Chiba Tsugutaka

This is the second part of our exclusive documentary on Chiba Tsugutaka Sensei, the last Daito-ryu master of Shikoku. In this section, he explains the origins of Daito-ryu and tells us about his experience learning intensively in Hokkaido, at Takeda Tokimune's Daito-kan.

Video: Documentary on Daito-ryu Aiki-jujutsu from the Takumakai part 2

Second part of the documentary on the life of Chiba Tsugutaka Sensei, the Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu master of Shikoku (Click on "CC" to display subtitles)

Interview transcript:

Olivier Gaurin: It was called Daito-ryu Aiki-budo wasn't it?

Chiba Tsugutaka: Yes, that's right, Daito-ryu Aiki-budo. Takeda Tokimune was also doing Aiki-budo. There was no Takumakai.

Over there, at the Daito-kan, we had to sign an admission form to be allowed to learn. It was the first time that we learned techniques up to 5th kajo. Before that, we only got to 2nd kajo.

Olivier Gaurin: What kind of keiko were we doing at Tokimune's dojo?

Chiba Tsugutaka: We used to do shikko and work on katatedori, ryotedori and also some katame waza. This is what we used to do, what we call warm-up these days. Over there, they used to grab like that [showing with his hand], it was very different from the way we used to do it. These were exercises on joints by controlling the wrists. Before, we used to grab directly, flat like that. But over there, they first took hold from the small finger. So the hand that was being grabbed could not open up. It could not use any strength. We used to work like that, on controlling the wrists, we got control of the elbow.

That is what they made me do as well as some grabs such as ryotedori. They told me: "Come over here!" I asked why and the answered: "Because you don't do Ken". They meant not like Kendo. So that is when I started to work with a big log of wood, as thick as a leg! We also used metal bars or wood logs, training in rhythm. We used to strike like this to build up our muscle frame.

Olivier Gaurin: This is also what Tokimune Sensei used to do in the morning right?

Chiba Tsugutaka: Yes, all of it.

Olivier Gaurin: This work is important isn't it?

Chiba Tsugutaka: Yes, especially this way of twisting. It is not just about swinging like that (waving). You have to pinch like this and because the handle is so big, there is some  remaining space that you cannot hold. Like if you were waving a big pole. So you have to synchronize the pinching of each hand to have them together. You have to raise straight up.

Everybody ended up as massive as Suzuki Sensei. Suzuki Sensei never lost, not even against Sumo or Judoka. When he grabbed you, you couldn't move. He would grab and the other guy went flying.

Olivier Gaurin: What was the training schedule?

Chiba Tsugutaka: Takeda Soke started at 5 a.m. because he had to go to work at 6 a.m. at the Yamada Suisan company.

Olivier Gaurin: Did you continue at the dojo after 6 a.m.?

Chiba Tsugutaka: He would stop a bit before 6 a.m. and we would go back to the nearby hotel. We quickly took our breakfast over therea nd then, Suzuki Sensei would teach us while doing some calligraphy on his own. It lasted until lunchtime. So about 6 h of training until 12 a.m. That is why we could learn all that, it never stopped! All the classes, without a break. We couldn't even drink tea even though we really felt like having some. we had all our meals at the hotel, in the morning, lunch, and dinner. In the evenings, Suzuki Sensei was teaching.

With Soke we only learnt until 2nd kajo and when we finally managed to do 1st and 2nd kajo, we asked Suzuki Sensei, showing him the board: "We would like to also learn 3rd and 4th kajo, would it be possible?" But he said that it was not possible because we weren't deshi. However, he spoke to Tokimune and one day, our names got written on the board as "Shikoku students". Then he asked some deshi to start training with us too. We started to train with the others on that night.


  • Many thanks to Sato Hideaki Sensei for helping us conduct this interview.
About the author
Guillaume Erard
Author: Guillaume ErardWebsite:
Founder of the site in 2007, Guillaume has a passion for Japanese culture and martial arts. After having practiced Judo during childhood, he started studying Aikido in 1996, and Daito-ryu Aiki-jujutsu in 2008. He currently holds the ranks of 4th Dan in Aikido (Aikikai) and 2nd Dan in Daito-ryu Aiki-jujutsu (Takumakai). Guillaume is also passionate about science and education and he holds a PhD in Molecular and Cell Biology since 2010. He currently lives in Tokyo and works as a consultant for medical research. > View Full Profile

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