Apr
23

“忍 – Endurance and Spirit Training,” by Dan Djurdjevic

“For me this character has special resonance with martial arts training. It reflects not only the years of blood, sweat and tears poured onto the dojo floor; it also reflects the psychological challenges, the fears, the disappointments. In one word it conjures all the barriers that have confronted me along my martial journey. Some of these I have overcome. Others have bested me. Yet, despite the latter, what is critical is this; I do not define myself by the moments where I lay defeated in a crumpled heap. I choose to define myself by the moment I picked my sorry self up again.”

Click here to read entire article.

Apr
22

Brian Kagen pick: “Japanese sensei reveals Aikido secrets in Moscow”

“Sensei Akira Mitsuhasi is certain that practicing Aikido will create a safer environment for humanity. After all, neutralizing a hostile enemy is the martial art’s prime philosophy, one that should be taught from a very young age.”

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.

Apr
22

“I Place Myself – Beyond the Bully-Victim Syndrome,” by Nev Sagiba

“Anyone participating in a battle who is not protecting
something, is a mercenary who is participating in crime.”

ablogicon_nevAt the core, Budo is all about positioning, battle positioning, (sentoujinchi), indeed. But more, Aikido is about alignment, alignment with oneself, with the Universe, with others and with everything. A dynamic, moment-to-moment life navigation, that in juxtaposing with all Creation, enables harmony to propagate!

I was still practicing Judo in the 60s when I first heard something that resonated. I was not interested, as insecure fools do, to prove anything about my ego. My search for skill, from a very early age onwards, arose from the need to assert in order to protect those who could not.

It was then I read an article about Aikido. An interview. I forget who it was who was being interviewed. It could have been O’Sensei or Koichi Tohei sensei, or someone of that caliber. But the gist never left me.

After discussing Aikido, the interviewer lobbed a salvo, “And if someone else was being attacked, what would you do then?”

The interviewee replied, “I would place myself between the attacker and the victim…”

This implied much more than it stated. SKILL! A very high level of it. A realization of essential unity and that we are what we protect, what we stand up for.

Anyone participating in a battle who is not protecting something, is a mercenary who is participating in crime.

How do we go beyond falling into the trap of being either a bully or a victim? By placing and re-placing yourself, just like riding a horse.

Watching a rider, the appearance is of someone merely sitting. Those who’ve ridden know this is not so, rather, a continuous re-placing into balance and integrity, Breath, balance and hara (“seat” in equestrian lingo) harmonizing as one with the horse. When firing arrows from horseback, more so. On the ground, with or without sword, or any hand held weapons, this is the same. “Horse stance” has a very valid basis. It is not static. A slight shift becomes Hanmi Gamae and turns the horse. It also enables the sword, the firing of arrows and may other skills.

Positioning, as with battle positioning is the single-most crucial attribute of life, survival and thriving. Whether a battle, a tsunami, a war, a building or forest fire, an earthquake or volcano, tornado or cyclone or whatever the imminent extreme. Conversely, a job interview that will change the course of your life, marriage, or any other life-path decisions.

Your position and your decision will determine whether you live or die in an instant of sudden change. Or the shape that the long road ahead will take, in lesser but no less crucial matters. Favorable positioning is ultimately economical and most productive. Unfavorable positions are expensive and wasteful, if not deadly.
[Read more...]

Apr
22

Kobudo II Youtube Video

I came across an interesting video that I thought the readership of Aikido Journal would like to see. This video looks like it came from a Japanese television program and depicts Morihiro Saito Sensei at the Iwama shrine in Japan. Click here to watch YouTube video.

If you enjoyed this video please take a look at the fantastic set of DVDs from Saito Sensei.

Apr
21

“A Visit from Matsuoka Sensei,” by Anna Sanner

‘Hello and good bye, that’s spring’ is an old Japanese saying. On April 7th 2010, when the cherry blossoms are in full bloom, I meet Haruo Matsuoka at Shosenji aikidojo in Toyonaka, Osaka.

