Takeda Tokimune

Following Sokaku’s death in Aomori Prefecture in 1943, his third son Takeda Tokimune succeeded him as head of the Takeda family and headmaster (soke) of the Daito-ryu. Tokimune was born on October 7, 1916 in Shimoyubetsu in Hokkaido. As a boy, his father trained him strictly in swordsmanship and Daito-ryu aiki jujutsu. He often accompanied Sokaku on his travels and acted on his behalf as kyoju dairi (assistant instructor). Following the Second World War he joined the police force as a detective, and after his retirement took a position as a director with a large company called Yamada Fisheries. In 1954 he established the Daitokan dojo in the city of Abashiri on the northern coast of Hokkaido. He retired from Yamada Fisheries in 1976 to devote himself to traveling around Japan teaching Daito-ryu and working to disseminate the tradition.

Previous to this time, Daito-ryu had been for the most part an exclusive art taught only to prominent individuals such as descendants of the samurai class, military officers, and teachers. Tokimune, however, began working toward sharing the art with a wider audience by conducting what he called ‘Soke Seminars’ in various places around Japan. As a result of these seminars, the previously hidden techniques of Daito-ryu were revealed to the public as Daito-ryu aiki budo. On February 7, 1981 Tokimune presented Daito-ryu at a major public demonstration of classical martial arts that was broadcast on Japanese national television. This demonstration included tachiai rokunin zume (pinning six opponents attempting to hold him from a standing position) and newaza kyunin nage (throwing nine opponents attempting to pin him on his back to the ground); thus, the techniques of Daito-ryu and his own skill in executing them immediately gained the attention of the Japanese budo world.
These exhibitions not only demonstrated the high quality of Daito-ryu as a body of unique martial technique, but also suggested the art’s importance as a Japanese cultural asset.