Jul
23

“The Myth Structure that Grounds Our Practice or What in Heaven’s Name Do We Think We’re Doing?” by Robert Kent

“We, as fairly dedicated martial artists, should understand why we train. Even if we never found ourselves having to “explain” aikido to our friends and family, we should be able to articulate, at least to ourselves, just what keeps us coming back to the mat day after day. Examined from the perspective of a “normal” contemporary American life, what ever that might be like, we have to admit that what we do – dressing in funny foreign clothes and attacking each other with wooden sticks, for instance – is pretty unconventional.

But we do it anyway, despite, or perhaps on account of, Aikido’s unconventionality. And we do it as often as our bodies allow us to, and sometimes more often than we should. Aikido is not a drug, though some have jokingly argued that it is nevertheless an addiction. So, again, why do we train?”

Please click here to read entire article.

Jul
22

“All Japan Children’s Aikido Training” by Eric R. C. Holcomb

“Each year the Budokan hosts a series of enormous, day-long, martial arts training events for children. The martial arts are Sumo, Karatedo, Shorinji Kenpo (Japanese Kung Fu), Jukendo (way of the bayonet), Kendo, Naginatado (way of the glaive/halberd), Judo, Kyudo and Aikido. On Sunday, swarms of Aikidoka from elementary school age through junior high (US 8th grade) crowded the Kudanshita train station outside the Budokan. Many wore their keikogi on the train, others carried bags and furoshiki crammed with gear. Here and there sensei from different schools with little flags herded their troops to appointed meeting areas. This year the chaos was much more contained than last year when we had to parade around a bit to kill time before being allowed in. This time everything went smoothly and the kids were in their seats minutes after arriving.
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Jul
21

Aikido Training in Las Vegas: “A Fundamental Change” by Brandon Clapp

I have been thinking about something lately and it has had quite an impact on my training and personal outlook. I was able to run at a steady pace for 3.58 miles without any breaks. Now you may say big deal, lots of people do that and even more every day. True, nothing really special there except for the fact that I have not run in years. The last time that I did I could barely do half a mile continuously without stopping to catch my breath or grab my side from a cramp.

I have not done any training that I believe would be considered conditioning for the purpose of running. I have not been jogging little distances or working in heavy cardio with a jump rope or anything like that (not that those are not great ideas!). Perhaps listening to Sensei talk about different aspects of health for the last year has made a significant impact on how I want to live my life and for that I cannot thank him enough.
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Jul
20

“Start your own business – and make a difference” by Rob Griffin

“Paul Barker has a simple goal: to help change people’s lives for the better through the power of aikido, a Japanese martial art that combines strong self-defence techniques with the promotion of peace and harmony.

The sixth-dan black belt, who is head of the Aikido Circle and one of this country’s highest-ranking practitioners, teaches both individuals and groups of students of all ages at classes in Sussex and Essex.”

Please click here to read entire article.

Jul
19

“Internal Structure” by Gregor Erdmann

“I have frequently spoken of making appropriate use of our internal structure in our aikido practice. I will once more explore this idea from another perspective. Similarly when painting a wall or weaving a basket, it takes multiple layers criss-crossing to obtain a good coverage of paint or a strong structure.

Our bones, ligaments, tendons and joints, can redirect, store and release a tremendous amount of energy which enable us to perform those physical feats which continue to amaze and inspire us. While we do unconsciously use this structure in our daily activities, if we wish to be extraordinary we need to take our understanding to a higher level. ”

Please click here to read entire article.

Jul
18

Brian Kagen pick: “Just Because The Person Is Coming To Kill You, Does Not Mean That You Cannot Love That Person: Week of July 5, 2009″ by Marc Abrams

“Putting out “positive vibes” is an important way of creating a sense of connection that allows others to approach us at a distance that is “friendly” close. Inother-words , we can actively manipulate the sense of proper distance that others use when interacting with us. From a martial arts perspective, it is relatively obvious that controlling this distance is an important component towards being able to effectively stay safe. Consciously effecting the preconscious experience of a potential attacker is an important martial arts tool.

Both of the factors talked about above, point to the importance of communication in any situation in which humans interact. From a martial arts perspective, controlling the level and nature of communication has profound implications. This acknowledgment and use communication is another uniquely effective andpositive aspect of Aikido . When people are in a conflict with another person, the ability to listen to that other person is typically compromised. Yet this is the most important time to be listening! People tend to be amazed when a highly skilledAikidoka seems to “know” when and how you are going to attack before you think that you have communicated this information to them. There is no mystery or magic there. It is simply being calm, centered and positively connected with the other person in a manner that allows us to “listen” to important information that is given before a person is usually aware that he/she is sending this information out.”

