Most Aikido practitioners (aikidoka) who have heard about Iwama style aikido (now called takemusu
aikido) know that this special style, or form, of aikido emphasizes the use
of weapons (Buki) as well as the practice of unarmed techniques (taijutsu).
The weapons used in our way of practice are the boken (wooden sword), Jo (staff) and tanto (knife).
O'sensei used to say "taijustsu jo ken , bukiwaza onaji desu" meaning, the use of unarmed techniques, sword techniques and staff techniques are the same thing and this can be seen through practice with these weapons.
"Take" is the same Japanese character as the Bu in Bushido, meaning martial.
"Musu" means to give birth to, or create.
O Sensei used the term Takemusu Aikido as a means to explain the highest level of Aikido to be able to spontaneously use and create effective Aikido techniques in any given situation.
Another term used for this type of Aikido is Traditional Aikido.
I feel I cannot explain better than my teachers what takemusu aikido is. So, I have asked permission to include in this article their definitions.
"Takemusu Aikido is referred to as O-Sensei's traditional Aikido, which he taught every day in Iwama and which Morihiro Saito Shihan handed down to us faithfully and accurately. To better understand why Iwama Takemusu Aikido differs from other styles practiced all over the world, we should consider that Aikido did not begin its international diffusion until after the end of World War II. The art as it is mostly practiced today derives more from the interpretations of leading teachers and other disciples of Ueshiba rather than from the Aikido of the Founder himself.
Beginning from the 1950s these well-known instructors introduced their own modifications to the art. The reason for this can be explained by the events relating to World War II, the Founder's long period of seclusion in Iwama and his son's increasing participation and responsibility in the organizational and administrative activities of Aikikai Headquarters in Tokyo (Honbu Dojo). Almost all the senior disciples had to abandon their training in Iwama - many during the War, others immediately after it.
In those days life in Iwama was really severe. The widespread poverty and lack of food compelled people to work hard to get a living, so all Ueshiba's disciples could no longer go to the dojo. During that difficult period Saito Sensei always stood by the Founder, serving him even in the most humble works.
Even if it was a very hard life, Saito Sensei had the great opportunity to spend more time close to the Founder than any other person (24 years), either before or after the War.
O-Sensei trusted his devoted student deeply and taught him everything - theoretically and practically. Saito Sensei never dared to interpret or change what he had received from the Founder; he just confined himself to memorize, study and help his Sensei. Morihiro Saito Sensei spent all his life preserving the original Aikido of O-Sensei.
Saito Sensei's training approach was unique from that of other leading instructors in that it emphasizes the same importance of taijutsu (empty-handed techniques) and buki waza (weapons techniques), which includes the study of ken (sword) and jo (staff). O-Sensei looked upon this unavoidable connection between taijutsu, ken and jo practice as a determining factor for studying Aikido and Saito Sensei's training method is based on the punctual application of these principles."
Author: Paolo N. Corallini
Translated from the original Italian by: Roberta Monticelli
English version Edited by: Christian Pacella
(With permission from Dr. Paolo N. Corallini Shihan)
"When explaining takemusu aikido Saito Sensei used to say:" Generally speaking, Aikido is known by it's taijutsu techniques (body techniques or unarmed techniques). However, the taijutsu movements are based on movements of the ken (sword).
It is difficult to separate those movements which are based on the ken from those of taijutsu. Rather it is a harmonious blending of both that creates a single Aikido. In other words, both systems agree with each other.
If one were to mix present forms of Kendo and Judo, and expect the result to be similar to Aikido one would be making a mistake. Even when using the same ken, Kendo and Aikido are very different even though they may appear to be similar.
It would also be very difficult to explain Kendo in terms of Judo and vice versa ..
.. The more present day Budo seeks a real peace and proves the spirit of universal love, the more severe the process should be to attain the goals. That is the word Budo.
Progress along the way (Do) as one of hardship resulting in everlasting joy and cherished human relationships.
These are special rights given to students, and it is the duty of the student to accept the hardships of ken, Jo and Tajutsu practice to actively further himself along the way ..
..The systems of ken, jo and taijutsu have common features that can be seen by careful examination. This proves the adaptability of Aikido to any situation.
True understanding comes ONLY through practice.
It should be the desire of all who practice aikido to develop ki, body and mind without neglecting daily practice. In this way one can develop the true Aikido Spirit."
Morihiro Saito Shihan
What is Takemusu Aikido
איגוד טקמוסו איקידו ישראל