Taidō (taidō/taido/taidou/taidoh 躰道) is a Japanese martial art created in 1965 by Seiken Shukumine (1925–2001). The word taidō means ”way of the body”. Taidō 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 Genseiryū around 1950.
Seiken Shukumine, the founder of Taidō, sought to overcome limitations of karate by developing the more flexible Taidō.
Eventually, Seiken Shukumine became convinced that the limitations of karate lay in its linear mode of training. He considered how to make the defense more flexible and universal and introduced the new art as ”Taidō”. Taidō’s techniques offered many innovations: the inclusion of spinning and twisting movements, gymnastic maneuvers, speedy and effective footwork, and a changing body angle.
Taidō’s purpose was, and continues to be, the application of scientific methodology and traditional values to the evolution of the martial arts. According to its creator, Taidō’s ultimate aim is to equip its practitioners to function at a high level in society.
Five principles of Taidō
- 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.
- Be composed. Body and mind should be as one. Bear yourself correctly and you need never fear insult.
- Invigorate your spirit from the source of energy deep in your abdomen. With the right spirit you will never fear combat.
- In every action, follow the correct precepts you have been taught. By doing so you cannot act wrongly.
- Be adaptable in your techniques and maintain freedom of physical movement. The right technique will prevent you from being dominated.
Five types of body movements
Taidō classifies attack and defense techniques into five categories of body movement:
- Sen (videos) – Vertical spinning movement
- Un (videos) – Ascending and descending wave-like movement
- Hen (videos) – Falling movement characterized by changing the body’s axis
- Nen (videos) – Horizontal spinning movement
- Ten (videos) – Rolling and tumbling movement
These movements are combined with punches, kicks, and other techniques. The last category, Ten, includes acrobatic movements, for instance back-flips, which makes Taidō spectacular to watch.