Jun
14

Brian Kagen pick: “Going to the mat for my son” by Brian Chasnoff

“A father to three boys, I recently found myself in the sort of place where people inflict pain on one another — and for fun. I’d gone to the dojo, actually a room in a strip mall and spare but for swords hung menacingly on a wall, for Faustino, my oldest.

Some background: Faustino is not my son. But he is my son. He was born on Valentine’s Day 2000, about two years before I met my wife, who decided at some point that his father was not her valentine. I was 22 when I met Xelina, my valentine, and I’ve been a father to her son ever since. Faustino’s biological father now lives in Denver.”

Please click here to read entire article.

Jun
13

“Aikido Secrets Revealed” by Darren Williger

“Aikido’s circular movements can be employed in order to redirect the attacks of an aggressor back to that person. The techniques in Aikido are solely defensive. A person only has a split second to decide to dodge or block the move of an attacker .The point is not to think of how it happens but to be able to stop it. During the fight a person can make a counter attack and hope that the aggressor will be subdued. Another way that you can achieve your aims of self preservation without the use of force is by the use of Aikido.

Aikido is a martial art which relies on the use of the hands to block any moves that an opponent makes. People who wish to learn Aikido may not be able to move as quickly as experts such as Steven Siegal but they are a whole lot more effective during combat. You can’t learn Aikido just by watching other people on TV. People may choose to learn it from a book or magazine but the best thing is usually to learn the art of Aikido from a Sensei.”

Please click here to read entire article.

Jun
13

Recommended reading: “Irimi,” by Ellis Amdur (April 2005)

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 recently read a post which includes an oft-used phrase – “get off the line and enter.” Not only does this phrase not do full justice to the concept of irimi (I confess I’ve used it myself), it leads to a mistaken understanding of aikido technique. This mistake is not only intellectual, but expressed physically, probably lies at the root of the technical deficiencies that are, allegedly, so rife in aikido.

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Jun
12

“Hitohiro Saito in San Leandro, California” by Stanley Pranin

Hitohiro Saito Sensei conducted a seminar hosted by Aikido of San Leandro under the leadership of Pat Hendricks Sensei. The classes including both taijutsu and weapon training were conducted June 4-7 at Aikido of San Leandro, Aikido of Berkeley, and Roberts Park in Oakland, California. Visitors from all over the USA, Canada, and a contingent from Italy were in attendance.

Hitohiro Saito Sensei is the son and successor of Morihiro Saito Shihan, one of Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba closest disciples.

Below is a collection of images from the event:
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Jun
12

Brian Kagen pick:”Aikido is Much More Than Just a Martial Art” by Kenneth Baker

“Falling safely – and frequently – is central to aikido. The school I joined in 1988 had traditional tatami mats, a rarity in the United States because of their expense. Falling on them felt like hitting asphalt.

But I knew – or seemed to remember – from my first stint of aikido training in my early 30s that if I could just endure the pain of re-entry, an endless path of athletic bliss would again open before me. ”

Please click here to read entire article.

Jun
11

“Basic ideas in Aikido” by Autrelle Holland

“Foundation exercises

Tal no henka – exercise for turning the body.
Morotedori kokyuho – exercise for developing breath coordination.
Kokyu dosa – seated breath coordination exercise.

Osae waza – pins

Ikkyo – pinning with the principle of using the entire body at once, as a unified structure, in manner that emphasizes control of the elbow. Ikkyo is the foundation for all of th pins.
Nikyo – pinning by the use of downward, compacting spirals against the wrist.
Sankyo – pinning by the use of upward spiral motion used against the wrist.
Yonkyo – pinning by imparting pressure against nerve bundles in the forearm.
Gokyo – a variation that allows for defending against a knife.
Rokyo – pinning by crushing the elbow joint.”

Please click here to read entire article.

Jun
11

“The Green Martial Art” by Jack Wada

“We are trying a new marketing approach, that of aikido as the Green Martial Art. You may have seen it on some of our new literature and our new posters. For me green means environmentally safe, connected to the earth, preserving our planet in going ahead with advances in technology. It has become quite a catch word recently.

