May
17

“The movement of waves,” by Sean Ashby

“I’ve been thinking a lot about the overall movement of tori in aikido. For as long as I can remember, I was always taught to keep my movement and actions (as they apply to uke) horizontal, parallel to the mat. The reason being, as I understand it (which may be wrong) had to do with kuzushi and off balance.”

Click here to read entire article.

May
17

Recommended reading: “Interview with Bansen Tanaka” 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.

O-Sensei came to a police office in Osaka in October 1951 when it started to become cold. He often gave courses at the Sonezaki Police Office in the city. The chief of the headquarters at that time was the late Mr. Kenji Tomita who was the former managing director of the aikikai. It was in this connection that O-Sensei came to Osaka after the war. He contacted the police over the phone and requested that “the man named Tanaka who lived in Suita in the old days” be called over. Since the police are experts in this type of matter they immediately came to me and I rushed over to see O-Sensei.

[Read more...]

May
16

Brian Kagen pick: “What is a ‘martial arts master’?”

“Put the two meanings together, and you can see where we get the romanticized, Yoda-like concept of a Master: someone whose skill and understanding are so great, and wisdom so deep, he (or she) is worthy of being followed and emulated like a guru. We have to mention wisdom and understanding here, because they are what raise the concept above plain technical skill. That’s important to us traditional martial artists, because we like to believe we are pursuing something greater—polishing our character.”

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
16

Recommended reading: “Remembering O-Sensei” by Fukiko Sunadomari

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.

When Kanemoto Sunadomari began work on his biography of Morihei Ueshiba he enlisted the help of his younger sister, Fukiko, in interviewing the many people whose lives had been touched by the Master. In this interview she joins Shigeo Sakurai, who was acquainted with O-Sensei during his days at Ayabe and Hidetaro Nishimura, a talented judoka who became one of O-Sensei’s uchideshi.

[Read more...]

May
16

“Melting into the Mat,” by Mary Stein

“I’ve taken thousands of backfalls onto the mat in all these years of aikido practice: going down the length of the spine, then bouncing back up, ready for the next technique. This morning at practice I experienced the backfall in a new way.”

Click here to read entire article.

May
15

Work in progress: “Koichi Tohei: A Retrospective”

We are well along in our latest DVD project, tentatively titled “Koichi Tohei: A Retrospective” which will contain a wealth of important historical footage of Tohei Sensei spanning the early 1950s through the mid-1970s. The immediate task at hand is the preparation of the documentary section which will cover Tohei Sensei’s early years in aikido up through his departure from the Aikikai Hombu Dojo in 1974. Below you will find an excerpt from the narration text for that portion of the documentary:

In May, 1974, an event occurred that shook the roots of the aikido world to its very foundations. It was then that Koichi Tohei, the chief instructor of the Aikikai Hombu Dojo, resigned from his post and left the headquarters organization to form his own school. Many aikido associations, dojos, instructors, and students, particularly in Japan and the U.S.A., were compelled to make a choice of whether to stay within the Aikikai system or join Tohei’s newly-created Shin Shin Toitsu Aikido organization. The impact on those who remained within the Aikikai organization was nonetheless traumatic because they saw the illusion of harmony at the highest level of leadership in the aikido world shattered. Regardless of where one stood on the issue, aikido at large had suffered a huge black eye.

From the viewpoint of the Aikikai, Tohei’s actions and attempt to dictate the technical curriculum and teaching methodology were unacceptable. In Tohei’s eyes, the aikido headquarters had snubbed his leadership and failed to sufficiently acknowledge his many accomplishments and contributions to the postwar spread of aikido, both in Japan and abroad. The contentious issue was further complicated by a web of long-standing personal relationships that had turned sour.

The upshot of this tragic situation was that in the aftermath of Tohei’s departure, neither he nor the Aikikai has wished to revisit this sad episode and the issue has been effectively swept under the rug for more than 35 years.

Who is Koichi Tohei and why is he so important to an understanding of the development of aikido? Should he be unceremoniously deleted from aikido history due to past grievances or should he be given due credit for his role in the shaping of the modern art of aikido?

For further information, you may want to read the following background articles on Koichi Tohei Sensei:

Koichi Tohei: Ongaeshi – Repayment of Kindness

Is O-Sensei Really the Father of Modern Aikido?

