View Full Version : Link to Tai Chi or Pa Kua

27th September 2001, 00:22
Hi All.

I have only very limited exposure so far to Aikido, and hence I got the following Question:

On a lot of Internal Chinese Martial Arts Boads I hear that Aikido supposedly has roots in either Tai Chi Chuan or Pa Kua Zhang.

I know that the founder of Aikido did some traveling to china, so it is likely that he did study some Chinese MA.

A friend of mine who studies Daito Ryu & Pa Kua told me that a lot of similarities exist between these Systems.

So my Question is as follows:
Is there a prooven tie in to either Tai Chi or Pa Kua(Ba Gua) in the Aikido System??

If you feel this thread is wasted or has been answered previously I would appreciate a link to the previous thread.

Thanks in advance.

Jay Bell
27th September 2001, 01:03
With my limited experiance in this, I'll give it a shot. I've read during some research that Ueshiba sensei studied Bagua Zhang for a time...and there is a strong similarity between that and the rooting of Aikido. Beyond that, I can't really say.

Take care,


Ruairi Quinn
27th September 2001, 01:17
There's a great book on the subject :-

'Aikido and Chinese Martial Arts : it's fundamental relations'
-By Tetsutaka Sugawara

This is vol. 1 of the series. I believe the Chinese martial art in question is Chin na... I've glanced through it and it looks like a real cracker of a book. There's supposed to be a Vol. 2 dealing with jo and sword but I'm not sure if that's been released yet.

Jay Bell
27th September 2001, 01:20
I was under the impression that the majority of Ueshiba sensei's training with Jo and Bokken came from Kukishin Tenshin Hyoho...not Chinese arts?

Can anyone clarify this?


27th September 2001, 01:21

Thans for your replies.

I didn't know that he ahd some exposure to Bagua, and that would also explain the "Chin Na" influence.

Chin Na is part of Chinese Martial Arts System, and deals with bone breaking, muscle tearing and similar concepts.

Ruairi Quinn
27th September 2001, 13:11
Hey Jay-

The subject of Vol.2 was mentioned in a publisher's note I read, so I have no clue as to what slant it takes on where Aikido weapons training comes from.

If I was guessing, however- I don't think it is suggesting that Ueshiba sensei used primarily Chinese methods for his jo and bokken work.

As with Vol.1, it probably only points to relations and similarities, as opposed to suggesting that Aikido has it's roots in CMA full-stop.

27th September 2001, 13:53
I remember this topic being discussed elsewhere, perhaps on www.aikidojournal.com; I also remember asking Sugano sensei the same question about alledged study of Ueshiba in Chinese martial arts. He didn't think Ueshiba trained these martial arts. Historically, one may suppose that Ueshiba, when in Mongolia, interested in martial arts and serving as a bodyguard for Deguchi, took notice of local martial practices. Could be. Also, Kumar Frantzis (excuse me if I misspelled his name) in one of his books mentions the possible 'Chinese' origins of Ueshiba's abillities.

Kind greetings!

27th September 2001, 15:49
This subject has been discussed before both here and in other forums.

Having studied Chen style taijiquan for twelve years prior to beginning aikido, my opinion is that there is not much of a likelihood that Ueshiba O Sensei studied or tried to incorporate any taijiquan into his new budo. For one example, the footwork is completely different between the two arts. I don't have any direct knowledge of Pakua or Chin Na, so I won't comment on those. All accounts that I have read from noted hoplologists and martial arts historians indicate the consensus is that virtually all of aikido's techniques have their roots in the Daito Ryu Aikijujutsu art of Sokaku Takeda. Ueshiba O Sensei might have studied and/or observed some other forms of jujustu and kenjutsu, but only on a limited basis. This was confirmed in a number of articles, including an interview of the late Doshu, Kisshomaru Ueshiba, by Stanley Pranin of Aikido Journal.

As an afterthought, although Ueshiba O Sensei was in Mongolia for some time, I have the impression that he was on the run for a large majority of that time, and wouldn't have had the time or the resources to study any Chinese arts. Especially since the Japanese and Chinese weren't regarded as very friendly toward each other at that time.

In my opinion, any similarities between the arts are due to the limitations of movement established by the structure of the human anatomy. Just my two cents worth.


-Robert Cronin

27th September 2001, 17:20
We have to remember that ALL martial arts has a lineage that came from somewhere else. I think the most of it is documented. Aikido to Daito-ryu aikijutsu to jujutsu to chin na, etc. If we look at it like this, we can see that it is all somewhat related and at some point they all cross paths of similar ancestry. Not all MA's, but most.
If we look at it like this, then it is logical that some MA's will look the same and why they seem to hold similar concepts. I think what varies in MA's is not the fighting, but the personality of the teacher. This, i think, shapes more of the art than techniques themselves. Right? A teacher has a preference of techniques, so he teaches his students the one's he likes. Then the student, once becoming a teacher, has his preference of techniques, and so on. THIS would change the styles of fighting or combat. So the progression and evolution of MA is due to these people being really good, and having preference. Then another MAists comes and has a different preference and a different personalities. Then that's where you would get a different style. i dont know, maybe, maybe not.


