Sep
20

“Aikido – A Pattern Language” by Nev Sagiba

Exposure teaches. This is the way of nature. To go from the known to the unknown and make it known, is initiation. Just like happens in nature, you are pushed through barriers which will begin a process of transformation. The suddenness of experience then gestates over time and comprehension comes later. Much later.

Practice is editing. Continually refining and improving.

Explanations can often confuse and make the process of learning longer than it needs to be. Especially long winded soliloquies. Silly compassion, by attempting to “make it better” tries to remove the pain of change, natural transformation, thereby not only prolonging true experiential learning, but also causing unnecessary clutter in the intellect, the wrong part of the brain. Intellect is for processing, not understanding. Understanding can only come from related action and clear, immediate noticing or direct perception. Such as the reflection on a perfectly still lake or mirror. The Zen masters understood this well; as did their natural predecessors.
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Sep
20

“Non-martial artists” by John Meakin

Many people who participate in Aikido are not martial artists and do not follow martial arts per se. Some of us regular people are explorers, travellers and artists. We are on a lateral journey including Aikido and Budo principles as we go through our lives. There are no strait lines in Aikido, (not even through the grading system), especially metaphysically.

I would like to give all of the non-martial artists, (applying themselves in a martial practice) my complete support and encouragement. It really is about personal evolution. (At times I would remind myself that, “all the trees haven’t fallen down so it is only my personal problem which is fixable and not a global reality. This worked for me anyway) Everything does get better.
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Sep
19

Review of Ellis Amdur’s “Hidden in Plain Sight” by Clark Bateman

Ellis Amdur’s latest book, Hidden in Plain Sight: Tracing the Roots of Ueshiba Morihei’s Power is an insightful look at the culture and history, not only of Aikido, but of Japanese budo and aiki arts in a more general sense. If you know Ellis Amdur or have read much of his previous work, such as Old School or Dueling with O’Sensei, then you know that he is a diligent student and scholar of the ways of classical budo, and that he is also not given to the “mystical” nature often attributed to martial arts, but instead is driven to explore the tangible scientific and technical basis for its development and application. I have found his analytical approach to be very useful and revealing, as I myself struggle to reconcile in my own mind the substantial from the mythical.

This new book is a revised and re-edited compilation of an essay series that Amdur Sensei published online in the pages of Aikido Journal. He put in the research, formulated his story, and then put it out there in comfortably-sized chunks for people to read and comment on. His circle of input includes a wide assortment of other longtime budo practitioners and scholars who have no doubt given his thoughts a good dose of his own critical medicine. The resulting feedback and additional reflection brought the completion of the book.
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Sep
19

“The Context Reframe” by Gregor Erdmann

“Everything we say, do or think has its meaning based on its context. By altering the context in which something is said, we can dramatically change its meaning.

A splendid example of a context reframe Chris Howard talks about in his empowerment seminars relates to an interview with Celine Dion at a time where her husband we receiving bad publicity over a gambling problem. In the interview, Celine is asked whether her husband’s gambling has been a problem, and in reply she states that it has been a Godsend and how her husband had gambled on her and mortgaged his house to assist her in her early career. In this new light, his gambling is not a bad thing, but in fact a very great thing. A 180 degree turn around, with no resisting or fighting back.”

Please click here to read entire article.

Sep
18

Brian Kagen pick: “Practice” from aunkai.net

“There are many who pursue the daily practice of Bujutsu (Budo) as a means to temper their spirit. Training in Bujutsu, or performing Bujutsu Tanren is one way of knowing yourself both physically and mentally. By pursuing one thing (not only Bujutsu) deeply, the insight, knowledge, inspiration, as well as the the development put into understanding it will lead to innovation. When fueled by a strong desire and intent they create original ideas allowing for ever original innovations that are a must if you wish to get close to experiencing whatever truth it is that you pursue. It is this cycle that is so fulfulling to those that have chosen to pursue their individual arts.

Through the development of a body suitable for bujutsu, forging it in a manner according to the principles that are the foundation of bujutsu, absorbing and learning how to use the body through contact training and finally through the never ending cycle of experimentation/innovation we seek to create a core within our bodies that *is* “Jutsu.” That, simply put, is what Tanren is about.”

Please click here to read entire article.

Sep
18

“Atemi is 80% of aikido” by Patrick Parker


“A commonly-cited rule of thumb is that 80% of all problems in aikido can be solved with atemi (striking techniques). That’s probably not the result of any sort of scientific study – rather, it is an anecdote that serves to emphasize the importance of atemi in aikido – but let me run with that 80% statistic a little.
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The Pareto principle would suggest that 80% of all problems can be solved by 20% of all techniques. If you say there are about 20 unique fundamental techniques in Tomiki aikido, then 20% of that would be four techniques. What are your 4 tokuiwaza (best/favorite techniques) from aikido?”

Please click here to read entire article.

