Oct
20

Aikikai style… Katatedori demo at World Combat Games by Slovakia representatives

This is an interesting clip of a highly-polished aikido katatedori demonstration by the representatives from Slovaka at the 2013 World Combat Games held in Saint Petersburg, Russia. Aikikai members have become regular participants in these international events…

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Oct
20

What art is the strongest? “Real nature of martial arts and their benefits,” by Stanley Pranin

In deliberating the relevancy of martial arts in modern society, it seems that the discussion eventually comes around to a debate on the superiority of one martial art over another. Martial arts magazines and Internet forums are filled with articles and discussions about what martial art would come out on top in a hypothetical match-up. I submit that such comparisons are an exercise in futility since all scenarios dreamed up to test whether one martial art will best another are highly artificial and usually take the form of competitive matches…

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Oct
20

Preserving O-Sensei’s aikido… “Interview with André Cognard (2),” by Stanley Pranin

Kobayashi Sensei’s work focused on that. He also insisted on many points, for example, he would say, “When you’re grabbed, you do nothing without adopting the other’s point of view. He’s here and looking over there, so you must look over there. If you look in the opposite direction, you’ll never know what he sees and what’s motivating his actions, so whatever you have to do, even if it’s omote, the first thing to do is to take his point of view…

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Oct
17

The pitfalls of history by omission! “Morihei in Tanabe,” by Stanley Pranin

Unlike other periods in the life of Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba, his early years in Tanabe and family circumstances are not well documented. Our principal sources of information on this period of Morihei’s life are the biography of Morihei Ueshiba published by his son Kisshomaru in 1977, later interviews and conversations with the author, and a few pages from the first biography of the Founder written by Kanemoto Sunadomari in 1969. To this can be added the recollections of members and relatives of the Ueshiba and Inoue families…

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Oct
17

Radical change in brain chemistry! “Responding to Aggression — Part 2,” by Tom Collings

In less than a second the heart can race from a resting rate of about 80 to double or even triple its normal function reaching over 200 beats per minute. Respiration becomes faster and shallow further increasing heart rate. Most fine motor coordination (manipulating things with our fingers) and hand-eye coordination is significantly impaired. Complex motor coordination (tasks requiring a series of movements) become more difficult. Only gross motor skills – individual large body movement is enhanced under stress

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Oct
17

Genial paired weapons practice! Morihiro Saito demonstrates ken tai jo

This is an excellent video clip of Morihiro Saito Sensei, 9th dan, demonstrating three ken tai jo exercise: choku barai, kaeshi barai, and kaiten barai. These are excellent practices for developing a better understanding of distance and timing with weapons. This video was shot at a San Diego seminar in the early 1990s…

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Oct
16

Surprise kaeshiwaza… When you lose control of uke in shihonage, here’s what can happen!

Dojo practice is often seen as a pleasant activity among friends. The problem is that we also believe that we are learning a martial art. There is something akin to cognitive dissonance at play in the sense that we are casual in our practice when we need to be alert for what should be construed as a life-or-death scenario. This enlightening video prepared by the Kikentai-Berlin Dojo shows the kind of unfavorable outcome that can occur when nage loses control of uke while performing shihonage. A number of well-executed kaeshiwaza, or counter-techniques are demonstrated…

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Oct
16

Happy among friends… Stanley Pranin at Aywaille Seminar in Belgium 2014

This is an artistically edited clip of highlights of Stanley Pranin conducting an aikido seminar in Aywaille, Belgium in March 2014. The seminar’s videographer is Carlo Van Parys whose deft editing skills add a magical touch evoking the atmosphere of friendship prevalent at the event…

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Stanley Pranin offers you solutions to problems
that are holding back your progress in Aikido!

Click here for detailed information on Stanley Pranin's Zone Theory of Aikido Course

Oct
15

“Words of advice for the starving yoga teacher,” by Stanley Pranin

starving-yoga-how-do-i-eat

“Everything mentioned here could be readily applied to the starving Aikido teacher!”

This is a slightly modified version of an article I wrote some months ago for one of my yoga teachers who was lamenting the fact that she couldn’t make a living doing yoga alone. Everything mentioned here could be readily applied to the starving Aikido teacher as well.

I’ve been thinking a bit more about one interesting way a yoga teacher might apply various Internet marketing techniques to enhance her reach and income.

Here is a hypothetical example. A yoga instructor goes to a park with her mat on a day with good weather. She finds a shady area under a large tree. By choosing such a location you don’t have to worry about harsh shadows. A friend comes with a video camera and tripod. If two friends are available, so much the better, as the yoga poses can be shot from two different angles.

She proceeds to perform a yoga routine at a slow to moderate speed that consists of about 25 (or whatever number) of asanas. There is no talking in the video, she just concentrates on performing the routine as expertly and gracefully as possible.

She goes home and takes the memory card(s) from the camera and fires up her laptop and inserts the card. She uses an inexpensive video editor like Sony Vegas Movie Studio to edit the video.

