Aug
14

“An Interview with Endô Seishirô Shihan by Aiki News” by Daniel Nishina & Akiya Hideo

“Japanese people have a tendency to attach “-dô” to everything. This can be seen not only with budô but also with sadô (or chadô, the art of tea ceremony) and kadô (the art of flower arrangement), for instance. We even hear of sumô-dô, salaryman-dô, keiei-dô (the way of business). People attach “-dô” to various aspects and activities of our lives in order to give them special meaning or to distinguish them as areas of mastery. Yet, I don’t think many people, including myself, really know what “dô” is. At some point I began to wonder why there were to ways to say one thing e.g. budô/bujutsu, kendô/kenjutsu, jûdô/jûjutsu, aikidô/aikijutsu, and thus started to explore the difference in meaning.

I feel I more or less have a grasp of the meaning of “jutsu,” but when it comes to “dô,” I feel it means something immense, deep, wide, and unclear. In my desire to somehow make it clearer, I sought books relating to Taoism, Lao-tzu (Lao-zi) and Chuang-tzu (Zhuang-zi). Tao can also be found in Confucianism and its virtues: Jin (仁, humanity), Gi (義, righteousness), Rei (礼, propriety), Chi (智, wisdom), Shin (信, faithfulness). It is said that Tao is to seek and realize, and thereby equip the self with, these virtues. We might say that this is “Tao for the people.””

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Aug
14

“How Would You Describe Aikido?” by Mark Machin

“It’s quite common to be asked questions from friends, colleagues or potentially new joiners to a club about Aikido and if it’s suitable for a particular person. Some of these questions can be difficult to answer, or at least very difficult to provide with an honest and simple response. Questions may include ‘Does it work?’, ‘Is it the best Martial Art?’, ‘Is Aikido right for me?’ or ‘How long to achieve black belt?’

As we are aware these questions are not that simple to answer so how should we handle queries like these? The clue to answering these questions come from the categorisation of Aikido as martial art. We’ll consider the ‘art’ wording to deduce a few answers.”

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Aug
12

Brian Kagen pick: “The Lessons of Embu” by Diane Skoss

“In martial arts training it is essential, in my opinion, to have some arena in which one is forced to put oneself on the line. Arts that have shiai provide plenty of opportunity–believe me, there’s quite a lot riding on the line when you face an opponent trying to stab you with a bayonet. But in the classical arts, and arts like aikido that in general do not have competition, we must find other ways to push ourselves to the edge. Promotion examinations provide one sort of opportunity to face fear of public failure, to learn to control natural physical stress reactions, and to continue come what may. But for most of us, exams are few and far between. Demonstrations, then, are perhaps a sensible alternative.
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Aug
12

“Domestic Violence” by Nev Sagiba

There is nothing domestic about any kind of violence. Real violence is ugly, never “spiritual;” cute, glamorous or “glorious.” Simply disgusting and ugly, filled with stress, toxic biochemistry and fear. Tyranny in any form is no less despotic than that of a dictatorial regime.

The solution to violence is not as cut and dried as simplistic thinking would lead the uninformed to believe. Victims entrained, often from a very early age, to be victims, usually find it difficult to disentangle.
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Aug
12

“Comprehensive Yoseikan Budo book in English” by Edgar Kruyning

This is to announce the publication of “The Art of Ju-jutsu,” the most comprehensive volume on Yoseikan Budo ever produced in the English language.

Subtitled “the legacy of Minoru Mochizuki’s yoseikan sogo budo, a dynamic synthesis of modern and traditional martial arts,” this book gives the most detailed and authoritative review available of the unique art created by Minoru Mochizuki, one of the earliest uchi deshi of aikido founder Morihei Ueshiba, in his home dojo in Shizuoka City, Japan. It also gives extensive detail on the modern yoseikan budo of Hiroo Mochizuki, current international head of yoseikan budo, allowing the reader to find the commonalities and striking differences between the approaches of a father and son devoted to budo. Earning the following ranks since his beginning in budo at age 13 (turning forty this month), Edgar Kruyning is well-qualified, both physically and intellectually, to present the essence of Japanese martial arts:
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Aug
11

Brian Kagen pick: “Kodokan Goshin Jutsu” from wikipedia.com

“Kodokan Goshin Jutsu is a set of prearranged self-defence forms in Judo.

