May
21

IV. “The Biography of Uyeshiba,” by Charles A. McCarty

Out of the turmoil of a culture in which expressions of violence had been institutionalized, formalized and even spiritualized, and from the frustrations of a tragic world war a Japanese man, Morhihei Uyeshiba, has brought to the world a message of pure and unconditional love. Paradoxically this message is couched in the terminology and activity of the very martial arts from which previously sprang much misery.

Born into the turbulent era of the Meiji Restoration, when modernization was thrust forcibly onto a nation long frozen in feudal lifestyles, Uyeshiba was exposed early to diverse spiritual influences. It was to be some years before these contacts were to result in the maturation of the spiritual form which Uyeshiba offered to the world community after the tragedy of the Pacific War. Long before he developed his spiritual mastery, however, he was acknowledged as one of Japan’s greatest martial artists, a master of weapons and unarmed combat. This background was to direct and mold the unique character of his personal spirituality.
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May
21

“There Will Be Atemi,” by Nev Sagiba

Make no mistake: There will be atemi, dageki, atari…, call them what you will: there are many nuances of striking well worth studying and practicing.

Tatakai or sentou, are terms used to define battle, fight, conflict, struggle and implicit is the concept of clashing or striking.

The aim of crude striking is to effect kirikuzusu (nota bene) or a break of some kind, including that of balance. Strikes alone do not usually succeed in this. Not at first. That’s why repeated blows are usually followed up. Mostly the only break, in the untrained, is in concentration. But that can be enough.

Receiving atemi focuses the properly practised. A moving target, one who knows how to move reduces the effectiveness of atemi. The sting brings to mind present time focus.
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May
20

This Week’s Special Offer: “Founder of Aikido”

We as aikidoka have benefited from Morihei’s foundational work through our own teachers who were his students, and his student’s students. We are three, four, or even five generations removed from the Founder.

Consider the following: where should we go for inspiration and to discover the root principles that underlie aikido? Is it farfetched to suggest that the art’s Founder is a good place to start?

Click here for more information and to purchase the “Founder of Aikido” DVD

May
20

“The Realm of Extensional Awareness,” by Noah

“When you practice with weapons in traditional martial arts, you learn to use those weapons as extensions of your body. This will, over time, develop what I like to call ‘extensional awareness’ of what those weapons are doing. Most people start learning weapons with the bo, which is essentially a long stick. After that, people often move to sai, which are essentially shorter sticks. Other weapons that people may move on to learn include katana, eku, yari, and nunchaku. Again, all sticks–granted, nunchaku bend in the middle, but when they are swung, tension makes them a stick. Think about what this does to your extensional awareness in terms of geometry, for a moment–they are generally cylindrical.”

Click here to read entire article.

May
20

Recommended reading: “Jigoro Kano Autobiography (7)”

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 heard about a huge giant of a boy who was about 15 or 16 years old. It was said that he could eat one sho meshi, or 1.8 liters [1.6 quarts] of rice, at one time for lunch when he went fish- ing or on some other outing. So I immediately sent for him to come to my lodging and met him. He was really large. Then I met his parents and negotiated with them. With their approval, I brought the boy to Tokyo as my live-in student. But when he began his judo training, I found that he did not have any talent for judo, and what was worse, he was timid. He was always crying, wanting to go home. It may have been to a certain extent due to his youth, but I could have no expectations for his future, so I finally let him go home..

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May
20

Brian Kagen pick: “Battered Briton survives aikido ordeal,” by Damien Okado Gough

“Yoshinkan (meaning “hall for cultivating the spirit”) is a style of aikido founded by Gozo Shioda after World War II. Made famous by the controversial book “Angry White Pyjamas” by Robert Twigger, the Senshusei Aikido training course was initially started at the dojo in 1957 to train members of the Tokyo riot police. In 1991 the 11-month program opened its doors to applicants outside the police force, and since then the course has attracted recruits from all over world.”

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.

May
19

“Aikijujutsu vs. Aikido: The Transition From Deadly Combat to Gentle Self-Defense,” by Gail E. Nelson” from blackbelt.com

“The drunk, upon seeing the officers, cursed them but really didn’t feel like fighting. A simple hold was all that was required to subdue him. The prostitute wanted to get away more than anything else, and taking her into custody was no problem. The lumberjack, however, was an entirely different situation. Besides being a skillful street fighter, he possessed the willingness to fight. This made him a very dangerous individual.”

Click here to read entire article.

May
19

“Fighting Distance and Peripheral Vision,” by Bob Blackburn

“In response to Kevin Leavitt’s Fighting Distance article, I would like to take a look at the use of peripheral vision as part of your preparation or methodology. It is often said to look into the eyes of your opponent. The eyes are telling; but, it should be a relaxed gaze and not a focused stare. Your peripheral vision is much more sensitive to motion the focused/tunnel vision.”

Click here to read entire article.

May
19

Recommended reading: “Great Martial Arts Books” by Meik Skoss

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 think Groucho Marx was the one who said it: “Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog it’s too dark to read.” This column is a short list of the books on the different martial arts and related subjects that have helped me in my own studies, and that I would like to recommend to you. Several are very well known, maybe even classics. Some may be obscure to people who haven’t read much about martial culture or military history. A few may even be a little far afield of the “usual” list of likely suspects in a martial arts rag and are examples of my personal taste. Still, I can honestly say that I think these books have been useful, thought-provoking, and good friends. Dunno if they’ll give you all the answers you ever wanted, but I’ll bet they will help you ask a few of the right questions.

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May
18

Recommended reading: “Hideo Ohba Biography (1)” by Fumiaki Shishida

The article below written by Waseda University, Fumiaki Shishida, 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.

At that time Hideo decided to go to Tokyo to train at the Kodokan, and he would stay at his sister’s in Tokyo while he was there. The next year, 1931, he was promoted to nidan. In that same year, Kenji Tomiki, who was to become Hideo’s sensei for the rest of his life, took a job teaching public affairs at Kakunodate Middle School, and from that time Hideo enjoyed learning from him and was greatly influenced by him.

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May
18

“Fighting Success: Fighting Distance and Developing your Fight Strategy,” by Kevin Leavitt

“The biggest determining factor in a close fight is space or distance between you and your opponent or opponents. Seems obvious really if you think about it. Either you can touch someone or you can’t! If you cannot effectively touch them or if they cannot touch you, then there really is no fight! Lets talk about distance and how it affects the fight.”

Click here to read entire article.

May
18

Does your dojo appear in the Aikido Journal World Directory?

We continue to get an excellent response to our World Aikido Dojo Directory and now have over 3,500 listings. Please check the listing under Find a Dojo on the right menu under the “Search for dojo” to see if your dojo has been included. Entering your “city” information is often a quick way to check.

If your dojo is not listed, please enter your data and mention to your teacher the free service that will serve as a wordwide “yellow page” entry for your dojo. Remember this is not just a simple listing of your address details; you can also include a photograph of your dojo or instructor and write a detailed description of your schedule, mission statement, or whatever you like.

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