Jan
16

1024 Henkawaza & Kaeshiwaza Day Seminars (Coming Seminars)

The 1024 Transitions and Counters of Aikido, day Seminars, begin on Saturday 14th March 2009 with IKKYO and will continue, one day each month, over the following 15 months at Katoomba, Australia.

The book: “FOUR DIAMONDS 1024 Basic Transitions and Counters of Aikido,” is based on the content which will be revealed in the seminars. The secret of Transitions (Henka waza) and Counters (Kaeshi waza) is that you do not need to learn and memorize them. All you need to know are the basic kihon waza. Once identified by the body memory in this method of training, the henka and kaeshi flows arise naturally as a result of innate reflex instincts responding to the ki of the moment. The opponent falls into them as a result of his attack or action. Relax and let the technique flow.
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Jan
15

“Secrets of Aikido are scattered all over” by Bruce Baker

Ya know, every time I see a demonstration there are always a number of people in the audience, or the class, who are amazed at the proficiency of the demonstrator. But, every time I see something I can’t understand I just keep looking, thinking, searching for years on end sometimes, until I discover what the secrets are that let that person do what they do.

It doesn’t mean I can do it, or that I can always explain it, but as all the little clues and pieces come together, I learn to do it on some level, if even on a basic beginner’s level, and understand how practice, practice, practice will allow someone to polish the technique until few in the crowd cannot help themselves but be impressed by the demonstrator.
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Jan
15

Best of the blogs: George Ledyard on “Traditional Wisdom” (June 2006)

“Traditional Wisdom” exists in every culture. Any ancient activity pursued as some sort of personal development or spiritual practices designed to give insight into the nature of things have some wisdom accumulated from hundreds, if not thousands, of years of transmission. Warrior arts in traditional cultures always had a spiritual component.

In this modern age we see a head-long plunge towards the so-called rational and the material. Just as our impact on the environment is leading to the loss at an exponential rate of species that we will never see again and even species which we hadn’t even discovered before they were lost to us, I think that traditional practices are in just as much danger.
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Jan
14

Brian Kagen pick: Thoughts on the art of Aikido: “Haha, you can’t move me!”

“I’m going to grab your wrist and not let you move. No matter what you try to do, I’m going to try to keep my feet anchored where I’m standing. Have you ever trained with someone like this? Sure, sometimes it’s appropriate to test your partner by “holding with ki” and making sure they move correctly. But what kind of an attack is this? Just to grab someone and hold them there? Aikido should be a dialogue. An exchange of energy. When you grab your partner and lower your weight with the intention of just stopping your partner’s movements then your attack has died.”

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 read entire blog.

Jan
14

“Ueshiba and Timing: Pre-War vs. Post-War Technique” by Gary Ohama

“Ueshiba’s stance is very still, calm, peaceable, and light;
as though he is one with the universe.”

The Aikido of The Founder, Morihei Ueshiba, illustrates several distinct qualities, usually noted as styles. They are described as Diamond, Willow, Flowing, and Ki. Light was added at a later date. (Energy directed forward, energy directed outward, energy directed inward, energy directed into space, and internal radiant energy.) “Our techniques employ four qualities that reflect the nature of our world. Depending on the circumstance, you should be hard as diamond, flexible as a willow, smooth-flowing like water, or as empty as space.” (1)

For Morihei Ueshiba, Aikido can also be described in terms of pre-war and post-war Aikido. One of the dimensions that define the later post-war era is the presence of extremely dynamic internal forces being manifested into Aikido technique. The sources of energy include energy harnessed from outside the body. It is to be noted that not only is Ueshiba’s technique different; but the physical response of the receiver also is dynamically/energetically different. Specific description of the receiver’s response is evidence of a distinct style. The unique and signature physical differences of both Ueshiba and his demonstration partners are easily observed in photos representing Aikido from each of the eras.

Two photos of Ueshiba performing an iriminage/step-in throw are on page 243 of the book Invincible Warrior (2). One photo is from 1936, pre-war. The other photo is from 1966, post-war. Both photos occur at a similar point in the execution of the technique. The differences are indicative of a ki entrapment by focusing downward vs. ki release and blending by focusing outward/heavenward. (3)


(Photos with permission and courtesy of John Stevens.)

