Apr
06

“Brief History of the Dai Nippon Butokuai”

“Under Emperor Kanmu’s supreme authority to promote martial chivalry, the Butokuden (Hall of Martial Virtues) was established 794 A.D. to encourage the Bushi warriors to develop their military prowess. They say that May 5th of 818 A.D. by the imperial order of Emperor Saga, the Yabusame ceremony (Archery on Horseback) was conducted in honor of the warriors’ tradition to promote aristocratic authority of the imperial majesty in the Butokuden (Hall of Martial Virtues) located near Heian Shrine(circa 781A.D.) in Kyoto, Japan. Since then, Butokuden became the center of all martial arts training throughout the history of Japan. From the late 9th century, the rise of fighting men with military and martial skills began to dominate the fate of Japanese history. ”

Please click here to read entire article.

Apr
06

“Wisdom” by Gregor Erdmann

“There comes a time for many of us where there are not enough classes in the week to train. In actually the dojo is a place to learn and refine as opposed to repetitively drill and strengthen, so we should all be doing home practice anyway. So when we are without our fellow students what can we do and how effective is it?

Health experts recommend a minimum of stretching 4 to 5 times a week. This is something that can definitely be done alone and is of great benefit, both in terms of flexibility but also as a way to rid the body of stress and impurities. Stretching done correctly squeezes stagnating poisons such as lactic acid from the muscles and facilitates its dispersion into the blood stream for removal. The gentle movements lubricate the joints and strengthen bones, ligaments, tendons and muscles.”

Please click here to read entire article.

Apr
05

Brian Kagen pick:”The Physical and Internal Movements of Bushido;The Moving and Grounding of Energy” by Thomas Pristow

“Martial Art techniques are generally taught through the physical realm as the primary, or in most cases, the only significant process used. When a student first enters the dojo (a place to train in the Martial Way), the main goal is to teach that student physical movements as they’re associated with the art being learned. Although attention to this detail is very important, it often becomes the central and only focus of training. This has been traditionally true in the West.

Viewing the training methods of Western Martial Artist I have seen many that fall into this category. The intentions of these Budoka are clear, but their teaching infrastructure has been built on loose ground.
[Read more...]

Apr
04

“Photo of the Day – Jigoro Kano” by Chris King

The caption for the photo states that Kano was highly impressed with O’Sensei’s budo. I’m wondering about the effect that Kano had on O’Sensei. The fact that Kano had ‘synthesized elements of old-style jujutsu schools with his own principles and philosophy of education to create modern judo’ sounds quite similar to what O’Sensei had done with Aikido. Knowing what Kano had done with Judo must have given O’Sensei some incentive to also create a ‘martial art’ that was ‘for the entire world’.

Apr
04

“An interview with Miles Kessler” by Mats Alexandersson

“An important quality to posses as a teacher, any teacher, is the ability to continuously stay open and question the known. This necessarily involves taking risks, having an attitude of acceptance towards change, being open to making mistakes and holding an understanding that mistakes offer a great potential for learning. Continuous exploration and learning promotes growth in the art as well as maturation of the Human Being.

Further qualities of an Aikido teacher are having a satisfactory level of technical skill, being proficient in theory and having a practical understanding of the inner principles of the art. These are all elements to be gained through intensive training with an appropriate guide.
Finally, having the skills to facilitate these aspects and in turn guide others in their development is essential. To do this effectively it is necessary for a teacher to be able to “see” a student and understand where they are at in their development. Not just technical development, but intellectual, emotional and spiritual development as well. Then from such an understanding give appropriate guidance that is relative to the students level while maintaining a deeper and broader perspective of the art.”

Please click here to read entire article.

Apr
04

Brian Kagen pick: “Aikido Styles” from wikipedia.com

“There are a variety of aikido styles. The larger and better known styles each have their own headquarters in Japan and an international breadth. The first generation style aikikai is still associated with the family of the founder of aikido (合気道 ,aikidō?), Morihei Ueshiba.[1] Second generation styles were founded by direct students of the founder.[1] A number of additional styles of developed over time, some of which are notable in their own right through their size or historical association. These styles are distinct from independent dojos or small dojo clusters.

