The roots of Daito-ryu are said to originate with Emperor Seiwa in the 9th century AD, who changed the art of sumo – the forerunner of jujutsu – from an imperial court art into a martial art. Sumo was passed down through descendants of the Seiwa-Genji family to the Minamoto family, who further researched and developed the theory and techniques of the art. In the 12th century, a member of the Minamoto family relocated to a town named “Takeda” in the Kai region and founded the “Kai-Genji Takeda” family line. The art was eventually passed down to a Takeda descendant named Takeda Sokaku, who became a famous 19th and 20th-century martial artist and is considered the reviver of the Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu. The art was historically taught in secrecy up until the end of the 19th century, at which time Takeda Sokaku began to teach it openly following the wishes of his teacher.
Takeda Sokaku transmission to Horikawa Kodo Sensei:
Sokaku had many students but produced only a handful of extremely talented martial artists during his lifetime. A top student was Horikawa Kodo Sensei, who was awarded the title of “Eisei Meijin” by Japanese government officials and dignitaries in recognition of this selfless, lifelong dedication as a teacher. To give a point of reference, this title is similar in significance as the tradition of Knighthood in England. Kodo Meijin was also awarded full transmission of Daito-ryu – the highest rank achievable – by his teacher Takeda Sokaku, and later founded our “Kodokai” line of Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu in 1950.
Kiyama Hayawo Shihan was born in Kumamoto, Kyushu, and is one of only a handful of highly ranked instructors of orthodox Daito-ryu in the world. He is the most senior instructor of Daito-ryu Aiki Jujustu Kodokai in North America, and has been teaching quietly in San Luis Obispo for over 40 years. The Kodokai branch of Daito-ryu emphasizes the use of aiki in particular. Kiyama Shihan is considered internationally to be one of the most talented proponents of the technique of aiki in regards to its effective application.