May
11

“Leading An Overhead Strike Into A Head Control Technique” by Roy Y. Suenaka Sensei and Christopher Watson

“In this article and in others in the series, Roy Suenaka Sensei demonstrates an undiluted aikido. It is Suenaka Sensei’s earnest desire to show that aikido is more than and the esthetically pleasing, but martially ineffective, art that so many schools practice — that aikido is, by design and when properly practiced, a dynamic and effective method of self-defense.

During this series, the reader will note that counter-strikes (atemi) are often used. Morihei Ueshiba (affectionately referred to as O’Sensei by his students), the founder of aikido, often stressed the importance of distraction and counterstrikes to disorient and distract the attacker’s focus (leading his mind away from his attack).(1)”

Please click here to read entire article.

May
11

Brian Kagen pick: “Gichin Funakoshi And The Beginning Of Modern Karate-do” by Tom Ross

“Believed to be in need of constant attention due to his health, young Gichen was given to his maternal grandparents in whose care he soon flourished. This action set about a chain of events which forever altered his life and literally thousands whom he in turn affected both directly and indirectly. While living with his grandparents, Gichen began attending primary school and in doing so befriended the son of the legendary Anko Azato. Azato was a very selective Karate teacher, and Funakoshi recalls in his autobiographical work “Karatedo My Way Of Life,” that at first he was Azato’s only student.

It is probably due to the close friendship between Azato and Anko Shishu (read in Japanese as Yasutsune Itosu, but commonly called Anko Itosu) that Funakoshi met and was accepted as a student by Itosu. Itosu was a legend in his own right, and is considered by many to be the “Father of Modern Karate-do,” for it was he who first systematized and organized Karate with the purpose and intent of mass instruction.”

Please click here to read entire article.

May
10

“It’s in the How” by Gregor Erdmann

“This article follows on from my earlier article titled “Widen the Gap”. I noticed in my classes that the junior students would place their emphasis on the ‘throw’ and display an eagerness to complete the technique and throw their partner. This is perfectly understandable, since that is how we can judge our progress in Aikido.

Yesterday I couldn’t throw person ABC, today I can… progress.

By contrast, the senior students were focusing on their form and perfecting their execution. The relevance of smashing their already helpless uke has diminished in their minds and they were looking for efficiency and refinement in their technique.”
[Read more...]

May
09

Brian Kagen pick: “Punch on the street or not?” from lowtechcombat.com

“Im not totally convinced one way or the other. I haven’t been sold on either side of the argument as of yet. Should you punch on the street or use the open hand or palm strikes in stead? There are a number of considerations.

First, if you use punching a lot in your training, it is highly likely that you will use punching if you get caught up in a real altercation on the street because when the body is in this stressful environment, it behaves how it is trained to behave… generally. ‘You tend to fight how you train’ is a well used phrase.

This means that if you train a certain way, it is almost impossible to have the expectation that you will consciously be able to choose to fight in a different way in the heat of the moment. You cant, the body will just react, there is little to no conscious thought. ”

Please click here to read entire article.

May
08

Brian Kagen pick: “Tapestry Family Services offers unique after school program” by Laura Hamburg

“Hajime!” Sensei Gayle Fillman bellowed in Japanese, clapping two wooden blocks together. On cue, the knot of children crept forward on the mats hoping to outwit their teacher in a game of Aikido-style “greenlight-redlight.”

“Yame!” The children froze at the Japanese command for “stop.” For just a moment, the air was thick with the temptation to sneak in a few extra steps while the teacher was distracted. But no one so much as wiggled a toe.
[Read more...]

May
07

“Commentary on Noriaki Inoue DVD” by Pascal Verhille

In contrast to most of those contributing to your website, I don’t have a high level in aikido. My experience is limited to a practice of Aikikai aikido for four years with Gilbert Maillot, a student of Christian Tissier. After that, I began Yoshinkan Aikido with Jacques Muguruza, technical director for Europe and a student for several years of Gozo Shioda, as you know.

