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Pillars of Aikido Book Set ($72.95)

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For readers who would like to further deepen their study of the origins of Aikido, we have prepared a special set titled “The Pillars of Aikido” that contains Aikido Pioneers-Prewar Era, Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu: Conversations with Daito-ryu Masters, and The Great Onisaburo Deguchi. A reading of these three pivotal books will give you a deep understanding of the roots of Aikido and inform you all about Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu, the technical precursor of the art, and Onisaburo Deguchi, the famous religious leader who guided Morihei Ueshiba through a spiritual transformation.

Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu: Conversations with Daito-ryu Masters

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.

The Great Onisaburo Deguchi

Onisaburo Deguchi, although little known in the West, was a giant among religious leaders of twentieth century Japan. The Omoto faith, of which he was the driving force, is the most important of the “new religions” of Japan. At its zenith, the Omoto counted among its ranks some two million adherents and exerted a major impact on the political and religious affairs of prewar Japan. The scope of Onisaburo’s life and achievements is truly superhuman. A prolific writer, poet, calligrapher, sculptor, and ceramist, Onisaburo left a vast cultural and artistic legacy that is truly awe-inspiring. Also, noteworthy is the fact that Onisaburo was the spiritual master of Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba. The latter drew heavily from Onisaburo’s teachings in the creation of his ethically-based Aikido, a martial art practiced by hundreds of thousands of enthusiasts worldwide.

Author’s Preface

Kameoka near Kyoto is the administrative center of the Omoto religion. Kameoka is important in the history of Omoto because my granfather, Onisaburo Deguchi, was born and grew up there.

In Kameoka there is a mountain called Takakuma and a cave at the top of the mountain is one of the most sacred sites for all believers. Sitting alone in that cave in 1898, Onisaburo, then twenty-seven, underwent received ascetic instruction and attained enlightenment. This experience formed the basis for much of his thought. 1998 marks the centennial of this important event.

My grandfather was born in 1871 and passed away in 1948 at the age of seventy-seven. Fifty years have now passed since his death.

In Omoto, decades, fifty-year spans, centennials, and the like are considered significant and propitious. We are therefore highly gratified that in such an auspicious year Aiki News has consented to publish this revised biography of my grandfather.

As is well-known, Onisaburo Deguchi was closely associated with Morihei Ueshiba, the founder of aikido. Ueshiba had a profound admiration for Onisaburo and sought him out in Ayabe for spiritual training. Consequently, Ueshiba joined Onisaburo’s entourage and accompanied him to Mongolia. Later, Ueshiba became the President of Onisaburo’s All-Japan Society for the Promotion of the Martial Arts.

It is my understanding that Onisaburo gave Ueshiba’s son the name Kisshomaru, and Kisshomaru Ueshiba is present leader of aikido which has now spread worldwide. My name was also given by Onisaburo, and I too was born in Ayabe, so I feel a certain connection with Ueshiba’s son.

From October 1972 to December 1975, an art exhibition entitled “Onisaburo and His School” was held in six countries (13 cities) in Europe and North America. This exhibition was made possible through the support of Professor Vadime Elisseeff, a well-known authority on Eastern arts and studies. We were fortunate to have the backing of Dr. Frederick Franck and Professor Jan Fontein who who lent assistance to the exhibition in North America. The last showing of Onisaburo’s art took place in San Francisco at the Grace Cathedral and was attended by Stanley Pranin, a young man who would eventually become editor-in-chief of Aiki News.

Later on Mr. Pranin came to Japan and devoted himself to the study of aikido with the intention of spreading the martial art worldwide. With this aim, he established Aiki News. In 1995 he came to the Omoto headquarters in Kameoka in search of a biography of Onisaburo Deguchi in English. Fortunately, Dr. Charles Rowe was in the process of completing such a translation and Aiki News expressed their willingness to publish the book.

Looking back, it seems fortuitous that Omoto, Onisaburo, aikido, Ueshiba, Pranin and I have all come together linked by some mysterious tie.

It is also interesting that Dr. Rowe, the translator, first came into contact with Omoto at the age of seven when I visited his family on an Esperanto tour. After that, he remained a member of the Omoto family assisting at the exhibitions in Europe and the United States at the age of eighteen.

On the basis of these coincidences and timely contact with many people, this biography in English of Onisaburo Deguchi will make its appearance in the world. I can only be grateful to the will of Heaven and the favor of so many people. And so I commend to the reader of the future this account of the life and times of my grandfather.

About the Author

Kyotaro Deguchi was born in August 1936 in Ayabe City, Kyoto Prefecture, Japan. He is the only son of Hidemaru Deguchi, and grandson and direct descendant of Onisaburo Deguchi. The author attended Waseda University and his interests include linguistics, Esperanto, meditation, walking, reading, writing, and travel. For many years, he has worked for the interfaith movement, environmental protection, and for the exchange of culture and art in Japan and overseas.

