Section about the practice of Daito-ryu Aiki-jujutsu in Japan. Daito-ryu Aiki-jujutsu is the ancestor of Aikido that was taught by Takeda Sokaku Sensei to the founder of Aikido, Morihei Ueshiba.
Why do Yudansha wear hakama?This article is my examination paper submitted for the promotion to Daito-ryu Aiki-jujutsu Shodan at the Takumakai. It addresses the origin of the hakama in martial arts and tries to distinguish facts from fiction as far as its use and meaning are concerned. More importantly, it also tries to establish some threads of reflection for the yudansha who wear it every day and hopefully, bring meaning to why we wear this ancestral cultural symbol.
The Takumakai (琢磨会) is one of the major Daito-ryu Aiki-jujutsu organizations aiming to propagate the teachings of Takeda Sokaku Sensei. The Takumakai was formed by the students of both Takuma Hisa Sensei, the only practitioner to have received his Menkyo Kaiden certificate from Takeda Sokaku, and of Nakatsu Heizaburo Sensei, himself a student of both Takeda and Takuma Sensei.
Every six months, an exceptional Daito-ryu seminar takes place in the Shikoku region. The event is notable because it is placed under the direction of one of the greatest experts of Daito-ryu Aiki-jujutsu still alive, Chiba Sensei Tsugutaka. The opportunity is even greater since many of the great Sensei of the Takumakai religiously entend this course in order to deepen a little more their of the art transmitted by Takeda Sokaku. This weekend was therefore a golden opportunity for travelling, learning, practicing with experts, and sharing.
Thanks to the impressive investigative work carried out by Stanley Pranin, the influence of Daito-ryu Aiki-jujutsu in the development of Aikido is now fairly well know and understood. This has led some Aikido practitioners to focus their attention towards learning the Daito-ryu techniques in order to complete what they might regard as a certain lack in nowadays' Aikido teaching. Among these, Olivier Gaurin, a long time student at the Aikikai Hombu Dojo and author of several books on Aikido decided to continue in Mr Pranin's footsteps, to learn the ancient techniques and to promote them to the Aikido public. I had been aware of Daito-ryu Aiki-jujutsu for many years through the work of Stanley Pranin but it is Olivier Gaurin who introduced me to the Daito-ryu teachers of the Takumakai school and it wasn't long before we both decided to document our experience, which eventually came under the form of the following documentary.
Kobayashi Kiyohiro Sensei is the manager of the Takumakai. He is one of the most senior instructors of that school and he has been learning Aikido in the early days at the Aikikai but also at the Yoshinkan dojo. He is a long time student of Takuma Hisa Sensei and he currently runs a dojo in Osaka. Kobayashi Sensei travels extensively to teach Daito-ryu in Japan and abroad. This interview was conducted by Olivier Gaurin during one of the monthly Daito-ryu Aiki-jujtusu seminars led in Tokyo by Kobayashi Kiyohiro Sensei.
The more I spend time in Tokyo, the more I realize that the world of Aikido is indeed very small. The beauty of this is that it is during random encounters and acquaintances that one end up making the most crucial experiences for one's personal development. Such an acquaintance happened once again on the tatami of the Aikikai Hombu Dojo in May 2008 while I was staying in Tokyo and practicing Aikido intensively. Today, I would like to take you for a journey through time, to the discovery of a discipline which is the ancestor of Aikido. Those of you a bit more erudite on the subject know of course that I am talking about the Daito-ryu Aiki-jujutsu.