View Full Version : Statement by Kondo Katsuyuki

Nathan Scott
28th July 2000, 00:41

I know Mr. Myer mentioned this in another thread, but I thought I would bring this up again in a more noticable place:

Following is an invitatation and follow up from Stan Pranin to collect questions to ask Kondo Katsuyuki. These were posted originally on the AJ forums, under the threads "Questions to be posed to Katsuyuki Kondo Sensei" and "Kondo Sensei answers questions posed by bulletin board members!", the premise of which is copied below:

Posted by Stanley Pranin, 07-11-2000:

I spoke with Kondo Sensei today on the telephone about some of the subjects covered in the numerous threads regarding the Seishinkan of Abashiri and the issue of succession in Daito-ryu.

As our conversation was starting to become quite involved, Kondo Sensei suggested that I write down questions that I and others have and he would produce a written response so that a record would remain. If any of you have questions you would like me to ask Kondo Sensei related specifically to these issues, please post them as replies below.

Please stay on topic and be sure to update yourselves by reading the threads on this site and also on the bulletin board of the Seishin group at [dead link]. Please keep your questions brief. I'd like to compile the list within the next 24 hours.

I'd like to make a few observations about areas I think form the crux of the issues being discussed.

- The matter of a supposed will that much of the Seishinkai argument is based on does not seem to actually exist. Various statements of Mr. Kobayashi later hinted that even if the will of Tokimune did not exist it really didn't matter because "tradition" dictates the matter of succession. Mrs. Yokoyama denies such a will of Tokimune's exists.

- The matter of the award of the Menkyo Kaiden by Tokimune Sensei to Kondo Sensei is not a matter of dispute although it has been questioned. I was personally present with Tokimune Sensei and Kondo Sensei when the subject was discussed. I will later provide a first-hand witness account of what took place in 1988.

Let me add the following in this connection. Only two menkyo kaiden were ever given out by Sokaku. Neither of these documents have survived. Now where do you suppose the contents of the menkyo kaiden could be obtained if not from Tokimune himself? In other words, the menkyo kaiden--in the absence of other available copies--must have come from Tokimune Sensei or else Kondo Sensei or his agent secretly stole into the Soke's house in 1988 while he was living there, photographed everything, had someone write out a bogus scroll and then published photos in Aiki News; he also stole the relevant seals of Tokimune or had them forged, placed them on the bogus copies, publicly announced his promotion and, in the process, fooled both daughters of Tokimune from noticing what he had done! Give me a break! [I'll leave aside the matter of a menkyo kaiden awarded to Kodo Horikawa since this issue is not clear]

- The explanations of why the resignation forms of Mssrs. Kato, Arisawa, and Sano are not really resignation forms strains one's credulity. This is especially the case when the form clearly has the choice of "resignation" or "withdrawal" (temporary) on its face. The claim made further is that, even if these resignations really were resignations, it was only from the dojo, and not from the art per se. One must then believe that the resignation submitted to the Daitokan dojo of Tokimune Takeda Sensei left the individuals involved still in the good graces of the acting Soke (Mrs. Yokohama) and it was understood that they were still part of the art!

- The question was already raised by one of the participants in the discussion of why the three principals (Kato, Sano, and Arisawa) of the Seishinkai were only 5th dan while Kondo Sensei received kyoju dairi, soke dairi, menkyo kaiden, and 7th dan awards from Tokimune Sensei. Remember these are supposedly the seniors closest to Tokimune having received his training for decades. How could Kondo Sensei, a younger man, who lives in Tokyo and visited the Daitokan dojo from time to time for training be so recognized while these other seniors were passed over? Food for thought.

In closing, so much has been written of an evasive nature by the Seishinkai advocates that one can really get lost in the jumble of comments offered. In the final analysis, the Seishinkai group will most likely go on calling themselves the Daito-ryu Hombu while Kondo Sensei will do the same. Decide for yourself who you believe has the best claim to lead the art in the next generation.

