Jan
21

Brian Kagen pick: “Aikido Kenkyukai International – Fudoshin Dojo”

“An important aspect of this training is the focus on high level Ukemi practise. Ones skill ultimately is how well one is able to follow and remain in centre with the Ukemi produced through the movement. The movement being the subtle shifts within the ether supporting the greater movement. To understand this concept and accept its practise indicates the level in ones understanding. Understand this and I will practise true Aiki survival techniques. Much school type practise of Aikido today is devoted to only low level Ukemi ie: Ukemi involving only forward and backward rolling. Higher level Ukemi travels far beyond this. Aikido practise must involve highly rigorous training to stimulate and purify the senses in order for a mind — body recognision of subtle variations within movement, revealing a complete universe in Ukemi spirit.”

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.

Jan
21

Recommended reading: “Interview with Bill Witt” 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.

I started training in July of 1967 and after I had been in Japan a couple of months, a friend, Julian Jacobs, asked me if I ever went to Sunday class. I was training six days a week and resting on Sunday, so I told him I hadn’t. “You ought to go to some of Saito Sensei’s classes because he does some very good basic aikido,” he said. That seemed interesting, so I started going and whenever Saito Sensei taught O-Sensei would seem to come out too. I was really impressed right from the very first because here was a guy who was not too flashy but nice and solid with good basic technique who was willing to help beginners and who seemed very friendly.

[Read more...]

Jan
20

“Ai-Ki, The Balance of Nature,” by Nev Sagiba

“Time is the great leveller. Winning and losing, gain and loss are relative concepts that miss noticing the grand picture that is the universal process of building new possibilities through mitosis.”

In the end, it does not matter who wins, loses or draws: The balance of nature will always win. The greater part of our histories were wasted in misdirected efforts that accrued no lasting gain. Much good was lost and what little we gained had to survive immense attrition, often to be lost again.

Had we learnt the lessons that truly matter, we would now be travelling in a life enhancing direction, instead of an extractive, depleting death generating trajectory of pollution, wars and extinction.

The air. Without it we would die. But we contaminate it with blithe disregard, and continue to do so.
Water is essential for life as well. We continue to subvert it every way we can.
Our existence is only possible between a very fine scale of opportune stability which can support it, as we now are embodied. And yet we behave as it were an unlimited resource.
The biotic layer of earth that supports our life and our food is only a few inches thick.
[Read more...]

Jan
19

Passing of Yoshio Kuroiwa Sensei

We are saddened to announce the passing yesterday (January 19) in Tokyo of Yoshio Kuroiwa Sensei, age 77. He was one of the early members of the Aikikai Hombu Dojo of the postwar era. Kuroiwa Sensei began aikido training about 1954 after an extensive background in boxing. In the late 1950s and 60s Kuroiwa Sensei was considered one of the strongest and most skilled practitioners at the Hombu Dojo.

Kuroiwa Sensei was also an excellent writer and emphasized the practicality and effectiveness of aikido techniques. He published a series of articles in the magazine of Rikkyo University, Wago. Kuroiwa Sensei traveled to the USA on several occasions where he conducted seminars. He was also a participant in the first Aiki News Friendship Demonstration held in Tokyo in 1985.

Aikido Journal extends its deepest condolences to the Kuroiwa family and his many students.

Here are links to articles by Kuroiwa Sensei available in our archives:

A Common Sense Look at Aikido
Training and Cognition

Jan
18

Progress report on “Aikido Pioneers – Prewar Era,” by Stanley Pranin

It’s time for another update on our progress on our upcoming title, Aikido Pioneers-Prewar Era, one of the most important books on aikido history ever to be published. We are in the final editing phase after having laid out all of the photographs. This particular phase is very time consuming so we wanted to give you a sneak peak at the contents and layout of the new book. We have selected eight representative pages from the Noriaki Inoue interview by way of a preview in PDF form. You can download that file here.

