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Shintaido (新体道, a Japanese word translated as ‘New Body Way’) is a unique system of movement that uses the body as a means of expression and communication. Incorporating both physical and artistic elements, it was created in Japan in the 1960s. Its roots lay in the traditional Japanese martial arts, Chinese medicine and Buddhist meditation techniques, while its creator Hiroyuki Aoki was also influenced by modern Western art and Christianity.

As well as being a practical martial art Shintaido is also a form of artistic expression, a healthy exercise, and a path of self-discovery and transformation.[1]

Shintaido is practised with bare hands, but its very broad curriculum also includes bojutsu (棒術), involving the use of the long staff (or , 棒), and kenjutsu (剣術), using a wooden sword (or bokuto, 木刀).



The roots of Shintaido lie in karate(空手, empty hand), which had been brought to Tokyo from Okinawa by Gichin Funakoshi in 1922[2]. One of his students, Shigeru Egami introduced important modifications, so that it assimilated the values of traditional Japanese martial arts. Aoki, a student of Egami, reached the highest level of his federation in just four years in the early 1960s. Egami asked him to help teach the new generation of karate students and to take on his researches, which he himself was unable to pursue owing to ill-health.[3] After the Second World War karate, like other martial arts, had acquired a sudden international popularity as a result of the interest taken in them by the American forces occupying Japan. The number of schools multiplied; but at the Tokyo Olympics in 1964, the Japanese judokas were beaten by a foreigner (Dutchman Anton Geesink), an upset that had a dramatic effect on all Japanese martial artists. For Egami, it proved that the process of rationalising the martial arts had emptied them of substance. Assisted by Hiroyuki Aoki, he began to collect and transcribe the katas, the historic heritage of karate. This led them to contemplate the use of the body and how it expresses force. They realised that while certain theories current in martial arts circles were erroneous or even useless, others, though neglected, were real treasures[4].

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