Feb
28

“An Interview with Hiroshi Ikeda Sensei” by Waylon Lewis

“In Japanese, Aikido literally means “the way of harmony with energy.” Having witnessed firsthand the carnage of WWII, Aikido’s founder, Morihei Ueshiba (O-Sensei) argued that martial arts must “cultivate a spirit of loving protection for all things.” The manifestation of this principle is “musubi,’ or blending with an aggressive intention or action, then neutralizing the conflict. In an Aikido class, students learn cooperatively, each practicing the role of thrower (nage) and thrown (uke). Narrow ideas of victory and defeat eventually dissolve.

Hiroshi Ikeda has cultivated this spirit since he opened Boulder Aikikai, in 1980. His philosophy is to awaken and open the mind by honing the instrument of the body. His method is training, training, training. He runs a martial arts supply company by day, teaches classes by night, leads Aikido seminars around the world on weekends – all while raising a loving family with his wife and business partner, Ginger Ikeda.”

Please click here to read entire article.

Feb
27

“Learn and Forget!” by Nev Sagiba

“Budo training simply places you in a situation mildly similar
to equating SOME attributes of a real violent scenario.”

I think we’ve fallen a long way behind those ancients, who at least regards combat, had half a clue about what they were doing.

Some people think they have to intellectually “learn techniques” and others like to imagine that untrained simplification will be sufficient. Then we have the academic masters of opinions and also the sports contest specialists.

Sporty mindsets will not save you in real combat. I’m not talking about some little old lady or someone half your size raising their voice, but real and deadly attack outside the cozily predictable protection of “the ring” with its single and unarmed opponent. The paradigm of sport is riddled with the bending of context. We all know what these fake constructs are. If you don’t, I can’t help you. Find out while there is still time for you.
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Feb
26

“Strikes. Take It… or Grieve It…” by Vladimir Vasiliev

“There is also an approach of taking strikes by withstanding pain, deliberately toughening up and tightening up various body parts. Aside from the ultimately destructive effect of such practice, it would only work for a visible, anticipated strike, while in place. But what if you have not seen the strike come or if you were on the move? Then you would need alternate relaxation of muscles.

I have seen how an unexpected punch can send a skilled martial artist into a state of disorientation, shock, panic, resentment, and many other counterproductive conditions. Moreover, I have never seen anyone capable of avoiding all strikes in a mass attack or crowd fight. You can easily verify it yourself in a group of 10 or more fighters. ”

Please click here to read entire article.

See our excellent selection of Systema DVDs at Aikido Journal.

Feb
26

From AJ forum: “Jo Awase” by Autrelle Holland

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

“While doing my research and gathering input and feedback from the people kind enough to review my notes, I have learned much. The Aiki Jo system as it is contains so much information that I think myself a fool to even try to put the basics down. I’m glad that I did though, and I recommend that any serious Aikidoka practicing any sort of formal weapons curriculum to notes somewhere. I know that there are some teachers that don’t use a strict set of guidelines regarding weapons which is fine. To really delve into the practice of it, I feel that you need a core. In my research, the core items of Aiki Jo are the 20 Jo Suburi, the 31- and 13 Jo Kata, the 31 Kata Kumijo and 13 Jo Kata Awase, and lastly, the Jo Awase techniques.”
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Feb
25

“Defensive vs Protective: A Matter of Mindset” by Brian Kagen pick: by Hunter Armstrong

“The word mindset is often bandied about in combative training, though it doesn’t seem to be easily defined nor well applied in practice. We prefer the term combative intent. While most people who use the term mindset seem to be referring to a “correct” mindset, inherently the word itself is basically neutral: one can either a positive mindset or a negative mindset. Combative intent, however, implies the will or volition to carry out a combative action. Nevertheless, whether using the word mindset or intent, a rose by another name is just as sweet… The problem is not in the term itself, but in understanding what it means. And the meaning and learning the appropriate use of mindset can literally be a matter of life-or-death. In all training for real combat, the ultimate aim is to train the most effective combative intent (or mindset) possible. What that intent should be often is not clear. And a lack of clear combative intent is reflected in and by combative performance (and behavior).

And common misconception that relates directly to the lack of clarity in combative intent is seen in the common lack of a clear understanding the distinction between “defensive: and “protective.” In common use, there doesn’t appear to be much difference between “defend” and “protect,” however, in hoplological terms when speaking about combat and combative intent (mindset) there is a substantial distinction. ”

Please click here to read entire article.

