May
24

Brian Kagen pick: “Authenticity in Koryu” by Jeff Broderick

“The best koryu have been passed down from generation to generation from the time of the samurai. The best warriors distilled their knowledge of practical fighting techniques and the skills necessary to survive a life-and-death struggle, and taught them faithfully to their students, who, through long and hard study, and deep insight into the techniques, mastered the techniques themselves and, in turn, passed them on unchanged to their students. And so on through the ages.

If that view is correct, then koryu represent not only a priceless cultural/anthropological heritage, but also an invaluable insight into effective combat techniques. Unlike modern “budo”, these koryu “bujutsu”, having been handed down from the time when life-and-death battles were a reality, must reflect true, killing techniques.”

Please click here to read entire article.

May
24

“You Are a Weapon” by Gregor Erdmann

“When you consider a pistol as a weapon, there are characteristics which make it effective in certain situations and useless in others. It has a limited number of shots before it must be reloaded. It inflicts substantial damage but only through a very narrow line. It has a limited effective range due to its narrow attack line. A gun has limited effectiveness in close quarters. It is difficult to use in motion and so forth.

A katana by comparison has a different attack range and can inflict substantial damage in a sweeping arc. It requires more skill speed and strength to use effectively. It is harder to conceal, but can be used almost soundlessly. It is more flexible in it usage than a gun, but there is still only one end that can be held.”

Please click here to read entire article.

May
23

Brian Kagen pick: “Aikido and Violence” by Paul Linden, Ph.D.

“In my practice as a somatic educator, I often have clients who are working on issues around anger and violence. In working with these people, I usually start with Being In Movement body awareness training and end with Aikido practice. About ten years ago, I taught a course in a lockup facility for violent adolescents. Many of them were bigger and stronger than I. I’ll always remember one particularly big, tough kid. After doing some Aikido, he looked at me with great puzzlement and asked, “How come you can move us and we can’t move you?” And my reply was very simple: “That’s because you are big and young and strong and I’m little and old and weak!” What I was doing with the Aikido was undermining his and our culture’s understanding of what strength is.
[Read more...]

May
22

Passing of Shinichi Suzuki Sensei

Our beloved teacher and great friend, Shinichi Suzuki Sensei, passed from his body this morning, May 22, 2009, at 4:00 am. He had been peacefully sleeping these past few days, and I am sure is now relieved to be free of his discomfort.

I will let everyone know as soon as the funeral arrangements have been made.

For those on Maui, classes will continue as usual.

Sincerely,

Chris Curtis
Chief Instructor
Hawaii Ki Federation
——————–
Dear Fellow Students,

Shinichi Suzuki Sensei’s son, Mike Suzuki, is handling all the arrangements for the family, and has provided me with the following information:
[Read more...]

May
22

“The Sorcery of Common Sense” by Nev Sagiba

It is said that common sense is no longer common but I would like to stay optimistic about human potential’s ability to became active and continually reactivate itself.

We’ve survived millions of years so we must be doing something half right as a species as we fumble and bumble forwards despite ourselves.

Many years ago a lady who had seen an Aikido demo determined in her mind that it was some kind of wizardry and determined to meet the sensei whom she thought, in her own words, was a wizard. A groupie type, she intended to have a “relationship” with this dude and presumably syphon some of the magic. Ahem. Thereby contributing somewhat to one of his temporary falls from grace.
[Read more...]

May
22

Brian Kagen pick: “The Old Samurai Art Of Fighting Without Weapons Part 1 – Origins” by Jigoro Kano

“Although it seems to resemble wrestling, yet it differs materially from wrestling as practiced in England, its main principle being not to match strength against strength, but to gain victory by yielding to strength.

Since the abolition of the feudal system the art has for some time been out of use, but at the present time it has become very popular in Japan, though with some important modifications, as a system of athletics, and its value as a method for physical training has been recognized by the establishment of several schools of Jiujutsu and Jiudo in the capital.”

Please click here to read entire article.