Little known even among aikido practitioners, Matsuoka, who makes aikido and a macrobiotic diet the main pillars of his life, was the man who took the falls for Steven Seagal when they first brought aikido to the US in the 1980s. The dojo scene in ‘Above the Law’ (1988) shows his profile in bamboo-filtered light before he bows to Seagal, opens with a kick and slams onto the mats. Later in the same movie he doubles for an actor, crashing through the window of a Middle Eastern grocery store, exchanging mats for boxes of fruit and veg.
[Read more...]

Apr
21

“Breaking Out Of The Training Comfort Zone,” by Neal Martin

“We all seem to love a nice comfort zone, don’t we? Comfort zones are like little sanctuaries that welcome us in for a cosy chat and a nice cup of tea. We feel all safe and warm in our little comfort zones, secure in the knowledge that nothing or no one is going to cause us discomfort.”

Click here to read entire article.

Apr
20

Featured forum thread: “Kenjutsu Kyohan” by Chris Covington

“For those that don’t know, between the 1870′s and 1934 the Japanese military, in an effort to modernize, adopted western style practice (see the movie “The Last Samurai”). They adopted a western style saber called a kyugunto in place of traditional Japanese swords until 1934 when they created the shingunto, a tachi style military sword. The Kenjutsu Kyohan was a manual on how to fence with these western style sabers as well as bayonet fencing and mounted fencing. ”

Click here to view forum thread.

Apr
20

“Courage and the Beginner’s Mind,” by Drew Gardner

The most powerful tool for learning is often forsaken by those who fear it. But those capable of consciously letting go of what they know in order to clear their minds for the full absorption of new learning, more effectively progress. The beginner’s mind does not mean truly forgetting, for this is not even possible. However, one who has embraced this precious mind state keeps knowledge previously acquired floating among his conscious, preconscious, and most of all, unconscious.

Michele’s “Fast Track to Black Belt” piece has inspired this brief essay. Once I get to know some people, I can almost hear them thinking, When do I become a master? When do I get to be the best of the best? I would like to answer, “Never, but so what?” Even once every standard technique has been ingrained in an Aikidoka, along with all their subtleties honed, accomplishing slight advancement opens new doors for infinite techniques. During a lifetime, total mastery cannot be attained in Aikido or any other skill set. This is rather easy for some to accept, but extremely difficult for others.
[Read more...]

Apr
20

“Fighting for Stuff; Is it Worth It?,” by John W. Zimmer

“Understandably this is a hot button issue because on one hand people with the old west mentality will argue that not only is it legal to fight over personal property, but if you know how to fight it is a smart thing to do! Teach the robber a lesson and hold the guy for the cops and such.”

Click here to read entire article.

Apr
19

Brian Kagen pick: “Aikido masters master gender neutrality” by Stephen Dunmire

“‘The mat was a place where everyone mixed,’ said White, recalling her initial experiences with aikido. White, now a first degree black belt, began studying aikido 25 years ago while living in Japan. The sport’s gender-neutralizing uniforms, ban on makeup and jewelry and generally silent environment within the dojo allowed her to forget about gender while practicing.”

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.

Apr
19

“Fast Track To Black Belt,” by Michele

“In our dojo, I return the phone calls from prospective students. The calls vary greatly. There are some callers that are only interested in price. Some people are looking for a specific style of karate. Others are just looking for self-defense. Lately a common theme in the phone calls has been time. How long does it take to get a black belt? Is there a fast track to black belt?”

Click here to read entire blog.

Apr
19

“So where is it then? – Weapon Concealment..,” by Steve Wildash

“One of the most difficult things to assess is whether your opponent is carrying a concealed weapon. Learning how to recognize these complex signs of body language, that will enable you to prepare yourself well enough to deal with a very hit and miss subject. The task of detection is a greater one when one guy becomes several and a variety of body shapes and postures make identifying who could be carrying all the more difficult.”

Click here to read entire article.