The above styles can trace their lineage through senior students back to Morihei Ueshiba. Two other well known martial arts use the term “aikido” but are not derived from the teachings of Morihei Ueshiba. They are Korindo Aikido founded by Minoru Hirai and Nihon Goshin Aikido founded by Shodo Morita.”

Please click here to read entire article.

Apr
03

Recommended reading: “An Aikido Life (04)” by Gozo Shioda

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.

To master this “kokyu” or breathing power and concentration power is more difficult than you might think. You should learn with your body through constant practice and study how to balance the stress and length of the inhalation, exhalation and breath-stopping phases with smooth shifts of your center and how to move your body to the rhythm. Then you will finally become able to move your body lightly and easily and, what is more, you will realize an improvement in the effectiveness of your technique and a decrease in the degree of fatigue. You will understand by yourself how wonderful Aikido is and this realization will enable you to enjoy your practice more.

[Read more...]

Apr
03

“The Aiki News Encyclopedia of Aikido” from christchurchaikido.co.nz

“Stanley Pranin began publishing a small magazine called Aiki News in 1974. He is a historian and through careful study and interviews with many of the active participants in aikido built a thorough knowledge of aikido history. Aiki News has gone through a number of changes over the years and now is web based as Aikido Journal. The Encyclopedia was an attempt by Pranin to collate much of the info he had “discovered” over the years into an easy reference volume. I suspect that the hard copy of the Encyclopedia is out of print and out of date and not worth pursuing. But Aikido Journal now publishes an online version of the Encylcopedia. ”

Please click here to read entire article.

A DVD containing scans of the entire “Encyclopedia of Aikido” as well as all back issues of Aikido Journal is available here.

Apr
02

“Aikido Odyssey: Suburban midlife mom finds her Grasshopper” by Marguerite Del Giudice

“On the mat, I get to feel myself, as in no other
circumstance, purely in the moment through my body.”

When I hobbled home from my first aikido class in January 1997, my middle-aged body creaked like an old ship that had been suddenly sent, unprepared and unarmed, to war.

“They knocked me down 300 times,” I murmured to my husband and waddled off to the shower, my hips aching like a pair of 2-by-4’s that had been asked to hold up a house.

As a young girl, I had identified with Grasshopper, the martial-arts priesthood apprentice in the surprise-hit ‘70s television show Kung Fu, and something in me way back then had resonated with the idea of the soul expressing itself through the body. All I can say about my first aikido night those many years ago is that—beyond the soreness and the shock of falling down repeatedly—Grasshopper stirred in me once again.

Our sons, 10 and 7 at the time, came to thrill at the sight of me returning home from training in such a disheveled state, bright-eyed and fagged out, my sweat-soaked hair stuck to my head and separated into unattractive little tufts.

“Gee, Mom,” they’d say, their eyes shining with a weird joy. “You really smell!”

How did I get there?
[Read more...]

Apr
01

New on Youtube.com: Stanley Pranin describes how Aiki News & Aikido Journal began

We have just uploaded a new addition to the Aikido Journal channel on Youtube.com. Aikido Journal Editor Stanley Pranin describes the circumstances of how he began publication of Aiki News and Aikido Journal the forerunners of the aikidojournal.com website. Check it out to learn about the antecedents of the Aikido Journal website.

Click here to view video clip on youtube.com

Apr
01

Brian Kagen pick: “Manseikan Aikido” from ManseikanAikido.com

“In 1954, Kanshu Sunadomari, a pre-war uchideshi of the founder of Aikido, opened the first professional Aikido dojo in Kyushu. The dojo was given the name “Manseikan”. Using the Manseikan Dojo in Kumamoto City as a base, Sunadomari Sensei began disseminating the art of Aikido throughout the Kyushu area After the founder’s death in 1969, Sunadomari Sensei took his group of affiliated dojos independent. The headquarters dojo was established in Kumamoto City and the name of the practice was changed to “Manseikan Aikido.”

Please click here to read entire article.