TAI organisation

He who gives up competing escapes all criticism - Lao Tseu

The discipline taught nowadays under the name of Aikido has evolved towards a sporting practice and does not truly equate anymore with the art created by O sensei Morihei Ueshiba. TAI and ITAF are two complementary associations which reject this evolution and combine their efforts to bring to the practitioner the information needed to work as closely as possible to the reality defined by O sensei Morihei Ueshiba, founder of Aikido.

TAI in a few words

Takemusu Aiki International is not a federation, therefore it is no rival to any national or international federation.

TAI is a non-profit organization whose members are not associations but persons, individuals who are free to join any other association they choose.

TAI was born in 1992 as a natural reaction to the following conclusion:
the discipline taught nowadays as Aikido does not equate anymore to the art created by Morihei Ueshiba.

That art reached its most achieved expression between the forties and 1960, when the Founder lived and trained in Iwama.

"How can we avoid losing Morihei Ueshiba’s inheritance?" TAI’s founders answered that question as follows: the persons in charge of that transmission are the teachers; therefore TAI will be devoted to train teachers so that they can teach and transmit the authentic Aikido.

Undoubtedly, that discourse may and will sound to some as a provocation but TAI does not seek to be nice and cuddly. When many practitioners talk about evolution, up to the point they seem to describe O sensei as an old man with an outdated technique, some people are needed in front of that pretentious and foolish attitude. No one to date has reached the Founder’s level. And what is called Aikido’s evolution is only a word to mask their technical deficiencies.

Aikido’s mutation into gymnastics is already well advanced on all continents and TAI members don’t hope to revert that evolution. Nonetheless, TAI can become a reference point for those who are really interested by O sensei’s Aikido.

O Sensei Morihei Ueshiba
Aikido founder

From TAI to ITAF

Tai was created in 1992 in reaction to the evolution of what is sometimes called « modern Aikido ».

Along with time and the development of the association, new needs appeared which exceeded TAI’s competences and initial purpose. Adapting TAI’s legal status would have meant a complete reconstruction of the association.

A different choice was made. TAI’s organization would stay as it is and its activities would be centered on its initial tasks.

The creation of a true Aikido Federation was decided in order to deal with the ever increasing volume of work created by the organization of the teaching and grading on a international level and also in order to give a technical and administrative coherence to an expanding group.

This new federation is called ITAF: International Takemusu Aikido Federation. Its members are national representatives, only one per country.

Thus, TAI and ITAF activities are complementary and join their effort to bring to the practitioner the information he needs to work as close as possible to the reality defined by O sensei Morihei Ueshiba, founder of AIKIDO

Understanding TAI

Tai is an Aikido school

It is a non-profit international association whose members are individuals and not associations. The persons who manage it are volunteers and earn no money in that context.

TAI was created in 1992 for the following reason:

In modern world, Aikido has been developed as a sport. However Aikido is not a sport.
Aikido’s Founder, O sensei Morihei Ueshiba clearly expressed this view in his 1938 book, BUDO:

Nowadays, sport has widely spread. It is excellent for physical exercise. The warrior also trains his body but he uses that body training as a tool for spiritual development, a tool to appease his spirit and discover the kindness and beauty virtues that sport lacks.

Aikido offers to develop one’s spirit through the work on the body.

Developing the spirit through the body is impossible if this art is limited to its sportive appearance or combat techniques.

Combat technique is necessary but it is not an end goal, it is a means that grants access to Aikido’s true dimension. Aikido is beyond technique. Aikido’s mutation into a sport means that the genuine techniques the Founder created are now series of meaningless distorted movements the contemporary practitioner repeats without truly understanding them.

Under the word Aikido, the Founder unified weapon techniques called aiki-ken and aiki-jo with empty hend techniques.

For historical reasons linked to the development of the discipline, the Japanese teachers who immigrated and spread Aikido outside Japan in the fifties just didn’t know aiki-ken and aiki-jo. Therefore they taught a discipline in which weapon techniques were absent or borrowed from other disciplines sharing no link with Aikido.

However, O sensei’s art is a synthesis. A synthesis can’t be reduced to one of its parts and can’t be the juxtaposition of heterogeneous elements borrowed in other schools, how respectable they can be.

One must remind what is synthesis vs a syncretism:

Syncretism consists in gathering from outside more or less related elements that can never really be unified. It is a kind of eclecticism and as such it can only incoherent and fragmentary. It is by definition superficial: the different elements gathered from outside are only borrowed and can’t integrate in a true synthesis. On the contrary, a synthesis is carried essentially from within; we mean that it consists in envisaging the unity of the principle that binds things together, how they derivate and depend from that principle and thus unifying them. It means becoming aware of their real union, because of an internal principle, inherent to their deepest nature.
- René Guenon, « The Symbolism of the Cross »

Akido’s specific technical elements are unified according to an internal principle of cohesion. That relationship is called “riai” in Japanese. It is inherent to the very nature of the harmonious principle around which O sensei synthesized his art. That homogeneity excludes any additional elements that are not relevant to Aikido’s organizing principle.

