May
18

Brian Kagen pick: “Fear” by Christopher Caile

“One day I saw him on the street, and he was all banged up. “What happened to you?” I asked. He didn’t want to talk about it. A few weeks later I saw him again and this time he confessed. He had been attacked by two teenagers who demanded money, he said. “I just stood there. They hit me and then stole my wallet. I didn’t do anything.” He was so embarrassed. His martial arts training had failed him because it had been incomplete. He had not learned to use fear, to use his reactions to his advantage. Instead fear and the stress of the moment had become his enemy. He had trained in technique but he had never trained in how to deal with his emotions and body reactions that had gripped him. And he is not alone. This is an unfortunate limitation to most martial artist’s training.”

Please click here to read entire article.

May
17

Best of the blogs: “Wherever the head goes, the body follows” by Lynn Seiser

“I have learned there are four stages of learning. The first is unconscious incompetence where something doesn’t work but you don’t know it. The second is conscious incompetence where something doesn’t work and you know it doesn’t work. The third is conscious competence where something works but you have to stay consciously aware of what you are doing. The fourth stage is unconscious competence where something just seems to work all by itself.”

The Aikido Journal archives now include more than 800 articles in twenty different languages and numerous video clips. We are constantly adding new articles and translations in our effort to document aikido and related disciplines past and present. If you would like to support us in this effort by taking out a subscription to the Online Aikido Journal we welcome you to do so by clicking this link.

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May
17

Brian Kagen pick: “Thoughts on technique” from aikiweb.com

“There have been numerous times where I have almost added to the threads. The last time was the “Techniques for Self Defense” thread. Where the gist of the thread was “what technique would you use to defend yourself?” My thought on it was no technique just aikido (and trust me no one would say my aikido was of the aiki-bunny vintage) but wasn’t sure how to explain it further until the other night at class.

The other night someone made the comment to me about how difficult it is for him currently to teach aikido because in demonstrating a technique you have to do that one technique no matter what Uke gives you. In his practice he explained he was working on being on being receptive to what he is given by uke. He explained that this was aiki, so one time what uke gives you may become ikkyu and the next time it could become iriminage. You accept what is given and move with it. But when instructing you needed to demonstrate the technique rather then the aiki so that people can learn the techniques.”

Please click here to read entire article.

May
16

“Uke Resistance” by Gregor Erdmann

“Aikido is a defensive martial art. That is pretty much accepted by all. In fact, if we suggest to an aikidoka that they should attack someone using their aikido skills the concept simply doesn’t make sense. Aikido has no attacking moves as such, and we use our opponent’s force in the execution of our techniques.

During training, as long as the uke (person who take the fall) takes on the role as an attacker and continues to provide attacking force the techniques come readily. However, what also can happen is that the uke will transition into a ‘defensive’ mode and will no longer attack, but try to stop the technique from being performed.
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May
15

On Youtube: Stanley Pranin talks about Morihiro Saito’s “Lost Seminars”

We have just uploaded another video clip to the Aikido Journal channel on Youtube.com. Aikido Journal Editor Stanley Pranin talks about the making of Morihiro Saito Sensei’s “Lost Seminars” DVD series and his experiences as Saito Sensei’s interpreter. Have a look behind the scenes into the production of these outstanding DVDs!

Click here to view video clip on youtube.com

May
15

Brian Kagen pick: “The Chronological Biography of Nakamura Tempu” by Sawai Atsuhiro and H. E. Davey

“1876 – Nakamura Tempu Sensei was born on July 30 at Oji Mura, Toyoshima Gun, Tokyo Fu (presently known as Oji, Kitaku, Tokyo To). His father was Sukeoki, and his mother was Chou. He was born Nakamura Saburo, their third son.

Nakamura Sukeoki was from the Yanagawa Clan (1) in Kyushu and a high-ranking central government official, Director of the Department of the Mint in the Finance Ministry. Nakamura Saburo’s mother is said to have been a bright and cheerful woman from the Capital of Edo (now Tokyo) (2).”

Please click here to read entire article.

May
15

“A Good Goal” by Gregor Erdmann

“As humans we are limited in our capabilities. It’s this that makes life interesting, breeds creativity and generally gives us purpose in life. While tackling problems head on does have its benefits, generally a more sophisticated and intelligent approach is desirable. We know that it is important to have a goal, but even more essential is to have the right goal. A cleverly selected goal will see you gliding through life instead of bouncing from obstacle to obstacle like a pin-ball machine.