Stanley Pranin


Posted by Stanley Pranin, 07-25-2000:

I have just received some 27 pages of documentation from Katsuyuki Kondo Sensei containing his answers to questions posed on this bulletin board along with supporting documentation. As the material is very extensive, I will translate it little by little as time permits. I will also post a number of scans of various documents. If there are any of you willing to assist with the translation chores, that would be most helpful.

Kondo Sensei gives background information on the circumstances of his receiving the menkyo kaiden from Tokimune Takeda Sensei, the reasons for his being granted a copyright for use of the term "Daito-ryu aikijujutsu" and similar words, how Tokimune Sensei became Soke (it was indeed official and documented proof exists!), and a number of related subjects.

We appreciate your patience. Kondo Sensei spent a tremendous amount of time in preparing this documentation and I think you'll find the contents very compelling.

As an afterthought, I asked Kondo Sensei about the "hon mokuroku" document mentioned on the Seishinkai bulletin board. He explained that Tokimune Takeda gave out a printed "hon mokuroku" to senior members of the Abashiri dojo--my guess is sometime in the 1980s--as a way of encouraging his students. This document has the names of about 90 techniques up through sankajo but is not a formal teaching certification or transmission scroll nor is it equivalent to a hiden mokuroku, the first transmission scroll level which includes 118 techniques.

A couple of relevant questions to ask the Seishin side would then be, how many people received the "hon mokuroku." (I have the impression quite a few people did, some of whom did not have high ranking.) Would the Seishinkai be willing to post a scan of the document? Does the document contain the individual names of the recipients? What was the range of ranks of those who received this document? For example, did any shodan, nidans or lower ranked people also receive this document? It would certainly be enlightening to find the answers to these questions.

Stanley Pranin

The Q&A was translated and posted to the AJ forum. Related threads can be viewed by going to the Aikido Journal bulletin board, then click on "daito ryu - general":

- Katsuyuki Kondo Sensei's reply to Question #1

- Kondo Sensei answers questions posed by bulletin board members!

Nathan Scott
16th August 2000, 00:30
Following are relevant posts from the AJ thread "Katsuyuki Kondo Sensei's reply to Question #1":

Posted by Stanley Pranin, 07-27-2000:

By way of introduction I would like to point out that Katsuyuki Kondo Sensei spent a great deal of time to research and write out the answers to the many questions posed by participants in the Aikido Journal bulletin board. He is choosing his words very carefully in his replies and trying as far as possible not to offend the sensibilities of various concerned parties. I will be taking the liberty of adding comments at the end of Kondo Sensei's replies by way of clarification. It is my sincere hope that this information provided here will be of use to those interested in understanding the subject of succession in Daito-ryu following Tokimune Takeda's death.

Stanley Pranin

Question 1: In one of your interviews for Aiki News around 1991, you said that you would support both daughters of Tokimune Sensei as Soke. Have you changed your mind on this issue? If so, why?

Kondo Sensei: In an interview conducted in September of 1991 I stated that a direct family member of Tokimune Takeda Sensei should succeed him as Daito-ryu Soke (=headmaster). In May of 1988 when I was awarded the menkyo kaiden and designated Soke Dairi (headmaster's representative) by Tokimune Takeda Sensei, he took both of my hands in his and asked me to assume responsibility for the instruction in Daito-ryu of his two grandsons. One of my duties as Soke Dairi was to train Tokimune Sensei's two grandsons to become outstanding successors.

I invited the grandson residing in Saitama Prefecture to practice on many occasions. Saitama and Tokyo are very close to each other. I invited him to my house many times to eat and train with my family and students. His reply was, "I have already read Tokimune Takeda Sensei's transmission scrolls so I'll be all right." In other words what he meant was that he could do Daito-ryu because he had read the scrolls! (The important points about Daito-ryu are not written in the scrolls. The reason is that even if the scrolls were to be lost or stolen the secrets of the school would not be revealed.) Given the fact that there are hundreds and thousands of students training assiduously, these words brought unstoppable tears to my eyes. I was shocked and could find no further words to say. Even though Tokimune Takeda Sensei had attempted to train him for many years, I understood well that it had been to no avail.