27th September 2001, 20:29
Originally posted by red_fists

Is there a prooven tie in to either Tai Chi or Pa Kua(Ba Gua) in the Aikido System??

Tim Cartmell, author of "Effortless Combat Throws," teaches Ba Gua in Garden Grove, CA.

In the book's 22 page introduction, he outlines the principles of "Effortless Combat Throws." All the principles he writes about are the same in Aikido.

Intrestingly enough, he acknowledges Don Angier, the Soke of Yanagi-ryu Aikijujitsu. Again, from what extremely limited exposure I've had, all the principles are the same.

YoungIn Park

28th September 2001, 06:29
Hi All.

Thanks for your Input.

I got some more Info from the guy that claimed the Tai Chi Origin of Aikido.

He studied a bit with Bruce Kumar Frantzis and he also head the same story at the Tai Chi Farm.

In a recent Post he also claimed that ALL the internal Arts came from Tai Chi. :eek:

Thanks, again for everybody posting.

P Goldsbury
29th September 2001, 09:23
Originally posted by Ruairi Quinn
There's a great book on the subject :-

'Aikido and Chinese Martial Arts : it's fundamental relations'
-By Tetsutaka Sugawara

This is vol. 1 of the series. I believe the Chinese martial art in question is Chin na... I've glanced through it and it looks like a real cracker of a book. There's supposed to be a Vol. 2 dealing with jo and sword but I'm not sure if that's been released yet.

Volume 1 of this work was published in 1996 and Volume 2 in 1998. A third volume (on 'theoretical analysis'), has not yet appeared.

Neither book shows any causal relationship whatsoever between aikido and Chinese martial arts (other than that Japanese martial culture with weapons and horses appears to have come from China, either directly or via Korea). I am sure that it there was any causal relationship this book would explain it.

For those who do not have the books, here is a very brief synopsis.

Volume 1 gives a history of ground fighting (from the very beginnings) and of the martial arts in China, but I must confess that it is difficult to judge the historical accuracy of this survey, since there are no references. There is a discussion on the theory of "Chinese martial arts", seemingly as modified and systematised by the People's Republic of China, followed by an explanation of the priciples of aikido. The two are then compared. The main comparison is between basic aikido movements and taijiquan (tai-kyoku-ken), but there is some very interesting material on kicks and punches.

Volume 2, on weapons, contains some introductory material on holding the sword and posture, and this is followed by long photographic sequences of aikido weapons training: 'soft' kumijo, 'hard' kumijo, both with sword vs.jo, followed by 'jo-ai'. Thiis followed by a section on Chinese weapons, where both partners have swords. The volume concludes with an essay on sword-making in Japan and China.

Both books are very much worth having, but I not seen any copies in any of the bookstores I frequent, so I suspect they are out of print.

Best regards,

Peter Goldsbury
P A Goldsbury,
Graduate School of Social Sciences,
Hiroshima University

2nd October 2001, 09:13
Ueshiba has two arms and two legs. And maybe Taichi and

Pagua creators are too. (aren't they? :)) There's nothing new

under the sun, it's nothing amazing even if two different arts

are looked similar. I also see that some pagua movements are

very similar to those of aikido. However, that's all. :)

Fred Stakem
8th October 2001, 04:32
red_fists said----I hear that Aikido supposedly has roots in either Tai Chi Chuan or Pa Kua Zhang.

I have heard this bad characterization too many times myself. Usually is comes about by people who have been in the martial arts long enough to read a few generalizations but haven't studied the subject that much. It sort of gets passed around dojos like a lot of myths.
On the surface certain similarities exist.....such as the focus on nonviolence, philisophical foundations, the circle tactics(aikido and bagau), and origins in the occult. But that is about all they have in common. A closer look at the techniques shows complete different approaches to solving the age old problem of self-defense. The discription of the differences is so vast it is beyond the scope of this post.
I have seen people discribe the supposed similarities between bagau and aikido as .....'there are only so many things you can do with the human body'. While this is quite true for showing similarities between various martial arts, it is simply wrong in this case because the two systems look nothing like each other. The similarities only exist in some of the ideas. And the ideas are far from being unique.
If you practice aikido and want to compare it to bagau or taiji I would recommend picking up one of smith's books. The material is dated and smith is controversial, but his books are still the best out there on the subject.

Fred Stakem