The roots of aikido disappear into mysterious history.
After the Meiji Restoration in Japan, just after the American Civil War, a man named Sokaku Takeda emerged like something from ancient legends.
He continued to dress and wear his hair like a samurai and to carry a sword long after these things had been abolished.
After a bloody incident involving hundreds of angry construction workers, of whom he killed 12, Sokaku turned to unarmed jujutsu from his clan’s ancient roots and in a few years began teaching it throughout Japan to police and important people.
An avid jujutsu student and pioneer in Hokkaido, the northernmost island of Japan, Morihei Ueshiba met Sokaku Takeda in 1915.
He said that Sokaku Takeda “opened his eyes to budo.”
After training with Sokaku Takeda, Ueshiba became famously powerful and began to teach Takeda’s system, then called daito ryu jujutsu.
When Jigoro Kano, founder of judo, saw Morihei Ueshiba’s aiki arts, he said “This is my ideal budo (martial way).”
Kano sent Minoru Mochizuki and other astute judoka to train with Ueshiba, to learn aiki and teach it at the kodokan judo headquarters.
Mochizuki became uchi deshi (live-in student) of Morihei Ueshiba and supervised the younger uchi deshi.
In 1932, he created budo yoseikan to teach the many forms of Japanese budo in which he had been trained and to find the unifying element in all these arts.
In June, 1932, he received one of the few teaching certificates issued by Morihei Ueshiba in daito ryu aiki jujutsu.
Minoru Mochizuki was the first person to teach aikido outside Japan, in 1951.
David Orange, Jr. trained in Japan with Mochizuki from 1990 to 1995.
Orange was uchi deshi at the budo yoseikan kokusai hombu dojo from November, 1990 to August, 1992.
Mochizuki sensei gave Orange two charges:
“Teach as much as possible as fast as possible.”
“Teach something in every lesson that the student can use that same day in the real world.”
In 1995, Orange developed the Zero Degree teaching method to convey the essential technical essence of all the Japanese martial arts he had studied with Mochizuki sensei.