Mar
31

“Awaken Your Feet” by Gregor Erdmann

“From the moment we are born, our feet are covered by socks, bound by shoes and generally desensitised. Furthermore, we walk on unnaturally flat hard featureless surfaces with relatively obstacle-free paths to get from A to B. Comparatively we are using our hands and fingers more and more with jobs involving pens, keyboards and data entry terminals.

With this in mind, I shouldn’t be surprised that we navigate our world as if we have two blocks of wood for feet. The stifling of our feet affects our legs and hips, and as a result much of our vertical movement is derived from our back. Compare the major joints in our legs and hips with the vertebrae in our spine. The joints in the lower halves of our bodies are fashioned as sturdy ball-and-sockets which are designed to provide a large range of motion. Our spines however are made for bearing weight in a single direction and providing some shock absorption and limited movement.”

Please click here to read entire article.

Mar
30

Brian Kagen pick: “Kuzushi? What’s That and Why Do I Care?” by Harold Zeidman

“I’m now going to teach you the secret of all martial arts” my sensei said to me. I was relieved; I’d just spent three times per week for the last six weeks learning and practicing my falls and at last I was going to learn “the good stuff.” My sensei then taught me happo no kuzushi (the eight forms of off balance). He very soberly informed me that “all attacks come from one of these directions” and that it was my ability to accept an attack from each of these directions that would determine my martial arts prowess. I’m sure he could tell how disappointed I was, since this was all Eastern philosophy mumbo jumbo to me and couldn’t possibly help me learn jujitsu. I just wanted to learn how to throw someone, and if not that, at least to learn how to break their arm, or something (As you can tell, I was bloodthirsty in those days!) He then told me to keep practicing my happo no kuzushi, and that as I achieved higher rank, it would mean more to me. I didn’t tell him this, but I knew he was wrong; there was no way happo no kuzushi could ever really help me learn jujitsu.
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Mar
30

“Don Angier’s Yanagi Ryu ….. real koryu or not? ” from martialartsplanet.com

“First of all a school cannot be a member of the Nippon Kobudo Kyokai or the Nippon Kobudo Shinkokai if the headquarters is located outside Japan. So, Shidare Yanagi ryu would not qualify for membership even if it were confirmed to be authentic koryu.

That said, Shidare Yanagi ryu’s status as koryu is similar to Daito ryu’s and unknown since no hard documentation exists to confirm its existence prior to the Meiji Restoration. According to Don Angier, Shidare Yanagi ryu was a small familial budo tradition passed to him by Yoshida Kenji, son of the rather enigmatic Yoshida Kotaro. What is fairly certain is Don Angier studied something under Yoshida Kenji since Don Angier has Yoshida family photos in his possession that no one else has seen before, including aikido/budo historian Stan Pranin. Furthermore, Daito ryu’s Katsuykui Kondo, a student of Yoshida Kotaro, confirmed to me in person that Kotaro did have several densho in his possesion reflecting significant martial study prior to his training under Takeda Sokaku.
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Mar
29

Aikido Training in Las Vegas: “Extend Yourself” by Brandon Clapp

After practice one night I started to realize that I was feeling something different when doing several of the techniques. I believe I have progressed recently due to a new understanding of proper movement while doing Suwariwaza. Being able to break down the movement in this fashion has also helped me gain greater sensitivity over the resulting forces that arise after each partner grabs. The key to my latest progress came from getting my whole body to work as one unit, our natural will is to try and power through this exercise with only our arms doing the work. Sensei had us putting our arms out and holding them (with ki extended) in front of our bodies kind of like a frame. A frame that when connected to our hips leads us to not use a portion of our body, but in turn a whole body movement. When this is done it becomes very easy to move your partner off balance then to the resulting throw.
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Mar
29

Brian Kagen pick: “Aikido Yuishinkai” from aikidoyuishinkai.com

“Koretoshi Maruyama was born in Nihonbashi, Tokyo, on October 5, 1936. He graduated from the Economics Department of Keio University in March of 1956, after which he joined his father’s business, Maruyama Manufacturing. He became interested in the martial arts from his Middle School years, and at his father’s urging he took up Judo and earned a black belt. Again at his father’s urging, in his first year of college, he entered the Rikidozan School of Professional Wrestling, and also trained in weight lifting and boxing, while continuing his training in Judo at the Kodokan.”

