Oct
10

“Tenchi-Nage, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Trust My Sensei” by Jerry Akel

Those who know me understand that in general, I’m a pretty level headed fellow. Sure, I have strong opinions, and sometimes I can ruffle feathers, but in the main, I consider myself a steady hand at the dojo.

In other words, there’s not a lot that confounds me.

Which makes my reaction to a certain technique (fifth kyu, no less!) all the more bewildering. It’s as if I become Merkwürdigliebe, a stranger trapped in my own body, either attempting the technique or, more likely, strangling the host. Sure, I can make it work, but believe me, there is a world of difference between what I do, and what I see the shihans do.
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Oct
09

“Who Controls the Technique, Uke or Nage?” by Nev Sagiba

Who Controls the Technique, Uke or Nage?

In Aikido partner kata training where a single technique or set of combined techniques or counters are practiced, who controls the technique? Uke or Nage?

The word “throws” is used a lot, by many, but if this were the case it would no longer be Aikido, but a form of judo expressing the same-old-same-old bully-victim paradigm of one person “doing something” to someone else following a contest of some kind.

In such case not only is it not Aikido, but nothing has been learned of the Founder’s paradigm of transcending violence. “Throwing” someone or pushing “them” over plays into the very illness true Aikido was formulated to transcend!
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Oct
07

“Secrets of Ukemi” by Gregor Erdmann

“The secrets of ukemi are in its name. ‘ukemi’ is Japanese for ‘to receive’ and in Aikido it its the uke’s (person taking a fall) task to receive an attack.

It saddens me when I see or feel uke from even senior belts who are missing the basic understanding of this. Poor ukemi is a reflection of a lack of understanding with the basic principles of aikido.”

Please click here to read entire article.

Oct
06

George Ledyard on “Aikido and Google”

George Ledyard wrote an excellent comment to the blog titled “Aikido through the eyes of Google” that we thought deserved special attention.

It’s straight marketing really. How can any of us compete with MMA on prime time cable on a nightly basis? It’s a shift in the “culture” which is taking place. Our young men want to “fight”. They are not typically interested in the cerebral components of training in a martial art. Maybe this is the result in the demographic shift away from the older “Boomer” generation which grew up with the Vietnam war and the wholesale introduction of Eastern ideas into our culture. But whatever it is, our young men have a different set of concerns than we did.
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Oct
06

“Stance” by Gregor Erdmann

“A group of generals and high ranking officers making critical decisions under the pressure of an ongoing battle (usually against ridiculous odds), finally cracking and engaging in an internal dispute. In a moment of sudden insight, one of the generals picks up a bunch of sticks and demonstrates how working together they are invincible, whereas divided they will fall.

It is a simple concept to grasp on the surface, but deeper contemplation can yield teachings which have a far wider application. It is important to consider for example, ‘how’ should these individual parts work together to give us synergy.”

Please click here to read entire article.

Oct
05

Brian Kagen pick: “47th All-Japan Children’s Demonstration held at the Budokan in Tokyo” by Timothy Buerger

“Numerous photos taken at the 47th All-Japan Children’s Demonstration held at the Budokan in Tokyo by Timothy Buerger.”

Please click here to view photos.

Oct
04

“Is Violence Natural? The Centre of the Cyclone” by Nev Sagiba

Can peace be possible? Indeed is it desirable?

As far back as the earliest history, despots have used the concept of “peace” as an excuse to make war. Facts, when not suppressed, show clearly that war deprives all participants of any semblance of peace. Soldiers live and die in various forms of torment whether they survive or not and their civilian victims certainly get no peace. So who is it exactly that gets a piece of what?

Pageant contestants like to quote “world peace,” hoping to gain cheap acceptance in the face of flashing a veneer, imagining that the audience wants to hear it said. But what exactly does it mean? If anything.
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Oct
04

“Aikido, Through The Eyes of Google” by Jerry Akel

A few weeks ago our dojo had the good fortune to reconnect with a talented Aikidoka from Australia. He had visited us about four years prior, and was back in the States for, of all things, his honeymoon. Putting aside any other plans for the evening, our friend attended Sensei’s class, and later taught a very interesting class himself.

That evening, as we caught up at the local watering hole, our conversation turned to (of course!) Aikido. I had mentioned that Google had some interesting statistics regarding Aikido as a search query. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that this topic deserved its own post.
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Oct
03

Brian Kagen pick: “Jane Curtis – A martial artist making a difference” by Paul Rest

“Jane Curtis – A martial artist making a difference Jane Curtis, a second degree black belt in Aikido, has created a unique program for a very unique clientele. The “FA.T.H.E.R.S. Program Guide” brings family literary and much more to the inmate populations of San Quentin State Prison and Marin County Jail facilities. Jane recognized this was a way to offer learning to a population that often enters the correctional system with poor reading skills.

The program revolves around a simple idea: by teaching inmates to read to their children using children’s picture books, they may then be motivated to improve their own reading skills. After completing the program, inmates select Gift Books for the children in their lives, and these are purchased new and sent to them.”

Please click here to read entire article.

Oct
02

Brian Kagen pick: “Natural Movement” by Steve Wildash

“In a typical Systema class this particular phrase is used again and again, so first of all what is my understanding of “Natural movement” and what do others in class mean by it. In my world, natural movement is something that I do physically without thought, something that happens at a level beyond my comprehension.. things working at a subconscious level, things like blinking, breathing, my own heart beating, a nervous twitch etc, things that happen without conscious thought. Others may refer to it as the result of the body understanding and solving problems, doing what it needs to do in a certain situations and just getting on with it..
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Oct
01

Brian Kagen pick: “Cyndy Hayashi – A martial artist making a difference” by Paul Rest

“Cyndy is a 6th degree black belt in Aikido. She has studied the martial art since 1977 when she began training in San Francisco at Aikido of San Francisco. In 1979 Cyndy traveled to Japan where she studied with Morihiro Saito, Shihan. She trained with him for a period of nine months total. Part of that stay was as a live in house student or uchideshi. In 1980, Saito Sensei awarded her the rank of shodan or 1st degree black belt.

Upon her return to the States, she began training at Aikido West with Frank Doran, Shihan. She has continued to train and teach at Aikido West where is she is now daisempai. She states she began training with Doran Sensei because she “found his classes challenging.” Doran Sensei soon became the teacher she felt she could follow for the rest of her life. He was inspirational. I asked Cyndy how Aikido has influenced her life and who she is in the world. She remarked that her training has saved on five separate occasions when she was attacked. It is not so much that she was successful in defending herself but that she responded with the appropriate response to the different attacks. Deadly force was needed only on one occasion.”

Please click here to read entire article.