Takeda Sokaku

Takeda Sokaku (1860-1943) was a prominent Japanese martial artist and the founder of a martial art known as Daito-ryu Aiki-jujutsu. He is renowned for his expertise in martial arts and is considered one of the most influential figures in the development of modern Japanese martial arts, particularly in the field of jujutsu and aikido.

Takeda Sokaku was born in Aizu, a region known for its martial traditions, and he began his martial arts training at a young age. He studied various traditional Japanese martial arts, including several styles of jujutsu, kenjutsu (swordsmanship), and other combat techniques. Over the years, he synthesized and refined his knowledge into what he called Daito-ryu Aiki-jujutsu, a martial art that incorporated joint locks, throws, and striking techniques with a focus on aiki principles.

Takeda Sokaku traveled throughout Japan, teaching his martial art to various students and gaining a reputation as a formidable martial artist. One of his most famous students was Morihei Ueshiba, the founder of aikido, who studied Daito-ryu Aiki-jujutsu under Takeda’s instruction and later adapted its principles to create aikido.

Takeda Sokaku’s teachings had a significant influence on the development of Japanese martial arts in the 20th century, and his Daito-ryu Aiki-jujutsu remains a respected and influential martial art with various branches and practitioners today.


Daitoryu Aiki-jujutsu Tora Dojo located at 162 Forest Road Fanwood, NJ
For more info please email us @ info@daitoryu.org

Who is Fudō Myō-ō

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Fudō Myō-ō, also known as Acala in Sanskrit, is a deity in Japanese Buddhism, particularly within the Shingon and Tendai sects. Fudō Myō-ō is often depicted as a fearsome figure with a wrathful expression, wielding a sword and a rope, and standing on or surrounded by flames. The name “Fudō Myō-ō” can be translated as “Immovable Wisdom King” or “Unshakable Wisdom King.”

Fudō Myō-ō is associated with several symbolic elements:

  1. Sword: The sword symbolizes the cutting through of ignorance and delusions, helping practitioners to attain wisdom.
  2. Rope or Lasso: The rope represents the capturing and binding of negative forces and hindrances, allowing practitioners to overcome obstacles.
  3. Flames: The flames are a symbol of the purifying and transformative power of Fudō’s wisdom.

The connection between Fudō Myō-ō and martial arts lies in the role Fudō plays as a protector and guardian deity. In many martial arts traditions in Japan, practitioners may invoke or pay homage to Fudō Myō-ō for strength, courage, and protection. Fudō is believed to provide the inner strength and determination necessary for martial artists to face their opponents with fearlessness and resolve. The deity’s wrathful appearance and symbolism of cutting through obstacles and purifying negative influences make Fudō Myō-ō a fitting figure for martial artists seeking to develop discipline and mental fortitude.

However, it’s important to note that Fudō Myō-ō’s significance in martial arts may vary among different schools and practitioners, and not all martial artists incorporate religious or spiritual aspects into their training. The connection is more cultural and symbolic, and its depth of influence may differ from one individual or group to another.


Daitoryu Aiki-jujutsu Tora Dojo located at 162 Forest Road Fanwood, NJ
For more info please email us @ info@daitoryu.org

Art of Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu: Unveiling a Hidden Gem


Martial arts have a rich and diverse history, with each discipline offering its own unique techniques, philosophy, and culture. One of the lesser-known but incredibly fascinating martial arts is Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu. This ancient Japanese martial art has a history that stretches back centuries and has influenced many modern martial arts, most notably Aikido. In this blog post, we will explore the captivating history of Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu and its impact on the world of martial arts.

Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu, often simply referred to as Daito-ryu, is a traditional Japanese martial art that focuses on the use of joint locks, throws, and pressure points. Its roots can be traced back to the late 19th and early 20th centuries in Japan.

Sokaku Takeda was born in 1860 in Japan and came from a long line of martial artists. He began his martial arts training at a young age, learning various forms of jujutsu, aiki-jujutsu, and swordsmanship. Over time, he traveled throughout Japan, honing his skills and studying under many different martial arts masters. Takeda’s experiences and insights led him to develop his own unique system of martial arts, which he called “Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu.”

The Philosophy and Techniques of Daito-ryu

Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu is characterized by its focus on the principles of aiki, which involve blending with an opponent’s movements, redirecting their energy, and using minimal force to control or neutralize an attack. This philosophy places a strong emphasis on timing, balance, and the application of precise joint locks and pressure points.

Daito-ryu practitioners are taught to use their opponent’s own energy and movements against them. Through the application of aiki principles, a skilled practitioner can control and subdue an attacker without resorting to brute force, making it an ideal martial art for self-defense.

The Influence on Aikido

One of the most significant aspects of Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu’s history is its profound influence on Aikido, another popular Japanese martial art. Morihei Ueshiba, the founder of Aikido, studied Daito-ryu under Sokaku Takeda in the early 20th century. Ueshiba combined the techniques and principles of Daito-ryu with his own spiritual and philosophical beliefs to create Aikido.

