Aug
22

“Aikido And The Development Of Consciousness” by Lawrence Novick, Ph.D.

“This implies a much greater depth of philosophy than simply martial practice. Aikido is designed around a martial art, so it is important to understand and integrate that level of performance/skill, but the true practice, meaning, and beauty of it only starts there.

Aikido offers different things for different people. One thing Aikido practice provides is an arena for constant feedback as to whether or not one is able to function in the experience and awareness (consciousness) of Aiki, or, being in harmony with Ki/energy. But Ki and therefore Aiki can mean different things at different levels of subtlety, perception, and personal and spiritual development.”

Please click here to read entire article.

Aug
21

“Stanley Pranin – Just a collector with a passion for aikido” by Jaqueline von Arb

Stanley Pranin… the name rings a bell, doesn’t it? It should! That’s the editor-in-chief of THE Aikido Journal. Thanks to Stanley Pranin, many of the videos of O’Sensei and other early masters are available for study on DVD, on aikidojournal.com and on YouTube. Stanley Pranin is also the man behind the DVD “Christian Tissier – An Aikido Odyssey.”

Click here to read entire interview.

Aug
21

“Surviving Dangerous Attacks – Training Worst Case Scenarios” by Nev Sagiba

“After enlightenment, the work begins..” Venerable Geshe Thubten Dawa

Coming from a different background, when at first learning Aikido, at times I thought some techniques to be some sort of make believe.

Whilst initially I did not hold much for the usefulness of some Aikido techniques, life circumstances repeatedly proved me wrong. These very “seemingly useless” Aiki jutsu techniques, as if of their own accord, emerged superlatively to save me in separate weapon and other attacks as well.
[Read more...]

Aug
20

“Zero Point” by Will Gable

“In recent years for our practice of Aikido, my realizations of what exactly we are moving towards as a real outcome of our art have been very revealing for us. We can stay in the realm of kata only and practice the basics for many years and have some very rewarding outcomes in the grounding, centering and stablization process. This foundation is necessary for us to be able to move on to another plateau for ourselves and pass this on to our fellow practitioners.

One realm that has over the last five years is the realm where the horizontal and the vertical worlds that we live in intersect. We could look at this simply as a nexus where the we tend to let go of our basic practices of the known, all our kata skills, ukemi and the fundamentals into the unknown or our practice of randori or freeplay where we tend to see if our years of practice are going to translate into handling a non obvious, random insertion of energy towards us into a skillful and useful outcome, self defense, integrative synthesis of Principles and using our higher communicative skills in the potential world of chaos that we can encounter from time to time.”

Please click here to read entire article.

Aug
19

Brian Kagen pick: “When the Last Sword is Drawn” from hulu.com

“This movie was a nice surprise gem on Hulu. I wasn’t expecting to be emotional but you can’t really help it since the storyline and characters draw you into human fundamentals such as honor, family, humility, gratitude, sacrifice, and duty (while kicking major butt with a samurai sword). We all strive to be better and to be able to provide and support a family. Some times this means making difficult sacrifices and I love how the main character does this with such humility and graciousness.
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Aug
19

“The ‘No Style’ Style” by Ralph Pettman

“Yamaguchi-sensei was one of Morihei Uyeshiba’s “third generation” students. Unlike some of the others of this generation, however, he never gave his personal interpretation of Uyeshiba’s art a particular name, in part I guess out of respect for the man who was his teacher, and in part because the kind of aikido Yamaguchi taught was too intangible to be given something as concrete as a label or a name.

This raises right at the start a key dilemma when talking about Yamaguchi’s approach, though it is the same dilemma that dogs any spiritually oriented martial art that tries to transcend the limits that language sets. It is the dilemma of how to teach an art or belief that has an ineffable end, when the means available to do so are effable ones. How is it possible to impart a truly formless form?”

Please click here to read entire article.

Aug
18

“Principle Transcends Ego” by Will Gable

“I want to start this discussion linking to the last session in relation to the insights that have come from being able to practice and move from just “being awareness”. First, simple awareness almost always escapes most of us because we are caught up in the mind field of distractive thinking, or the heaviness sometimes of imbalanced emotion that consumes the possibility of just being consciousness awareness in any moment.

