There has recently been some activity on the forum talking about Daito-ryu in Toronto and Ontario. I just realized that forum poster "WarriorOfLuv" is someone who contacted me querying daito-ryu practise ( Sorry I didn't figure it out sooner but of course your name isn't on your post.) and I thought that I would post the same information that I provided them with.

This particular forum has plenty of connections to Okabayashi Shogen students, including Richard Carlow who was my own instructor and is an advisor to this forum, so many here are probably familiar with both the people and the content to which I refer.

"If you have heart set on doing Daito-ryu you have picked a difficult road to hoe as there are precious few legitimate instructors in North America.

The leading instructor of the Kodokai organization gave out grades to a small group of instructors, mostly based out of New York and many claim that they gave out these grades very liberally. The Saigo ryu (or whatever they are presently called) seem to have no legitimate basis in the Daito-ryu and unfortunately they are very active in Ontario and Quebec. I can't speak to their technique but the history of their school is without a doubt false.

The other practitioners who follow various groups such as that of the Kondo Katsuyuki are really just study groups doing their best between seminars, where practitioners from Japan come to help them not wander to far from the path. They and other groups are sincerely doing the best that they can but to this point lack technical depth in the art.

We also have groups of aikidoists who decide that when they pratise aikido more violently they are practising Daito-ryu (nothing could be further from the truth ) and set up their aikijujutsu schools. Their practice may be of value but it is not Daito-ryu.

Daito-ryu and aikido are very different at some fundamental levels. In some ways hapkido resembles Daito-ryu more closely than Japanese aikido in that many of the techniques which are performed against the joints have been removed from aikido (even Yoshinkan and Iwama) and are preserved in hapkido, while in others ways hapkido is dramatically different from Daitoryu as well. In short, Daito-ryu is its own thing and your past training in aikido will frustrate you as much as it assists you in the pursuit of the art.

For example, Daito-ryu is not a system based upon circular motion. Linear movement is extremely imporatant in Daito-ryu. Also in terms of footwork Daito-ryu tries not to post and pivot on a point but prefers to open on a line. This is pretty fundamental stuff and posed a major hurdle for both myself while I was in Japan and the many other Daito-ryu practitioners who had trained previously in aikido.

If you can get your head around this and can commit to learning Daito-ryu as something new and not as an extention of your aikido then I would recommend you contact Mr. Joseph Wilson who is a 2nd dan under Okabayashi Shogen, who is really the only qualified practitioner of any grade affiliated with any mainline Daito-ryu group in Ontario that I know of. Mr. Wilson is a very unassuming and casual fellow but you should not make the mistake of taking him or what he has to offer lightly. With the above in mind he may be contacted at:

jnw@japan.com or

joseph.neal.wilson@gmail.com"

Perhaps this information will help other aikidoists who are in search of the roots of their art.

My own training group also runs in Scarborough but our emphasis is on general fighting skills and Korean hapkido despite the valuable information I learned while studying with the Hakuho Ryu group in Osaka with Richard Carlow and Peter Handley.

Matthew Rogers
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Matthew Rogers www.spiritforging.com