The mother of the grandson living in Abashiri did not want him to get involved in Daito-ryu. Under these circumstances, I had to resign myself to the fact that I could not carry out one of my duties as Soke Dairi and keep my promise to Tokimune Sensei to train a successor.

Then in July 1994, a letter was sent out by Mr. Masanobu Oshima (now Takeda) who is the husband of Tokimune Sensei's eldest daughter and the father of the grandson residing in Saitama. Mr. Oshima had no connection at all to Daito-ryu, had never trained or participated in a demonstration, nor did he have any knowledge of the art. The letter stated that he had become the Soke and wanted Tokimune Sensei's students all over Japan to send in enrollment forms. I also received a letter. Mrs. Nobuko Yokoyama, the second daughter of Tokimune Sensei was his legal representative while he was still alive (during his hospitalization). In other words, Mrs. Nobuko Yokoyama acted on behalf of Tokimune Sensei while he was still alive. During this period, Mrs. Yokoyama gave out rankings in the name of Tokimune Takeda Sensei and I conducted all testing as the Soke Dairi. Despite this, Mr. Masanobu Oshima did not consult with anyone when he declared himself to be the Soke.

Comments of Stanley Pranin:

This question came about because a great deal has been made of Kondo Sensei's comment alluded to in the above question on page 174 of "Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu" which I edited and published several years ago.

Kondo Sensei wishes to avoid naming the two grandsons of Tokimune Sensei. Those of you who have followed the threads on this subject so far will recognize that the "grandson from Saitama" refers to Mr. Hitoshi Oshima. By the same token, the "grandson from Abashiri" refers to the son of Mrs. Nobuko Yokoyama.

To clarify an important point, let me say that in earlier postings I have referred to Mrs. Yokoyama as the "interim Soke" during the period of Tokimune Sensei's hospitalization. As you can see from Kondo Sensei's explanation, she did not assume the title of Soke in a formal sense but acted in that capacity as Tokimune Sensei's legal representative.

Following are relevant posts from the AJ thread "Katsuyuki Kondo Sensei's replies to Questions #2 and #3":

Posted by Stanley Pranin, 08-10-2000:

Question 2: The Abashiri Seishin dojo claims that both Takeda sisters are in favor of supporting Mrs. Oshima's son Takeda Hitoshi as the next Soke, and that he is being trained in Daito-ryu currently. Do you intend to recognize Takeda Hitoshi or any other Takeda family member as Soke now or in the future, and if not, could you state the grounds for your position?

Kondo Sensei: I have not heard anything about Mrs. Yokoyama supporting the grandson from Saitama Prefecture. Moreover, I don't know anything about him becoming the next Daito-ryu Soke. I think someone who is qualified to be the Soke should at least meet the following minimum conditions.

From the times of Sokaku Sensei a tradition has existed in Daito-ryu. The qualification for teaching in Daito-ryu is called the "kyoju dairi" (=teaching certification). One can begin teaching Daito-ryu for the first time after being awarded the kyoju dairi certification.

Those of you who love the martial arts and Daito-ryu please consider this for a moment. Is it possible to become Soke if you train? Yes, but it depends on who your partner is. If one is to legitimately succeed as Soke, isn't it a matter of learning from someone who is legitimately qualified and after having received all transmission scrolls and licenses starting with the hiden mokuroku including the oral teachings and secrets that are not written into scrolls?

In addition, in order to become Soke I think there are a number of other matters to be resolved. I would like all of you to understand these things clearly. Even if someone who has trained under an unqualified person calls himself Soke, will martial artists from all over the world recognize such a person in this Internet age?

