Shintaido Background

The Shintaido | What is Shintaido | Origin of Shintaido | Shintaido Background | Shintaido Curriculum | The Founder Hiroyuki Aoki | Haruyoshi Fugaku Ito | Natural Body Movement

Hiroyuki Aoki, who became a master of Shotokai karate in his twenties under Egami sensei, was charged with the task of creating a new kind of martial art for the modern age. He formed the group Rakutenkai, or “Meeting of Optimists”.

This group of approximately 30 people, including some of Japan’s top martial arts instructors and a variety of artists, musicians and actors, men and women, young and old, set about to create a new art from their own ideals and sense of optimism. The result of their labours is what we know today as Shintaido, a truly avant guarde system of body movement.

Shintaido is a radical response to traditional martial arts, The Rakutenkai group sought to create a new form of movement that would embody the modern desire for peace, co-operation and mutual understanding among people of all cultures, rather than to cultivate a fighting art.

Influences :

Shintaido movement was strongly influenced by contemporary and ancient arts such as classical music, jazz, tea ceremony, Noh theatre and abstract painting. It synthesises individual expression with meditative practice, energy awareness and health exercises.

Within the present Shintaido curriculum there are clear influences from traditional martial arts such as kenjutsu (sword technique, cutting movements with both open hand and wooden weapons), karate (punching and kicking), judo (throwing techniques), bojutsu (long staff) and jojutsu (short staff).

However despite these influences the emphasis of the movement is on developing an open, soft body, and on giving and receiving rather than strict attack and defense.

Who is it for?

Shintaido is open to everyone and can be enjoyed by athletic and non-athletic people alike. Students are encouraged to extend their range of movements, each working at their own pace. The movement is co-operative rather than competitive: students must be prepared to work with others, rather than against them, in groups and pairs as well as individually.


The Shintaido curriculum is very broad, incorporating both open vigorous movements and soft or meditative movements. Shintaido encourages open joyful expression and co-operation. We are competing only with ourselves and our own limits – so Shintaido practice can be a positive experience, when all that is required is that we should enjoy moving our bodies and come to respect and work with the range of movement of other individuals.

Beginners’ classes are run according to a structured programme recognised by the European Shintaido College, and aim to give students a grounding in the core movements.