Shintaido Curriculum

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

The Shintaido program consists of several disciplines which are studied individually as well as jointly: a certain class may focus exclusively on one discipline (for example shintaido bojutsu only), while another may emphasize one particular technique applied across all disciplines (for example sagari-irimi stepping as applied in karate, bojutsu, and kenjutsu).

Each discipline has its own curriculum with a very specific structure for techniques and ranking. This system is closely modeled on the ranking tradition found in other Japanese art forms, from other martial arts to calligraphy and even flower arrangements.

What is commonly known as the “black belt” level corresponds to 1st (Shodan) through 5th dan (Godan), the latter being the highest rank awarded in Shintaido. Ranks below 1st dan are called “kyu” and are organized in descending order, 1st kyu being the highest rank and 10th kyu the lowest.

Shintaido is a unique combination of martial arts and body movement that cultivates the spirit along with the mind and body. It has been called a moving meditation. Shintaido’s forms exemplify openness and freedom.

The movements of Shintaido provide a new way of experiencing our relationship with ourselves, others, nature, and the spiritual world.

Shintaido is also a healing art, and a form of artistic expression. Shintaido attracts people who are interested in change, self development, and re-connecting with their bodies, their community, their spiritual nature.

Shintaido was started in Japan in the 1960’s under the leadership of Mr. Hiroyuki Aoki, with a group of martial artists, musicians, actors, visual artists, and others who wished to combine traditional wisdom with aspirations for peace, freedom and equality. The Shintaido philosophy is grounded in body movement.

How is Shintaido different from other martial arts?

  • Offers practical applications for everyday life
  • Puts emphasis on continuous development and learning (in addition to a study of form)
  • Includes arrangements of individual, partner, small and large group movement
  • Uses improvisation and expression
  • Can be a creative outlet for expressing emotions
  • Thinks that “The body is a message of the universe”
  • Offers no colored belts or competitive events
  • Approaches the martial arts from a spiritual and artistic perspective, rather than as fighting arts
  • Offers outdoor practice into which natural elements like wind and water are incorporated
  • Fosters a strong sense of community within classes

How is Shintaido similar to other martial arts?

  • Builds confidence and develops energetic awareness
  • Draws on fundamental physical forms and movements (kata)
  • Offers a body-mind discipline and path of personal development
  • Relies upon strong teacher­student and senior­junior student relationships for teaching and learning
  • Includes both hard and soft forms, “empty hand” techniques as well as practice with traditional weapons
  • Has cultural influences from its country of origin, Japan, creating a bicultural context for learning
  • Offers examinations to assess practitioners’ abilities
  • Uses certain forms and etiquette to encourage respect, responsibility and safety during practice