The video is cut up into 27 parts. The first part is an intro 1-2 minutes in length, then the 25 poses, and finally, an “outro” with contact information, link and whatever other relevant information that serves as a “call to action” for the viewer at the end of each segment. In other words, you want the viewer to take some specific action like provide an email address, go to a website or page.

The first edited video consists of the intro and the first pose with its title in Sanskrit and English. The instructor sets up her microphone and, while viewing the video footage, records a soundtrack which would be similar to her speech during a yoga class. An additional soundtrack consisting of royalty-free meditative type music may optionally be added.

If she wants to go into further detail, the footage at normal speed can be repeated and attached as a slow motion section thus tripling the length of the first installment. The overall length of the video clips should be no more than 3-4 minutes. Even 2 minutes is fine because people are in a hurry and want to consume the information in convenient, bite-size portions.

After the soundtracks are added to the video and all editing is complete, the video clip is uploaded to youtube. (If you don’t already have a youtube account, you need to set one up.) In the description section on youtube below the video, all relevant contact information and explanations with a clickable link are provided.
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Oct
15

Eye-popping action! “Katori Shinto Ryu featuring members of the Viet Nam Dojo”

Excellent video on Katori Shinto-ryu featuring members of the Viet Nam Dojo. The Katori school is one of Japan’s oldest classical martial arts traditions. The breath of the technical repertoire and instructional level are extremely high. The production values exhibited in this clip are top-notch. Exciting fare!…

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Oct
15

Implicated in a killing! “Sokaku Takeda and Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu, by Stanley Pranin”

Sokaku Takeda is well-known as the principal martial arts instructor of Morihei Ueshiba, the founder of aikido. As I have pointed out on several occasions, the revival of interest in Takeda’s art, Daito-ryu aikijujutsu, is largely due to the popularization of aikido in Japan and abroad after World War II. It seems inevitable that with hundreds of thousands of people having now studied aikido, there would be a certain interest in the “roots” of the art. In the first two articles of this series we have tried to place Daito-ryu in historical context and trace Sokaku’s formative years…

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Oct
15

“Iriminage: Potential vulnerabilities,” by Stanley Pranin

iriminage-vulnerabilities

“We can do a great deal to self-diagnose our techniques and
work toward honing our skills to higher and higher levels.”

Here is a random screenshot retrieved from an online video that exposes several potential vulnerabilities when executing aikido’s iriminage. Although we are looking at a single image, this manner of throwing in iriminage is quite common, especially in mainstream aikido.

When done this way, the setup for the technique involves nage bringing uke downward using centrifugal force and pressure on the neck. After uke has reached the bottom of his downward movement, the logic is he will “rebound” upward in an attempt to save himself. Finally, nage reverses his motion and swings his right arm through as he steps forward to complete the throw. Uke is thrown in a “high fall”. The entire effect is very spectacular and can be seen widely in demonstrations.

Limiting ourselves to this still image — a moment frozen in time — let us analyze some potential difficulties in approaching iriminage this way. Let’s look at the numbered regions of the image first.

1 – Here, uke’s head rests against nage’s right shoulder and upper arm. Uke is partially unbalanced but very close to nage. Uke also has hold of nage’s right arm with his right hand. As you can see, uke is attempting to support himself using nage’s body as a prop. This close contact of uke with nage’s body creates a major weakness that may be exploited.

2 – Though perhaps not obvious, uke’s right elbow is very near nage’s groin and upper thigh. If uke still has partial control — and I would suggest that he does — he might use his elbow supported by his right-handed grip to attack these vital spots of nage.

3 – In a like manner, uke’s right hand can be used to attack nage’s knee. In fact, given the multiple points of contact between uke and nage’s body, uke might collapse his entire structure against nage’s body and execute a counter-throw. This is a very real danger when the iriminage throw is executed in this manner.

Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba executing a setup to iriminage that is very different and does not reveal the vulnerabilities mentioned in this analysis.

Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba executing a setup to iriminage that is very
different and does not reveal the vulnerabilities mentioned in this analysis.

[/caption]When iriminage is well performed at high speed, I believe the average eye does not see the details of what is happening. The action is so fast that the body mechanics at work cannot be analyzed. Also, it is common for there to be a “gentleman’s agreement” that assures good cooperation between the two partners.

An untrained person would not and could not respond as uke does in these iriminage demonstrations due to the high-level of skills involved. The mere fact that uke can respond in a high fall indicates that he has a certain measure of control over his body.

My purpose here is not to criticize any particular person or method but to suggest that we should submit every technique we practice to close analysis. Is uke being fully unbalanced? Does uke have the possibility of responding with a counter-attack at any stage of the technique? Is the technique prolonged unnecessarily affording opportunities for exploitation? These are questions that we should ask constantly. By doing so, we can do a great deal to self-diagnose our techniques and work toward honing our skills to higher and higher levels.

___________________________________________

Stanley Pranin offers you solutions to problems
that are holding back your progress in Aikido!

Click here for detailed information on Stanley Pranin's Zone Theory of Aikido Course