Daito Takahashi Soars Impressive Winter Heights

Daito Takahashi’s Personal Life, Family, and Education

Daito Takahashi was born on December 16, 1980, in Kitaakita in Akita Prefecture, Japan. This place is located in one of the northernmost regions of Japan and is known to be pretty mountainous and is known well for its cliffs and slopes. It is also well-known for heavy snowfall during wintertime and is a popular winter sports destination. This may be a great factor in the start of Takahashi’s career where the snow has become a large part of his daily life.  

Daito Takahashi is best known for his career in Nordic combined, as only a few Japanese athletes ever truly mastered the foreign sport. However, he still also competes for other winter sports like skiing and cross-country racing. He had enjoyed skiing, snowboarding, and other winter sports starting at a very young age but did not compete professionally until he was an adult. Just like other kids from the region, these winter sports serve as hobbies rather than professions at the time. However, he did join a few amateur events growing up where he learned a great deal about competing.

Alexander Nilssen [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Despite having such a common and easy to find a surname, personal information about Daito Takahashi is difficult to find. He is pretty much quiet about his personal life so fans would not be able to distract him about it. It is well-known, however, that his career in ski jumping and Nordic combined was enhanced when he was studying in Tokai University.

Prior to his career as a professional athlete, Takahashi was a good student. He had enjoyed skiing as a hobby and had been joining amateur games since he was young. He realized his potential while in University as he joined more clubs and competitions, gaining enough exposure to gain the proper training he needed for a professional career. He started his professional career in 2000, officially entering his first international competition (Olympics) just two years later.

Daito Takahashi’s Olympic Career

Takahashi started competing in the Winter Olympic Games early on in his career. This is after seeing that he has enough passion and potential to be a medallist at the games. In his career, he had competed in the Olympics three times. His first Olympic games were in 2002, followed by a performance in 2006, and the latest in 2010. He did not, however, compete for the Olympics after that. He was able to perform along side gold medallist Kenji Ogiwara during his Olympian years.

For his first Olympics performance, he had joined individual and team events. This is true for his 2006 appearance as well. However, in the Vancouver Winter Olympics, Takahashi chose to join only the team events and skip the individual events entirely. This was his last performance in the Olympics and has not joined the 2014 Winter Olympics in Russia.

What’s up with Nordic Combined Skiing?

The Nordic Combined is a special winter sport which is believed to have originated from Norway. Its first major competition was held in Oslo in 1892. It became a part of the first ever Winter Olympics in 1924 and has been a popular sport since then. This kind of sport consists of two stages – the first being the cross-country race and the second is the ski jumping.

One interesting thing about this sport is that no other nationality won gold from the 1920s up until 1960 other than Norwegians. The West German Georg Thoma was the first non-Norwegian to win gold in this sport for the Winter Olympics. Another trivia is that women competitions for this is sanctioned for this sport and the women’s division for world championships will only be included starting the 2022 Winter Olympics.

Governing Body: International Ski Federation

The International Ski Federation or also known as Federacion Internationale de Ski (FIS) is the highest governing body for all international winter sports in the world. It oversees sports which include Nordic combined, freestyle skiing, snowboarding, cross-country skiing, ski jumping and Alpine skiing. This governing body was established in 1924 when the first Winter Olympic games were established. Its main headquarters is located in Switzerland and has a current total of 123 members including Asian countries like Japan.

Their primary role is to provide a set of competition rules that will standardize assessments of scores, judging of points and penalties, and awarding systems to provide consistency to all winter sports athletes all over the globe. This set of rules also includes qualification standards for skiers and athletes to provide fair categorization and well-distributed opportunities for all types of skiers.  It also provides guidelines for competition organization regarding field size requirements and limitations.

World Championships

Winter Olympic Games

Ever since 1924, the Nordic Combined had been a part of the Winter Olympic Games. The events involve an 18-km cross-country race and are followed by ski jumping. However, in the early 1950s, the chronology of the events was changed and the ski jumping events were held first before the 18 km cross-country race. A reduction of the cross-country race distance was also observed in 1956 from 18 km to 15 km. Then, in the 1980s a team event was finally included in the events involving a 3 x 10 km cross-country relay. Currently, Norway holds the first place in the number of gold medals and Japan is at the 6th place as the only Asian country in the top 10.

FIS Nordic World Championship

This, along with the Winter Olympic games, is considered the highest level of international competition for Nordic Combined. Compared to the Olympic games which have been held every four years since the early 1920s, this world championship was established in 1983. Kenji Ogiwara (1992 to 1994) and Akito Watanabe (2017) were the only Japanese athletes to ever win gold for the events in this world championship’s history.