Please click here to read entire article.

Mar
28

“An Interview with Clyde Takeguchi Sensei” by Richard Wagner

“[This interview with Clyde Takeguchi was made at the seminar at Palm Beach Aikikai in December 1999. Special thanks to Richard Wagner, and to Bill Bresnihan who made the videotape from which this interview was transcribed.”

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Mar
27

Brian Kagen pick:”History of Aikido in Hawaii” by from aikidohawaii.org

“In February 1961, O-Sensei came to Hawaii. During his visit he said: I have come to Hawaii in order to build a “silver bridge.” Until now, I have remained in Japan, building a “golden bridge” to unite Japan, but henceforward, I wish to build a bridge to bring the different countries of the world together through the harmony and love contained in aikido. I think that aiki, offspring of the martial arts, can unite the people of the world in harmony, in the true spirit of budo, enveloping the world in unchanging love.
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Mar
27

“Understanding Aikido” by Olivier Gaurin

“Olivier Gaurin is a scholar of Aikido, author of several books on Aikido as well as historical fictions set in medieval Japan. Concerned about a drift of our art towards the sport, he reminds us about the cultural aspects that are an intrinsic part of Aikido. Having lived in Japan for over 20 years, he has immersed himself into the ancestral culture of his country of adoption and shares his thoughts on how 21st century Aikidoka should apprehend their practice.”

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Mar
26

“A Martial Koan” by Charles Warren

This is a real martial koan, “how do you teach “the real thing” and still pay the rent?” The problem goes back to Musashi, “…the flower is valued above the fruit…” Musashi solved the problem by ending his days living in a cave. I enjoy the hospitality of a hapkido school at the moment, but also train in the park.

But the real cost-benefit analysis of martial arts gets lost because so many of both are not monetary. How do you value the fitness supported by training? How do you value the small victory of avoiding a mugger, or even of defeating three? How do you cost out the time involved in keiko?
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Mar
26

“List of Aikidoka” from wikipedia.org

“It is worth noting that the term aikidōka (合気道家) is rarely heard among native speakers of Japanese, in spite of its common use as a loanword in other countries. In the Japanese language, the suffix ka (家, -ka?), when added to the name of certain activities, indicates an expert or professional in that field. Consequently, the meaning of the term in the ears of Japanese, especially when the field is martial arts, takes on a connotation of one who is exceptionally accomplished and highly respected. Further, because of the connotation of respect, this is a term one would never use with regard to oneself, even if deserved. There is no other word in Japanese carrying the same meaning that aikidōka has acquired as a loanword, namely that of a person practicing the art, regardless of their degree of accomplishment.”

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Mar
26

Brian Kagen pick:”GuillaumeErard.com featured on Aikido Journal!” by Guillaume Erard

“I therefore followed the source and I was delighted to see that Stanley Pranin and his team had selected the interview I did with Micheline Tissier, 6th dan Aikikai to appear on their journal. I am really glad that they found it of interest, in particular given the incomparable quality of Mr Pranin’s own interviews.

I would like to sincerly thank them for that and for this and for giving more people the opportunity to read my articles. Make sure you pay a visit to Aikido Journal. The few bucks of the yearly subscritpion are well worth it giving the incredible amount of material present there.”

Please click here to read entire article.

Mar
26

“APPROACH – CLOSE – ENTRY” by Hunter B. Armstrong

“Adversary combat includes three vital components – APPROACH, CLOSE, ENTRY. These three components are inherently contained in classical combat training systems (i.e., pre-modern, non-pop fighting arts), and are vital parts of military small unit tactical training. However, the integration of approach, close, and entry are usually lacking in the more recently developed fighting systems, from self-defense training to recreated or reconstructed systems, whether empty-hand, handheld weapons, or firearms. For the most part, the modern-based systems tend to ignore everything up to the moment of impact on the adversary entry, ignoring the other two thirds of the combat engagement – approach and close.
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