Jan
29

Swamp spear! “Morihei Ueshiba O-Sensei performing the misogi jo, c. 1965,” by Stanley Pranin

This series of photos shows Morihei Ueshiba O-Sensei performing misogi jo movements inside the old Aikikai Hombu Dojo, c. 1965. If you look closely, you will see that he is actually using two separate weapons. One is the familiar jo, a stick a little over four feet long, and the other a pointed weapon of similar length called the “nuboko.” Mention of this nuboko, literally the “swamp spear”, will be new to many aikidoka…

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Jan
29

“Morihiro Saito Sensei… Center stage, where he belongs!” by Stanley Pranin

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“Morihiro Saito is a giant of a figure in aikido who has no match as a technician”

In recent weeks, I have lamented the fact that a number of famous figures of earlier eras of aikido history have been neglected or outright expunged from mainstream accounts. Among these important names figures my personal teacher, Morihiro Saito. After serving the Ueshiba family, and studying and teaching aikido from 1946-2002, he was summarily excised from the records of the Iwama Dojo following his death. Various other important personages have received similar treatment. I have resigned myself to this fact, and by way of compensation, attempted to give these important figures their due through my writings and publications.

Recently, however, something else has occurred that caught me totally by surprise. Allow me to elaborate. Since I have long been associated with instructors and practitioners who follow the Iwama approach based on the teachings of Saito Sensei, I often hear accounts of happenings and trends in this arena. It seems that the Iwama groups are roughly divided into two camps: the old style advocates who adhere closely to Saito Sensei’s teachings, and the new group that favors the methods of Saito Sensei’s son, Hitohiro Saito Sensei.

Hitohiro Sensei is truly an outstanding exponent and teacher of aikido. There can be no doubt of that. At the same time, Morihiro Saito is a giant of a figure in aikido annals who has no match as a technician. While compiling the “Complete Guide to Aikido”, I was reminded over and over again of his outstanding abilities and teaching acumen. Saito Sensei formed tens of thousands of young people in aikido, many of whom have gone on to reach expert status in their own right.

This week in conjunction with the launch of the “Complete Guide to Aikido”, we are featuring a number of video clips from the included technical material. If you never had an opportunity to train with Morihiro Saito, 9th dan, or are not familiar with his extraordinary talents, then by all means have a look. Prepare to be blown away!

Watch this video of Morihiro Saito, 9th dan

Jan
28

Rare footage! Video: Shoji Nishio and Kisaburo Osawa at 1971 Edogawa Aikido Demonstration

This is a rare video with excellent footage of Shoji Nishio Sensei, 8th dan, and Kisaburo Osawa Sensei, 9th dan, in their younger years. Nishio Sensei performs paired sword katas and related taijutsu movements. Osawa Sensei demonstrates his fluid, rock-solid style of aikido which is the epitome of grace and beauty…

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Jan
28

Last generation of uchideshi… “Perfect Aikido” demonstration by Mitsugi Saotome Sensei

This is a fascinating video clip of Mitsugi Saotome Sensei demonstrating some very subtle and sophisticated aikido techniques, many of them unseen in mainstream aikido. Saotome Sensei is the founder of the Aikido Schools of Ueshiba organization and was one of the last generation of uchideshi to have studied under Morihei Ueshiba O-Sensei at the Aikikai Hombu Dojo in Tokyo…

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Jan
28

Let him teach you all of the intricacies… “Only Morihiro Saito Sensei could show 8 different nikyo variations!”

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“These techniques are all part of the neglected legacy left by O-Sensei”

As I was creating the “Complete Guide to Aikido”, I once again had occasion to marvel at the technical virtuosity of my teacher, Morihiro Saito Sensei. In the video footage I was editing, I found this particular section on nikyo — every practitioner’s favorite technique! — in which Sensei demonstrates eight variations. Yes, that’s right… 8! Watch the video!

Can you reel off 8 nikyos? Can your teacher? Yet, these techniques are all part of the neglected legacy left by O-Sensei. Morihiro Saito was one of the Founder’s dedicated students who spent his career promoting Morihei Ueshiba’s aikido. The “Complete Guide to Aikido” serves as a repository for this amazing body of knowledge.

Please watch the nikyo video with our compliments, and allow us to explain the purpose and content of Morihiro Saito’s “Complete Guide to Aikido”.

Jan
27

Student of Kisaburo Osawa! Katsuyuki Shimamoto, 8th Dan Aikikai, in Holland (2011)

Katsuyuki Shimamoto Sensei, an 8th dan Aikikai shihan, is also a practicing Soto Zen-Buddhist Priest. A student of late Kisaburo Osawa Sensei, he practices a style of Aikido that is sometimes soft and fluid, and sometimes very sharp and direct…

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Jan
27

Saved by the “Guide”… “He already had it but couldn’t find it!!”

