Apr
18

Recommended reading: “Defense of the International Aikido Federation” by Peter Goldsbury

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.

[I]n one sense the Aikikai is a very successful martial arts organization, for both inside and outside Japan the art, as inherited by Doshu and developed and interpreted by him, is growing. On the other hand, the disciples of the founder went off to create their own dojos and these also developed into fully-fledged organizations. Thus the aikido world split into competing groups even during the founder’s lifetime, the fragmentation of aikido happened in Japan, the “mother” country, and not only abroad. So, in another sense the Aikikai has not been successful in its aim of maintaining unity in aikido and the question whether such unity is possible is a valid question which needs to be asked.

[Read more...]

Apr
18

Brian Kagen pick: “On Teaching, an interview with Karl Friday” from ejmas.com

“Karl Friday: The answer to the first question depends on what you mean by “martial arts.” Can you learn to fight without a teacher? Obviously. Can you learn to fight *well* without a teacher? Probably. But can you learn a *specific art* without a teacher? Not really. Even if you keep the definition of “teacher” restrictive enough to exclude someone you just watch and imitate (including by video or book in modern times), the best you could possibly expect to achieve is a reinvention of the art–the creation of something new, in imitation of the art itself.

Not, as Jerry Seinfeld would say, that there’s anything particularly wrong with that. But it’s not the same thing as studying the art itself. In activities like boxing–or basketball–the difference is probably not all that important, because the key concern is the development of a set of skills to help achieve a manifest and tangible goal–winning games/matches. So if your goal is just to win sword fights, or to impress people with flashy sword draws and cuts at the air, you certainly could do reasonably well (maybe even as well or better) learning iaido or kenjutsu without a teacher as with one. But that, of course, begs the question of why? I can often go for weeks at a time without being drawn into mortal combat with swords (especially if I stay out of certain neighborhoods in Atlanta!). So learning to use a sword, per se, isn’t really the point of studying Japanese sword arts. Using the sword as a tool to lead you along a particular sort of path toward personal development is. And that requires a guide, who knows the path. ”

Please click here to read entire article.

Apr
17

“Iriminage according to O-Sensei,” by Stanley Pranin

In connection with the editing of our latest O-Sensei DVD titled “Divine Techniques” I happened upon an interesting discovery of a technical nature.

One of the most important and original techniques of aikido is iriminage. I won’t attempt to describe the entire technique in words since practitioners will immediately know the one I am referring to.

Obviously, there are many ways of doing iriminage. In my 47 years of aikido I have seen quite a few variations, some more effective than others. That being said, a good question to ask for serious students of the art would be, “How did the Founder Morihei Ueshiba execute iriminage?”
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Apr
17

Aiki No Kami: The international Aikido gathering in Montreal!

2009 is a very special year for Aikido in Quebec. In the same way than Aiki Expo, which occurred a few years ago in the United States, we try to unite Aikido practitioners of all styles under the same roof, with friendly events. We believe that Montreal has all the potential to be a cornerstone of Aikido in America, as it already has the biggest dojo in Canada (Montreal Aikikai).

Aiki No Kami is a unique event that opens the door on the future of Aikido:
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Apr
17

Brian Kagen pick: “Aikido teaches skills to troubled youth” by Trish Hollenbeck

“Adam Loomis, an intake officer for the Washington County Juvenile Court system, marveled at how youths reacted on the first day of their Aikido martial arts class in January.

“One thing I noticed, right off, here are 10 kids with varying degrees of problems, either at home or with the law or with the courts,” Loomis said.

“All 10 of these kids were sitting quietly, watching the instructor, paying attention, not acting up. That was a shock almost.”
[Read more...]

Apr
16

Brian Kagen pick: “The True Significance of Kashima Spiritual Transmission” by Seki Humitake

“The warrior arts (hyôhô) of our family initially were personally received as a spiritual gift [from the deity of Kashima]. Thus we call our art Kashima-Shinryû [The Kashima Spiritual Style]. The record of how this was inherited by successive generations, and the changes of names incurred therein, is summarized below:

The founder of Kashima-Shinryû was MATSUMOTO Bizen-no-kami Ki no Masamoto, a resident of the province of Hitachi. Morning and evening he offered prayers in the august presence of Kashima so that he might conform to the divine will. One evening in a dream he was given a single scroll, the same scroll once dedicated to the Kashima Deity by Genkurô Yoshitsune. Because this was a spiritual transmission (shinden), he called this style Shinkage (“Divine Shade” or “Abetted by the Gods”) Ryû.

