Asahi Newspaper


Osaka's Asahi Newspaper security service received martial instruction from Ueshiba from 1934 to 1936, and from Takeda from 1936 to 1939. The leader of the Asahi group of students was Takuma Hisa.

Daitoryu aiki-jujutsu is the historical basis behind many aikido techniques. Understanding where these tehcniques are coming from, will deepen one's understanding of aikido.



According to Hisa, Takeda-ryu's principles are these three (Amatsu 2006: 65):

1) chrush the opponent down to your feet, avoid throwing him,

2) utilize the power of legs,

3) avoid standing in front of the opponent.


Comparing these principles to what Ueshiba is doing in the 1935 Asahi demonstration, Ueshiba's style is clearly different regarding the first two principles. On the other hand, Ueshiba clearly regarded his art as martial, at least in the 1930s. This is shown in remarks such as "in actual combat, strike your opponent's face with full force" (Budo, 1991 [1938]: 43).


Moreover, as the video below interestingly demonstrates, it seems that Ueshiba did not stray far from his roots in his later days either.

Amatsu Soden techniques


Although being Hisa's best student and his natural successor as the head of the daitoryu Takumakai branch, Yutaka Amatsu gave up daitoryu in the late 1970s and concentrated on his career as a journalist instead. After retiring from work, Amatsu went back to Takumakai 20 years later and started sharing what he had learned from Hisa. In his absence the Takumakai had much adopted the technical curriculum developed by Sokaku's son, Tokimune Takeda (1916-1993), including the so-called Hiden Mokuroku ("secret syllabus"), which is publicly available.


Pursuing to preserve Hisa's legacy, Amatsu concentrated on teaching the Soden instead.


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Referenced literature

The Real Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu - What Menkyokaiden Hisa Takuma Taught Me by Yutaka Amatsu, 2006.

Budo: Teachings of the Founder of Aikido by Morihei Ueshiba, Kodansha, 1991. Originally, Budo by Moritaka Ueshiba, 1938.

Kannagara no Budo by Takuma Hisa, 1940.

Guillaume Erard, 2012: "Hisa Takuma - The technical successor of Takeda Sokaku".

Chirstopher Li, 2016: "Takuma Hisa – Kannagara no Budo, Daito-ryu Aiki Budo Hiden 1940".

Select Aikido Journal entries.

Ueshiba-ryu and Takeda-ryu


Volumes 1-6 of the Soden collection contain techniques taught by Ueshiba, and volumes 7-9 techniques taught by Takeda. Having studied with them both, Hisa regarded Ueshiba-ryu and Takeda-ryu as separate styles. "Ueshiba-ryu is gentle and does not have any dangerous techniques... It's suitable for ordinary people." (Takuma Hisa in Amatsu 2006: 90.) "Takeda-ryu is the real Daitoryu" (ibid. 88).


Takeda was completely against even taking photographs (which were taken secretly without his authorization), whereas Ueshiba had nothing against publicity. Thus, Hisa could only publish Ueshiba-ryu while Takeda was still alive. In 1940 Hisa published the book Kannagara no Budo, which depicts some of Ueshiba-ryu techniques from the Soden. These techniques have striking similarities with techniques in Ueshiba's own manuals Budo Renshu (1933) and Aikido Maki no Ichi (1953) published before and after Hisa's book (for downloads and comparison, see this article from Aikido Sangenkai).


Of all his students, Hisa taught Yutaka Amatsu (1937-2013) exclusively Takeda-ryu (Amatsu 2006). This included Soden volumes 7-9, but also Takeda's versions of volume 1-6 techniques, which were different from Ueshiba's. Soden in its entirety is still not public, but a documentary film shot in Hisa's final years depicts his students performing some of the Soden techniques. Amatsu was given the task of choosing which techniques were performed and by whom.

Daitoryu aiki-jujutsu


Sokaku Takeda (1859-1943) revived and started spreading the art in the turn of the 20th century.

Takeda was Morihei Ueshiba's (1883-1969) teacher, and in 1922 he granted Ueshiba with kyoju dairi "representative instructor" license.


Takeda is said having instructed about 30 000 students. During the 20th century daitoryu inevitably divided into several branches, and some of them differ significantly from others.

> Basic overview of the main branches. 

The text below is mainly concerned with Takuma Hisa's branch and more precisely Yutaka Amatsu's perspective.

Takuma Hisa (1895-1980) was an important figure for both aikido and daitoryu. He studied intensively with both Ueshiba and Takeda, received daitoryu menkyo kaiden from Takeda (1939), and 8th dan in aikido from Ueshiba (1956). In 1959 he established the Kansai Aikido Club which taught the combined techniques of Ueshiba and Takeda. The Takumakai, an organization of daitoryu dojos which developed around him, was created in August 1975. (> read more)


Hisa made important contributions in documenting  techniques. He compiled the nine Soden books (1942-1944), which included most techniques tought to him at the Asahi newspaper by Ueshiba and Takeda during 1934-1939.


Hisa also directed the promotional film "Budo" in 1935 depicting Ueshiba demonstrating his art, which would later be called aikido. 

Documentary on Daitoryu (1978) produced by the Kobudo Kyokai and the Japanese Ministry of Education.

"Budo" (1935) film produced by Asahi Newspaper and directed by Takuma Hisa.

Comparison of Ueshiba's pre-war and post-war technique by Marius V.