Therefore, my aikido background is a bit lacking for me to make public comments on the DVD of Noriaki Inoue. On the other hand, I should add that any observation I might offer on a martial arts film or demonstration is based on 30 years of practice of different arts including 15 or so years as an instructor of Combat Nunchaku in several dojos in Paris and being a competitor in this art for about 12 years.
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May
07

Brian Kagen pick: “The Flow of mind in Water and Aikido” by Chalres Badenhop

“Senta Yamada was born in Fukuoka Japan in 1924, and he is the founder of Kikusui Kai. He studied Judo with its founder, Dr. Jigaro Kano, who sent him to study Aikido with its founder. In 1961, he first published his book, The Ancient Secrets Of Aikido, which was revised and reprinted in 2004. Recently he has been involved in humanitarian aid, helping the government of Sri Lanka feed its people and grow its economy by providing information on new farming techniques designed to increase crop yields. Everyone who meets him comes away feeling blessed to have met such a great yet peaceful and humble, “gentle” man.
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May
06

For the martial artist: “Shadow yoga” on youtube.com

I ran across this fascinating video clip on youtube while doing a bit of research on yoga. I have been dabbling in this discipline to strengthen my back. What do you think of this from the standpoint of the martial artist?

Shadow Yoga, founded by Zhander Remete, is a Hatha Yoga system designed to integrate the common principles of yoga asana, martial arts, dance, and Ayurvedic/Siddha medicine. The starting point consists of 3 standing prelude forms, all devised to prepare the body for asana-vinyasa. The full practice format consists of prelude forms, asanas, inversions, bandhas, kriyas, mudras, pranayama and pratyahara.

Click here to view video clip on youtube.

May
06

“Along the sword’s edge” by Mary Stein

Many years ago, I read an essay written by an artist who had worked in the theater. In his writing he pictured a brief, dramatic moment: two generals, leaders of opposing forces yet magnetized by some deep mutual sympathy, are advancing toward each other along the edge of a sword. This vision of the meeting of opposites, the joining of the seemingly irreconcilable, stayed with me and may have been one of the many impressions that eventually led me to aikido.

That early impression found some company recently when I saw a film that showed a group of young Canadian ballet dancers being taught flamenco by two visiting Spaniards. The talented young northerners took to the fiery flamenco moves with enthusiasm and rapidly growing skill, and soon each of the dancers was able to inhabit fully the warrior-like flamenco posture of intense pride, individuality, and self-respect. At the same time, they moved fluidly with each other, connected by deep attention and sensitivity to their own bodies and those of their companions. Once again, there was this paradox of the joining of opposites.
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May
06

“A World Without Friends” by Nev Sagiba

Statistics reveal that in today’s world the practice of communal gathering is in decline more than ever before. This is cause for concern. Family gatherings are all but unknown and concomitantly psychiatric disease is on the rise with all manner of behavioural and substance abuses on the increase.

In the cases of gatherings, many, rather than meeting for creative purpose are merely cults which reinforce some form of mental aberration.

Out of the remaining few who do gather with sincere intent to offer something of worth to the world, with purpose and with benign intent, fully two thirds of those who attend have other agendas.
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May
05

Brian Kagen pick: “A Tall Tree In The Forest Has Fallen” by Don Warrener

“On November 8, 2008, we lost yet another one of the legends of martial arts, Hidetaka Nishiyama. He was the most senior of all the JKA (Japan Karate Association) Masters and now he has passed.

We will all remember his kindness and his knowledge on the biomechanics of karate plus his attention to detail in kata. But perhaps his greatest gift to us was his education on the culture of Japanese karate.

For me though it was November 8 2001 (seven years earlier) that I will remember Sensei Nishiyama for. This was the day my Sensei Richard Kim passed away and Sensei Nishiyama could see how I was visibly broken up. He said to me very softly and kindly in his broken English, “you come to my dojo and train is OK now”. Wow, I will never forget this kindness.”

Please click here to read entire article.

May
04

“Interview with Kazuo Chiba Sensei” by Arthur Lockyear

“Well. When I was 1st Kyu (the level just below Black Belt) in Judo I entered a competition and happened to be drawn to fight against my senior from the dojo – a second Dan, I think. So I beat him and afterwards he came over to me and said: ‘You have taken anyway my Judo, but I still have Kendo.’ He issued me a challenge. So we went outside. He gave me a bokken (wooden sword) and took a Kendo shinai (bamboo practice sword)for himself. Once we started I was unable to touch him . . . not even once! He beat me soundly and I was black and blue with bruises. After this I thought deeply about the meaning of Budo.
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