So how can you have a green martial art? Much of aikido is based upon centering and especially grounding. We all come out of the earth. As much as there is an intangible part of us, the tangible part of us is from material that at some point originated from something that was produced by the planet. Aikido is the energy of heaven and earth. On some basis technology is of the mind so it may be an aspect of heaven. But for our culture to survive meaningfully it must have a harmony with nature, its cycles and rhythms, as well as its energies. So industry has begun to realize this. But the earth of aikido reaches back into the mythological past to when heaven and earth first separated and the original harmony between the two.”

Please click here to read entire article.

Jun
10

“Just Passing Through” by Mary Stein

The other morning, as we began to practice, James suggested that we just meet the shomenuchi strike to the head and simply move beyond it. Demonstrating, he raised his arm at the same time as the attacker did, moved forward to meet the strike, and then walked past him, departing the scene. So we tried that for awhile, just striking and passing each other like the proverbial ships in the night.

As I tried walking away like that, the whole “have-to-do-something about it” situation became clear, then dropped away. It came home to me once again that aikido, with its side-steps and slides and turns, gives me flexibility of response—indeed the opportunity to choose not to engage at all; I can just leave. There are many issues to ponder here, of course. Much of the time it may be that I can’t just walk away but need to engage in a situation. If that’s the case, aikido gives me a model of receiving, blending and moving with my partner in a new direction. And yet even then it seems to useful to be aware of the tensions tied up in needing to “do something about it,” which that exercise of just walking away from an encounter made clear.
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Jun
10

Brian Kagen pick: “Telegraphing Movements” by Charles C. Goodin

“The first time I visited Sensei Katsuhiko Shinzato in Okinawa, he demonstrated an uncanny ability to know where a punch or kick would come from. He asked me to stand in front of him and try to punch or kick him. As soon as I would begin to move he would point to the attacking arm or leg.

What was uncanny was his ability to do this before I had moved very much, or perhaps even before I had actually started moving at all. When he pointed to my arm or leg, it stopped me from moving.”

Please click here to read entire article.

Jun
09

“Excerpts of Interview with Yutaka Kurita, 7th dan” by Alejandro Villanueva

“Today we were doing a warm-up like karate but Aikido is not that way. O-Sensei said “we don’t know any karate”. Tsuki, for example. Kanai Sensei does it this way. O-Sensei did it differently. Does it mean that O-Sensei was lying when he said there is no karate in Aikido or was Kanai Sensei lying when he said punch this way?

O-Sensei did only Aikido. Aikido is not against karate or against judo. Aikido is Aikido. Aikido’s tsuki is called furi komi, a strike diagonally up. It comes from not the open hand strike but rather like having a tanto in your hand and striking upward.”

Please click here to read entire article.

Jun
08

Brian Kagen pick:”How to Train for Aikido” from aikidoconnection.com

“Once you have found one or more places that offer Aikido instruction, contact them for more information. It is best to visit the location in person; this way you can meet the instructor, see the other students and how the classes are conducted, and get a feel for the energy of the dojo. Because this is a place you may be spending some time, it is important that you feel comfortable with the place and the people. If it doesn’t feel good, trust your instincts and continue looking.

When in class, keep an open mind and try your best to do the things you are shown. If the instructor tells you to do something, and you aren’t sure you can, try it anyway. Watch closely and pay attention to how your own body feels as you do the technique or have the technique done on you – both sides are equally important. Keep an open mind – don’t be limited by previous conditioning. ”

Please click here to read entire article.

Jun
07

Brian Kagen pick: “Krav Maga” from wikipedia.com

“Krav Maga has taken many techniques from other martial arts and included elements from Boxing, Muay Thai, Aikido, Judo, and Jujutsu. However, unlike the set routines and choreographed moves in martial arts, Krav Maga teaches realistic fighting and self-defense – attacks in social settings (pubs, clubs, street etc). Typical training often includes exercises simulating fighting against one or several opponents and/or whilst protecting another. This can also involve a debilitating scenario – the use of only one arm, while dizzy and against armed opponents.

Basic training is a mixed aerobic and anaerobic workout, relying heavily on the use of protective pads. In striking this helps the trainee practice his maneuvers at full strength, whilst the holder experiences the impact they would feel when getting hit.”

Please click here to read entire article.