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The art of Daito ryu is one of the oldest traditions of Japanese ko ryu bujutsu. Its origin lies in the convergence of several martial disciplines which came together in the Aizu clan, where formal bujutsu instruction was a priority.
The creation of the Ni-shinkan [akin to a martial art university], with all its separate dojos and a diversity of arts being taught, is only part of the circumstances that favored the development of Daito ryu within the Aizu domain.
One determining factor is, to a certain degree, coincidental, since it was in Aizu where certain families and individuals came together, bringing with them their own arts, experiences, and expertise in jujutsu, swordsmanship, spearmanship, horsemanship, archery, strategy, and other war-related arts. Other non-martial arts were also valued such as calligraphy, poetry, healing arts, ethics, etiquette, and other areas of learning more related to peace.
Overall, etiquette was the cohesive link among all these disciplines, for the spirit and conduct of the warrior was equated to, and some-times used to measure, his true worth and fighting skills.
The more traditional lines of Daito ryu today still give priority to the spiritual training of the student, and judges his or her progress by means of character, dedication, humility, willingness to contribute to the welfare of the dojo, the progress of the fellow students, and other traits that show a loyal and selfless spirit. These make a student worthwhile to be instructed in the inner secrets of the art. Hence, the teachings are geared to train and test spirit and character first, and techniques are taught accordingly.