May
21

“The Hardest Falls in Aikido” by Eric R.C. Holcomb

“It had to come some time. This is my first “Top Whatever” list. I’m sure throngs of Diggers will pick it to pieces… Ha! Anyway, these are the falls that give me the most grief — especially with a new partner or someone I know I don’t trust.

4) Kubinage 首投げ
This is a trust issue, if I don’t know my nage I don’t like to do this one as my neck connects several of my favorite parts.”

Please click here to read entire article.

May
21

“Into the Gap” by Mary Stein

Working at jo practice with Travis the other day, I met his attack by pressing down on his staff, then releasing it for him to re-attack. Travis remarked that I was releasing far too much, leaving him more or less free to do whatever he pleased with his own jo. What is needed here, he indicated, was a very small side movement of my jo, just enough to free him to begin to raise his jo upward for a new attack, but not enough to allow him to move his jo easily in another direction.

At that moment I realized that the mechanical choreographer in me had taken over. This character appears when I’ve learned the outlines of a technique, which go something like “Click his jo with your jo, then raise up your jo so he can strike again, then zero in on his temple. [Read more...]

May
20

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

There is an interesting thread on the Aikido Journal forum of which the following is an excerpt on aging and aikido that may be of interest to some readers:

“I am just about ready to test for 6th kyu. My training has really paid off. The One Point technique has helped me manage my free floating anxiety. Thanks to regular training, I was ready to help a nurse where I work avoid getting slugged by an angry patient. As the patient drew back to hit the nurse, I just calmly stepped in and made a simple block. The duress team took it from there. Afterwards, I was shocked that I did it. I really, really like Aikido.”

May
20

Brian Kagen pick: “On the Way” by Dogen

“One day a student asked: “Although I have been studying the way for years, I haven’t been enlightened. The teachers of old have said: ‘Don’t depend on intelligence and learning.’ So I believe that even if I am slow and have little wisdom, I should not become discouraged. Is there anything to learn from the teachers of old about this?”

Dogen instructed: “You are right. Inherent intelligence or high capacity is not necessary. You should not depend on brilliance or smartness. Don’t exclude those who are very slow or less talented. It is a mistake, however, to say that for the true study you should be like a blind, deaf, or dumb person. The true study of the way should be easy. But even among hundreds and thousands of students in the assembly of the on teacher in Great Song China, those who genuinely attain the way and inherit dharma are only one or two. Therefore, we should keep the examples of the ancient masters in mind.”

Please click here to read entire article.

May
19

Brian Kagen pick: “My Mission” by Kanshu Sunadomari

“These words are a product of the Founder’s divine inspiration from God. The mission of Aikido was bestowed upon the Founder from heaven. How many people alive today are living life conscious of their life’s mission?

In 1974, when I was around 50 years old, I became aware of my life’s mission. Twenty years had passed since I began teaching Aikido professionally. At that time, I strongly felt that my mission is to spread true Aikido to the world and that the words that the founder received from God are the heart and spirit of Aikido. At once, I requested the late Yoshito Nakashima, a supporter of the dojo and a famous calligrapher, to brush “The Spirit of Aikido” (pg.1). I had this printed and distributed to each dojo, and decided to have everyone recite these words in unison after me at the beginning of each practice. It took a long time for me to realize that within these words is the spirit of Aikido. After many years spent overcoming pains and hardships on the path of life, one’s own mission begins to reveal itself.”

Please click here to read entire article.

May
19

3rd Annual San Francisco Aikido Project June 17-21

On June 17-21, 2009, the Third International San Francisco Aikido Project sponsored by the Suginami Aikikai will take place. Our guests this year will be: Christian Tissier Sensei, 7th dan, from Paris, France and Bruce Bookman Sensei, Tenzan Aikido Kai-cho from Seattle. The seminar is hosted by James Friedman Sensei. The seminar will be held at the Suginami Aikikai in San Francisco, California.

Registration will begin January 10th 2009, the workshop is limited to 60 students. Due to popular demand we have added an extra day this year, at no extra charge if you register before February 20th. Aikidoists of all styles are welcome.

For registration information, please click here.