Sep
29

Brian Kagen pick: “Aikido master’s prowess lives up to literature” by Yvonne Zacharias

“Few here know that the controversial Mustard was once the chief foreign instructor at the martial art’s headquarters in Japan and is considered by many to be the best non-Japanese instructor of yoshinkan aikido in the world.

What’s more, he is a central figure in the book Angry White Pyjamas. It was written by Oxford poet Robert Twigger, who took an 11-month, brutally demanding course of training at the dojo in Japan under Mustard and other instructors in the mid-1990s.”

Please click here to read entire article.

Sep
29

“Discussion with Alan Ruddock, the first Irish Aikido practitioner PDF” by Guillaume Erard

“G.E.: You then became the representative in Ireland for the Japan Karate Association. Did you set up some kind of official organisation?

A.R.: I actually contacted the British Karate Federation and initially joined up with them. Later I formed the Irish Karate-Do Society. The Japan Karate Association was not in Europe at that time. They arrived after I had joined the Merchant Navy. Tetsugi Murakami Sensei was the man we learned from. He had learned in Mochizuki’s school in Japan where they studied Judo, Aikido and Karate.”

Please click here to read entire article.

Sep
28

“The Practical Application of Aikido Technique” by Charles McCarty

“You may never need to use Aikido in a practical and physical way in your life, and perhaps you already have. You may have gone into the art on a whim, as I did, or may have begun training because of some event in which you were victimized, and vowed to never become a victim again. I can’t speak for all, but I can speak from my own experience, and will attempt to do so in this essay.

Turn on the news, read a paper or watch a movie, and you are likely to get the impression that the world is a very dangerous place. The media industry consistently presents its consumers with the worst possible news, and drives that home with repetition of the images that accompany news reports in this age of ubiquitous video and cell phone cameras. Film and television entertainment often dwell on violence perpetrated and violent response, often after implying that attempts to resolve conflict peacefully are futile and counter-productive.”

Click here to read entire article.

Sep
27

“An Ikkyo Kind of Day” by Nev Sagiba

Ever had an Ikkyo kind of day? Where no matter the attack, only Ikkyo happened. And you shook your head in frustration, or got berated as “wrong.”

BLEEP… NOT WRONG, SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT.

Each technique is simultaneously everywhere and available all of the time. You can find Ikkyo, or any other technique everywhere all of the time.

If your mind sees it and you’re breathing, and suddenly it’s possible and works, it’s in no way “wrong.” Aikido, as with life is a rich path of discovery.
[Read more...]

Sep
27

“Knife changes nothing” by Patrick Parker

“I’ve mentioned this before in passing, but I wanted to bring some attention to it in today’s post. In aikido (or judo or karate or etc…) we mostly practice empty-handed, but occasionally put a simulated knife in the hand of the attacker. It it not that we want to emphasize those ridiculous “knife defenses” that are the bread and butter of so many martial arts classes – so why do we even mess with a knife?
.
Simply put, the addition of a knife highlights a particular weakness in the defender’s mindset. That is, if the defender suddenly becomes sharper, more alert, quicker, and more precise when a knife is thrown into the mix, then he was under-estimating the potential of the unarmed attacker.”

Please click here to read entire article.

Sep
26

“Tapping into the Subconscious” by Gregor Erdmann

“I don’t claim to be an expert on psychology or NLP. I can however provide insights into using the subconscious based on my own experience which should be of assistance to those who are a little sceptical of such things.

Firstly we must acknowledge the existence of the part of our mind which lurks in the background. It is the part of our mind which takes a high level command such as ‘walk over there’ and co-ordinates the complex actions of individual muscles to allow us to perform the task. It is also the part of our mind which records all sensory inputs passes a tiny subset up to our consciousness and interprets the majority as a ‘gut feeling’ or hunch.”

Please click here to read entire article.

Sep
25

Brian Kagen pick: “An Open Letter to Strip-Mall Martial Arts Clubs” by David Shevitz

“Dear Owner: Before I begin, I want to first say that I’m willing to give you the benefit of the doubt on a number of things. For example, I’m more than happy to assume that you are, in fact, a skilled practitioner of some sort of martial art. I may not know what that martial art is–and you might have just made it up yourself. But I’m okay with assuming that you put in some considerable time learning what you now know. I’m also willing to assume that you’re genuinely interested in improving the lives of other people through martial arts training. I don’t even have a problem with the fact that this interest may run parallel to your interest in making money–a dojo is a business, after all. You have bills to pay just as anyone else does. I’m not even going to give you a hard time about some of your fees–when I built my dojo, I looked at retail locations. I know how expensive they are, so I would expect your prices to reflect that reality. In short, I want you to know that I’m not looking down on you. I respect you, and I appreciate the situation you’re in.