Feb
25

“BudoTube! MMA vs Aikido (Humor)” by from budo-warrior.com

“Okay, okay! This one was just too funny to pass up. Thanks to “FloridaTim” over on BJJboard.com for posting it. It is not really MMA vs Aikido, but it COULD BE right? While it is humorous for sure, I think it does a good job of illustrating logic (or not!) of “How does “My Art” do against “X”. If nothing else, it will entertain you for a few minutes.

I have been a little slower posting my own thoughts lately. A lot of things going on for me right after the holidays. For the past week I have been manning the Operations Center for the Army National Guard for the Inaguration. Next week I head to Germany for 10 days. The good news is it should give me some time to catch up on my reading, thoughts, and I will also get to train with my good friends and fellow BJJ team mates in Garmisch, Germany!”

Please click here to read article and view video clip.

Feb
25

“One Thing at a Time” by Mary Stein

At morning practice today I thought I’d pause for a second or two at either end of each technique. At the beginning I’d center myself, and at the end I’d let the experience soak in for a bit before going on to the next technique. I’d take things one at a time, as I’ve often been advised to do.

Once again I tended to forget—most frequently at the end of a technique, when I sometimes caught myself heading toward the next repetition of kotegaeshi almost before my partner hit the mat. I did manage distinct pauses a number of times, particularly in practicing with Joshua, a new student. He needed a slower pace, and that was a help in reminding me to wait the extra second or two.
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Feb
24

“Interview with Micheline Tissier, 6th dan Aikikai” by Guillaume Erard

“Not long ago, I got the opportunity to have a chat with one of the most notorious female Aikido experts, Micheline Tissier, who holds the rank of 6th dan Aikikai. She was the first European woman to get awarded such a high grade by Doshu Moriteru Ueshiba and one of the too rare women to occupy a technical function within her federation. I was absolutely delighted when she accepted to answer my questions and discovered that she was of a very direct and honest character, never dodging a question and she often surprised me with the sharpness of the views she expressed on many subjects.”

Please click here to read entire article.

Feb
23

“Going Along With The Attack” by Paul Linden, Aikido of Columbus

“Thirty-nine years ago, I was practicing in the Aikido club at the University of California at Berkeley. I was a new fourth kyu, and I remember looking at my partner and saying: “I know that I’m supposed to go along with you when you attack, but I don’t know what to go along with.” Since then, one element I have focused on in my AikidoÊ practice is sensing what uke is actually doing as she or he attacks.

The simple names of the various attacks don’t reflect the range of subtle differences in the actual ways that uke can move. We call one attack katatetori, but an actual, specific wrist grab may push forward or twist backward, or bear down or lift up, and so on and on. Katatetori is not just one attack. The label covers a wide range of similar attacks. One way of practicing is to see how a single defense technique might work against many different wrist grabs. Another way of practicing is to see how many defense techniques are required to actually go along with all the subtly unique attacks that are possible.”

Please click here to read entire article.

Feb
23

“What Improves?” by Gregor Erdmann

“We certainly do not become physically stronger to the same extent that our Aikido improves. Sure, during the early days we may see some increase in physical bulk as our bodies become accustomed to taking ukemi and receiving the impact of kicks and punches, however not inline with our abilities to throw those bigger than ourselves. So what is it within ourselves that improves?

Through the evasion and redirection of forces from partners far stronger than us, we soon discover that strength is useless without a reference point. By connecting strongly to the ground, we are able to exert tremendous amounts of ‘useful’ force, and reduce wasted energy. Improvements in posture and alignment can maximise our connection to the Earth, and tap into our body’s potential energy enabling us to produce far more power than normally possible.”

Please click here to read entire article.

Feb
22

Nishio Aikido: 4-DVD Set plus “Yurusu Aikido” Book!

This special consists of the four Nishio Aikido DVDs–including the newly released “Katadori Menuchi / Aikido Toho Iai” DVD–expertly demonstrated and explained by Shoji Nishio Sensei, one of the top aikido instructors of the postwar era. This set also includes the outstanding Yurusu Budo book, the only book written by Nishio Sensei during his lifetime. By purchasing the set of DVDs and book together you will save over 30% compared to the retail price. See below for detailed descriptions of each of the set items.

Click here for link to special Shoji Nishio set and for detailed product information!

Feb
22

“Aikido & Nature slowly catching on at the Koru Dojo in New Zealand” by David Lynch

It was a gamble building a dojo two and a half hours from the nearest city and 15 minutes from the nearest town. A gamble that would have made a real-estate agent with his ‘location, location, location’ rule shake his head.

But I thought there must be others sharing my enthusiasm for the spiritual affinity of aikido and Nature, who would appreciate being able to practice in one of the most beautiful places in the world and who would, therefore, find their way here if we waited patiently.
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