Jun
25

Brian Kagen pick: “Martial Arts Pirates”

“Of equal importance is the fact that in oriental cultures the relationship between a student and a teacher is radically different than it is here in the West. Although this relationship can span decades, very seldom is it fundamentally economic in nature. That has a serious effect on what is taught and how it is taught in those circumstance. Recognizing the natures of these different ways of teaching is critical to understanding the problems that are discussed on this page.”

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.

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Jun
25

IX. “The State of Aikido,” by Charles A. McCarty

The traditional martial arts, from which has developed the modern art of Aikido, are the product of an hierarchical society, and reflect this hierarchy within their stratification by rank and by the relationships aikidoists have with their instructors. Critics of Aikido have alleged that what appeared to be remarkable feats by the aged master of Aikido downing slews of young and strong attackers is more reflective of the respect they have for him than of his actual level of power. Not only are his attackers in classes and demonstrations usually (though not always) his students and therefore in awe of him, they are generally Japanese culturally steeped in the display of respect for elders. Illustrative of this, an American who trained under Uyeshiba told me this anecdote.
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Jun
24

“Training Outdoors,” by Gregor Erdmann

“Training day after day on a flat surface such as the mats of your dojo, can leave you with some bad habits. The chance that you will be attacked on a smooth flat surface is next to zero. So when your instincts kick in you will be probably be learning for the first time what it is like to defend yourself on an uneven surface.”

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Jun
24

Recommended reading: “Interview with Hideo Ohba Biography (2)” by Fumiaki Shishida

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.

Beginning in 1943, defeat in the war was gradually becoming a certainty and ominous clouds began to gather over Japan. However, at least Shinkyo (Hsin-ching, present-day Ch’ang-ch’un) in Manchuria was still a paradise. In those days, Kenji Tomiki held a morning practice in a large dojo at the Shimbuden. It is said that this practice was always held despite severe cold weather. At that time, Ohba’s house was located about a half an hour’s walk past the Shimbuden from Tomiki’s house. They would begin their practice at about five thirty a.m. and afterward would go back to Tomiki’s house at about eight to eat the breakfast Tomiki’s wife, Fusae, prepared for them. Then, they would walk together again to Kenkoku University where they both worked.

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Jun
23

Recommended reading: “Morihei Ueshiba and Minoru Mochizuki” 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.

Mochizuki relates an amusing story of how he came to the attention of the famous Kyuzo Mifune Sensei while attending “kangeiko” (winter training). It seems that that he was living in Tsurumi at that time and in order to attend the early morning keiko had to set out at 12 midnight. One morning outside the Kodokan, failing to find the bucket he was accustomed to using to wipe off the sweat worked up during the vigorous all-night walk, he jumped into a well breaking the ice which had formed on the surface. When young Mochizuki started to emerge from the well, an unknown hand began pulling him out. It was none other than Mifune Sensei who was peering at the drenched boy incredulously. “What are you doing splashing yourself with cold water? You fool, you’ll ruin your health that way.” Mifune ordered him to stay at his house that evening. He continued to stay on at Mifune’s house thereafter as an uchideshi and learned first-hand the importance of being at the side of one’s master on a 24-hour basis.

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Jun
23

Tel Aviv, Israel: Integral Dojo Uchi Deshi Program

“The Integral Dojo is now offering a full time Uchi Deshi program in Tel Aviv. This is a unique opportunity to experience an Uchi Deshi life-style in an “Integral Practice Community” directed by Miles Kessler Sensei, a dual lineage holder in the Iwama tradition of aikido, and the Mahasi tradition of Buddhist meditation. ‘Uchi Deshi’ (“inside student”, or “live-in student”) is one who decides to make a greater commitment to aikido and related practices in a full time, total immersion environment…. A typical week’s schedule involves about 27 hours of classes in aikido and related practices, as well as a weekly private interview with the guiding teachers.”

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Jun
22

Recommended reading: “Interview with Yasuo Kobayashi (1)” 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.

One time when I was called to go up to Iwama I really goofed up. It was a cold day and I was told to heat up the bath. Since I was born in Tokyo I didn’t know very well how to heat a bath with firewood. Anyway, I did my best. I drew water from the well. When I thought the bath was ready I asked O-Sensei to enter. He came to the bath and shouted, “Hey, are you trying to kill me?” I didn’t understand why I was scolded since I had done my best to heat the bath. Then I went to see the bath and found it boiling. (Laughter) I didn’t feel the water was hot when I checked the temperature because my hand was icy cold. Well, since I had to pour some cold water in the bath immediately, I went back and forth between the bath and the well, which were far apart, while O-Sensei waited naked and shaking. I was severely scolded. (Laughter)

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Jun
22

“Martial arts movement and dance,” by Christopher Littlefair

“Whilst watching a video recently I was prompted to revisit a theme I’ve pondered on in the past: the relationship between dance and martial arts.

Funakoshi said about karate, ‘No matter how much time you devote to practice, no matter how many months and years pass, if your practice consists of no more than moving your arms and legs, you might as well be studying a dance. You will never come to know the true meaning karate’. He was effectively saying that karate had an additional motive to simple body movement and that is application within conflict.”

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Jun
21

Brian Kagen pick: “Keppan – The Blood Oath: Part 2,” by Dave Lowry

“In some ryu (traditions of martial arts teaching) this oath was a written one and the prospective member was required to sign his name in his own blood. This is the meaning of the word keppan: a blood oath. He pricked his finger or sometimes his inner arm and with the blood drawn, signed the pledge. The pledge itself is referred to as a kisho or a kishomon. The particulars of these oaths varied from ryu to ryu. Often they were secret, their exact contents a part of the vow itself. One, dating from the early 18th century, which has been published many times, though, is probably typical. The kishomon of the Shibukawa ryu of jujutsu reads: ‘Now that I will receive your training, I swear that without your permission. I will not demonstrate nor instruct, not even the most minor detail to anyone, not even to my own family. Should I behave in a way as to break this pledge, I am resolved to face the punishments of all the gods of the country, and to receive the anger of the great martial deity Hachiman.’”

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.

Jun
21

“Help Each Other!,” by David Shevitz

“At nearly every camp or seminar I have attended, Sensei says these words to us just before calling us to practice a given technique. I’ve heard the words before, but never really stopped to consider if my interpretation of them was correct. After all, I’m supposed to be studying a martial art. It wouldn’t be unreasonable to define helping my partner as attacking with as much focus and intent as possible, to ensure that they really are doing the technique and not just going through the motions. To put it another way: it was always my impression that the best way to help my partner was to attack as realistically as possible.”

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Jun
20

“Time to Learn Something from the Kids,” by Dave Goldberg

“In our older kids’ class (8-13) it’s not uncommon for some after-school slack, slop, and goofiness to occasionally visit some of the children during training (imagine that). I have discovered a great line that works almost every time. It goes like this… ‘That failed to express your greatness.’”

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Jun
20

Recommended reading: “Angular Attack Theory: An Aikido Perspective” by Todd Jones

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.

Angular attack theory is a conceptual framework that is taught in many martial traditions in one form or another. A fundamental comprehension of attack theory is essential to successfully effectuating defensive strategy and tactics. Ignorance of the construction, tactics, and strategy of attacking guarantees defeat. That said it is a difficult task to convey these concepts in writing, but here goes…

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