“I spend a lot of my time on thinking who I am, why I am, what is my purpose in this world, why I do things the way I do them. Depending on what my actual thoughts are my aikido trainings are also different. If I’m in a good mood then training goes with ease, if I’m having some negative thoughts then training is more like struggling. A couple of weeks ago I have read an interesting blog post about a way of thinking that many people follow, and how to change a not-so-fruitful pattern of thinking.”
Click here to read entire article.
Who am I, and Why am I Here?
My name is Anna, 30 this year. I am German and work as a writer and translator in Japan. I have been training aikido for 5 years and am currently a first kyu. I have kindly been asked by Shimamoto Shihan to accompany him on this trip. My main role is to lend him my language skills and enable him to communicate more fluently here in English speaking Canada. I am more than glad to do so. I have been training with Shimamoto Shihan for about 3 1/2 years now, and his teachings, which encompass the philosophies and physical components of both Zen and aikido (he lives between his Zen temple and his aikido dojo, working both as a priest and a teacher) have changed my life.
Why? I have been brought up without religion, and, often suffering from the frightening vastness of complete freedom in decision making, have long been in search of a system of values I could wholeheartedly agree with. I have never found anything that rang truer than anything else in all the religions and ideologies I have encountered. Or I could agree only with parts. Of course I have flexibly borrowed from many systems, and formulated the odd rule for myself, based on experience.
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.
Non-aikidoka are often confused when I talk about kata in aikido — “You mean like what they do in karate?” Even most aikidoka are aware of kata only as a term referring to form as opposed to application, or in reference to Saito Sensei’s solo or paired weapons training sequences. Morihei Ueshiba apparently did not approve of the kata training method, believing that “static” prearrangement of techniques interfered with the direct, spontaneous transmission of techniques from the gods. Thus, in most styles of aikido, kata as a set of prearranged techniques is not used as the primary training method. Kenji Tomiki, like his master Jigoro Kano before him, felt that kata was a valuable teaching tool and incorporated it into his system. Today, most Tomiki practitioners could tell you that a kata is a set of techniques practiced with a partner for teaching the basic principles of various aspects of Tomiki aikido.
It once could validly be said that “form follows function”. The obvious, the visible and the apparent express essentially all that is meaningful about an activity, item or other tangible. Worship has form, based on specifically spiritual purposes; devices have a shape and composition conducive to certain desired outcomes; physiology of man and animal are geared toward survivability in a specific range of environments. Buckminster Fuller has pointed out that we have now entered an age of the invisible, in which perhaps 99% of all that is critical to human advancement is invisible to the un-instrumented or non-intuitive human senses. Electricity, gravity, metallurgical and chemical characteristics and the wave-particles by which communication is extended are all essentially invisible to us, and yet affect us increasingly, for better or worse.(137)
Acculturation to only one thing cripples you to other possibilities. Change is painful but the pain of change is the best friend a conscious being can have.
Parochialism, like cancer, is its own worst enemy and the cause of its demise. It kills its host in the loss of context.
Nothing in existence stands still or can be separated from everything else without becoming toxic to itself in the starvation from the participation of completeness, the essence of the universe that pervades all.
Some examples of human failure and interference in the natural order, such as mono cropping farming has been shown to attract pests and diseases. Ignorance only adds toxins to compound exponential more problems, in a “war against” something that does not exist but was manufactured by great efforts of ignorance.
“Every since Hollywood discovered the martial arts as a medium for attracting viewers, audiences for TV programs and movies have been entertained with all sorts of fanciful plots which involve the here gaining admittance into a secret school of fighting arts, a task at which he succeeds only after enduring some sort of tests of his commitment and resolve. ”
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.
One of the least known of the major Japanese aikido teachers who was highly regarded by Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba is Kanshu Sunadomari Sensei of Kumamoto, Kyushu. He is a devout believer in the Omoto religion and has a large aikido organization centered in Kyushu. Sunadomari Sensei elicited an enthusiastic response for his performance in the 1st Aikido Friendship Demonstration held in 1985 in Tokyo.
Available in our film archives is a fascinating video clip of all of the six instructors–Yasuo Kobayashi, Mitsugi Saotome, Kanshu Sundadomari, Yoshio Kuroiwa, Shoji Nishio and Morihiro Saito–from that demonstration that will give you an idea of Sunadomari Sensei’s movements and techniques.
In addition, please have a look at this Interview with Kanshu Sunadomari.
Top NZ Aikido instructor David Lynch spent more than 20 years in Japan studying several of the major styles of the art. He later retired to his native New Zealand with his wife Hisae where he has constructed one of the most architecturally-unique dojos in the world.
Asia Downunder is all about Asia and Asians in New Zealand. ADU tackles topical and even controversial stories affecting Asian Kiwis. We feature stories as diverse as art, business, sport, music, fashion, youth, culture, refugees, food and many more.
When I spent the summer in Japan in 1969, the late Terry Dobson was the senior foreign student at the Aikikai Hombu Dojo. I can remember a group of gaijin (foreigners) who would sometimes gather to chat after class at the Kojimaya coffee shop near the dojo. This was the favored haunt of virtually anyone who regularly attended the Hombu Dojo given its proximity. On any particular day, you were likely to encounter several of the best-known shihan of the aikido world sitting in tables around the little shop just a few feet away.
Terry would delight us with all sorts of stories about the famous teachers then at the Aikikai. He had lived among the uchideshi at the Hombu Dojo for a couple of years in the early 1960s and was privileged to know the inside scoop on many fascinating subjects. Some of Terry’s tales were of events that he had witnessed first-hand, while others were the stuff of rumors. It didn’t matter which was which, the gaijin who had made the trek to the Mecca of aikido from all parts of the world hung on his every word.