Aikido Pioneers - Prewar Era

Morihei Ueshiba (1883-1969) drew on his extensive martial arts experience as a young man, fusing this knowledge with his deeply-held religious beliefs, to create the modern self-defense art of Aikido.

During his long career, Ueshiba associated with some of prewar Japan’s most colorful characters, including famous jujutsu master Sokaku Takeda, the charismatic religious leader Onisaburo Deguchi, and numerous members of Japan’s military, political, and business elite. Here is the captivating story of the birth of aikido, based on the first-hand accounts of Ueshiba’s top students prior to World War II.

The interviews contained in Aikido Pioneers – Prewar Era have been meticulously edited from hundreds of hours of conversations conducted over a 30-year period with those closest to the Founder. These early devotees of the art offer an insightful portrayal of the character of the Aikido Founder, and a detailed description of his teaching and activities, spanning nearly half a century. More than 100 photos, many published for the first time, add an important visual dimension to the testimonies of the interviewees. This is an essential volume for those desiring to discover the roots of Aikido, a true cultural treasure of Japan.

Click here to download the sample PDF file of “Aikido Pioneers - Prewar Era”


Historical Overview by Stanley Pranin - 20 interviews with the following Aikido Pioneers of the Prewar Era:

Noriaki (Yoichiro) Inoue - nephew of Morihei Ueshiba, and one of the most skilled of the Founder’s students who went on to create Shinei Taido following the war

Kenji Tomiki - began Daito-ryu aikijujutsu in 1925 under Morihei, later becoming Waseda University professor and Founder of Tomiki Aikido, the only form of the art to incorporate competition

Hisao Kamada - one of Morihei’s earliest students with an insider’s knowledge of the beginnings of aikido

Hajime Iwata - early disciple of Founder who taught Aiki Budo in Shanghai, China, and later rose to the rank of 9th dan

Minoru Mochizuki - judo champion sent to study with Morihei by Jigoro Kano of Kodokan Judo fame who later pioneered aikido in France and created Yoseikan Budo

Shigemi Yonekawa - one of the most skilled of the prewar uchideshi known for appearing with the Founder in the famous Noma Dojo photo series

Rinjiro Shirata - the pride of the Kobukan Dojo who, following World War II, taught aikido in the Tohoku region and was later awarded 9th dan

Gozo Shioda - dynamic early disciple of Morihei who took the lead in developing postwar aikido and established Yoshinkan Aikido

Yoshio Sugino - judo and Katori Shinto-ryu adept who enrolled at Kobukan Dojo, and later choreographed martial arts scenes for Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai and Yojimbo

Kiyoshi Nakakura - adopted son of Morihei Ueshiba, and one of Japan’s top swordsmen of the twentieth century

Takako Kunigoshi - one of the few female Aiki Budo practitioners, and skilled artist who created technical drawings for Budo Renshu

Zenzaburo Akazawa - from a family of Omoto believers, began Aiki Budo at 12 years old and served Morihei and his family during the prewar era

Tenryu - the famous sumo wrestler who rebeled against the feudalistic prewar Sumo Association, and who studied under Morihei after finding himself powerless against the Founder

Bansen Tanaka - prewar student of Morihei from Osaka who created a large aikido organization after the war, and was awarded 9th dan

Shigenobu Okumura - a student at famous Kenkoku University in Manchuria, who became one of the backbones of the Aikikai Hombu Dojo after the war, and rose to the rank of 9th dan

Minoru Hirai - General Affairs Director of Kobukan Dojo who had a key role in selecting the name “aikido,” and who would later found Korindo Aikido

Koichi Tohei - one of Morihei’s most famous students, pioneer of aikido in Hawaii and the USA, who attained the rank of 10th dan, and later founded Shin Shin Toitsu Aikido

Kisaburo Osawa - devoted early student of Founder who served as Dojo-cho of the postwar Aikikai Hombu Dojo, and rose to the rank of 9th dan

Kanshu Sunadomari - from a family of devout Omoto believers, trained at Kobukan Dojo during the war, and later pioneered aikido in Kyushu, reached the rank of 9th dan, and established Manseikan Aikido

Doshu Kisshomaru Ueshiba - Morihei’s son, administrator and leading figure of postwar aikido, prolific author, and the art’s Second Doshu

About the Author

Stanley Pranin is a 5th degree aikido black belt, and Editor-in-Chief of Aikido Journal, formerly known as Aiki News. An avid historian of Aikido, Pranin has lived in Japan for more than 20 years conducting research into the art, especially the life and work of Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba. He is the author of The Encyclopedia of Aikido, and hundreds of articles written about every aspect of this Japanese martial art.

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