Dec
31

“New Year’s Greeting” from Patrick Augé

These past five years have been increasingly challenging for all of us. I have witnessed a number of crises in my life in several countries and what caught my attention is the effect of those crises on people and the resulting changes in their lives and their relationships. We assume that decades of budo study and practice would bring us peace of mind and composure, but it’s rarely the case, especially for those of us who have been solely concentrating on the technical part and have been neglecting training our minds. We easily lose our vision and make irreversible decisions that will make it impossible for that vision to reappear in the future.

The sign above the old Yoseikan Honbu Dôjô in Shizuoka, Japan, said Samurai Gakkô (samurai school). The three qualities a samurai was expected to cultivate were duty, loyalty and courage. Put together, those three qualities constitute honor, the expression of the deep internal confidence that we live by our principles, respect our parents, our teachers, maintain the lineage for the next generations, manage the consequences of our decisions –good or bad, and always maintain our vision of what is important, what ever happens.
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Dec
30

Brian Kagen pick: “The History of Aikido in Hawaii” from aikidohawaii.org

“The recording and preservation of the history of Aikido in a Hawaii is an important function of this site. The history of Aikido in Hawaii preserved through the input of many people. We are actively seeking pictures, narratives, recordings, and information regarding the various dojo and instructors in Hawaii. If you have historic information or documents, or would be willing to author articles or interviews related to the history of Aikido in Hawaii please contact us.”

Brian Kagen is an avid web researcher with a particular interest in martial arts. His training background includes both judo and aikido. He has contributed hundreds of article links over the years for AJ readers.

Click here to read entire article.

Dec
30

“The end of a decade … further down the road,” by Bruce Baker

Ah, it is the end of the decade .. 2010 in another day or so, and I realize … we have traveled another decade further from O’Sensei, and we have lost even more of those people who had first-hand experiences with him.

As I try to think of all the faces I have known, I am saddened by the loss of teachers and friends I have met through Aikido. Some did die, and some just disappeared as life took them in another direction, but just the same … I HAVE VIDEOS and PICTURES! Thank God I gathered pictures and videos.
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Dec
29

“Ki – A Metaphor, by Lawrence Novick, Ph.D.

“O Sensei believed in Ki, and he apparently talked and certainly wrote about it a lot. He did take a rather mystical approach to it, which can be rather hard to understand, and perhaps even harder to put to use in the actual practice of Aikido, let alone in daily life.”

Click here to read entire article.

Dec
29

Recommended reading: “Introduction to the Omoto Religion” by Stanley Pranin

The article below has been selected from the extensive archives of the Online Aikido Journal. We believe that an informed readership with knowledge of the history, techniques and philosophy of aikido is essential to the growth of the art and its adherence to the principles espoused by Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba.

Morihei Ueshiba was about 36 years old when he first encountered Onisaburo Deguchi (1919) in Ayabe when diverted from his journey home to Tanabe from Hokkaido at news that his father had been taken seriously ill. After meeting a member of the Omoto sect on the train, Ueshiba decided to make a quick detour to the Omoto Center in Ayabe to meet the “gifted” teacher, Onisaburo and pray for his father’s recovery. Upon his arrival in Tanabe, he found that his efforts were in vane for his father had already died. However, he was so impressed with Onisaburo that shortly thereafter he relocated his family to Ayabe where he proceeded to engage in farming and spiritual training under the tutelage of Deguchi. It was at this time (in the early 1920′s) that he began to teach an early form of what is today known as Aikido with the encouragement of Onisaburo who recognized his extraordinary physical prowess and martial skills. He called the art he was teaching at that time “Daito-ryu Aiki-jujutsu.

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Dec
28

“Kihon/Seitei/Henka/Koryu,” by Nick Lowry

How do we impart knowledge in physical sense? How do you imbue a student with not only the information that is contained in a physical culture of budo, but also with the fully embodied realization of said information—knowledge made manifest in action? The answer is inevitably drills, drills and more drills. Repetition of the physical information (aka waza) and lots of it. In Budo training such drills come in a variety of shapes an sizes and go by a variety of names.

