Jul
14

Brian Kagen pick: “Meiso ho and Kokyu ho” by Fumio Toyoda Shihan

“According to our Association promotion test requirements students are required to be familiar with meiso ho(seated meditation practice) and kokyu ho (breathing exercises). Recently, a student testing for the rank of Nikyu was asked to describe these practices, and to say how they are important for budo training. He gave a very eloquent answer, which was accepted. After the test, he was privately asked if he actually did practice meditation and breathing. “I tried once,” he replied, “but they didn’t do much for me. What good are they anyway?”

In such a case it would be much better for a student to say plainly that he or she does not practice meiso ho orkokyu ho. At least this is honest. In any case, we know that this student’s instructor is probably also not clear regarding internal training methods, or at least does not teach them.”

Please click here to read entire article.

Jul
13

Brian Kagen pick: “Reiki” from wikipedia.com

“Reiki is a spiritual practice developed in 1922 by Mikao Usui. After three weeks of fasting and meditating on Mount Kurama, in Japan, Usui claimed to receive the ability of “healing without energy depletion”. A portion of the practice, tenohira or palm healing, is used as a form of complementary and alternative medicine. Tenohira is a technique whereby practitioners believe they are moving “healing energy” (a form of ki) through the palms.

There is no scientific evidence for either the existence of ki or any mechanism for its manipulation, and a systematic review of randomized clinical trials conducted in 2008 did not support the efficacy of reiki or its recommendation for use in the treatment of any condition.”

Please click here to read entire article.

Jul
12

“Aikido Shinsa at Aikido Arts of Shin-Budo Kai: Week of April 26, 2009″ by Marc Abrams

“Today is the anniversary of O’Sensei’s death. It is fitting that some students will be taking their aikido tests this week. We are carrying on the legacy of a truly unique and gifted martial artist. Tests are simply sign posts along the road to our development within the world of Aikido. Different schools and different styles of Aikido view Shinsas (tests) in different ways. I recently read about one person who viewed testing as not only the execution of techniques, but of the development of the person to fit with the idealized image of the head of that style. I can appreciate the aims and goals of other people’s versions as to what testing represents without having to endorse and/or share those views with what I am looking for in a test. I think that it is fair that I share with my students what I am looking for when students test under my supervision.
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Jul
12

Brian Kagen pick: “Instruction vs. Teaching, some thoughts” by Francis Takahashi from aikiweb.com

“Put simply, I see *Instruction* as being primarily focused on the study material, the very system for students to assimilate, eventually incorporate, and apply. Effective instructors rely on their own knowledge and confidence in their skill set, experience, and positive history of obtaining good results. It is a great place to start, as most students require such direction and follow up, regardless of the discipline or course of study. Great instructors exemplify enlightened purpose, superhuman effort and unyielding dedication over a lifetime of study and application of their craft.

*Teaching*, in my experience, certainly requires accurate direction and instruction of both basic and advanced techniques, theories, along with the requisite “trials by error”, on the part of students, as well as for the instructor as well. Yet, the art of teaching also includes the study and evaluation of the students themselves, their inner needs, true abilities and levels of motivation to excel. A teacher, then, must be in tune with the thoughts, self images and the unique challenges the students will encounter in their studies. A true teacher must remain a true student as well.”

Please click here to read entire article.

Jul
11

Brian Kagen pick: “The Gift of Danger” by Mary Stein

“I had been brought up to be polite and not hit people. My partners, more advanced aikidoists, had a uniform reaction: “Hit me,” they said, then stood and waited until my strike connected with their body. It didn’t have to be a hard strike, but it did have to connect. When they decided I was getting the idea, they’d step out of the way as the blow approached.

Gradually I realized why this was important. When I strike with full intention to make connection, my partner has to be skillful and accurate in responding to my motion. If he doesn’t move correctly, he’ll be hit. By striking sincerely and precisely, we provide our partners with an essential risk. This demand for sincerity goes to the heart of aikido.”

Please click here to read entire article.

Jul
11

Recommended reading: “Interview with Yukio Utada” by Jonathan Hollin

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.

