Sokaku Takeda

Sokaku Takeda sensei in his later years

Born into a samurai family of the Aizu domain on October 10, 1859, Takeda sensei is credited with reviving and disseminating the martial art of Daito Ryu Aiki Jujutsu. It is known that he engaged in many matches and duels with both practice and real swords, and that he was considered a swordsman of considerable skill. With the abolishment of the samurai as a class at the end of the 19th century, and the prohibition against carrying swords, Takeda sensei decided to emphasize the empty-handed techniques of his family’s martial art.

Takeda sensei lived a somewhat nomadic life style; travelling throughout Japan giving seminars to military officers, police officers, and martial arts enthusiasts. Takeda sensei had a number of prominent students over the years. Perhaps, his most famous student was Morihei Ueshiba, the founder of modern Aikido. Historical research has confirmed that Ueshiba studied intensively with Takeda sensei, and that the technical underpinnings of modern Aikido are largely derived from Daito Ryu as taught by Takeda sensei. This deep connection between Daito Ryu and Aikido is reflected in the names of many Yoshinkan techniques and in our style of practice.

Morihei Ueshiba in Ayabe in the 1920s–the scroll reads “daito ryu aiki-jujutsu”