Remember those baby toys with the differently shaped blocks and differently shaped holes. The aim being, pass each block through the correct hole into the box below.”

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May
14

“An Upright Stance and Posture Reflect a Healthy State of Mind” by Nev Sagiba

“Soft hands and strong hara, weight underside, breathing naturally flowing, balance, both feet on the ground are training tools.”

ablogicon_nevSoft hands, strong hara further reflect spiritual equilibrium. Good manners and reasonable behaviours that refrain from unseemly arguments not inflaming conflict enhance the heaven and earth balance.

Strong at the core and accommodating at the perimeter is Aikido. Not only as dojo practice but also as a universal principle.

Unskilled dilettantes reverse that and thereby reveal their status. I can’t put it more bluntly to make clear what to correct.

Top heavy use of force is bound for a fall. This applies to everything. Without a foundation even the best house cannot stand, but merely makes itself an inconvenience until it fails and falls.

This in all things. You cannot have “heaven” without “earth,” or vice versa. Yin and yang are mutually reliant and mutually inclusive opposites that ultimately mutually enhance.

Simple principles of existence when applied, serve well.

It is preferable and more sustainable to trade good, services and cultural wisdom than bullets, bombs and devastation. Either path has a tendency to escalate towards a logical conclusion. The choice, if we love future generations, is a no-brainer.
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May
13

“Aikido from the Inside Out – The Principles: Flexibility” by Howard Borstein

“Flexibility in relation to aikido means more than being able to place your palms on the floor. Flexibility relates to your ability to quickly perceive and respond to each moment, particularly when things are changing.

This skill is hard to learn in aikido class because the class itself conditions you to expect the same thing over and over. It is common in classes to practice repeatedly with the same attack and response. While this method allows you to learn the movements that go into a particular response, you always know ahead of time what’s coming.”

Please click here to read entire article.

May
13

Brian Kagen pick: “He Does Not Seem to Move Very Much” by Arvin Lee

“Last Monday a classmate of mine, Haruko-san, a judge from Japan, came by to watch a clip of Shimizu Sensei on my laptop. She made an observation that really ‘clicked’, which is “Your teacher does not seem to move very much.” Such a simple observation, but one which I missed completely, and to have her say it to me made me reflect on its philosophical ramifications. This article is my attempt to articulate some of these.

If you look only at Shimizu Sensei, then it is obviously untrue that he is moving little: which nage doesn’t have to move to execute his technique? Look at him with reference to the ukes, however, and you will notice that the ukes are moving much more relative to him.”

Please click here to read entire article.

May
12

Recommended reading: “Interview with Frank Doran” by Stanley Pranin

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.

… {W]hen somebody asks me about aikido and whether they should study the art, I really try to direct him to view the other martial arts also because I think that when they see the art that is suitable for them they’ll know. I don’t think it’s a matter of the teacher selling the art. I constantly use the analogy of music. Not everyone digs the clarinet and it’s not right for everybody. It just happens to be right for me. So, in answering why it’s right for me, first, I explored some of the other martial arts. So I had a kind of a feeling for doing that and the thing for me so different about aikido was the fact that it has such a value for you in your everyday life.

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May
12

Brian Kagen pick: “Kinomichi” from wikipedia.com

“n the same way that Morihei Ueshiba created aikido from the Daito-ryu aiki-jujutsu of Sokaku Takeda, Masamichi Noro extended his research to the creation of Kinomichi, founded on the technique, principles and philosophy of aikido. This natural process in the world of the Japanese budos does not constitute a denial or an objection to what came before but, rather, the natural expression and evolution of a living art – the opening of a new path and new possibility.

For Masamichi Noro, the most essential elements of training are peace and its realization. Beginning from and adhering to these two elements places Man, like a link, between Earth and Sky. This union, holding in harmony the Way of the Sky, the Way of the Earth and the Way of Man, releases an ascending energy (ki in Japanese, qi in Chinese), from the ground upward, from the feet, through the grasp and beyond. The generation of energy takes its source from the ground and the intent, flows through the energy centers in the body, including the hara located in the abdomen, and is modulated by the heart of the practitioner.”

Please click here to read entire article.