The interviews contained in Aikido Pioneers feature direct students of the Founder Morihei Ueshiba. I conducted these interviews over a period spanning 1973 through about 2005. These early disciples were eyewitnesses and participants in the creation of the art. The list of those interviewed who appear and share their remembrances and stories reads like a Who’s Who of Aikido: Noriaki Inoue, Kenji Tomiki, Hisao Kamada, Hajime Iwata, Minoru Mochizuki, Shigemi Yonekawa, Rinjiro Shirata, Gozo Shioda, Yoshio Sugino, Kiyoshi Nakakura, Takako Kunigoshi, Zenzaburo Akazawa, Bansen Tanaka, Tenryu, Kisshomaru Ueshiba, Minoru Hirai, Koichi Tohei, Kisaburo Osawa, Shigenobu Okumura and Kanshu Sunadomari, all but two having sadly already passed on.
[Read more...]

Jan
18

Brian Kagen pick: “Robert Frager – A martial artist making a difference,” by Paul Rest

“The history of Aikido in America has had much to do with Robert Frager’s ground breaking work teaching, promoting and nurturing the art. Frager, a student of the Founder of Aikido, O Sensei, lived in Japan with the Master where he was able to observe and train with his teacher on a day to day basis. Upon returning to the States, he invited Robert Nadeau, Shihan, to teach classes with him at Esalen. Nadeau is a fellow-American he trained with in Japan. In 1968 he founded the Cal Aikido Club with Stan Pranin, another long time practitioner of Akido and publisher of Aikido Journal.”

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.

Jan
17

“The Power of Kokyu Ryoku,” by Kanshu Sunadomari

“Within the spirit of Aikido, which begins “Aiki is love….”, the founder of Aikido, Morihei Ueshiba said that, “this martial art is the supreme way and call to unite our body and spirit under the laws of heaven,” however what was meant by “the laws of heaven”. In short, these laws are nothing less than those, which bind all things together that exist within nature. Morihei Ueshiba often referred to Aikido as Takemusu Aiki (武産合気), which means the spontaneous generation of martial techniques by remaining in accordance with the power and structure of nature.”

Click here to read entire article.

Jan
16

Brian Kagen pick: “A fight to the distance,” by Patrick Parker

“If it’s a question about who would win in a prolonged fight requiring great stamina and endurance, I couldn’t answer that one either. See, both arts are about self defense, and nearly all self-defense encounters have nothing at all to do wth endurance. Most all fights are over before you can shift from anaerobic to aerobic metabolism (something like 2-3 minutes), and most all exertion that occurs in a fight is anaerobic in nature. So in a fight, “to the distance” would generally be a few seconds, perhaps as much as a couple of minutes.”

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.

Jan
15

Brian Kagen pick: “Miles Kessler – A martial artist making a difference,” by Paul Rest

“One of the important aspects of Miles’ teaching is an on-going questioning about not only breaking down barriers between cultures but within ourselves. How can we challenge and confront what we have built within ourselves?”

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.

Jan
14

“Long Term Victory,” by Nev Sagiba

Passages from the Hagakure:
Narutomi Hyogo said, “To win over your enemies is to first win over your allies. Defeating one’s allies is defeating oneself. To win over your allies is to win over yourself. To win over yourself is to win over your body by means of your spirit. Unless you train your body and mind well in advance as if in the midst of tens of thousands of allies there is no one who will follow after you. If you have not previously mastered your mind and body, you will not defeat an enemy.”

“Win first, and then go to battle.”

“There is nothing outside the present moment.”
[Read more...]

Jan
13

“Warming Up the Mind for Martial Arts,” by Markos Marcou

“Some people may be thinking to themselves now, that a warm up is simply a way to heat up there joints and muscles etc so as to not cause injury to themselves. Although they are correct in thinking this, a warm up can be so much more. Whilst performing physical movements like stretches and light callisthenics, one should be thinking about what they are about to undertake, the level they are currently on, and ways in which to improve it.”

Click here to read entire article.

Jan
13

Brian Kagen pick: “Breathing for Life,” by Alister Gillies

“Breathing is very often something that we don’t do well. The majority of us, unless we are trained musicians, singers or athletes, breathe in an inefficient way and fail to benefit fully from this most essential and natural of functions. Our habitual breathing is usually shallow “chest” breathing and employs a limited range of muscles confined to the thoracic cage, upper chest and, often as a result of tension, the muscles of the neck and upper shoulders.This can result in tension headaches and feelings of lethargy. By changing how you breath, it’s possible to change how you feel.”

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.