Oct
30

Brian Kagen pick: “The History of the Budokwai”

“The Budokwai was founded in 1918 in Lower Grosvenor Place, along the back wall of Buckingham Palace, by Gunji Koizumi, a Japanese immigrant, who thought the promotion of ju-jitsu and ken-jutsu (sword fighting) might help his adopted country, then immersed in the First World War. Koizumi subsequently wrote:” I hoped that rendering my service in promoting such training would be a means of pacifying my conscience, which was pricked by the fact that we Japanese, especially students, had been recipients of the kindness and hospitality generously bestowed by the people of this country, without making any tangible return.”
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Oct
29

“John Stevens Workshop features Aikido, Sword and Brush” by Gary Ohama

“Sword and Brush” became a reality when standing face-to-face with an original Ueshiba calligraphy scroll. Kneeling in seiza made the experience even better! This had to be the highlight of this year’s John Stevens workshop. Professor Stevens brought this scroll so we could experience the spirit of O Sensei during our training. “AiKi O Kami” (Great Spirit of AiKi) was brushed so radiant and distinct that even when viewing from across the room it was crystal clear. For me there was a sense of extreme reverence in the brushwork of “O Kami.” (I even looked for the stains of tear drops!) (There weren’t any.)
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Oct
28

Recommended reading: “Famous Swordsmen of Japan (4): Toru Shirai” by Yoshinori Kono

The article below concerning famous swordsman Toru Shirai 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.

Returning home, he grasped his bokuto in the way he had seen the ascetic wield his bell-striker and discovered that he had attained a exceptional new level of ability. This revelation, along with his use of projection through the tip of the bokuto (nobi) and the relaxation of the limbs and body, became the three principles that Shirai Sensei attained during his life as a swordsman—secrets so deep that even the ancient masters had not known of them. This episode has been often quoted in stories and tales of famous swordsmen and will likely be familiar to anyone with even a little knowledge of Shirai. It suggests that Shirai visited Terada seeking advice about how to continue training in his teacher’s absence, was told to visit Tokuhon, and while observing nembutsu devotions was Tokuhon’s deeply enlightened.

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Oct
28

Recommended reading: “Interview with Katsuyuki Kondo (1)” by Stanley Pranin

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.

Sokaku Sensei traveled all over, from Hokkaido in the north all the way to Okinawa in the south. It is also remarkable that he taught not only in police departments of one particular region, but throughout the entire country. I believe that if his technique was fake or ineffective, he would have been considered useless because police departments could easily exchange such information. The case would have been the same with the military . He also taught at many military establishments. It is sometimes said that Sokaku Sensei’s relationship with the military was limited and only through the Omoto religion and the connection with Morihei Ueshiba Sensei. In fact, however, Sokaku Takeda Sensei had direct connections to the military. This is clear from the enrollment books he kept.

The Aikido Journal archives now include more than 800 articles in twenty different languages and numerous video clips. We are constantly adding new articles and translations in our effort to document aikido and related disciplines past and present. If you would like to support us in this effort by taking out a subscription to the Online Aikido Journal we welcome you to do so by clicking this link. Remember that if you subscribe or renew for two years you will now receive the Aiki News / Aikido Journal Archival DVD absolutely free of charge. Don’t pass up this special offer!

Click here to read entire article.

Oct
28

“I’m new” by James Stringfellow

I am learning a great deal about Aikido from a number of different sources. I am saving up to be a part of this tradition on love and movement in early 2009. So in the meantime I am working my way to losing some weight, becoming more flexible, and settling into the right mindset before I even step into a Dojo and learn the right way to respect it.