Watch this section for further updates on our progress.

May
15

Brian Kagen pick: “Victory in the Pacific”

“In this provocative, thorough examination of the final months of the war, American Experience looks at the escalation of bloodletting from the vantage points of both the Japanese and the Americans. Despite warnings that his country, brought to its knees by the conflict, might erupt in a Communist revolution, Emperor Hirohito believed that one last decisive battle could reverse Japan’s fortunes. From the U.S. capture of the Mariana Islands through the firebombing of Tokyo and the dropping of the atomic bomb, Victory in the Pacific chronicles the dreadful and unprecedented loss of life and the decisions made by leaders on both sides that finally ended the war.”

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 view documentary video.

May
14

“Basking In Reflected Glory,” by Nev Sagiba

The “good old days” were not. There was simply less media and communication, so evil mostly went unnoticed. Except for the recipients and victims. That’s why despots like to control communications. Although ignorant people liked to imagine mythical stories to help them stay in denial of, for example, disappeared loved ones, reality was as harsh then as it is now.

Reflected glory an illusion. Whilst the struggles of human beings against odds can be spiritually heroic personal battles, there is not one life which in some way has not experienced inner battles and conflicts to reconcile with external challenges.

When a grown man dons the garb of a long gone era such as a hakama, a split skirt, and does not know how to ride a horse, then practices a fake re-enactment vaguely resembling real and deadly fighting, something has to be said about that man’s sanity.
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May
14

III. “The hero on the Path of Personal Spirituality,” by Charles A. McCarty

A. The Nature of the Spiritual Path

There is a popular “mythology” (in that term’s usual usage) about spiritual mastery. The mystic or spiritual master is often visualized as an aged recluse, sequestered in a mountain cave. His earthly goals include the conquering of the body and of all physically limiting circumstances, the setting aside of possessions and of physical desires and the achievement of a state of bliss, nirvana or heaven on earth. Ultimately, at physical death and release from the grinding wheel of life, the master enjoys the fruits of his labor in a setting envisioned, both in Eastern and Western tradition, as a lush garden in which all comforts and desires are attended to.(8)
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May
14

Nishio Shoji 8th Dan Aikikai

(1927-15 Mar 2005). 8th dan Aikikai. Aikikai Shihan. Began practice at the AIKIKAI HOMBU DOJO at the end of 1951 and became a shihan c. 1955. Also an advanced practitioner of judo, karate, iaido and jojutsu, elements of which are incorporated into his aikido. He taught for more than five decades in the Tokyo-Yokohama area. His overseas travels took him to Scandanavia, the U. S. and France. Nishio participated in the 1985 FRIENDSHIP DEMONSTRATION

If you enjoyed the video here are several products that we think you will love. Learn his incredible style with these DVDs and his book as your guide.

1. Nishio Aikido, Vols. 1 & 2

2. Nishio Aikido, Vols. 3 & 4

3. Nishio Aikido, Vols. 5 & 6

4. Nishio Aikido, Vols. 7 – 9

5. Aikido: Yurusu Budo

Buy and Save!

May
13

“More baseball & aikido, Oh and Osensei,” by Jack Wada

“Sometimes a book becomes a real friend. You wind up taking it with you to lunch or late dinner, and while you eat you browse, search, and immerse. Such a book for me recently is ‘A Zen Way of Baseball’ by Sadaharu Oh. As has been mentioned in a previous blog, Oh holds the absolute record for career home runs with 868, topping Aaron, Bonds, and Ruth. The book is currently out of print, but was purchased for me online by Seth Spitzer.”

Click here to read entire article.

May
13

“Moment by Moment: The Healing Journey of Molly Hale” wins award

www.cultureunplugged.com has chosen “Moment by Moment: The Healing Journey of Molly Hale” as their feature film for their Film Festival: Spirit Enlightened beginning May 13 through May 17. The documentary has won their “Film-Maker’s choice Award for Best Art”. Please share this with as many of your contacts as you are comfortable throughout the world. This has far-reaching potential for exposing the works of filmmaker Dorothy Fadiman and supporting the vision of Jeramy and I.

Jeramy and I working on exciting new projects which we will be sharing with you soon.

There is a video trailer on youtube for Moment by Moment: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rr-KunjNnaE

Molly Hale was a participant in the Aiki Expo events sponsored by Aikido Journal.