Daito-ryu was developed in large part as a means of self-defense, as a way to effectively and efficiently neutralize violence, not cause it. There are no competitive matches in Daito-ryu. One distinctive feature of Daito-ryu is that it has incorporated many of the essential elements and principles of other schools of budo, most notably the Ono-ha Itto-ryu.
Daito-ryu goes beyond being a simple means of self-defense, and aims at putting mind and body in balance with the spirit that pervades the universe, developing oneself as a person, and contributing to society.
The Daito-Ryu is thought to have been founded in the 12th century by Minamoto (Genji) Yoshimitsu, a descendant of the Emperor Seiwa. Long kept a secret under the Minamoto clan, the art was used by the Emperor's army and private guard. Controlled by Japanese nobility, appointed official martial art of the Shogun's residence by Hoshina Masayuki in the late 1600's, Daito techniques were transmitted from generation to generation. Through the centuries numerous masters of this discipline were important war lords such as Shingen Takeda, undoubtedly the most famous in Japanese culture. The most noble figures in Daito-Ryu history was Minamoto, Takeda (1758-1853) and Tanomo (1860-1943). Due to the discipline and perseverance of the Ichikawa and Hanmura families the ancient tradition of Daito Ryu was transmitted unaltered.
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