I feel that there is a 99% true love for this lifestyle and a 1% rogue mentality. But I have to know that the rogue is there. This way I can prepare myself to listen to my instructors and trust them 100%. I know to give 100% to whom I am lending my body in order for them to improve. It causes me to have the urgency to learn properly how to fall and protect myself without resistance. But at the same time to immediately recognize the rogue and remove myself from that Dojo.
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Oct
27

Italian translation of “Dan Rankings” by Stanley Pranin

Lorenzo Trainelli has kindly sent us this Italian translation of an article written by Stanley Pranin, editor of Aikido Journal in November 1985

Article: Gradi Dan
Language: Italian, translated by Lorenzo Trainelli
Original English article: Dan Rankings

There are few areas which elicit as much emotion and comment as the topic of the recognition of the ability and service of practitioners through the awarding of ranks. In Aikido as in every martial discipline, there are individuals who are clearly competent and those whose backgrounds and lineage cannot withstand even cursory scrutiny

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Oct
27

Important Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu Event Announcements!

Special Training Session in Katsuura City, Japan

Each year the director of the Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu Headquarters, Kondo Katsuyuki, holds a special training session as described below.

Place: Nippon Budokan Training Center
Address: 582 Sawakura, Katsuura City, Chiba Prefecture, Japan.
Phone: (0470) 73-2111

Dates: August 10th – 15th of 2009

Click here for full details.
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Oct
26

“Aikido and Baseball” by Patrick Parker

A recent radio interview that I was invited to do reminded me of a great story about Japan’s most famous baseball player and the lessons he learned from Aikido founder, Morihei Ueshiba.

Right at the end of the segment, one of the guys asked Kel, “Yeah, but does aikido help you throw a baseball better?” This was a gentle jibe at Kel for his performance throwing out the first pitch last season at a local college game. I perked up because it reminded me of a great story about Japan’s most famous baseball player training with the founder of aikido, Morihei Ueshiba.

Click here to read full article

Oct
24

“Learning Aikido and Whole Body Memory” by Nev Sagiba

All sustainable learning goes deeper than the intellect. Species learn from survival, and in those that do survive it becomes a preconditioned adaptation variable.

You learn best by responding actively.

Collecting ideas is not learning as such since nothing is known that can be of sustainable use in opinions and beliefs.
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Oct
23

“Aikido Without Borders” by Miles Kessler

Historical first – Aikido demonstration and children’s class in Bethlehem.

On Sunday, Oct. 19th, 2008, “Aikido Without Borders” conducted a historical first aikido demonstration and children’s class in Bethlehem.

A.W.B. is a fledgling N.G.O. primarily working in Israel/Palestine that is dedicated to bringing the practice of aikido to areas of conflict where borders, both real and imagined, perpetuate a culture of separation and conflict. Since 2005 we have been active in Israel, East Jerusalem and the West Bank. For the Bethlehem demonstration we had A.W.B. students participating from Ramallah, Jerusalem, East Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Japan and the United States.
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Oct
21

Brian Kagen pick: “Sabaki for shomen-uchi” by Seishiro Endo Shihan

“Endo Seishiro Shihan studied Aikido at Aikido Hombu Dojo, Aikikai Foundation under Ueshiba Morihei, the founder of Aikido, as one of the last apprentice students of the grand master. Now an eighth dan shihan of Hombu Dojo, Aikikai Foundation, conducts Aikido Saku Dojo. He teaches Aikido classes at various companies, universities, and local clubs throughout Japan; Overseas seminars are held every year, for example, in France, Sweden, Finland, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Austria, Holland, Spain and United States.”

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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Oct
21

“The result…” by Reu Claudius C. Mooc

Sweat was still trickling down my face as I gulped down half a liter of bottled water. I didn’t think it was possible for a person to take that much water even after consuming two bottles of electrolyte replenishing drinks, and still be thirsty. The sun was at its peak and we were walking by the roadside searching for a place to have lunch. My body was still sore from the beating I endured during the previous night’s practice, some parts were already numb after I took the shodan exam earlier this day. My heart was still beating fast, my chest still felt painful trying to catch my breath, I never felt so tired before. I was drained, beat up, numb and sore all over, but deep inside I was feeling good. With the exam over, the hard part is waiting for the results, accepting the result itself a lot harder.

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