Dec
31

Happy New Year 2008!

I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for your support over the years. 2008 was an exciting and productive year. We are now in our fourth decade of publishing and hope to grow with you for many more years as we walk together down the Aiki Path. On behalf of myself and the staff of Aikido Journal, I would like to wish you and yours a happy and fulfilling 2009!

Stanley Pranin
Editor, Aikido Journal

Dec
30

How Aiki News got started

With the launch of our special offer of a free back issue DVD containing all issues of Aiki News/Aikido Journal ever published–more than 4,300 pages–for those who subscribe or renew for two years, we realized that some of the younger folk and newcomers have no idea about the magazine that was published for 26 years.

Well, I wrote an article more than 20 years ago that goes into detail about how Aiki News, which eventually became Aikido Journal, was born back in 1974. Here is an excerpt from that article that will fill you in on the details:

…[T]he initial impetus which eventually led to the publication of AIKI NEWS was my first trip to Japan during the summer of 1969. It was a mere two months after the death of the Founder. I had almost cancelled my plans out of sadness and disappointment at not being able to meet 0-Sensei. I was at that time a lean, impoverished, but eager university student, largely ignorant of Japanese ways. There are those who would question whether or not there has been any fundamental change, but at least it can be said that I am no longer a university student! I remember in my excitement taking a taxi directly from the Haneda airport to Hombu Dojo. Now that’s enthusiasm for you!

[Read more...]

Dec
30

Brian Kagen pick: “Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 5″ by Peter Goldsbury

“Though to some extent speculative and without the space to quote or cite sources and secondary references, these columns are really intended as a sort of preliminary sketch for a history of aikido as a martial art. No such history has ever been published, though I know that at least one person is planning to write one. The biography written by Kisshomaru Ueshiba offers the most detailed evidence of the actual life of Morihei Ueshiba, but this was written as a biography or monument to a great man (admittedly with the occasional warts and blemishes allowed to appear) and not as a dispassionate record of the creation of aikido. Even so, these columns have a slightly different focus than a general history. I am concerned to study the dynamics of the evolution of the art, how it changed from being an expression of the personal training of one individual to becoming a self-standing entity in its own right.”

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...]

Dec
29

Video clip of the late Michio Hikitsuchi Sensei of Shingu

Another important film in our video archives is a rare video clip of Michio Hikitsuchi Sensei, the late 10th dan, as he appeared at the 1983 All-Japan Aikido Demonstration. His main uke here, the young man with the long hair, is none other than Clint George Sensei of Montana who spent many years in Shingu City in Wakayama Prefecture studying under Hikitsuchi Sensei.

Hikitsuchi Sensei himself actually first met and trained with Morihei Ueshiba O-Sensei as a boy before the war. Then beginning in the early 50s he opened a private dojo, the Kumano Juku, and had regular contact with the Founder who would often visit Shingu on his trips to the Kansai area.
[Read more...]

Dec
28

“Aikido as a Self Defence” by Gregor Erdmann

“The actual term “self-defence” begs consideration that O-Sensei may not have developed Aikido for this purpose in the first place. After all, he speaks of self cultivation, peace on Earth and touching the Divine. In his younger day he was almost definitely motivated by the desire to be stronger, but in his later years when he was refining his art the importance of self defence was probably reduced. Self-defence is after all a selfish concept and not in line with the higher values of Aiki.”

Click here to read entire article.

Dec
26

“It Sometimes Does Happen” by Nev Sagiba

“These “mysterious” happenings occur spontaneously
as required, as a gift from nature and the universe.”

ablogicon_nevI remember as clearly as if it were yesterday. It was at the West Ryde Gym Dojo in 1970. We were practicing multiple attacks. All young men. Sensei would exemplify and then we would attempt to match his example. He had gone first and there were at least eight, maybe ten attacking him. Because we thought Sensei was invincible, we would go all out and as hard as we could, trying to plant a strike.

He didn’t mess around either. It was like being hit with a Mac truck padded with cotton wool or the wind at the edge of a cyclone. But we’d get up as he’d taught us to, and re-attack again and again.
[Read more...]

Dec
26

Best of the blogs: “Assumptions”, by Toby Threadgill (March 2006)

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 best of all the styles. I just smiled to myself as I politely responded, congratulating him on his fortuitous discovery.
[Read more...]

Dec
23

Video: Seigo Yamaguchi at Aikikai Hombu Dojo in 1973!

Available in our film library is a video clip containing wonderful footage of the late Seigo Yamaguchi Sensei taken in 1973 at the Aikikai Hombu Dojo. His dynamic style is fully evident in this clip. Yamaguchi Sensei’s classes were always crowded and he was particularly a hit among the French who always attended his training sessions in great numbers. See why he attracted so many students!

Dec
22

O-Sensei Video Clip from “Takemusu Aiki”

Here is a link to a video clip featuring highlights of our O-Sensei DVD offering Takemusu Aiki that contains wonderful footage of Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba taken during the 1952-1958 period. This DVD is part of a 4-DVD set documenting several decades of the Founder’s life.

The Aikido Journal archives now include more than 100 video clips and 800 articles in twenty different languages. We are constantly adding new videos, 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 view video clip.

Dec
22

Recommended viewing: “Hiroshi Isoyama at 1989 All-Japan Aikido Demonstration!”

Here is a link to a video clip featuring a demonstration by Hiroshi Isoyama Sensei at the 1989 All-Japan Demonstration in Tokyo.

The Aikido Journal archives now include more than 100 video clips and 800 articles in twenty different languages. We are constantly adding new videos, 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 view video clip.

Dec
21

“Traditional Aikido, Volume 2″ by Morihiro Saito now shipping!

We would like to notify you that “Traditional Aikido, Volume 2″ by Morihiro Saito has been republished and began shpping from the publisher on December 17. Those of you who submitted preorders can expect to receive your new books shortly. Orders placed from this point on will be shipped immediately.

Click here for more information on “Traditional Aikido, Volume 2″ by Morihiro Saito Sensei.

Clich here for Information on Volume 1.

Parenthetically, preorders for Volume 3 will be announced shortly.

Dec
21

New DVD: “Aikido no Kokoro: The Heart of Aikido”

“Aikido no Kokoro: The Heart of Aikido” is now available for purchase on Amazon.com! Here’s the link to the page where you can order your own copy of the DVD, or purchase it as a gift for those special people in your life, and have it shipped in time for the holidays:
Click here to view Amazon.com link.

The price is $24. You can also buy the DVD in person at Aikido of Santa Cruz.
[Read more...]