Apr
16

Tetsuzan Kuroda: Martial Artist of Impossible Skills!

Tetsuzan Kuroda, the headmaster of the martial legacy of the Kuroda family, is one of the best known and respected of contemporary Japanese koryu practitioners. He is one of Japan’s finest swordsman, a master of a variety of classical weapons, and an adept in the soft-style Kuroda family jujutsu. One quickly runs out of superlatives when attempting to describe the skills of Tetsuzan Kuroda Sensei. Watching Kuroda Sensei draw his sword is a stunning experience. It’s akin to a religious revelation where you humbly thank the Creator for allowing you to witness such a miracle of movement! This video was shot during Aiki Expo 2003…

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Apr
16

The Americans made fun of me! “Interview with Hiroshi Isoyama,” by Stanley Pranin

When I tried to do koshinage on some of the taller men I found that they could just step over me; no matter how I tried the technique, I couldn’t manage to throw them because the height difference meant I couldn’t get my hips into a good position in front of theirs. Then I had the idea to try putting them across my shoulders instead of across my hips, and that’s how I started using those techniques. I wasn’t trying to be rough or flashy, I was just trying to get the techniques to work. Necessity is the mother of invention!…

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Apr
16

Where did the art come from? Stanley Pranin’s Video Blog — “From Aikijujutsu to Aikido!”

Saito Sensei’s classes were always full and he enjoyed a reputation as perhaps the finest technician teaching at the Hombu Dojo in those days. His explanations were clear and methodical in contrast to most of the other Hombu teachers that simply demonstrated a technique with little or no commentary. He was always smiling and circulating around the dojo giving a lot of personal attention to students. In addition to his superb taijutsu, Saito Sensei also spent the last part of his class teaching the aiki ken and jo, the only teacher to do so when I was there. Sensei would show the basic striking and thrusting movements of the ken and jo and then incorporate them into a series of paired kata. I thought his system of relating taijutsu and weapons was very genial and hoped to have a chance to do more of this kind of training at some future date…

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Apr
15

Morihei Ueshiba practicing the ken outdoors in Iwama as Morihiro Saito looks on!

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Apr
15

Erased from history… or so they thought! “Noriaki Inoue, Aikido’s Forgotten Pioneer,” by Stanley Pranin

I could no longer stand knowing that perhaps the most important person after the Founder himself was still alive and living only a few miles away from me. I decided to act. My solution would be a diabolical scheme that only a “henna gaijin” could concoct. I took the transcription of the conversation recorded five years earlier supplemented by a polite letter and headed out to Kunitachi, a few miles west, where he lived. I rang the doorbell, and a diminutive woman, perhaps in her 70s, opened the door.

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Apr
15

See for yourself! “What was Koichi Tohei, 10th dan, teaching after the Aikikai?”

This video is the first part of several hours of rare video footage taken during a seminar taught by Koichi Tohei Sensei in Osaka in July, 1983. It provides an answer to the question of what Koichi Tohei was teaching after his departure from the Aikikai. In fine physical condition, Tohei Sensei demonstrates and explains the essential principles and techniques of his Ki system. Start with this introduction, and watch for the rest of the seminar clips to come shortly…

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Apr
15

“Adjacent Techniques, Predictable Irrationality and A Deeper form of Logic,” by Nev Sagiba

sagibaIt is a well known rule of thumb for wrestling, that at least three body parts must be connected otherwise you are leaving holes in your strategy. This principle does not change when standing up but becomes more sophisticated in the following manner:

Excluding air space in combat is vital. The space, when found by an opponent, can be used in a number of ways including atemiwaza, to escape, to capture you, lock you and so on.

When practicing a range of transitions and counters until they become second nature, you will find some to be magical flows and others to be close to silly.

Why then, do I recommend to practice all of them? (“Such as in my Book “FOUR DIAMONDS 1024“)

The reason is this: By practicing the full range of possibilities it opens up the faculty of noticing variables. So much so that you soon begin to notice anything from three to several times that much, adjacent to the technique the opponent is in that moment thwarting. When you are conscious of them, adjacent techniques become spring loaded and ready to turn on a dime and unleash. Otherwise they remain unenergised, unknown, dormant potentials unable to be tapped on demand. Similarly to the logistics of battlefield strategy, often adjacent deployments will also lend support to the main thrust and thereby give rise to fuzzy notions of “mysterious power” in the minds of those not fully understanding what is in fact transpiring.
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Apr
14

Rare footage: Demonstration of Nobuyoshi Tamura from April 1976

A rare 8mm film of scenes of a seminar taught by the late Nobuyoshi Tamura Sensei in April 1976. At this point, Tamura Sensei had already been in France for 12 years. His style is reminiscent of the taijutsu practiced at the Aikikai in the 1960s and 70s. The latter part of this film consists of a public demonstration containing sword kata and knife-taking techniques in which Tamura Sensei is partnered by Tiki Shewan Sensei. Tamura Sensei would gradually refine his aikido over time, and in his final years, he exhibited amazing skills in a style that was alternately soft and explosive…

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Apr
14

Instructors should get back into training! “Realizing Aikido’s Potential,” by Stanley Pranin

The root of the problem as I see it lies in the weak attacks that are commonplace in aikido dojos nowadays. Students are seldom given training in how to execute an effective attack, be it in striking, grabbing or the occasional choking or kicking techniques. The situation is further exacerbated by a lack of committed intent or focus during attacks. This absence of firm intent on the part of the attacker affects his mental state and that of the person executing the technique. Both sides are aware—at least subconsciously—of the minimal risk of injury in training under these circumstances. Accordingly, the focused mind-set needed to develop realistic self-defense skills is absent from training…

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Apr
14

Aikido’s first 10th dan! “Interview with Koichi Tohei,” by Stanley Pranin

“I began studying aikido because I saw that Ueshiba Sensei had truly mastered the art of relaxing. It was because he was relaxed, in fact, that he could generate so much power. I became his student with the intention of learning that from him. To be honest, I never really listened to most of the other things he said”…

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Apr
10

Transcending values… “Budo: from Force to Gentleness” by Nick Lowry

Real training, real practice invites us to embody principle. It invites us to shape ourselves around different values, not winning points or even winning wars, but values that transcend and include violence and that over time reward this devotion to principled activity by endowing us with competent efficiency and dramatic dignity in the face of anxiety…

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Apr
10

The Way of the Warrior: Katori Shinto Ryu with Risuke Otake

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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