The Origin of Aiki

The Takeda style’s art of aiki is first documented in the twelfth century as “Takeda Ryu Aiki no Jutsu,” but its origins go much further back in history. Hisashi Nakamura, founder of the Nakamura branch of the Takeda style (Takeda Ryu Nakamura Ha), writes in his book “Aikido”:

“In the twenty-seventh year of the reign of the twelfth tenno (emperor) by the name of Keiko (Keigyo), the Kumaso tribe rebelled. As a result, the heir to the throne, Yamato Takeru no Mikoto, was sent on an expedition to punish the Kumaso. On his way, he performed a cleansing ceremony at Kamiyo waterfall. He placed his feet on the rocky ground of the waterfall, spread his arms wide, was filled with spiritual power and gathered the entire strength of his body in his fingertips. Turning towards the sky, he executed several upward blows, then let his hands drop and struck out powerfully several times with his arms. After the prince had completed these movements, he decided to attack the Kumaso. Disguised as a woman, he crept into the enemy’s camp and there roused the sleeping leader of the Kumaso. When the Kumaso leader tried to attack him, the prince opened his arms, was filled with strength and threw him to the ground, having already snatched the sword from him. This technique of spreading one’s arms and throwing down one’s opponent was the beginning of aiki. Thereafter, the prince studied diligently and passed his skills on to Takeda no Kimi no Mikoto for the protection of the palace.”