History of the Takumakai Daito-ryu Aiki-jujutsu
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 Takuma Hisa Sensei and Nakatsu Heizaburo Sensei, who were both direct students of Takeda Sokaku and Ueshiba Morihei.
Takuma Hisa Sensei
Takuma Hisa (久 琢磨, c.1895 – October 31, 1980) was born in Sakihama, Kochi prefecture on the South island of Shikoku. Since childhood and while at Kobe University, Takuma had been a one of the top Kansai Sumo fighters. Takuma started training under Ueshiba Morihei Sensei while he was working as Director of General Affairs at the Osaka Asahi Shinbun (newspaper). Ueshiba Sensei had been asked by the newspaper to teach martial arts to its main office in order to increase the safety of its staff who was often target of attacks by right-wing activists. The art taught by Ueshiba Morihei was coined “Asahi-ryu Jujutsu” even though he had at that time already setup the Kobukan dojo in Tokyo.
Video of a demonstration of Ueshiba Morihei at the Asahi News Dojo. Takuma Hisa is the one delivering the speech at the beginning of the film.
It is in 1936, three years after starting training with Ueshiba Sensei that Ueshiba’s own teacher, Takeda Sokaku (1860-1943), arrived to Osaka unannounced in order to take charge of the teaching at the Asahi Shimbun. It seems that Takeda was intending to take over the teaching of the more advanced Daito-ryu curriculum, feeling that Ueshiba Morihei had finished exposing the students of the Asahi Shinbun to the Kihon (basics). Upon hearing the news of Takeda’s arrival in Osaka however, Ueshiba left for Tokyo without meeting his master. The relationship between the two had indeed been far from simple and this event marked the last time that the Asahi students trained with Ueshiba. This situation of course let Takuma Hisa in a state of confusion and bewilderment. The group continued its study with Takeda Sensei from then on.
All through the activity of the Asahi Shinbun Dojo, Takuma Hisa and his fellow students took photographic records of the techniques they had learned after each class, using cameras borrowed from the newspaper. The practitioners mainly seen on these pictures are Nakatsu Heizaburo, Yoshimura Yoshiteru, and Kawazoe Kuniyoshi.
This extensive collection (over 1,500 pictures) was compiled into an 11-volume document, the Daito-ryu Aikibudo Densho Zen Juikkan (often referred to as Soden), which contains 547 techniques and that has been greatly instrumental to the preservation of the technical repertoire of the Takumakai. Interestingly, the strong influence of Ueshiba Morihei on the Takumakai can still be seen as the first six volumes deal specifically with the techniques taught by Morihei Ueshiba, while seven through nine cover those taught by Takeda Sokaku, and ten and eleven are mainly about police and self-defense techniques. You can read a full analysis in an article I wrote about Soden for Aikido Journal.
Takuma Hisa received the Kyoju Dairi (teaching certification) in 1937 and the Menkyo Kaiden, the highest certificate of ability, on March 26th 1939 directly from Takeda Sokaku. Six other students, including Nakatsu Heizaburo, were awarded Hiden 8 dan teaching certificates. Takeda Sensei never gave another Menkyo Kaiden to any other person, not even to his son and successor Takeda Tokimune. After Takeda Sokaku passed away, Takuma Hisa continued teaching at the Asahi newspaper as well as in his own Osaka Kansai Aikido Club, which he founded on October 10, 1959, up until 1968 when he moved to Tokyo. Amongst his senior students are those who now head the Takumakai, Director Mori Hakaru (Hiden 8 dan), Manager Kobayashi Kiyohiro (Hiden 8 dan), Utsunomiya Mamoru (Hiden 8 dan), Yutaka Amatsu (Hiden 8 dan), and Head instructors Kawabe Takeshi (Hiden 7 dan) and Izawa Masamitsu (Hiden 7 dan).
The forming of the Takumakai
The Takumakai name is obviously based on that of Takuma Hisa and was proposed in 1975 by Chiba Tsugukata Sensei, a student of Nakatsu Heizaburo Sensei based in Awa-Ikeda. The Takumakai was formed in order to establish the group as a Kobudo organization and disseminate the teachings of Takuma Hisa. Since then, the activities and the number of members of the Kansai group have considerably increased, leading to the formation of affiliated groups all over Japan and abroad.
In the 1980s, some Takumakai instructors trained upon request by Takuma Hisa with the son of Takeda Sokaku, Takeda Tokimune, and they proposed to reorganize the teaching of the Daito-ryu basics within the Takumakai according to what Tokimune had put in place in his own group. This resulted in the modification of the Takumakai Daito-ryu Aiki-jujutsu teaching and the formation of the current technical syllabus including the 118 basic techniques of the Shoden repertoire.
Documentary on the Tokyo branch of the Takumakai
Umei Shinichiro – The History of the Daito-ryu Takumakai on the Takumakai Daito-ryu Aiki-jujutsu official website. May 15, 1997
Yutaka Amatsu – Memory of Hisa-san on the website of the Finish branch of the Takumakai. December 1, 2001
Olivier Gaurin – Interview with Kobayashi Kiyohiro, the chairman of the Takumakai. GuillaumeErard.com. October 25, 2011
Stanley Pranin – Remembering Takuma Hisa Aikido Journal. November 11, 2011
Stanley Pranin – Morihei Ueshiba and Sokaku Takeda. Aikido Journal. May 27, 2005
Umei Shinichiro – Takumakai and Daito-ryu Aiki-jujutsu on the Takumakai Daito-ryu Aiki-jujutsu official website. May 15, 1997
Stanley Pranin – Biography of Takuma Hisa. Aikido Journal’s Encyclopedia of Aikido.
Umei Shinichiro – Takumakai System of Techniques of Daito-ryu Aiki-jujutsu on the Takumakai Daito-ryu Aiki-jujutsu official website. May 15, 1997
Medhat Darwish – Interview with Okabayashi Shogen. Fightingarts.com. March 2002