Sagawa remained semi-active and operates a dojo attached to his home in Kodaira City, a suburb of Tokyo.

Kodo Horikawa: The eldest son of Taiso Horikawa, Kodo learned jujutsu from his father during adolescence. He became a student of Sokaku Takeda in Daito-ryu in 1914. Kodo received the Hiden Mokuroku in January of 1931, the Hiden Okugi Mokuroku in June, and became an instructor in October of the same year. He established the Daito-ryu Kodokai in Kitami in 1950, and taught Daito-ryu until his death.

Takuma Hisa was captain of his sumo club at Kobe Commercial College (presently Kobe University). In 1927 he entered the head office of the Asahi News through an introduction from his university senior, Mitsujiro Ishii, and in 1934 he assumed the important post of Director of General Affairs at the Osaka Asahi News. Through an introduction from Ishii, Hisa invited Morihei Ueshiba to come from Tokyo to teach aikijujutsu at the Osaka Asahi News Head office. In 1936, he began training under Sokaku Takeda when the latter came to Osaka. Sokaku awarded Hisa the Daito-ryu aikijujutsu menkyo kaiden in 1939. In 1959, Hisa founded the Kansai Aikido Club. He relocated to Tokyo where he lived his final years in 1961 after suffering a stroke.

Keisuke Sato began practicing judo while a middle school student. Later while preparing for his university entrance examination in Kyoto, he studied judo intensively at the Butokuden. Later, he received a 2nd dan in judo directly from Jigoro Kano at the Kodokan. After enrolling in Takushoku University in Tokyo, he took up the study of karate under Gichin Funakoshi and also devoted himself to zazen practice. About 1929 in Semi, he first met Sokaku Takeda and became an enthusiatic student of Daito-ryu in his hometown. He was certified as an instructor by Sokaku in 1935. Sato has not actively practiced the martial arts since his training was interrupted by military service, but he has followed the postwar development of Daito-ryu closely and maintained contact with the Takeda family.

Katsuyki Kondo learned Daito-ryu aikjujutsu from Tsunejiro Hosono and Kotaro Yoshida. He later studied under former Headmaster Tokimune Takeda. Kondo was certified as a Daito-ryu instructor in 1974 and appointed Soke Dairi in 1988. He is an authority on swordsman, calligrapher, and Zen master, Tesshu Yamaoka. Kondo currently operates the Shimbukan dojo in Tokyo and assumed leadership of the mainstream Daito-ryu organization following the death of Tokimune Takeda in 1993.

Seigo Okamoto entered the Daito-ryu aikijujutsu school of Kodo Horikawa in 1963 at the age of thirty-eight. Okamoto received his 7th dan in 1974, and three years later moved to Tokyo. In 1978, he received an instructor’s license from Horikawa. After Horikawa passed away in 1980, Okamoto established the Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu Roppokai in order to spread the art in Tokyo. He is the author of a Japanese-language technical book titled Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu.

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