Comment of Stanley Pranin:

I think the main point here that Kondo Sensei is making is that the tradition in Daito-ryu--brief though it may be in historical terms--is for the Soke to have a thorough technical grounding in the arts of Daito-ryu as was the case with Tokimune Takeda when he learned from his father Sokaku. If this is not the case, then the Soke in Daito-ryu will become nothing more than a figurehead and the art will quickly lose its vitality.

Question 3: What were the circumstances at the time you received the menkyo kaiden from Tokimune Sensei? Why was the menkyo not recorded in Tokimune's eimeiroku?

Kondo Sensei: I went to the home of the Soke Tokimune Takeda in Abashiri together with Aiki News Editor-in-chief Stanley Pranin on January 30, 1988. At that time, the Soke told me that he was going to award me the menkyo kaiden. I received permission to photograph all of the [Daito-ryu] transmission scrolls. We photographed everything using Stanley Pranin's camera. On May 15, 1988 as directed I had the menkyo kaiden scrolls prepared and went to the Soke's home. At Tokimune Sensei's house, the Soke and his wife affixed the Daito-ryu seals to the transmission scrolls. This activity was fatiguing for Tokimune Sensei's wife and immediately after it was finished she fell ill and was hospitalized.

Naturally, the Soke accompanied his wife to the hospital and there was no time to record an entry for the menkyo kaiden in his student book (eimeiroku). Also, around this time, Mr. Munemitsu Takeda of Aizu contacted Tokimune Sensei through a third party demanding that he turn over the headmastership to the former since he was a descendent of Sokaku Sensei's first son. Tokimune Sensei told me not to make public my menkyo kaiden for a while.

Comment of Stanley Pranin:

As is clear from Kondo Sensei's comment, I was present during the visit to Tokimune Sensei's house in January 1988 and carefully observed the interaction between the two. It was obvious to me from this and other occasions when I saw them together that they were very close and that Tokimune Sensei treated Kondo Sensei differently from his other students. We spent several hours copying the transmission scrolls. When it came to photographing the menkyo kaiden scrolls, I was instructed to give the film negatives to Kondo Sensei's on the spot so that he could use them to prepare his menkyo kaiden.

The situation involving Munemitsu Takeda is quite confusing because there were two members of the extended Takeda family with exactly the same name. The older of the two was the younger son of Sokaku Sensei and he declared himself Soke in 1991. The second Munemitsu who resides in Fukushima Prefecture is the great great-grandson of Sokaku through an earlier marriage. He is a much younger man and now also claims to be the Daito-ryu Soke, at least on his trips abroad. Evidence of this claim can be found at:


Nathan Scott
1st September 2000, 23:42
Hi all,

I just came across an important quote in one of my back issues of Aikido Journal ( I should look through them more often). I've posted this note on the AJ BBS, but thought I'd copy it here as well.


Aikido Journal #116; 1996, Vol 23 #1 pg.35 "Sokaku Takeda and Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu" by Stanly Pranin:

"Regardless of who becomes the new headmaster, anyone unskilled enough to be defeated by his own students would truly be a disgrace for Daito ryu and such a person cannot be recognized. Consequently, I believe it is necessary to nurture the martial skills of the new headmaster.

Tokimune Takeda, from a letter dated November 10, 1987"


This is an important point, and one that not only demonstrates the qualifications (as evidenced by two generations of soke) in which this particular ryu-ha chooses their successor, but also appears to be a key reason why Kondo Sensei has not yet recognized anyone as the new headmaster yet.

This article is a great primer to the exact issue in question with the Abashiri Seishin group. If you have the opportunity to pick up a copy, I'd strongly suggest it.


Nathan Scott
31st October 2000, 21:42
Following are relevant posts from the AJ thread "Katsuyuki Kondo Sensei's replies to Questions #4 and #7":

Posted by Stanley Pranin, 10-31-2000:

Katsuyuki Kondo Sensei's replies to Questions #4 through #7 [Translation by Alan Ballard]

Question 4: Do you think the Soke (family transmission) system will be reestablished for Daito-ryu?

