Jul
31

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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Jul
31

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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Jul
30

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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Jul
30

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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Jul
30

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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Jul
29

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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Jul
29

Don’t become a victim! Killer Shihonage: “Escaping serious injury or even death!” by Stanley Pranin

Practitioners who are less advanced may be overwhelmed by the pain caused and lack the skills to escape injury to the wrist, elbow or shoulder. In some cases, promising aikido careers have been ended as the victims have been left with chronic pain and loss of function in the injured areas…

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Jul
29

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

An excellent documentary in Japanese on Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu Takumakai, the largest branch of the various descendants of Sokaku Takeda’s art, studied by Morihei Ueshiba beginning in 1915. The complex old-style jujutsu techniques comprising the curriculum are a wonder of human ingenuity!…

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Jul
28

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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Jul
28

Complex, high-level techniques! “Michio Hikitsuchi: No one articulates O-Sensei’s message better”

Welcome to our final video on Michio Hikitsuchi Sensei’s “Essential Teachings of Aikido” course. Today’s video clip features a demonstration of ninindori, or techniques for handling two attackers. These are complex, high-level techniques. Let’s watch Hikitsuchi Sensei’s powerful demonstration now.

Throughout the week we have given you an intimate look at the rich content of Hikitsuchi Sensei’s “Essential Teachings of Aikido” course. I’m not aware of anyone who has succeeded in articulating the profound concepts of O-Sensei contained in these lessons better than Michio Hikitsuchi.

There is little doubt that we are merely scratching the surface of what is possible in our normal way of training. O-Sensei pointed the way for us to much higher levels through his message and movements. Enter through this door and your aikido will reach a different dimension.

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Jul
26

Shocked and humbled… Just received this morning!

prostrate-bow

“Thank you for being here for us, and for shouldering
the immense burden of the entire history of aikido!”

This morning I received this most incredible email! I was shocked and humbled and share it with you now:

“Dear Stan,

As always, I am grateful beyond description for your unwavering efforts to make in-depth knowledge of aikido available to all of us worldwide!

Although certain things are only possible to learn by being an uchi-deshi, this also has the effort of anchoring one’s perspective solidly in one place. Through your work spanning decades, we all have access to the knowledge of many uchi-deshi, putting us in a truly unique position of being able to add and compare multiple perspectives.

Your fearless integrity also in the face of politically established “truths” is a priceless gift to all of us, and in my humble opinion we aikidoka around the globe must recognize the truly remarkable efforts of disseminating aikido teachings worldwide, performed by four outstanding individuals, each in his own irreplaceable way:

Saito Sensei, Tohei Sensei, Kisshomaru Doshu – and yourself!!

Thank you for being here for us, and for shouldering the immense burden of the entire history of aikido!!

Best wishes,

C.S. “…

Jul
25

Founder not part of the discussion… “Understanding our ‘obsession’ with O-Sensei,” by Stanley Pranin

In recent years, we often present aikido techniques the way they were taught by Founder Morihei Ueshiba and contrast them with later practices that have become the norm in modern schools of the art. Some readers have drawn the conclusion that our intent is to fix Morihei’s method of doing this or that technique as an absolute standard, and that any deviation from this form is incorrect and therefore to be summarily rejected…

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