Sep
29

Recommended reading: “Exclusive Interview with Stanley Pranin” by Paul Swainson

The article below has been selected from the extensive archives of the Online Aikido Journal. We believe that an informed readership with knowledge of the history, techniques and philosophy of aikido is essential to the growth of the art and its adherence to the principles espoused by Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba.

In terms of technique and the direction, there’s not really a forward dynamic thinking that I can see that comes out of the organization, so one of the purposes of the expo is to create a situation, of a dynamic mix of people from different kinds of Aikido and other arts who can get together. By just being in proximity with a diverse mix of people like that and being able to see their techniques, feel their techniques, tends to be really stimulating and if you look at O’sensei’s background, he did a lot of cross training to, so those who criticize the expo for venturing into other areas which aren’t related to Aikido should maybe look back at the history and see what O’sensei and his teacher Sokaku Takeda did and their personal training.

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Sep
28

Brian Kagen pick: “Takamura Ha Shindo Yoshin Kai: Assumptions” by Toby Threadgill

“Recently I was introduced to a gentleman interested in martial arts training. He was not really aware of what I teach or of what constitutes Nihon Koryu Jujutsu. He just assumed that because I taught it, that I must believe it to be “the best”. When I told him I did not believe the art I taught to be “the best”, an uncomfortable silence ensued. I finally broke this taciturn moment by explaining that there is actually no such thing as a “best” martial art. Despite a noble effort to grasp what I was talking about, the gentleman in question eventually regressed, unable to shake the impression that if I was not convinced that what I taught was superior to all other forms of martial arts, that I was somehow unworthy of teaching him. I politely encouraged him to look around, consider what I had said and contact me again if he had any further questions. A few days later I received an e-mail from this gentleman in which he explained that he had indeed found someone convinced that they taught the ultimate style of martial arts. It was called “mixed martial arts” because it embodied only the best of all the styles. I just smiled to myself as I politely responded, congratulating him on his fortuitous discovery. ”

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Sep
26

“Reduce to Simplicity” by Nev Sagiba

This is a principle that works for everything, not just budo.

The word “complex” is a favourite of deceivers why try to manipulate by removing context. Usually a situation is as obvious as it is on first impression. Otherwise, when you pare away the clutter it reduces to the simple key points if real. Or to the ridiculous if fake.

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Sep
25

“The ego in Aikido” by by Henrik Beyer

Firstly, a comment on the article “Perceptions and Deceptions” by Stanley Pranin. Pranin writes “that there is no direct correspondence between reality as it is perceived by the individual and reality as it is.” Continuing Pranin also writes that “the world around us is nothing more than an abstraction based on the sum of our subjective perceptions.”

Allow me to agree and expand on these statements in the context of my experience as a two weeks old Aikidoka.

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Sep
24

Brian Kagen pick: “College E,B,C’s of Aiki Conflict Transformation”

“Speaker / Facilitator Tommy Nugent teaches the ‘Aiki’ Way of Conflict Resolution at Spring ’08 National Conference on Student Leadership”

Brian Kagen is an avid web researcher with a particular interest in martial arts. His training background includes both judo and aikido. He has contributed hundreds of article links over the years for AJ readers.

Click here to view video clip.

Sep
24

“Third exam” by Reu Claudius C. Mooc

I woke up with the sun glaring from my window. The cell phone on my side incessantly whines telling me to get up, it was 7:30 am. My body still hurts after the late night practice, it was necessary practice but I think I overdid it. While brushing my teeth I stared blankly at the mirror, my hair standing up, my eyes still demanded sleep and my mouth foaming with white bubbles. I hardly had the urge for breakfast, got a cup of hot choco and walked around the house. 8:00 am, time to get ready. Standing directly underneath the shower feeling the cold water run through my spine, I’m still half awake but I need to get going. Finally got dressed, checked my bag for my gi and the tanto. Seminar starts at 10:00am, I’ll leave at 9:30am. So much time to spare, mixed feelings, doubt and excitement, eager yet uncertain. So I sat on my bed and prayed, prayed hard, prayed like my life meant it, prayed like there was no tomorrow. 9:30 am, got to go, it’s now or never, the shodan exam awaits.