Sep
17

Brian Kagen pick: “Nonviolence in Violent Encounters?” by Marc Abrams

“When somebody engages in the violent act of assaulting another person, is it reasonable to expect the person being attacked to remain nonviolent in an attempt to defend one’s self? Where does our moral responsility lie? When does our moral responsibility begin and end?

Aikido is a unique martial art from the perspective of placing some degree of moral accountability on the Aikidoka. Moral accountability is a vague concept that can be construed in many different ways. Let us start with ourselves. We are alive and have a moral responsibility to ourselves, friends and loved ones to remain alive and part of our world. In remaining alive, we may inadvertently do so at the expense of other people. In a world with limited resources, this situation in inevitable. What about when that other person is attacking you?”

Please click here to read entire article.

Sep
16

“State of Mind” by David Shevitz

“When most folks think about the various Star Wars quotes that best describe martial arts training (and there are many), the one that often comes to mind is the classic Yoda line: “Do, or do not. There is no try.” While I can’t even type those words without being overcome with a wave of nostalgia, I must admit that it’s the quote at the top of this entry that I think really strikes at the heart of martial training. It’s the simple truth: we often fail to perform at our best potential not because we can’t do it, but because we don’t believe we can do it.

It’s my opinion that few arts exhibit this fact more than aikido. Often referred to as an “internal” martial art because its effectiveness hinges on understanding and controlling yourself more than your opponent, aikido nonetheless is a relatively simple art from a technique standpoint. When I say this, I do not mean that there aren’t a myriad of techniques that require a great deal of technical proficiency. What I do mean is that the core movements that comprise aikido techniques take little time to understand and not much more time to implement. In fact, I often tell many of my new students that, by the end of class, they will have already understood most of what they need to know to execute whatever technique we’re practicing that evening. What keeps us training day in and day out, year upon many years, is not the complexity of the technique, but rather our own internal quest to find the perfect level of calmness, centeredness, and focus. Our goal is not to throw, but to move so naturally, so effortlessly, that our opponent is not left wondering how they were beaten, but rather why they even bothered to attack in the first place.”

Please click here to read entire article.

Sep
16

“Kata is not real aikido” by Patrick Parker

“Kata takes a bad rap, in many ways undeserved. I’ve heard it said, but haven’t seen the source, that Ueshiba said that there is no kata in aikido because kata is basically not aiki-like – not real aikido. Tomiki, on the other hand, structured his aikido teaching around a set of kata.
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It occurred to me last night that kata is actually harder than randori or shiai because tori has to call his shots, just like calling your shots in pool. When you define ahead of time what technique is going to happen, if you throw some other technique (even if it is fantastic and aiki-like) then your kata was a failure – you missed your called shot.”

Please click here to read entire article.

Sep
15

Brian Kagen pick: “Kenji Tomiki Shihan’s teachings – art and spirit” by Tetsuro Nariyama

“It was the evening of Christmas Eve 1979. I was in Ogikubo Hospital in Tokyo visiting my teacher Tomiki Sensei who was fighting for his life. A choir from a nearby church was singing in the front yard of the hospital. While listening to the carols, he managed to ask me, ‘How are things at the dojo?’. I replied, ‘Everyone is working hard’. These were our last words. That night, his condition suddenly changed and he lost consciousness. The following day at 4.10pm, at the age of 79 years and 9 months, his life came to an end. Words cannot express my feelings at the height of the funeral service. I just couldn’t hold back my tears.

In this essay, I will tell you about the advice he gave me. I think there are many things that, through me, he wanted to say to all students. I will be pleased if this simple article is useful to everyone following our aikido.”

Please click here to read entire article.

Sep
14

Brian Kagen pick: “Araki-ryū” from wikipedia.com

“Araki Mujinsai’s antecedents are not clear, but it is believed that he is from the family of Araki Murashige who served as a general under Oda Nobunaga. There are several references to that assumption in historical records.

Araki Mujinsai made his name in war. He fought in the Chosen no Eki [war with Korea] and was awarded by Taiko Hideyoshi, from whom he received the title, Nihon Kaizan, literally “Japan’s opener of mountains”, a title which usually refers to the founder of a movement. It is interesting that one of Takenouchi-ryû founders also was awarded the title, Hika Kaizan, literally “Opener of mountains under the sun”. What is striking is that if the kanji for Hika is sloppily written, and could easily be read as Nihon, or vice-verse.”

Please click here to read entire article.

Sep
14

Official announcement from International Budo Seifukai

[The text below has been submitted by Patrick Augé Shihan]

September 15, 2009

To Whom It May Concern,

The purpose of this statement is to announce that after Master Minoru Mochizuki, founder of Yoseikan Budo, passed away, the Kokusai Budo Seifukai (International Budo Seifukai) was formed for the purpose of continuing and developing his ideals of education. These ideals are: to inherit and promote the principles of “Maximum Efficiency” and “Mutual Welfare and Prosperity” and to apply these concepts to the cultivation of character; to help youth develop physical and mental qualities; and to contribute to the improvement of quality in martial arts through the promotion of mutual friendship among its members, while deepening one’s appreciation of Budo.
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