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“Finding ‘lost’ techniques at light speed!”

stan-pranin-closeupToday I was contacted about our new “Complete Guide to Aikido” by a reader with a question. This gentleman had previously obtained Saito Sensei’s “Lost Seminars” DVD series containing about 14 hours of video footage which is indexed in the “Guide”. He was especially interested in materials on Ken-tai-Jo — sword vs. staff — exercises, and they’re weren’t any on the DVDs in his collection…

Well actually, I specifically remember some Ken-tai-Jo sections in those seminars, so I fired up the “Complete Guide to Aikido” interface and clicked on “Ken”. I was instantaneously taken to the section of sword video clips and here’s what I found:

KEN
Ken demonstration-(1985-86) [mp4 file] – 2:41
Ken-jo-taijutsu-riai (1989-09) [mp4 file] – 4:49
Ken-shomenuchi kokyunage, Vol. 6 [pdf file]

Ken-tai jo (1992-09) [mp4 file] – 4:17
Ken-tai jo-demonstration-(1991-09) [mp4 file] – 2:47
Ken-tai jo-introduction-(1991-09) [mp4 file] – 1:58

Ken-tai ken-(kote), Vol. 6 [pdf file]
Ken-tai ken-(men), Vol. 6 [pdf file]
Ken-tai ken-(tsuki), Vol. 6 [pdf file]

As you can see, there are three videos covering Ken-tai-jo materials. It took me only about 10 seconds to locate these videos. I could have been watching the footage moments later.

So this gentleman actually already had the instructional videos he was looking for but couldn’t find them! I was very happy to be able to use the “Guide” for the purpose it was intended, and was amazed at how quickly I could locate things. No more lost needles in the haystack for aikido practitioners!

Check out the “Complete Guide to Aikido” here

Jan
27

Flashback to 1927! “Morihei Ueshiba captivates budo aficionados among Tokyo’s elite” by Stanley Pranin

The photo below is one of only a few that survive from Morihei Ueshiba’s early years in Tokyo. Here in a single image that tells a story with many threads, we see a 43-year-old martial arts phenomenon at the outset of his illustrious career. Some names you will recognize, others are essentially lost to history, but several of the individuals appearing here played important roles in Morihei’s early success in Tokyo…

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Jan
26

Morihiro Saito, 9th dan, on Koshinage and Kotegaeshi from the “Complete Guide to Aikido”!

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“I don’t get tired even if I throw from morning to night!”

Here is a great video clip of Morihiro Saito from his “Complete Guide to Aikido” footage. You’ll see Saito Sensei in his best form, and full of humor, and he explains the fundamentals of koshinage and kotegaeshi.

Through the simple interface of the “Complete Guide to Aikido”, you’ll have the ability to rapidly 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 a tour of the “Complete Guide to Aikido”

Jan
26

“The most extensive technical reference on Aikido ever compiled!”

Hi! I’m Stanley Pranin, publisher of Aikido Journal. I’ve devoted my life to aikido, to both the practice of the art and the study of its fascinating history. During the 20 years I spent in Japan, I published hundreds of articles on aikido and its Founder Morihei Ueshiba and studied aikido under Morihiro Saito, 9th dan.

“The Complete Guide to Aikido” is my attempt to make it possible to rapidly access the entire aikido curriculum in literally seconds. You will be able to use your time for practice and study, not looking here and there to try to locate the instructional materials you need. 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!

For detailed information on the content of “The Complete Guide to Aikido”, please click here: http://blog.aikidojournal.com/complete-guide-to-aikido-sales-page/

This is the most important product I’ve ever published bar none! Check it out!

Click here to buy

Jan
23

Strikes win the day! Yasuo Kobayashi, 8th dan, demonstrates aikido atemi and pressure points

In this video, Yasuo Kobayashi, 8th dan, demonstrates aikido atemi and pressure points. During his demonstration, he shows a variety of atemi (combative strikes) and pressure points whose application increases the level of effectiveness of aikido techniques. Kobayashi Sensei entered the Aikikai Hombu Dojo in 1954 and became an uchideshi. He is a graduate of Meiji University where he was instrumental in setting up an aikido club. Kobayashi opened a private dojo in Kodaira in 1969 and, little by little, expanded his network of dojos known as “Kobayashi Dojos.” For several decades, he has traveled all over the world conducting aikido seminars…

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Jan
23

Iwama Aikido: Morihiro Saito: “Taijutsu, Aiki Ken, and Aiki Jo combined into a single curriculum!”

Morihiro Saito, 9th dan, was one of aikido’s most respected teachers. Saito Sensei was one of O-Sensei’s closest students and achieved worldwide recognition due to his numerous international seminars and the publication of many authoritative technical books. He gave one of five unforgettable lecture demonstrations at the 1986 Aiki News Friendship Demonstration in Tokyo that also included: Minoru Mochizuki, Gozo Shioda, Yoshio Sugino, and Kenji Shimizu. These experts bring you the benefits of their decades of training to provide insights that will stimulate your own practice and deepen your understanding of martial essentials. Here are some highlights…

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