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Sep
23

Free video: Newly uploaded promotional clip for “Morihiro Saito: Lost Seminars, Part 5″

Download trailer for Lost Seminars, Part 5 here

We have just released a new DVD featuring an Aikido legend, Morihiro Saito Sensei, one of Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba’s closest disciples. This exceptional DVD presents never-before-seen footage of Saito Sensei as he appeared in 1991 while teaching a seminar in San Diego, California. Without doubt, this program makes a significant contribution to the steadily growing catalog of techniques of Saito Sensei available on DVD. With a runtime of 120 minutes, the material covered in this DVD includes the complete series of morotedori kokyuho exercises, numerous ushiro ryotedori and eridori techniques, and—a special treat—the rarely seen ninindori series, advanced techniques against two opponents. Complete English subtitles have been provided to enable viewers to follow in detail Saito Sensei’s instruction.

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Sep
23

Brian Kagen pick: “Training the Helpless Flapper to Fight Her Own Battles”

From InYo: Journal of Alternative Perspectives:

“President Roosevelt was looking over some ju-jutsu pictures presented to him by Capt. J. J. O’Brien, the man who introduced that Japanese art of self-defense to America. The President halted at one of the pictures and regarded it at length. Looking over his shoulder, Captain O’Brien saw that it was a picture of a woman straight-arming a man with her stiffened fingers jabbing his eyes. A little worried lest this maneuver should make an unfavorable impression, the Captain stammered:

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Sep
23

Featured video clip: “Hikitsuchi Sensei on YouTube”

A search of the Internet has yielded the following video clip which may be of interest to Aikido Journal readers.

Click here to view video clip

This clip was taken from a National Geographic episode on aikido conducted a number of years ago. It features the late Michio Hikitsuchi Sensei, 10th dan, of Shingu City in Wakayama Prefecture. Yoshimitsu Yamada Sensei of New York serves as interpreter.

Sep
22

Ellis Amdur pick: “Bartitsu: the Gentlemanly Art of Self Defence”

“A mini-documentary on Bartitsu, a martial art and self defence system founded by E. W. Barton-Wright in the year 1899. Bartitsu combined jiujitsu, savate, boxing and stick fighting; it was perhaps the first fighting art to have incorporated both Asian and European styles. After a few brief years of glory, Bartitsu was all but forgotten throughout most of the 20th Century.”

Ellis Amdur has trained in a number of other martial systems over the years, most notably Aikido with Terry Dobson, Yoshio Kuroiwa and Yasunori Kuwamori; Kodokan judo at Tokai University’s Fifth Branch High School; Muay Thai at Koei Gym in Tokyo; Chen Taiji chu’an, and Gao Bagua ch’uan. For many years, a primary focus of his training has been Xingyi chu’an, first with Su Dong Chen and with Chris Bates, and most recently, with Zhang Yun. He can be contacted at: http://www.ellisamdur.com

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Sep
22

Brian Kagen pick: “Mike Sigman Interviewed by Ian Young”

“Basically, at a workshop, I lay out how to do things. People can do them: there’s no escaping that they work. The logic is that either this is how it really works or I have stumbled on, by myself, a third system of movement that is just as effective: I’m not that much of a genius. So, I lay it out but I don’t say much to anybody personally. Some of them know it: they suddenly know that they’ve wasted time. I did: at a certain point I realized that as beautiful a form as I did, and as much as I was learning at push hands and so on, I wasn’t doing T’ai Chi. I had to stop and go back to absolute scratch.”

Brian Kagen is an avid web researcher with a particular interest in martial arts. His training background includes both judo and aikido. He has contributed hundreds of article links over the years for AJ readers.

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Sep
20

Brian Kagen pick: “The Making of an Aikido Sensei”

From YouTube.com:

“Find out why people come from all over the world and endure sometimes decades of hardship to become Yoshinkan Aikido Instructors. Who are these people?”

Brian Kagen is an avid web researcher with a particular interest in martial arts. His training background includes both judo and aikido. He has contributed hundreds of article links over the years for AJ readers.

[Read more...]