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Jan
13

Aikido training in Las Vegas: “Lightbulb moment” by Mike Smith

I recently had a class with a friend of mine from California who has been a student of Aikido for about 16 years now. My Sensei, Mr. Stan Pranin, was gracious enough to allow him to attend one of our classes here in Las Vegas. It was interesting to hear the two of them talk about the different variations and history of Aikido as well seeing his practice. We went over a few basic techniques and I was focused on the details of each movement. I’m new to this art and find myself going over the moves in my head away from class and then when I get back to class I get mildly frustrated by my lack of skill.

After class, Sensei asked if we had any questions and I asked him how to deal with all the details of the various movements and positions. I don’t remember his exact words but what I got out of his answer was very helpful. He gave me, what I gathered to be, an overall picture or concept to think about in the background of every move to keep me focused and ignore frustration. The concept involved balance and how, when dealing with an opponent, the main focus is to get him off balance and how this can be done with the most subtle of movements. Half the time I don’t even realize I’m off balance until it’s too late and I think that’s the point. Sensei’s movements are graceful and soft yet highly effective. It’s not about force, it’s about balance and I look forward to carrying this thought with me to my next class.

Jan
13

Recommended viewing: “Doshu Kisshomaru Ueshiba at 1986 All-Japan Aikido Demonstration – Amazing ukemi!

Among the video clips in the Aikido Journal archives is one of Second Doshu Kisshomaru Ueshiba performing at the 1986 All-Japan Aikido Demonstration at the Nippon Budokan in Tokyo. Doshu gave an especially energetic demonstration on this occasion and the three ukemi–Tsuruzo Miyamoto, Hayato Osawa, and Yoshiaki Yokota–are nothing short of phenomenal!

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.

Jan
12

Brian Kagen pick: Fighting Strategy and Paradigms: “Don’t bring a Knife to a Gun Fight!”

“Here is a topic that comes up alot in Threads on various martial arts Website Boards. “my (enter art) does not do well against (enter art). How do I use “My art” to defeat the other art?” Well I think there is a huge problem with this way of thinking as all “arts” are simply training methodologies defined by a set of training parameters that someone or some group established and identify with to teach us how to do the same thing “fight”. Why would you limit yourselff to the constraints of that methodology,? Lets hope you have a good match of methodology to the situation presented!”
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Jan
12

From AJ forums: “Too old to learn Aikido?”

The following post by Jorge Garcia is excerpted from a thread currently in progress in the Aikido Journal forums:

“You’re not too old but you need to know what to expect. I am 52 now and doing great. I can run almost anyone in the dojo into the ground and I train every day of the year. I have been injured but I just protect the injury and keep going.

Having said that, I started when I was 38 and out of shape. I experienced dizziness when learning to roll and that continued for many months. I was frequently exhausted and had to stop. Everything in my body hurt and I always had some form of pain in my body up until last year. These were pains that moved around and I just hurt. My shins, feet, heels, forearms, back and ankles hurt- in short – everything.”
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Jan
11

Brian Kagen pick: “Old Man Sensei” featuring Nev Sagiba

“A Leon Cheval Production Old Man Sensei was made in 2006 and submitted to Tropfest in 2007. Actors are Nev Sagiba and Darryl Stebbing/Phillips (Manik Jones).”

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.

Jan
09

Brian Kagen pick: “On Sheep, Sheepdogs, and Wolves” by Dave Grossman

“If you have no capacity for violence then you are a healthy productive citizen, a sheep. If you have a capacity for violence and no empathy for your fellow citizens, then you have defined an aggressive sociopath, a wolf. But what if you have a capacity for violence, and a deep love for your fellow citizens? What do you have then? A sheepdog, a warrior, someone who is walking the hero’s path. Someone who can walk into the heart of darkness, into the universal human phobia, and walk out unscathed.”

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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Jan
09

“Champeen Of All The World” by Nev Sagiba

Every young boy at some stage wants to become the “champeen of all the word.” He dreams of it, pushes himself and is driven by young hormones. And then he grows up. Well most do. Others become cynical, accumulate fat and if they continue in that vein, become old, bitter, twisted and acrimonious. But it’s not the world’s fault. Change starts from within and has to be generated by more than wishing, but also active persistence. Others become “too busy” and still others have other excuses and become tame drones, office or cannon fodder or other hiding places. These are not warriors. These will most usually experience a mid-life-crisis in the form of a breakdown of some kind.

Those who continued to train and refine body-mind skills, through all the trials life brings, determined to captain the only ship anyone has jurisdiction over, themselves, will likely experience various forms of enlightenment on the journey instead. Arrival is not an issue. The journey is. Being better than anyone else is not the issue. Being better than oneself yesterday, is.
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