A Bird’s Eye View of Taido

The Taido | What is Taido | Taido Overview | History of Taido | Taido Philosophy | Taido as a Martial Art | The Five Teachings of Taido | From Karate to Taido | Taido Vocabulary | A Bird’s Eye View of Taido

Taido is a new Japanese martial art with its roots in traditional Okinawan Karate. It was founded by Seiken Shukumine who started to practise Karate in Okinawa in his childhood.

Seiken Shukumine first founded a style of Karate called Gensei ryu in 1950. Gensei ryu developed further and became Taido, which was officially founded in 1965. It should also be pointed out that Taido has continued to develop since its creation in the 1960s and that it is still developing.

Characteristic features of Taido are the five types of body movements and the extensive use of footwork. The five body movements, which are based upon changes in the body axis, are:

  • Sen ‘Top-spinning movement’
  • Un ‘Ascending and descending wave like movement’
  • Hen ‘Movement like a falling tree’
  • Nen ‘Whirl like movement’
  • Ten ‘Rolling movement like a ball’

These five movements are combined with, for example, kicks and punches. Therefore, a crucial difference between Taido and Karate is that a Taido practitioner always performs a technique, for example a kick, in combination with one of these five body movements.

Characteristic features of Taido

The emphasis on movement makes Taido more acrobatic than other Japanese martial arts. It should always be remembered, however, that some of the movements of Taido are very advanced and should be trained with caution. Furthermore, it is not a requirement to learn all the difficult tengi techniques in order to advance.

The five movements make it possible to perform a defensive movement and at the same time deliver an attack. For example, the hen-movement can be exemplified with a dodge that is performed while kicking at the same time.

Another important part of Taido is the extensive use of footwork, called unsoku. The footwork is used tactically to control the opponent, create an angle and also to avoid the opponent’s attack. It can also be used to add speed to the techniques and to adjust the distance to the opponent. Unsoku is formally trained in a pattern called unsoku happo, ‘eight ways to move the feet’.

Taido is different from other Japanese martial arts in having the system of five body movements and unsoku. However, it should be mentioned that Taido at the same time is a very traditional Japanese martial art. For example, in Japanese martial arts the correct use of the koshi is very important. The word koshi roughly corresponds to the hips. Taido maintains this tradition and the correct use of the hips is constantly emphasized during Taido training. Another important thing is to be able to perform a correct fighting stance, called kamae. There is, of course, much more to be said, but this has merely been meant to serve as a brief introduction.