Kondo Sensei: Originally Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu and Daito-ryu Jujutsu did not have a Soke. Takeda Sokaku Sensei absolutely never called himself Soke. Generally speaking, Takeda Tokimune Sensei didn?t call himself Soke. They both referred to themselves as Hombucho and Somucho [="Headquarters Director" and "Director of General Affairs," respectively]. "Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu" and "Daito-ryu Jujutsu" are the formal titles for Daito-ryu. They have no Soke and therefore have no rank, instructors or dojos attached to them. However, Tokimune Sensei did call himself Soke when referring to "Daito-ryu Aikibudo." The position of Soke was Tokimune Sensei?s alone.

The positions of Hombucho and Somucho were assigned based on the possession of seven scrolls [for transmission of the inner secrets of the art]. Both Sokaku and Tokimune Sensei gave out the titles according to the scrolls. They referred to these scrolls as Hiden Mokuroku, Aiki-no-jutsu, Hiden Ogi, Aiki Nito-ryu Hiden, Goshin'yo-no-koto, Kaishaku Soden-no-koto, and Menkyo Kaiden-no-koto. Among Tokimune Sensei?s students, I am the only person to have received even the first scroll, the Hiden Mokuroku.

Tokimune Sensei felt the then current state of affairs [of Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu and Daito-ryu Jujutsu] was inappropriate for the times and decided to create Daito-ryu Aikibudo complete with dan ranks, Shibucho (branch heads), Soke-Dairi (headmaster representative), and a Soke (headmaster). Tokimune became the first Soke. However, the style was always publicly referred to as "Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu" or "Daito-ryu Jujutsu."

Comment of Stanley Pranin:

I think the main point Kondo Sensei is making here is that, in historical terms, no family transmission system existed for Daito-ryu. The adoption of this system in post-World War II Japan was decided by Tokimune Sensei and he was the only person to have used this title. No historical personage's in this line or the Takeda family before him used such a title.

In this sense, it is not even necessary to attempt to seek out or cultivate a new soke at the present time. As you can see, this becomes primarily a political issue and one of who actually assumes the leadership position in the mainline Daito-ryu school.

Question 5: What were the circumstances of your registering the words "Daito-ryu aikijujutsu" and similar terms yourself?

Kondo Sensei: First, I will present a statement I have earlier prepared regarding this matter:

Details of the registered trademark 'Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu"

In the spring of 1992, Takeda Tokimune Sensei (hereafter referred to as Sensei) began making preparations to apply for this trademark. However, as Tokimune was also ill, he appointed his second daughter, Yokoyama Nobuko, as his legal representative. Tokimune thoroughly examined the possibility of applying for trademark registration.

However, it was thought that as a result of the application Tokimune Sensei?s illness and Daito-ryu?s private information would be revealed to the Kobudo world. For these reasons, the family convinced Tokimune Sensei not to be the one to make the application.

Following this, Tokimune Sensei?s guardian and the next Soke, Yokoyama Nobuko, began making preparations to apply for the trademark rights.

Yokoyama Nobuko then held a meeting with her elder sister, who was at that time called Oshima Kyoko, regarding this matter. The meeting, at which the matter was thoroughly investigated, spanned three days. The result was that should there be an infringement on the trademark right, the family would reserve the right to bring forward a lawsuit against the offender.

However, for reasons of procedural, financial, and psychological burden, the Takeda family decided to not apply for the trademark rights.

At this point in the process I, as Soke Dairi, intervened and continued the application process for the trademark rights at the Patent Office. I was very concerned about the future of Daito-ryu. Given past events, I felt it was both important and necessary to secure the rights. After much consultation, I eventually secured the trademark rights.

[end of statement]

Regarding trademarks, the names Daito-ryu, Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu and Daito-ryu Aikibudo have been registered. The following rights have also been secured:

1. The right to plan/hold events and classes under the trademarked names.
2. Magazine and newspaper rights.
3. Video rights.

