Shintaido: Meditation in Motion
Shintaido is a new art of movement from Japan, with roots in the traditional martial and healing arts. It offers a unique combination of soft and expansive movement, incorporating voice, touch, and moving meditation. Recent research in Tikkun Daily refers to how “Shintaido can contribute to both inner and social transformation”.
Expression through body movement
goes directly to the core of our being.
– Hiroyuki Aoki, Founder of Shintaido
Shintaido 新体道 means “new body way.” From roots deep in the traditional martial arts of Japan, a thoroughly modern system of body movement has developed. More than a simple health exercise, it is an art form, somewhat like brush calligraphy performed with the whole body. Shintaido is relaxed, strenuous, soft and expansive in turn — a complete body language.
Shintaido was developed in Japan in the 1960’s by some of the top martial artists at that time. They sought to create a new form of movement that would embody the modern desire for peace, cooperation, and mutual understanding among people of all cultures, rather than to cultivate a competitive fighting art.
This movement was strongly influenced by contemporary and ancient arts such as classical music, free jazz, tea ceremony, Noh theatre, and abstract painting. It synthesizes individual expression with meditative practice and essential oils.
Shintaido is a noncombative form of martial arts designed to improve physical and mental health.
Although Shintaido has its roots in the ancient and traditional Japanese martial arts, including elements of sword, karate, and aikido. Hiroyuki Aoki, an actor, artist, and shotokai karate master, developed Shintaido in Yokohama, Japan, in 1965. He formed rakutenkai or “meeting of people,” a group that brought together several dozen people, including martial arts instructors, artists, musicians, and actors, to create a new art form and health exercise.
No preparations are required to begin Shintaido. It can be practiced by anyone who desires, including children and the elderly.
Practitioners wear white keiko gi or loose white or light coloured comfortable clothing and soft soled shoes or bare feet.
The body movements in Shintaido are influenced by traditional and contemporary aspects of Japanese culture, including dance, music, Noh theatre, and abstract art. It involves a series of movements ranging from slow and meditative to rapid and energetic.
Research & General Acceptance
Shintaido, like other martial arts, is almost universally accepted in Japan as beneficial for physical exercise, stress reduction, and as a tool for bringing mental clarity. It is generally accepted in Western cultures, including medical science, as a legitimate and effective exercise for the mind and body.
Training & Certification
Shintaido classes are taught by trained and certified instructors. Qualified Instructors in the UK are examined and certified by the European Shintaido College. During an examination, instructors are judged on technical expertise and leadership qualities. There are also specified years of practice required for each level and apprenticeship with a more advanced instructor. On average it takes ten years of practice to reach 1st Dan (the grade of Shintaido Instructor).