May
21

Clear, strong, basics! An Introduction to Aikido by Yoshimitsu Yamada Sensei

This video featuring Yoshimitsu Yamada Sensei assisted by Donovan Waite presents basic techniques and principles of aikido. It begins with a free-style demonstration, followed by a presentation of etiquette, ukemi, and finally a detailed explanation of shomenuchi ikkyo. Yoshimitsu Yamada, a direct student of O-Sensei for more than ten years, is an 8th dan and the chief instructor at the New York Aikikai…

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May
21

No one made any effort to stop the fight! “Applying aikido in real life on the train in Japan,” by Stanley Pranin

I don’t remember thinking about anything, but I reacted without hesitation and grabbed the arm of the victim and started quickly leading him away from the scene of the fight. He offered no resistance to what I was doing. I frankly doubt that he could even think coherently in the sad state he was in. I moved him quickly out the other end of the car and walked him down further about three cars away from the scene of the fight. I wanted to get far enough away in case the other man tried to follow…

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May
21

Building blocks of the art… “Quotable quotes from Morihiro Saito’s “Takemusu Aikido: Background & Basics”

“Daily practice begins with tai no henko. First, open your fingers. The basis of ura movements is footwork.”

“If you look at your partner even slightly, his body will separate from you and there will be too much space between you.”

“In ura techniques, parry the strike from the gyaku hanmi position. In this way, you will be able to execute a rapid and effective technique.”

“You must use an escape to free one of your hands in order to do the technique. One way to free your hand naturally is to open your fingers and turn your body strongly inward to unbalance your partner.”

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May
20

Prewar techniques… Satoru Tsuchiya of Shodokan (Tomiki) Aikido in France, 2007

A strong, physical demonstration of Tomiki Aikido with excellent posture and presence. Many techniques are of a prewar origin. “Satoru Tsuchiya is the representative in France of the Shodokan Aikido school founded by Kenji Tomiki, student of Jigoro Kano and subsequently Morihei Ueshiba. This school is unique is that it introduced a system of competition while at the same time preserving the fundamental principles of Aikido and the modern spirit of Judo…”

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May
20

My friends got cold feet! Morihiro Saito: “Learning to fight for the benefit of society”

There was this old man doing strange techniques up in the mountains near Iwama. Some people said he did karate, while a judo teacher told me his art was called “Ueshiba-ryu judo.” It was frightening up there and I was afraid to go. I had a very strange feeling about the place. It was eerie, but some of my friends and I agreed to go up and have a look. However, my friends got cold feet and failed to show up. So I went alone…

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May
20

Hand placement is important! Video: “Fine points of Shihonage”

In this video Stanley Pranin offers his views on some particulars of aikido’s Shihonage (four-corner throw). He discusses the generation of mechanical energy to disrupt uke’s balance through positioning, and arm and body movement, atemi, kiai, etc. Next, is a discussion of the positioning of the hands on uke’s arm to execute Shihonage. He proposes that a common hand placement used is ineffective and suggests using the teachings of Morihei Ueshiba and Morihiro Saito as models. Finally, a comparison of some differences in the execution of Shihonage omote and ura are presented…

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May
19

Continuous connection! Seishiro Endo, 8th dan, at the 48th All-Japan Aikido Demonstration (2010)

This video features a demonstration by 8th dan Seishiro Endo Sensei of the Aikikai Hombu Dojo. Here he displays his soft approach to aikido and extreme sensitivity. This video clip offers a good opportunity to study his advanced approach to the art based on nearly 50 years of experience…

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May
19

Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu Takumakai… “Techniques a Wonder of Human Ingenuity!”

This video features a beautiful demonstration by Seishiro Endo, 8th dan, at the 2004 All-Japan Aikido Demonstration. Endo Sensei moves with grace while remaining centered and eschews the use of any physical strength while executing techniques. Seishiro Endo was one of the last generation of Aikikai instructors to have received training from Morihei Ueshiba and the senior instructors of the headquarters dojo in Tokyo beginning in the 1960s…

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May
19

“How I figured out a way to quickly navigate Aikido’s vast curriculum” by Stanley Pranin

Photo-credit: Daniel Toutain Sensei


Photo-credit: Daniel Toutain Sensei

“Finding a needle in Aikido’s haystack of techniques!”

stanley-pranin-thumbnailA while ago I was having difficulty finding and grouping together aikido techniques even though I have literally thousands of books and videos to choose from in the Aikido Journal archives and on the net. And therein lies the problem: how do you quickly access specific techniques from the hundreds contained in the vast aikido curriculum?

We have amazing technology available to allow us to preserve and disseminate to a worldwide public any form of information we desire. But when you have millions of items to browse in order to find a specific set of information the problem boils down to the system of classification and method of quickly accessing the desired content. This is the exact problem I was facing.

One of my main purposes was to be able to create lesson plans without having to spend tons of time looking for related techniques and then wading through them. After thinking about this challenge for many months, I came up with a solution. Let me show you what what I did.

guide-interfaceAs you can see I created a table consisting of three columns: Attack, Technique, and Aiki Ken – Aiki Jo. The leftmost column groups techniques according to the type of attack. You click on one of the links in this column and you are presented with a list of all items corresponding to the particular attack available in the videos and books indexed.

The center column groups the content by technique. In a similar manner, clicking on a specific link accesses the same indexed content by type of technique. So you have two separate views of the technical archives depending on your purpose.

The third column is I believe self-explanatory: most of the Aiki Ken and Aiki Jo forms developed by Saito Sensei based on the teachings of Morihei Ueshiba O-Sensei are presented and retrievable via a single click.

If this concept interests you, please watch this 10 minute screencast below which will walk you through the interface of Morihiro Saito’s vast aikido curriculum consisting of more than 600 techniques.

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Through a simple interface, you’ll have the ability to quickly access over 500 empty-handed and weapons techniques via 1,100 links to videos and technical explanations in book format. This is the most extensive technical reference on aikido ever compiled!

Click here for information on Morihiro Saito's &ldquoComplete Guide to Aikido”

May
18

Concentration of energy in the abdomen… “Kiai” by Sakura Mai

In order to practice Kiai correctly, we must keep in mind two concepts: our energetic center and abdominal breathing. An advanced student of any school should begin by occupying himself with finding his vital center, Kikai Tanden or Saika Tanden, in the abdominal region (Hara). This is usually located two or three inches below the navel. In Japan, mastery of the Hara was fundamental since it was the factor that determined power, calm or serenity…

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May
18

A unique elbow lock from Katadori! Steven Seagal seminar from 1990

We are pleased to continue with this series of video clips featuring movie action star Steven Seagal taken at a seminar in San Jose, California in 1990. This seminar took place just at the time of the ascent of his movie career, and as such is a rare event. Seagal Sensei is in fine form, his teaching style dynamic, and technical explanations direct and to the point. In this series of video clips, his main uke is Haruo Matsuoka Sensei. For the period, the video quality of the seminar is excellent with clear audio. As such, viewers will gain insight into the reasons why so many people were captured by his skills and charisma both on the mat and on the movie screen which contributed greatly to his rise to fame…

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May
18

If he looked at you suddenly, you were frozen! Interview with Michio Hikitsuchi Sensei, Aikido 10th Dan

“In those days, O-Sensei had an amazing body. He looked like an old style Japanese partition screen, wider than it is tall. He was 53 years old, weighed about 200 pounds, about five feet tall, and very broadly built. His body had strong joints and bones, and he was full of vigor. His gaze was very kind, but his eyes also had a fierce light in them, as though they were glowing. It could be intimidating! If he looked at you suddenly, you were frozen — unable to move…”

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