It is the most recent kata of Judo, having been created in 1956. It incorporates techniques from aikido through the influence of Kenji Tomiki. It consists of several techniques to defend oneself from: unarmed attack, attack with a dagger, with a stick, and with a gun.”

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Aug
11

“Essay about Aikido and Yoga”

“Aikido, roughly translated into “the way of unifying life energy,” is an exciting martial art originating from Japan. The primary focus of aikido is that of grappling, which features many throws and joint locks. In aikido, the goal is to match motions with your opponent so that you can use his own momentum against him. The art originated in the late 1800s as Morihei Ueshiba’s synthesis of various martial arts he had studied throughout his life, including judo and jujutsu. Aikido also incorporates weapons such as the staff and the spear. When writing a research paper on aikido, it is helpful to gain at least a basic understanding of other Japanese martial arts which affected Ueshiba, and in turn, affected the development of aikido.
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Aug
10

“Flow and Movement” by The Kiai

“hen I started training in Aikido in 1981, I simply wanted to study a martial art and had decided that Aikido would be that art because of its philosophy of peace. While many other martial arts can be pursued with this intent, I thought it was significant that O’Sensei made peace and harmony such an essential element of his art that harmony is the first kanji in the name.

As I began training, I had no thought about tests or belts; training and studying were all I needed. Certainly I never thought about when I’d become a black belt. Black belts were people who “knew everything” about a martial art,and that circumstance had to be far in the future for me, if ever. And above all, I never considered that I would be asked to lead a class.”

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Aug
09

“Flexible Instruction” by Gregor Erdmann

“This one is mainly for the instructors out there, but it is relevant to all. Remember that everyone is a teacher on some level, even if your only student happens to be yourself.

Important to the philosophy of Aikido is having a flexible response to an opponent’s attack. To fully embrace this ideal, a teacher should also be flexible in his/her teaching methods.”

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Aug
09

Brian Kagen pick: “New York Aikikai Etiquette”

“1. The first and most obvious rule in any martial arts dojo is bowing. To simplify things you should bow upon entering and leaving the dojo, getting on and off the training area, and any time other people are bowing.

Some dojos require a certain type of bow, how deep you bow, how long you stay down, where you look, et cetera. New York Aikikai doesn’t really give specifics on such things. Most people don’t really care, but because Aikido is peaceful, we don’t usually maintain eye contact with someone when we bow (except during randori).”

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Aug
08

“Seth Godin on Aikido and Judo” by Patrick Parker

“You can brute-force your way through martial arts, even including aikido and judo, and get to a certain point. You can even get into the black belt ranks with this approach, but you are self-limiting. You will reach an age where you cannot continue to put more and more into it in order to get better and better. At some point you are going to have to buy into the “maximum efficient use of power” ideal in judo or the aiki ideal in aikido. When you do, there will be a while during which you aren’t able to get the results with the weakness approach that you used to be able to get with the strength approach. In other words, while you are becoming more efficient, for a while you’ll suck.”

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Aug
07

Brian Kagen pick:”The Master and the Champion” by Rob Redmond

“A long time ago, in a land far, far way, there lived two boys. The two boys were fast friends, and they could be seen together every day. When one of them wanted to swim in the river, the other went with him. When one of them wanted to ride horses, the other went with him. When one of them had chores to do, the other one helped him. They were always together in everything that they did.

One afternoon, while the boys were down by the river skipping stones, some other boys a little older than they were came walking by. They saw the two boys standing by the river laughing and throwing rocks, and they decided that since no one was around, they could do as they pleased.”

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