Aikido’s focus on harmony, blending, and non-aggressive self-defense can be directly attributed to its Daito-ryu roots. While Aikido became more widely known and practiced worldwide, Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu remained relatively obscure and passed down through a select group of instructors and students.

Modern Resurgence and Preservation

In recent years, Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu has seen a resurgence in interest, thanks in part to the efforts of several dedicated practitioners and organizations. Various branches of Daito-ryu have emerged, each with its own curriculum and approach, all of which aim to preserve and promote the art. These organizations have played a crucial role in keeping the legacy of Daito-ryu alive for future generations.


Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu may be a lesser-known martial art, but its history and influence are undeniable. From its origins in the late 19th century to its profound impact on Aikido, Daito-ryu has a rich and fascinating legacy. Today, it continues to be practiced and respected by martial artists who appreciate its unique philosophy and techniques. The history of Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu serves as a testament to the enduring power and depth of Japanese martial arts, and it remains an integral part of the martial arts world.


Daitoryu Aiki-jujutsu Tora Dojo located at 162 Forest Road Fanwood, NJ
For more info please email us @ info@daitoryu.org

Dragonfly / Tombo

I’m always amazed at how nature informed or motivated our ancestors.

“In Japan, the dragonfly is known as the “victory insect”,  or kachimushi,  because of its hunting prowess and also because it is known to never retreat.  Dragonflies are agile and fast fliers and can even hover, but never fly backward.”

Excerpt from the page below…


Daitoryu Aiki-jujutsu Tora Dojo located at 5 West Passaic Street, Rochelle Park, NJ
For more info please email us @ info@daitoryu.org

But you’re my sensei…

…sure, but it’s your responsibility to push at answers, not simply expect the information to be spoon-fed to you.

A well placed, well thought out question creates a breakthrough in your understanding, that’s the essential point of “kuden”, verbal instruction, that pushes you passed your current understanding. That can come across as no questions allowed but it’s really an invitation to ask the right question.

Don’t be afraid to be wrong, after all, you came to the dojo to learn, right?


Daitoryu Aiki-jujutsu Tora Dojo located at 5 West Passaic Street, Rochelle Park, NJ
For more info please email us @ info@daitoryu.org

口伝 – I would like some kuden, please.

口伝 – kuden = oral transmission

Waiting around for your sensei to pull you aside one day and reveal your beloved style’s innermost secrets? Well…you’re wasting your time that moment may never happen, in fact, it’s more than likely happened already—when every time you stepped into the dojo to train! The transmission happens slowly steadily over countless interactions and over the correct understanding of basic concepts that prepare you for “higher” level stuff.

There may be an “AHA!” moment that was triggered by something your sensei said that brings all of it together for you BUT it’s just that you had all the pieces and you put them together, so no secrets just hard work that reveal their connections.

So, pay attention every class!


Daitoryu Aiki-jujutsu Tora Dojo located at 5 West Passaic Street, Rochelle Park, NJ
For more info please email us @ info@daitoryu.org

About aiki: innate ability or hard work?

I disagree with the notion that one either has aiki or does not have aiki.
I’ve heard this idea more than a few times and it’s always made me cringe at best, and sometimes it down right pisses me off. Aiki is neither something you are born with that you naturally possess, nor is it unachievable.
As with an talent/skill there may be those who have an innate ability but Aiki is a skill. It is an awareness to be sharpened with repeated practice to become very self aware as well as sensitive and responsive to the attacker’s balance, power and intention. You don’t have aiki, rather you create, maintain and use it to establish and sustain a connection with your attacker. This connection at higher levels is tenuous and requires subtle adjustments as well as constant realignment to maintain the connection.

There are a number of ways to translate aiki (合氣) these are but a few…
• harmonious spirit
• joining energies
• synergy
• fitting or matching intentions

Sokaku Takeda, the founder of Daito-ryu aikijujutsu defined aiki in the following way:
“ The secret of aiki is to overpower the opponent mentally at a glance
and to win without fighting.” *

However you translate it, the process is the same; you must read your attacker and either disrupt the attack or influence it with your movement or lack of it. Whether your response is subtle or more overt will depend on a few factors: your own skill level, timing, momentum, balance, power, tension and intention. It’s because of these factors that aiki will elude people at first, while jujutsu makes it much easier to influence or control an attacker with joint manipulation and/or pain compliance.

Aiki will get you the same results as jujutsu, but it takes much more effort to achieve proficiency. There are those who have an innate understanding of this and can get there quickly, but for the rest of us it is hard work. Well worth the effort!

* Draeger, Donn F. Modern Bujutsu & Budo: Martial arts And Ways Of Japan, Vol III. Weatherhill, Tokyo 1974, 1996.



Daitoryu Aiki-jujutsu Tora Dojo located at 5 West Passaic Street, Rochelle Park, NJ
For more info please email us @ info@daitoryu.org