Akuma and his brother Gouken were students of Goutetsu. Goutetsu taught a life-threatening martial art called Ansatsuken (Assassin Fist), which incorporates elements of karate, judo, and kempo. He also taught Shun Goku Satsu (literally Instant Hell Murder or The Raging Demon), a death technique which, although incredibly powerful, puts the user in considerable danger.
As the brothers progressed under Goutetsu's tutelage, a dispute arose on the true nature of Ansatsuken and the path to master it. Gouken, unable to accept the violent nature of Ansatsuken, left Goutetsu to begin his own dojo. Akuma continued Goutetsu's teachings and vowed to use Ansatsuken as it was intended.