Now, one may ask what does this have to do with the practice of Aikido and how can you apply this to self defense or anything for that matter. We seem to start our journey in Aikido practice from some wide parameters of movement and as we travel along our parameters get smaller and tighter in relation to what we are trying to do in becoming a more efficient practitioner. With this we start to become aware that the more we practice from our integrated principled perspective wholistically and trust this un conditioned condition, the more we can let go into the “unknown”.

Please click here to read entire article.

Aug
18

Oil on canvas painting depicting Aikido scene by Drew Gardner

“Thank you for considering my work. Someone not trained in the painting arts might overlook my chosen colors of green and red; they are opposites to go along with the yin/yang theme. I have recently completed a painting with oil on canvas. The 20×24″ realism piece depicts an eager, perhaps twelve-year-old Japanese girl beginning to throw a twenty-year-old male uke. She is employing the technique of shihonage. She wears a white dogi jacket and pants, while he wears a white jacket and a hakama. Portrayed in a number of ways, the blending of yin and yang is my primary theme.”

Click here to download a larger version of this painting.

Drew Gardner
Yonkyu, Aikido Schools of Ueshiba

Aug
17

“The Preservation of Aikido through Basics” by Dylan Amerine

“In the United States, the rank of sandan in Aikido can take ten years to achieve, often even longer. This accomplishment is a significant milestone and as I stand at this point in my training career I contemplate the real meaning of the rank…”

Please click here to read entire article.

Aug
17

“Aikido As A Martial Art” by Lawrence Novick, Ph.D.

“There have always been questions about whether or not Aikido is an effective martial art, or whether it is a martial art at all. The simple answer is yes, it is a martial art in that at the physical level it addresses the issue of self-defense, albeit often in a very lofty and idealistic manner. Aikido does deal with being attacked, and does have techniques that, when executed properly, are designed to deal effectively with an attack, so we can in fact call it a martial art.

A more subtle, and more complicated, view is to look at what the essence of Aikido technique is, and how the physical level fits in with and reflects some of the deeper, philosophical dimensions of Aikido. To do this, one need look at how Aikido is practiced, and at certain principles that O’Sensei taught and see how they help explain the deeper process of consciousness that Aikido tries to cultivate and promote.”

Please click here to read entire article.

Aug
16

Brian Kagen pick: “Shugyo” by Marc Abrams

“A historical context is necessary in order to understand the concept of Shugyo. Japanese Martial arts developed at a time where combat was engaged in primarily with the sword and typically “up close and personal.” Interactions were not about winning or losing, but about life and death. When a man became a samurai, he pledged his life to his war lord. This meant that he had proverbially given away his life- died! This freed that person, because every living moment after that was simply an amazing gift! This deep and profound appreciation for life led to a higher level of decision-making as to what was important and unimportant in life.

When Japan was unified, wars stopped and the life-and-death duels among marital artists were outlawed. Martial artists had to struggle to find a way to keep the “life-and-death” focus in absence of life and death circumstances. Shugyo emerged as a means by which the teachers hoped to keep this important focus alive.”

Please click here to read entire article.

Aug
15

Brian Kagen pick: “Advice from a Judo World Champion” by Patrick Parker

“Judo advice from Dr. AnnMaria Demars: … I think once every few months the instructors should schedule a ‘no students’ workout and get together. There should be 90 minutes of people just showing each other drills or new techniques that they have been thinking about. This should be followed by 90 minutes of beer-drinking and swapping lies about how good and good-looking we all used to be.

I’m all for this. We already do a version of this with our Aiki Buddies Gathering in the Fall of each year, but it’s not always instructors-only. It’s a doable concept on a lot of scales – you could do regional, state, or multi-state instructor hookups for judo, judo&BJJ, or even more diverse. The concept works best to improve the instructors if it is an informal thing with everyone contributing – and if everyone contributes, you have to limit the scope of the thing in order to give each instructor a few minutes to share and stay within the 90 (or 120) minute time limit (of course, if you did 120 minutes of judo, you’d have to expand the beer-drinking accordingly to maintain balance…).”

Please click here to read entire article.