So if I can respect you, how about you showing some respect for yourself? Or, if you can’t do that, how about your students?”

Please click here to read entire article.

Sep
25

“Interview with Yukio Utada, 7th dan” by Michael Aloia

“With 2009 marking Yukio Utada Shihan’s 35th year of teaching aikido in the United States, the anniversary is being commemorated with a weekend seminar and embu on Saturday, October 10, 2009 and Sunday, October 12, 2009 in Philadelphia, PA.

During all the excitement and anticipation with the planned upcoming events, I had a chance to sit with Utada Sensei to discuss his thoughts and feelings regarding his achievements and his life long journey towards enlightenment.”

Click here to read full interview.

Sep
24

Brian Kagen pick: “Keeping Distance Apart” by Paul Wildish

Randori Shiai (free-style contest) was created as a competitive format for applying ‘aiki’ techniques by Kenji Tomiki around 1960, and since that date has been the subject of continuous development and evolution. This has enabled it to justly claim a place alongside judo and kendo as an exemplification of budo in its modern sporting form. Indeed the starting point for Aikido Kyogi development lay in the profound influence of Jigoro Kano on the young Kenji Tomiki’s maturing ideas on the nature of budo in the modern world. In a series of speeches made between 1926 and 1927, Kano addressed the issue of incorporating atemi techniques in judo randori (free) practice. Then as now, any form of atemi (striking vital points) technique was proscribed from judo randori and shiai for reasons of safety, limiting contest to grappling techniques starting from an initial seizure of the sleeve and collar of the keikogi. Atemi waza and certain of the most severe wrist and joint locks from the canon of jujitsu on which judo was based, were strictly limited to kata practice only. Despite these self imposed limitations Kano believed that: “Randori or bouts including Ate Waza may be developed through some devices and further research, but it may not be easy.” This demonstrates that after some fifty years of judo development, Kano was still thinking of ways to broaden the scope of randori to encompass all the elements of jujitsu technique. http://www.hikarikan.co.uk/competition

Sep
23

“Budo: from Force to Gentleness” by Nick Lowry

“Violence will solve some problems, but gentleness
will solve all of them” — Tibetian Buddist wisdom

http://www.aikidojournal.com/blog/media/lowry.jpgMuch of what underlies our lives and choices, what hides out beneath the surface of what we think and do is fear. And much of how we respond to the fear and anxiety is by reverting to force. We seek to change the piece of the world we perceive as threatening. We seek to neutralize the threat and stop the fear; all the while missing the point that the real source of the fear we are experiencing is not really out there at all—In truth we carry our anxiety around with us and project it on the world. And so no matter how much we fight or win, how many enemies we vanquish, we still wind up back at that same ole ground of insecurity.
[Read more...]

Sep
22

Brian Kagen pick: “Martial Arts Biography – Peyton Quinn” by Peyton Quinn

“I had studied traditional Asian martial arts (karate & Judo) since I was about 14 years of age. Working as a bouncer changed my view of what true self defense training should involve. Physical technique was the focus in my Asian system studies, but now that I had seen hundreds of actual fights and had been forced to defend myself on scores of occasions, I had to recognize that what I was seeing and experiencing was the reality of actual fighting.

At first I didn’t seem to be able to use the things I had learned in my martial arts training in the actual fights I was involved in. It all seemed to happen so fast that all I could seem to do was to try to hit the guy in the head with a closed fist with my right hand (a mistake). Yet, I was reasonably skilled at so many martial techniques and I had won more than few “contact” tournaments. After a few weeks on the job I began to realize that I was now able to use my martial arts techniques. (Though I really used only the same few over & over.)”

Please click here to read entire article.

Sep
21

Brian Kagen pick: “Intended Movement Without Intention” by Marc Abrams

“My friend and I were talking last night and he told me about these Japanese researchers who were working on a body suit with micro motors in the fabric with sensors that read the electrical activity in the area of intended body movement. The goal was to help people with impaired movement, move normally with the assistance of the body suit. One of the findings was that the movements from the suit preceded the muscles firing in the person’s body. My friend, who is a skilled, Chinese martial artist, raised this topic because we were discussing the issue of engaging in intended movement without conscious intention. This research finding confirmed my belief that conscious, intended movement can be perceived by someone else, even without physical contact. The concept of intended movement without conscious intent corresponds to the saying that when you are in a fight, if you have to think about what you do, it is too late.
[Read more...]