Sometimes this information is structured pretty informally—the parameters are kept kinda loose to allow more free-form variability. This level is typically kihon and because it is designed for building practical skill fast, it is kept pretty short sweet a and simple and it is also where we spend most of our initial time in training. Even a few months of kihon work does wonders.
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Dec
27

“The Rules and Limitations of Aikido,” by Nev Sagiba

From the things you hear, one who did not know otherwise would be forgiven for imagining that there is aikido; and then there are other ways to do things; and each is restricted to its own box and way of doing things and woe betide anyone who dares to break out of the calcified, mould encrusted mold.

What is Aikido?

From all the talk, it appears that nobody really knows except that this guy called Ueshiba Morihei or Morihei Ueshiba, (much ado) came up with it and then had all these followers who can’t copy his amazing feats and now that he’s too dead to vindicate himself, some even accuse him of being fake.
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Dec
26

“Unshakeable Confidence,” by Gregor Erdmann

“Dabbling with the technical aspects of Aikido is like talking about art and then claiming that you are an artist. Sometimes you just have to stop playing around the edges, jump in and get your hands dirty.”

Click here to read entire blog.

Dec
23

Nev Sagiba pick: “Tsukuri – Preparatory Moves for Nage Waza,” by Elie A. Morrell, Shichidan

Stan, this is so good and so well articulated I could not really hope to improve upon the content. Whilst it is pointed at Judo it is entirely relevant to Aikido, since all pushes in combat are in fact faster and therefore strikes.

“Preparatory moves are meant to disturb the CG and to move it outside the region of the base of support, thus making the opponent unstable. These moves are achieved by the application of what is technically called a torque on the opponent’s body. Torque itself is not a force but is a measure of the effectiveness of a force to produce some sort of rotation on the body, thus disturbing the CG and ultimately causing instability, or breaking of the balance.”

Click here to read entire article.

Dec
23

Recommended reading: “Interview with Koichi Tohei and Shinichi Tohei”, by William Reed

From the Ki Aikido Toitsu website:

…I studied Aikido from Morihei Ueshiba, here again doing everything first and questioning later. Ueshiba Sensei was a master of Ki, as well as the founder of Aikido. However he was also a devoted follower of the Omotokyo Religion, and this influenced the way he taught Aikido. Often it was impossible to make any sense of his esoteric explanations. I rigorously trained in all of the exercises he had us do, though many came from the Omotokyo Religion, and made no sense to us. For example, we were expected to recite the alphabet in a different order. Rather than saying the vowels of Japanese as ”AIUEO” we were made to repeat them over and over as ”AOUEI,” as if this new sequence had a deeper meaning. He would tell us that we should become one with the Ki of Heaven, but not how we were to do this. You could learn much more by watching him do Aikido than you could by listening to him explain it. The one essential thing I learned from Ueshiba Sensei was how to relax. He was always relaxed in the face of conflict, which is why his Aikido was so strong.

Click here to read the entire article

Dec
22

“Thoughts on Shrimp, Aikido and Facilitating Conflict Resolution,” by Gaku Homma

“When I first came to the United States, it was never a goal of mine to open a Japanese restaurant and when we opened, I had absolutely no experience working in a restaurant of any kind, either in Japan or the United States. The idea for a restaurant only came to me one day as I thought, “A restaurant would be a good way to attract people to the dojo to observe Aikido practice. This would be a great way to help introduce Aikido to the Denver community.”

Click here to read entire article.

Dec
22

Brian Kagen pick: “Bara Bara training thoughts?” by Chris Farnham from aikiweb.com

“Bara Bara is a Japanese word that generally translates as scattered, disperse, disconnected, in pieces…I am using it here in reference to the fact that I am currently training with multiple groups. I am regularly practice with two seperate groups with a third(a reletively nearby Shihan’s dojo) that I visit semi regularly, and on occasion I make trips to the Ibaraki Shibu Dojo and Hombu. While I sometimes enjoy seeing a variety of approaches to the art it can also be a bit frustrating when I am told to do something one way one dojo when two days earlier I was adamently told the exact opposite at another dojo.”

Brian Kagen is an avid web researcher with a particular interest in martial arts. His training background includes both judo and aikido. He has contributed hundreds of article links over the years for AJ readers.

Click here to read entire thread.