Technique in Aikido can’t therefore be interpreted according to anyone’s opinion or feeling. The clear vision of the link between movements (with or without weapons) is the safeguard to avoid misinterpretations or incoherent additions. In that respect, the modern evolution of Aikido is a dead end.

At the time of his death, O sensei Morihei Ueshiba appointed as his successor at the head of his Iwama dojo, the one and only of his disciples who had learned the complete weapon curriculum: Morihiro Saito.

Mohrihiro Saito sensei was at a very early stage conscious of the problem linked to the evolution of Aikido towards a sportive practice. As early the beginning of the sixties, he asked the Founder to build a teaching method capable of preserving the genuine techniques of Aikido in order to prevent the entire Art form becoming a sterile choreography. O sensei clearly accepted the set up of that method used by Morihiro Saito to train competent teachers from the sixties until his death in 2002.

Some of TAI’s founding members were Saito sensei’s uchi-deshi (ie intern students) in Iwama, in Japan during that period.

The training they received during these years explain some of the association’s methodological choices, especially when it comes to promoting a teaching that explains and reveals the link between weapon and empty hands techniques.

The Founder explained many times that Aikido was a manifestation of TAKEMUSU:

Takemusu is the harmonization of Creation’s water and fire. That interaction is the source of the absolute techniques of Aikido. - Morihei UESHIBA, Dôka 12

Such words can’t be understood if one only reads. Their meaning reveals itself with years of practice. Aikido is not a leisure activity, it is a work. The individual must use Aikido to work on his body until what must be transformed within actually gets transformed so that the spirit opened itself to a view on the world it didn’t have before.

There exists a relation between body and spirit as explains Henri de Lumley, an anthropologist: thinking comes from the dialogue between the hand and the brain. TAI intends to organize that exploration, consistent with the principle of Takemusu.

The normal transmission of Aikido takes place in a small group, from master to disciple, with a daily contact with the master.

This ideal setting is no longer possible in modern society – in Japan and elsewhere –which favors large social groups. Some federations gather tens of thousands of practitioners.

TAI founders think these structures are inadequate for transmitting Aikido. That’s why they chose a different organization model, with different criteria than commonly accepted nowadays.

TAI central committee is an international college.

It is made of a few wise men, who all share a wide and deep experience of Aikido and take their decisions in a democratic way.

TAI highest ranks

Pierre CHASSANG - 8ème DAN
Georges ROUSSEAU - 8ème DAN
Giorgio OSCARI - 7ème DAN
Philippe VOARINO - 7ème DAN
Alain GRASON - 7ème DAN

The association purpose

As stated in the association status. The unique reference of the association is the traditional Aikido founded by Morihei Ueshiba and defined by him as the manifestation of Takemusu.

Its goal

The transmission of an authentic knowledge of Aikido to the next generations depends on the teachers’ good formation.

TAI’s objective is therefore to organize – at international level – the teachers formation in the technical and spiritual side of the discipline and to help them in this mission with the following means:

  1. The definition, coordination and administration of an international policy for Aikido teaching
  2. Promoting that teaching with
    • The organization of seminars, events, conferences and experts missions
    • Creation and publication of brochures, magazines, books and any printed or digital media.
    • Creation of commissions for teaching and spreading Aikido
    • Creation, construction and use of centers devoted to studying Aikido
    • Achievement of any act and operation for transmitting Morihei UESHIBA’s Aikido, within the limits of the law, regardless of race, religious, moral or political views
    • Fusion or absorption of other associations having a compatible objective.
  3. Protection of its members’ common interests and representation of these interests for any national or international instance.

What is Traditional Aikido?

Aikido is not a sport, it is a martial art which laws (takemusu) are in harmony with the laws of the universe. Studying them allows the practitioner to understand his place in the universe. Aikido was born in Iwama, O sensei achieved in that village the synthesis of tai jutsu, aiki ken and aiki jo.

Where to practice Traditional Aikido?

The International Takemusu Aikido Federation (ITAF) brings to the practitioner the structure he needs in order to work as close as possible to the reality O sensei MU defined. The official national representations are the guarantee of a teaching faithful to the Founder's.

The weapons of Aikido, aiki ken and aiki jo

In modern Aikido, weapons are hardly taught, if taught at all. In O sensei's Aikido, on the contrary, aiki ken, aiki jo and tai jutsu are unified and form together a riai, a family of harmonious techniques stemming from one unique principle. Each techniques helps understand all the others.

Aikido, a martial art or an art of peace?

Peace is a balance between a human being and the world around him. The true martial art's goal is not to become stronger than one's opponent but to find in that opponent a way to realize harmony. There is no enemy anymore as such, but an opportunity offered to reach unified ki.

Copyright TAI (Takemusu Aikido Intercontinental)