As a teenager I had studied judo and karate but neither captured my spirit. I had heard of aikido and wanted to try it. So, after graduating from high school, I made my way to the Yoshinkan Hombu Dojo which my brother had told me about. That was in about 1966 and Soke Shioda was teaching there. I recall the respectful and warm manner in which I was greeted and the way all the aikidoka’s shoes were neatly lined up. I felt there was a great spirit there. Somehow it struck me at once that true budo was being practiced here and this is what I had been looking for. I quickly joined as a regular student.

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Jul
10

“On Ki – Usage in Martial Arts Training (2nd article in series)” by Steve Kanney

“Aikido is a martial art which aims at the cultivation of ki. The aiki in aikido refers to harmonizing one’s ki or vital energy not only with a partner, but with all living beings of the universe. This harmony enables one to realize that the flow of an individual’s ki exists as part of the flow of ki of the universe..” (pg 4)

…it is often difficult to get up early for work whereas it is easy to rise early for pleasure. This is entirely due to the action of ki. It is our ki that orders the body to take some action and, therefore, it is essential to cultivate the spirit to devlop ki-power.”

Please click here to read entire article.

Jul
10

Recommended reading: “Overview of Systema and its Relevance to Aikido” 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.

On October 10, 2002, James and I boarded a plane for Toronto to spend the weekend training with Vladimir and his students. We scheduled a time to meet with Vladimir privately to conduct an interview and to explain in greater detail the concept behind Aiki Expo 2003. I had high expectations about Vladimir based on what James had told me and my viewing of the Systema videotapes. Vladimir didn’t disappoint. He is one of the finest human beings I’ve ever met and a credit to the kind of person that Systema develops. His skills are astounding and in perfect consonnance with the philosophy of aikido. He never opposes an attack, but blends and leads the attacker into a fall or submission. Vladimir is humble but with complete confidence born of his many years of training and exposure to life-and-death situations.

[Read more...]

Jul
09

“Hundreds of Techniques of Iwama Aikido” by Morihiro Saito, 9th dan!

Together with the launch of our newest DVD title “Morihiro Saito: Lost Seminars, Part 6,” we are offering a set of all six DVDs of this series for the incredible price of $149.95, a full 35% off the retail price. This set of DVDs contains literally hundreds of techniques explained in detail and demonstrated by Morihiro Saito Sensei, 9th dan, one of aikido’s most renowned instructors.
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Jul
09

“Aikido vs BJJ, Karate, Judo, Jiu-Jitsu, Kung-fu, etc.” by Connor

“After a long break I’m writing again to add to this blog my thoughts inspired by the discussion at one of our videos in Youtube. The main point of the discussion is: which martial art is better, which one is more effective in real life situations.

Many people think that aikido cannot be effective in “street fighting” or “in the street”, because all of its movements are choreographed and if the attacker does not attack the way we can see in aikido demonstrations then the aikido technique simply can’t be done. Questions in this topic are frequently asked be my beginner students, and they often start to compare martial art styles to one another. They also try to categorise the martial arts.”

Please click here to read entire article.

Jul
08

“Hawaii and its warriors” by Bruce Baker

Maybe I am seeing too much in this History Channel special, Warriors : Islands of Blood, which is about the Hawaiian fighting arts, but it certainly looks like a lot of the same movements we do for our Aikido practice, but adapted to attacking, with or without weapons, and dealing some pretty dangerous life-threatening attacks.

It isn’t just the hand to hand, but the spear-catching and the application of their weapons systems that reawakens my attempt to reach some of the pacifists and narrow-minded people who don’t search out the many martial arts around the world that are similar in movement to aikido.
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Jul
07

Brian Kagen pick: “The Most Effective Martial Art on Earth” by Rob Redmond

“Every martial arts magazine must apparently run an article on a regular basis that asks which martial art is more effective. Two martial arts are compared, and the various pros and cons are assessed. Then the author ducks the whole issue and writes a cop out about how neither is really more effective – it just depends on what your goals are.

I’m here to tell you that there is one most effective martial art on earth for hand to hand combat without weapons. Are you ready to find out what it is?”

Please click here to read entire article.