The 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 Japanese martial art created in 1965 by Seiken Shukumine (1925 – 2001). The word “Taido” can be translated as the way of the mind and body (or internal and external self). Taido has its roots in traditional Okinawan Karate. Feeling that the martial arts particularly karate were not adapting to meet the needs of a changing world, Shukumine first developed a style of karate called Genseiryu around 1950.

Taido is a martial art which belongs to a group of Japanese systems commonly refered to as Budo. Other examples of Budo are: Judo, Karate-do, Aikido and Kendo. Taido was developed from Gensei-ryu-karate-do by the Okinawa-born master Seiken Shukumine, the founder of both systems. Taido resembles an acrobatic form of karate.

Taido techniques consist of body movements in connection with punches, kicks and an ocational throw. Taido contains a lot of motion and the Taidoka (Taido student) often moves his body over a great distance by way of headrolls, cartwheels and high leaps.

Taido differs from other martial arts by the methods utilized for moving the body about and by the principles for developing power in attack and defence. Taido techniques are designed to make use of the three dimentional space by which is meant that techniques are performed from the air downwards, from a standing position in a horizontal plane, or from the floor upwards.

are unnecessary for the undertaking of tournaments. Taido-techniques work in a way, which makes it possible for Taidoka of very different size and strength to train together or face each other in tournaments.

Five Principles of Taido :

  1. Keep your mind as clear and calm as the polished surface of a mirror. This way you will see to the heart of things. Having the right state of mind will help you avoid confusion.
  2. Be composed. Body and mind should be as one. Bear yourself correctly and you need never fear insult.
  3. Invigorate your spirit from the source of energy deep in your abdomen. With the right spirit you will never fear combat.
  4. In every action, follow the correct precepts you have been taught. By doing so you cannot act wrongly.
  5. Be adaptable in your techniques and maintain freedom of physical movement. The right technique will prevent you from being dominated.

The essence of Taido lies not in the techniques of the art itself but in the utilization of the training acquired in Taido for the development and benefit of both self and society Taido’s techniques are designed with a dual purpose in mind. Not only are they used for one’s personal defense but they play an important role in keeping one’s internal organ’s in a healthy state of being.

Based upon the theories subscribed to in the medical art of acupuncture, Taido has studied the effect of the angle of body movement upon the internal organs of the body. There are Hokei ( a systemized routine of techniques and movements) in Taido which improve the students offensive and defensive techniques for external development and their health. Taido also strongly emphasizes the breathing techniques which are required in this art.

The utilization of these breathing techniques shows the uniqueness of Taido with respect to other martial arts. Taido’s techniques have been developed so that both men and women, young and old, can practice this art without respect to their physical development or conditioning. Currently there are Taido Associations in Japan, USA, Finland, Sweden, France, Netherlands and Australia.

Taido is a scientific martial art which has taken the essence of the traditional Japanese martial arts. It has transformed it into one which can meet the needs of a modern society. Taido’s merits have been noted in both the Japanese press and the television broadcasting networks as a martial art having “philosophical depth” and “creativity”.

It has been deemed the martial art of “the 21st century”. Dr. Seiken Shukumine, former Grand Master of the Japan Gensei-school of karate, realized the shortcomings in the unscientific approach taken previous martial arts and decided to develop a new martial art that was both scientific and relevant in the context of the modern world.

For thirty years he underwent rigorous training and research in the theory of martial arts and based upon the results, he created the three dimensional art which he called Taido. Taido is not a martial art which moves along a one dimensional line in executing punching or kicking techniques but one whose techniques are delivered by changing the body axis and balance.

It is also characterized by the use of elaborate footwork in changing the angle of attack and by the use of one’s entire body in the martial art. Taido, moreover, is not simply a sport as many forms of karate have become, but also involves a special type of training which requires a tremendous amount of self-discipline in terms of spiritual concentration.

Competitions in Taido include Jissen (sparring), Hokei (which is similar to kata), and Tenkai, which is a made up fight, where one “hero” defeats five opponents during the last part of a 30 second bout. In Tenkai the judges give points to the competing teams in a similar manner as is done in e.g. figure skating.