Dec
22

I only knew about him by hearsay… “O-Sensei often had me draw a circle, triangle and a square.”

He rarely came down from Iwama. It was half a year after I joined the dojo that I saw his face for the first time. Until then, I only knew about him by hearsay. There weren’t any pictures of him like we have now. When he smiled, his eyes disappeared. But when you just caught a glance of him, the impression was really strong. When he looked at something for a second, his face disappeared into his eyes. (Laughter) O-Sensei used to tell us a story. We were really cheeky. For the most part, people did not approach O-Sensei… Whenever I had a question I went up to O-Sensei and asked, “O-Sensei, there was something I didn’t understand of what you said a little while ago.” Sensei would say, “Oh, good you noticed that.” O-Sensei often had me draw a circle, triangle and a square and would say, “Keep it with you and bring it to me when I need it…

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Dec
22

Simple and straightforward… Daniel Toutain Sensei on Kotegaeshi

This is an excellent video in which Daniel Toutain Sensei of France demonstrates and explains kotegaeshi, one of aikido’s wrist twisting throws. Toutain Sensei was a student of Morihiro Saito Sensei and his presentation follows in this tradition. Notice how he first unbalances uke by moving to the side in an ura movement. From there, the kotegaeshi throw is executed by moving uke’s arm to the rear to complete the throw…

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Dec
19

Making violent situations less violent! Follow-up to “An End To Collusion,” by Tom Collings

I love the art of aikido and when lax, casual practice passes for harmony, and when training with effort and intensity is considered “violent” then we have surely lost the Founder’s Way. We have trivialized what is profound, and made superficial that which should have depth, the Founder’s earnest struggle to learn and understand, and find new possibilities in conflict. Our modern culture attempts to make everything light and easy, even O’Sensei’s work of a lifetime…

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Dec
19

I became Saito Sensei’s otomo… “Interview with Pat Hendricks” by Ikuko Kimura

I went back to America for nearly eight years then returned to Iwama for a number of months, and I continued going back frequently as a short-term uchideshi until 1988 when I decided to become a long-term uchideshi again, for the last time. I have made fifteen or sixteen visits to Iwama all together, but that was my fifth or sixth. I had already started my own dojo back in 1984, and I deliberately decided to leave it, turned it over to a friend and went back to Japan, where I stayed for about 18 months…

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Dec
19

The art of forgiveness… Shoji Nishio: “Stand naturally and enter immediately when your opponent is about to move!”

Shoji Nishio Sensei chose the sometimes controversial path of not imitating the founder’s technique, but rather absorbing aikido’s essential principles and adapting them to the current cultural context. In this regard, his technique was constantly evolving as his technical understanding and skills improved. For this reason, Nishio’s aikido bore little resemblance to orthodox aikido exemplified by the Hombu approach that tended to be conservative in nature. “Budo must always reflect its surroundings. If it isn’t newer and stronger, it isn’t valid…

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Dec
18

7th dan from New York: “Harvey Konigsberg talks about the importance of using your center while executing aikido techniques”

This video of Harvey Konigsberg Sensei was filmed during a seminar he conducted in October, 2011 at Aikido of Central New York. Konigsberg Shihan focuses on the importance of using your center while demonstrating techniques…

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Dec
18

First seen in 1935 film: “Kyoichi Inoue, 9th dan Yoshinkan Aikido, demonstrates ‘mysterious’ throw”

Kyoichi Inoue Sensei, 9th dan, demonstrates a spectacular technique first seen in the 1935 film of Morihei Ueshiba. Gozo Shioda Sensei of Yoshinkan Aikido would show it often in his demonstrations. Inoue Sensei here explains the fine points of making this technique work effectively…

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Dec
18

Hint… O-Sensei didn’t decide! Minoru Hirai: “How Aikido got its name!”

The Ueshiba family house was attached to the dojo, and Morihei himself quite often, although irregularly, appeared on the mat. O’Sensei represented the ultimate authority for all of the uchideshi. Through his demeanor, he personified all of the qualities a young Japanese used to strive for at the time…

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Dec
17

Both spectacular and funny! “Guillaume Erard: The Amazing World of Aikido Ukemi”

This is a delightful video containing scores of spectacular, funny and unusual falls taken by publisher and aikidoka Guillaume Erard during seminars and demonstrations. This film is a tribute by Erard to a number of his aikido teachers, starting with Christian Tissier Sensei, who have guided him during his aikido career…

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Dec
17

Morihei’s base in Osaka… “Historical photo: Time-machine back to 1935″ by Stanley Pranin

This is a rare photo of unusually high quality depicting Morihei Ueshiba in Osaka with the leading figures of his Asahi News dojo. The photo is almost certainly from 1935 judging by Morihei’s visage, and the fact that it was taken at a time prior to Sokaku Takeda’s arrival in Osaka in June 1936. The people who appear in the photo reflect aspects of Morihei’s activities that extend beyond his martial arts teaching into family areas and the political realm…

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Dec
17

Seigo Okamoto’s Daito-ryu Roppokai: “Techniques which can deal with any situation from any direction”

I usually compare roppo to gaming dice to describe techniques which can deal with any situation from any direction, top or bottom, front or back, right or left, like the faces of dice. But these techniques do not have square angles like dice but are round, forming six (roku) infinite circles. I am eager to get as many meanings as I can out of the term…

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Dec
16

Gentle politeness of maintaining proper maai: “Is Aikido a traditional martial art,” by Francis Takahashi

One need not prepare to be a parachutist when one is on solid ground. One need not prepare for space flight if not an astronaut. One need not prepare for Phd exams, if one is not going for a degree. One need not prepare for a fight, if one resolves never to be near one or can walk away from one…

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