Nov
24

Aikidoka always forget this! Nick Lowry on “Kuzushi, ” balance- breaking

In this video, Nick Lowry Sensei of the Windsong Dojo presents an introduction to the concept of “kuzushi,” or balance-breaking which is essential to all martial arts. He describes various ways that are achieved to unbalance uke and what the physical characteristics of kuzushi are…

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Nov
24

Exquisite aikido! Daniel Toutain Sensei at FAA Auray Summer Camp of 2013

This is a compilation of scenes from the FAA Auray Summer Camp of 2013 conducted by Daniel Toutain Sensei in Auray, France. This video is beautifully edited and showcases the exquiste aikido of Toutain Sensei, a direct disciple of Morihiro Saito Shihan…

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Nov
24

THE AIKI WARRIOR WAY: EPISODE 1 — “EXTRACTING A BLOODIED VICTIM FROM A TRAIN IN JAPAN”

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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Nov
21

Blend? You must be kidding! “How Does Aikido change us?” by Lynn Seiser

The physical practice of Aikido follows different strategies and patterns of movement than most martial arts. Coming from a bashing background, it was initially very hard to get my body to move according to the principles and concepts of Aikido. Blend rather than resist? You have to be kidding. Move in a circular motion rather than a linear direction? I did not even do that when I danced. The body did not want to do it and the mind did not understand it. The body and the mind were not fighting each other, they were fighting Aikido…

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Nov
21

Pat Hendricks, 7th dan: “A close-up look at the rigorously precise Iwama Aikido curriculum”

This video presents highlights from a seminar Pat Hendricks conducted in New Zealand and will give viewers a feel for her clear and precise teaching style. This clip shows an interesting teaching progression that many instructors will find useful in planning their classes. This is Iwama Aikido at its best…

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Nov
21

Morihiro Saito explains… “Where did the 31-jo kata come from?”

By the time I learned it, the 31-jo kata was already complete, but when Koichi Tohei Sensei came to practice in Iwama it had not yet been perfected. What he learned was different from what I learned, probably because O-Sensei’s way of instructing was not yet fully developed. When I learned under O-Sensei his teachings included all of the weapons techniques including the kumitachi. At one stage, there was no one left in Iwama except me, so I trained with O-Sensei by myself. His teaching gradually became more elaborate…

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Nov
20

What if you die? “Death and Aikido” by Bokkemon

[A]ssuming that we are facing a real battle, the possibilities of victory are at least equal to the chance of dying. This is quite obvious, and yet that possibility never arises in Aikido training. It is assumed that, in the clash against a more or less expert Aikidoka, the enemy will end unscathed, and with the understanding that violence is unnecessary. It is assumed that the enemy will experience a kind of psycho-spiritual enlightenment that will transform his violent way of relating to the world and will lead him to abandon his aggressive intentions, in a sort of loving conversion…

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Nov
20

Long, fateful bond: The First Encounter with Master Sokaku Takeda

It was in February of 1915 while visiting Engaru in Kitami that O-Sensei met Takeda. They were both staying at the same inn and they met in the halls of the inn. Ueshiba, who was about 30 then, studied with him at the inn for only a month, but while he was being taught he felt some kind of inspiration that spiritually he didn’t quite understand, so he invited Takeda to come to the Shirataki area where about 15 of Ueshiba’s deshi and servants received instruction from Takeda in Daito-ryu…

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Nov
20

Rarely studied treasure! “A Look Inside Morihei’s Revolutionary Training Manual”

When I discovered Morihei’s little 1938 training manual during an interview in 1981, little did I realize how important a find it was. I immediately showed it to my teacher Morihiro Saito who had no idea that such a document existed. Saito Sensei was delighted at the discovery because “Budo” contained irrefutable evidence that his way of teaching in Iwama was faithful to the Founder’s curriculum as he had learned it after the war directly from Morihei…

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Nov
20

“Death and Aikido” by Bokkemon

samurai-battlefield

“We need an Aikido which does not sell illusory hopes of any kind; an Aikido that recognizes how vulnerable and fragile and worthy we are.”

Death is a taboo in the contemporary Western world: the bourgeois socio-economic system sells and instills the illusory possibility of being able to consign death to oblivion, avoiding it as much as possible and thus ensuring a continuous flow of compulsive consumers. The contemporary Western bourgeois class lives as if it will never die.

This illusion permeates Western culture, even infuses the areas where death should be a logical presence, at least in hypothetical terms. One of those areas is the practice of martial arts in general, and Aikido in particular. I use the term “martial art” in a narrow sense, referring to those arts that claim to be the embodiment of the Way of the Warrior, and not including the sport oriented ones. In this case, the martial practice is shaped to this illusory vision, and embodies the possibility to definitively escape death, which means basically, “if you do this or that, you’ll be able to come out victorious in an eventual fight”.

In the specific case of Aikido, which proclaims to be a martial art in a strict sense, we observe a set of techniques, methodologies and concepts that seems to mix up the aseptic place of training with the place of life in its most obvious sense: that which is being observed by death. Aikido and its practice are aimed towards victory over a real enemy. Aikido openly assumes that by training more, the practitioner will be closer to achieve victory, that is, to cheating death.

But assuming that we are facing a real battle, the possibilities of victory are at least equal to the chance of dying. This is quite obvious, and yet that possibility never arises in Aikido training. It is assumed that, in the clash against a more or less expert Aikidoka, the enemy will end unscathed, and with the understanding that violence is unnecessary. It is assumed that the enemy will experience a kind of psycho-spiritual enlightenment that will transform his violent way of relating to the world and will lead him to abandon his aggressive intentions, in a sort of loving conversion.
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Nov
19

Pinnacle of classic Japanese martial arts! Tenshin Shoden Katori Shinto Ryu Documentary

This is Tenshin Shoden Katori Shinto Ryu – Japan’s oldest and most traditional sword school – considered the pinnacle of classic Japanese martial arts. This clip features part of a rare interview with Otake Risuke, the school’s instructor. See the full clip as part of the feature length movie, “Art of the Japanese Sword.” Produced by Empty Mind Films…

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Nov
19

Free PDF Download: Magazine: Aiki News Number 37, 1981

“I think O-Sensei is the man who was able to underpin the idea of brotherly love with security. His art has a person move back and forth between life and death, to experience enlightenment of the self, and to express love for mankind.” — Mitsunari Kanai

Contents
● Editorial on Mitsunari Kanai, by Stanley Pranin
● Interview with Mitsunari Kanai, by Stanley Pranin
● Morihiro Saito’s Technical Notebook — Katatedori koshinage, Katatedori koshinage,
Ryotedori koshinage, by Morihiro Saito
● World Aikido Directory
● The Founder of Aikido, Morihei Ueshiba, “Idol Among the Soldiers, Chapter II – Part 4,
by Kisshomaru Ueshiba
● Back cover: Noma Dojo photo with Morihei Ueshiba and Shigemi Yonekawa

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