In spite of the fact that the Takeda family decided not to apply for the trademark rights, in July of 1994 Takeda Masanobu registered an appeal with the Patent office in order to be able to call himself Soke. The appeal process spanned four years and in October of 1998 the verdict was handed down as an entire victory on our part. In short, Takeda Masanobu was denied the right to call himself Soke.

Comment of Stanley Pranin:

Since I have been a close personal friend of Kondo Sensei since 1987 I have followed the matter of the copyright application from the beginning. I specifically remember that the Takeda family looked into the matter of copyrighting use of the term "Daito-ryu aikijujutsu" because of challenges from Takeda Munemitsu of Rubeshibe [Tokimune Sensei's younger brother, now deceased] and Takeda Munemitsu of Fukushima Prefective [a great-grandson of Sokaku from an earlier marriage.]

Question 6: Did Tokimune Sensei leave a will indicating who he wished would succeed him? If so, what was his health condition at that time?

Kondo Sensei: Tokimune Sensei absolutely did not leave a will. For future benefit, I?d like to be very clear about this. If a person claiming to possess Tokimune Sensei?s will were to appear, that person would be a fraud.

There once was a person who had Tokimune Sensei write a will that declared him the Soke. However, the will was written at a time when Tokimune Sensei?s illness had become quite severe. This matter was resolved by the Takeda family, in court, in Abashiri and the person has subsequently been banned from Daito-ryu.

Comment of Stanley Pranin:

The person referred to is Tokimune Sensei's younger brother, Munemitsu, who died in 1999.

Question 7: As the acting Hombucho and Somucho, do you plan to take any action against the Abashiri Seishin group?

Kondo Sensei: No comment.

Comment of Stanley Pranin:

I wish to sincerely apologize for the long delay in posting these answers. This is the sort of thing we do as a public service from time to time, but as you can imagine is very labor intensive. I would like to thank Alan Ballard for volunteering his translation services to make these texts available to everyone.

There are several more answers which consist mainly of rather lengthy printed documents that we will attempt to get to in due course. When we have finished with the questions and answers we will somehow group everything together in one place for those wishing to study in depth the matter of succession in Daito-ryu.

The answers to previous questions can be found at: http://www.aikidojournal.com/ubb/Forum10/HTML/000037.html

Submitted by Stanley Pranin


Posted by Carlos Estrella, 10-31-2000:


Could you ask Kondo what the status is concerning the use of the name "Daito Ryu" in regards to the Kodokai, Takumakai, etc. I know that Kondo Sensei generally has positive relationships with those groups, and would hate to see a problem with those groups having "Daito Ryu Aiki Jujutsu" in their names.




Posted by Stanley Pranin, 10-31-2000:

I'm sure there is no problem with respect to the groups you mention. Obtaining these trademarks was essentially a defensive act due to the aggressive acts of the two mentioned relatives.

Stanley Pranin

Unfortunately, the seven Q&A and related paperwork were never organized and published beyond what is posted above. However, Kondo did supply me with similar paperwork and photographs in September 2002, and asked his student Ted Howell to write an article about this subject. Ted's article is posted on Aikido Journal under the title MAINLINE DAITO-RYU AIKIJUJUTSU REVISITED
(http://www.aikidojournal.com/new/article.asp?ArticleID=434), and also in this forum under Article: "Mainline Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu Revisited", by Ted Howell (http://www.e-budo.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?s=&threadid=22595).

Anyway, it would seem that Kondo Sensei has the rights to Daito ryu legally, and may (or may not, depending on how you read "no comment") be taking legal action against the Seishin Abashiri Dojo.

1st November 2000, 00:21
Not much on the Seishin Abashiri Dojo BBS lately. Seems they went away and left the board to the loonies.
Lights on, nobody home...

Nathan Scott
1st November 2000, 16:25
Yeah, I noticed that too. I wonder if some heats been turned on.

I'll be back on there as soon as the translations are completed.