KUNII Kagetsugu of the Minamoto clan of Hitachi subsequently helped him perfect this style.”

Please click here to read entire article.

Apr
16

Brian Kagen pick: “Big in Japan” by John Gage

“The world of the martial arts is fraught with mystery, of heroes performing magical feats, famously depicted in movies from Hong Kong to Hollywood. Aside from the glamour of the big screen, there is another, much quieter, side: Individuals and organizations devoted to maintaining and promoting traditional martial arts.

Enter Shizuya Sato, a man who has spent his life working to promote traditional Japanese culture via the martial arts, both in Japan and throughout the world. He began by studying judo and kendo during middle school, and later became an instructor of physical education at Meiji Gakuin University and an instructor of the foreign section at the Kodokan. During the Occupation, Sato was a judo instructor for US military personnel, and in 1957 was invited to establish the Embassy Judo Club at the US Embassy.”

Please click here to read entire article.

Apr
15

Brian Kagen pick: “Aikido IS a practical contemporary martial art” from aikiweb.com

“Please don’t see this thread as an attempt to revive any kind of “does aikido really work?” discussion. Nothing interests me less. Instead, I thought it would be useful to share what I personally love about Aikido…

My brother has trained in kick-boxing for quite a few years and loves UFC, etc. I, on the other hand, have studied aikido for about 3 years and despise UFC. He is particularly interested in the ‘practicality’ of martial arts and that got me thinking what one would want out of a contemporary martial art.”

Please click here to read entire article.

Apr
14

Sneak preview: New O-Sensei DVD soon to be released!

We’d like to give a heads up to those of you who have been anxiously awaiting the release of the last of the O-Sensei DVD series, Volume 5, titled “Divine Techniques.” We will formally announce this exciting new product tomorrow, but for those of you who can’t wait, please click here for a sneak preview of this action packed DVD.

By the way, the 6-DVD series is now complete and those of you who would like to save a bundle can snag the whole set for a substantial discount.

Here are a few more screen grabs:
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Apr
14

“The messy reality of self defense” by Charles Warren

I met a fellow last year who had defended himself successfully. Had previously read about him in the paper. In the paper it said that he had been attacked by a gang of fifteen youths throwing sticks and stones, had shot one, and been arrested.

What happened, according to him, was a bit more complicated. He’s an attorney. He’s black. He lives in Oakland. He is professionally well acquainted with the police. By implication he either works in the District Attorney’s or Public Defender’s office. He bought a home and moved in with his family. A drug gang had a crack house on their street. He and some neighbors monitored and reported their activities to the police on a regular basis.
[Read more...]

Apr
14

Brian Kagen pick: “Applying Jujitsu on the Job” by Edgar E. Carol, Jr

“Working days out of South East Substation was a boring, thankless job. All the hooks and crooks were in bed or acting like they were working at honest jobs. The only folks out there were those fine citizens who were complaining about holes in our crime-fighting machine.

Because I was working solo, I got all the complaint calls for that sector. This was the second week of the month and my teeth were wearing down from gritting them over questions like, “Why haven’t you found my grandfather’s watch? I reported it stolen ten years ago.” About fifteen minutes after such a call, the dispatcher informed me that now I was Car One of a two car team. At last I was going to get to do some real police work! Two-man squads got the action calls. I just hoped that I could remember how to handle one!
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Apr
13

“Use-of-Force” by Keoni May

Within the State of New York, I am a NYS certified police instructor. My 2 main subjects (amongst others) are the Use-of-Force and Defensive Tactics. Within the State of New York, Use-of-Force is known as Article 35 (statute law).

When martial artists tell me about self defense, they usually argue with me about my instructions. I see it from the eyes of the law and they see it from a hypothetical and academic opinion.

Within the State of New York, you can defend yourself, under certain statute designated crimes, only to the point whereby the threat has stopped. Once that threat has stopped, you must stop.
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