The Essence of Aiki: an Interview with Seigo Okamoto Soshi – Part 1

Daito-ryu Aiki-jujutsu Roppokai (大東流合気柔術六方会)
Founder Seigo Okamoto Soshi (岡本正剛宗師)

Daito-ryu Aiki-jujutsu Roppokai Founder Seigo Okamoto was born in 1925 in Yubari City, Hokkaido. In 1963, at the age of 38, he entered the dojo of Daito-ryu Aiki-jujutsu Kodokai Founder Kodo Horikawa, one of Sokaku Takeda’s closest students. In 1974 he received his 7th dan from Kodo Horikawa, and his Shihan license from Kodo Horikawa four years later in 1978.

Seigo Okamoto taking ukemi for Kodo Horikawa

After Horikawa Sensei passed away, he established his own organization, the Daito-ryu Aiki-jujutsu Roppokai, where he became known for teaching advanced techniques to beginning students and for making public many aspects of Aiki that had previously been considered secret. Seigo Okamoto passed away on January 17, 2015, just a few weeks before his 90th birthday.

In response to a question from Aikido Journal editor Stanley Pranin as to the origin of the name “Roppokai” he explained:

Roppo can be understood in a variety of ways, such as the roppo of roppogumi [six groups of chivalrous young men who used to wander the city streets in the Edo period]. Or it can be equated with the roppo from the kabuki term roppo o fumu of Benkei [a priest of the early Kamakura period and a famous retainer of Yoshitsune Minamoto. Roppo o fumu means to make one’s exit with bold gestures along the runway]. However, I usually compare roppo to gaming dice to describe techniques which can deal with any situation from any direction, top or bottom, front or back, right or left, like the faces of dice. But these techniques do not have square angles like dice but are round, forming six (roku) infinite circles. I am eager to get as many …continue reading