Just like the Olympic games, it consists of ski jumping, Nordic combined and cross-country racing. It was held on a yearly basis and was the most competitive arena for International professional skiers when it was first established. However, since the year 1985, the event is only held ever odd-number year. Japan was only ever able to host the event in Sapporo in 2007. Also, Japan is currently at the 10th place for this championship overall. The only country to represent Asia in the Top 10 other than Russia.

Daito Takahashi’s General Statistics and Profile

The former Olympian has not joined any more Olympic games in 2010 but has surely left an important mark in the history of Nordic combined in the country. He is among a few Japanese athletes who compete for the sport internationally and is one of the representatives of not only Japan but also Asia for a European sport. He had placed numerous times in small international and national events, where he placed first in two separate championship games in Finland in 2004.

Daito Takahashi may not have earned a gold medal in his international career, but he has made some mark in the world championships. For the Winter Olympics, he finished sixth for the 7.5 km sprint in 2002 and sixth again for the 4 x 5 km team sprint in 2006. This is an amazing feat as Asia (or Japan in particular) rarely placed in the events for both skiing and Nordic combined. As for the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships, he finished tenth for the individual 15 km sprint in 2003 and tenth again in the 7.5 km sprint in 2006.

Daito Takahashi’s Famous Sturz and Upadek (falls and accidents)

FIS Nordic World Ski Championships in 2007

Bad accidents for athletes are unavoidable even with the training and the experience. Sometimes, a slight miscalculation can be a horrifying ingredient for a bad fall. During the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships held in Sapporo in 2007, Takahashi faced his worst nightmare – an accident causing severe unwanted injury. There are many angles studied in this injury which are presented in a number of public articles, explaining both environmental conditions and human error as major causes for the incident.

Many reports have indicated that Takahashi’s fall was caused by a strong gust of wind, causing the skier to roll over in the air. In some reports, his fall was described as an avoidable mistake as experts have pointed out that he had forgotten to ‘put the plug in’ the back of the ski. This is a specialized binding or strap which is attached at the back of the ski, preventing the excessive wobbling of the skis during flight. Without it, the ski has no rear support. It is unsure, however, whether the ace skier truly forgot the plug or it was an equipment issue where it was accidentally removed from the ski.

Takahashi dropped to the ground from a whopping height of 55 meters causing a strong impact on his fall. This has caused a severe injury to his shoulder and collarbone causing paramedics to immediately rush him to the hospital and put him on a three-month break, effectively putting him out of the World Championships.

Many spectators claim that he is lucky to only suffer from a fixable shoulder injury at the extent and severity of his fall. Takahashi may have failed to qualify for the world championship and bag the title but he has successfully recovered and still, thankfully, compete up until this day.

The Other Takahashi Daito: Masaru Takahashi’s Daito-Ryu

When searching online about Daito Takahashi, many get confused with Masaru Takahashi’s Daito-Ryu. This is a form of jiujutsu martial arts which date back to the early 700 BC. It was founded by Minamoto no Yoshimitsu and was officially restored and restored or re-popularized by Takeda Sokaku in the early 1900s. This particular form of martial art became the known origins and the main source of influence of Aikido.

Aikido Sangenkai Martial Arts Dojo in Honolulu, Hawaii

This is probably one of the most popular locations to study both Daito-Ryu and Aikido Sangenkai outside of Japan. Since there are many Japanese immigrants to the island of Hawaii, it is undeniable that they may bring with them some parts of their culture. Aikido Sangenkai and other forms of martial arts have become popular in this country since the 1970s.

The Sangenkai is an international organization of a variety of disciplines and martial arts form which uses similar methodologies for training. This dojo in Hawaii is probably one of the most popular internationally and is well-known for their informal yet very effective means of training. Their goal is to help their students learn through non-conventional methods but be able to quickly learn how to ‘rewire the mind and body’ and gain enough power and strength through breathing.

Breath Training by Sagawa Yukiyoshi and Masaru Takahashi

Since the methods of learning in this dojo are non-conventional, there are no strict structures or stages of learning. The important thing is that the students learn Chousoku or regulated breathing which was popularized by Sagawa Yukiyoshi and Masaru Takahashi.

Gisela Giardino [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Masaru Takahashi is the famous author of “The Truth about Daito-Ryu”, which is a popular book about the martial art and the important disciplines involved in learning the art. Yukiyoshi Sagawa is one of the most prominent instructors of Daito-Ryu as learned the discipline from no one else but the Master Sokaku Takeda.

Based on their principles, regulated breathing is not easily learned. If it is used by force, like holding one’s breath while training, it will not be useful. However, when it is learned to be used naturally, it will become an important source of concentration leading to more power and strength.