FOR MORE ON THE DEVELOPMENT OF SHINTAIDO:
"UNTYING KNOTS: A SHINTAIDO CHRONICLE" Michael
and other publications at our
Founded by Hiroyuki
Aoki, an actor, painter, and master of Shotokai
karate, Shintaido was born in Yokohama in 1965. There
Mr. Aoki formed Rakutenkai, or Meeting
of Optimists. This group of approximately 30
people, including some of Japans top martial
arts instructors and a variety of artists, musicians,
actors, and men and women young and old, set out to
create a new art they did not yet know what
from their own ideals and sense of optimism.
They practiced together every day and many nights
to test their physical limitations and discover what
Aoki sensei called the unknown world which begins
at the end of our psychological strength.
Out of their efforts grew Shintaido, a movement form
intended for an international audience. With roots
deep in the traditions of sword and karate, Shintaido
is designed to express sincerity, peacefulness, and
freedom. Its expansive movements and extensive use
of voice and touch infuse the rigorous martial arts
tradition with creative expression.
As word spread of this new development in the Japanese
arts, people from around the world came to study in
Japan and took Shintaido back to their home countries.
Shintaido was introduced in the U.S. by Haruyoshi
F. Ito and Michael
Thompson, who in 1976 co-founded Shintaido of
America. Because the people who originally developed
Shintaido are still very much alive, the Shintaido
system itself continues to grow and develop. While
the basic curriculum is well established, a group
of top instructors (the International Technical Committee)
meets regularly to further refine and improve the
Although Shintaido is a complete art in itself, there
are systems within it which students may elect to
pursue in addition to the standard curriculum. Shintaido
bojutsu (practice with six-foot staff) and Shintaido
karate retain a strong connection with the warrior
spirit of the martial arts. Yokikei, or
nurturing life force Shintaido, teaches
many soft movements, stretches, and partner exercises.
Students often become interested in extending Yokikei
study into the areas of massage and bodywork.