has it that Daito Ryu originated in a preliminary form during
the time of Emperor Seiwa (850-880 A.D.), and then was consequently
handed down to succeeding generations of the Minamoto family.
Thus a foundation of techniques were laid by the time they reached
Shinra Saburo Minamoto Yoshimitsu, an exceptionally skilled
man. He studied and devised many more techniques after watching
a spider skillfully trap a large insect in its web. Furthermore,
he studied the anatomy of war dead and criminals by dissecting
their bodies. As result of his progressive study, he went a
step further and uncovered many important principles, and applying
that knowledge to create more effective and advanced techniques.
Thus, he should be considered the creator and founder of Daito
Ryu Aikijujutsu. Later, Yoshimitsu's second son, Yoshikiyo moved
to the town of Takeda located in Kai province (now known as
Yamanashi Prefecture). Afterwards, Yoshikiyo's descendants took
on the name of that town, Takeda. As a result, all the techniques
accumulated up until then, were passed down to successive generations
of the Takeda clan as a secret art only to known to members
of the family and retainers. In 1574, Kunimitsu Takeda decided
to move from Takeda to Aizu which is located in northeastern
Japan. Henceforth, these secret arts were handed down to his
descendants in Aizu. This art then was called the Aizu-Todome
techniques. They were techniques that were prohibited to be
shown in public and were only shown within the Takeda household.
Sokaku Takeda, the
Restorer of Daito Ryu
After the Meiji Restoration
in 1868 which opened Japan to the rest of the world and initiated
a rapid phase of development in all spheres of society, Sokaku
Takeda was the man who inherited Daito Ryu and began to spread
the secret art in public. Sokaku learned the techniques of Daito
Ryu from his father Sokichi and from Tanomo Saigo (former chief
retainer of the Aizu clan). Sokaku had a natural inclination
toward the fighting arts and mastered swordsman ship (kenjutsu),
the art of fighting with a cudgel (bojutsu), spearman ship (Sojutsu),
and stick fighting (Jojutsu) among others. He accumulated a
lot of experience and traveled throughout Japan testing his
abilities against all the great martial artists of his day.
He disciplined and trained himself thoroughly. Especially based
on the techniques of Daito Ryu and Ono ha Itto Ryu swordsman
ship, he reached new heights in his ability, and it is these
combined techniques that he began to spread all over the country.
He taught several tens of thousands of people, such disciples
of his were prominent figures of the time, government officials,
military men, and other martial artists. Through his efforts
of training and simultaneously teaching around the country,
he gained quite a reputation as an unprecedented master of Daito
Ryu. In view of his achievements, he is considered the "Restorer
of Daito Ryu."