Please click here to read entire article.

Jul
17

“The Spirit of Aikido” Workshop by Gary Ohama

A unique workshop on “The Spirit of Aikido” will be presented by Professor John Stevens. AiKiDo is “the Way of a Spirit of Harmony.” This spirit of harmony has many dimensions. Kototama (Sound Spirit) is one of the means in which the body is trained to move with breath and sound sources. This is usually thought of as a power enhancer (KiAi), However, the most subtle yet highly connective life essence placed into a body movement, sword cut, brush stroke, or musical instrument are all part of Kototama. Misogi (cleansing) also brings into existence, and into the “here and now,” the many dimensions of life and activity. Kototama and Misogi are two of the spiritual foundations of Aikido. They are reflective of Eastern concepts of mastery.
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Jul
17

“Open-ended and Hopeful” by Mary Stein

Recently I spent time with a friend who had become fascinated by Dante’s Inferno. He described some of the memorable characters that Dante writes of meeting on his visit to Hell—characters who were stuck for eternity in the misery of physical and emotional attitudes they had created for themselves in life. My friend mentioned one in particular, Farinata, whose body is shown rising just halfway out of his tomb—stiff, erect, pridefully aristocratic, fiercely contemptuous of hell itself. It was one of those striking physical images that linger on. Later I remembered a figure from the underworld of the ancient Greeks—Tantalus, last seen grasping desperately for the figs and pomegranates that eternally elude his grasp.
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Jul
16

Brian Kagen pick: “Fighting Spirit” by Harry Cook

“Clint Eastwood, in The Outlaw Josey Wales, tells his companions that when everything looks bad and it seems you can’t win then you must get mean, “mad-dog mean,” in order to survive. This is the basic attitude necessary for effective self defence and has always been a precept of the martial arts that if we must choose between technique and fighting spirit, then go for fighting spirit everytime.

The bare-knuckle pugilists who fought in the Prize Ring valued courage or “bottom” above all other attributes in a fighter. Captain Godfrey, the author of A Treatise upon the Useful Science of Defence (1740/47)1, comments on one Boswell, a leading pugilist of the day “Praise be to his power of fighting, his excellent choice of time and measure, his superior judgement, dispatching forth his executing arm! But fye upon his dastard heart, that marrs it all! As I knew that fellows abilities, and his worm-dread soul, I never saw him beat, but I wished him to be beaten. Though I am charmed with the idea of his power and manner of fighting, I am sick at the thoughts of his nurse-wanting courage. Fair well to him, with the fair acknowledgement that, if he had a true English bottom, (the best fighting epithet for a man of spirit) he would carry all before him, and be a match for even Broughton himself.”2″

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Jul
15

Morihiro Saito’s “Lost Seminar” DVD series expands to 7 volumes!

We would like to remind you of the availability of our 7-part DVD series titled “Morihiro Saito: The Lost Seminars,” by one of the most recognized names among aikido teachers.

The “Lost Seminars” series now consists of approximately 14 hours of seminar footage that will allow you to experience first-hand, up close, one of aikido’s greatest instructors. Each DVD includes detailed English subtitles of all of Saito Sensei’s explanations allowing viewers to come to know this outstanding instructor and the nature of his curriculum.
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Jul
15

Brian Kagen pick: “McDojo” from wikipedia.com

“McDojo is a pejorative term used by some Western martial artists to describe a martial arts school where image or profit is of a higher importance than technical standards, and in the related use of martial arts franchising. The term is an example of McWords applied to Japanese martial arts dojo.[1] A McDojo of Korean martial arts may be referred to as a McDojang but the term McDojo is used for various arts regardless of origin. While using the term McDojo primarily indicates judgement of a school’s financial or marketing practices, it also implies that the teaching standards of such school may be much lower than that of other martial arts schools, or that the school presents non-martial arts training as martial arts. Where a McDojo’s practices may border on fraud, this can be referred to as bullshido.
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Jul
14

“From Murder to Yoga Meditation Dancing” by Nev Sagiba

How can fighting arts used to disembowel and behead then become meditative, yoga like “spiritual paths” with cultish followings and then be considered the same thing?

What phenomenon is this?

We all know that a “throw” achieves little or nothing in a real combat scenario. The opponent simply blocks it at inception, or else gets up again with redoubled attacking power and then makes sure to get the job done. “Throws” tend to annoy real opponents.
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