Jul
31

“Instructing vs. Teaching – more thoughts,” by Francis Takahashi

“Feel free to ‘steal’ all you can, from wherever and whomever you can. After all,
taking a few things, probably is theft. Taking a lot of things, is really research.”

I have found learning, as well as instructing, to be habits cultivated by committed and prolonged repetition of the fundamentals of your chosen craft, science or philosophy. It has to be your own choice.

The stronger and more internalized the habits, the more resonance you will produce when sharing. The purpose of living, is that it must always be about your own life’s choices. Ask not of others what interests you, inspires you, or even defines you. There is no more qualified person to help you every day than the person in the mirror,

He knows, and has always known.

When I referred to “studying the art and science of teaching”, I did not allude to an independent course of study to do just that. Rather, by committing to the areas you truly will devote yourself to, you will naturally encounter experiences, mentors and methods that you will recognize, almost on a cellular level. Seek within, if you really want to win. By seeking primarily outside yourself, you are likely to continue cultivating even more doubt, and reluctance to act.

Trust the Teacher within. All the rest are merely your assistant instructors, regardless of accomplishments or relationship to you.

There is no other advice I can give, other than to search your own sense of correctness regarding your mission in life, and trust the fundamentals that are there. Feel free to “steal” all you can, from wherever and whomever you can. After all, taking a few things, probably is theft. Taking a lot of things, is really research.

People tend to take you at your word, all other things being equal.

If you say that “you can”, they will try to assist you. If you say that you cannot, and will not try, then they will simply move on.

I hope you choose, and research, wisely.

Contact Aikido Academy USA

Jul
31

“Pure Movement, Aikido, and Big Brush Calligraphy,” by Gary Ohama

“The bushi used calligraphy as he did the other arts: as a method for simultaneously centering and balancing his mind and body. Any faltering, any self-consciousness will show up in his work.”

“On the highest levels the calligrapher moves in a world of pure form.”

Such finesse can also be displayed in Aikido Martial Art. The calligraphic beauty is observing the combined form of both the thrower and the receiver throughout the technique.

A perplexity is how to reach this level of performance; and/or this a state of being? The dilemma is that is most of this knowledge is received by a very privileged oral transmission. Often this is under the condition that this is for one’s own use and not taught, or even displayed to others. We know such things exist; but it is the “how” that remains elusive.
[Read more...]

Jul
30

Recommended reading: “Founder of Aikido (22): Founding the Ueshiba Private School” by Kisshomaru Ueshiba

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.

After moving to Ayabe in 1920, the founder was immediately made one of the close servants of Onisaburo. He took care of the Omoto Master and took part in meetings with high officials and other visitors. In response to this instant show of trust, the founder tried his hardest to pay back the Master for his kindness. Thus, the Master’s every action seemed something absolute for Morihei.

[Read more...]

Jul
30

“Mental Aikido: The Necessity of Unhappiness in the Ideal Life,” by Scott H. Young

“I believe happiness is important, and all else being equal, the happy life is better than the unhappy one.

But this doesn’t mean I believe the ideal life is free from unhappy moments. I have plenty of unhappy moments, and I think that’s okay, perhaps even necessary, to live well.

Some Unhappiness is a Necessary to Live Well”

Click here to read entire article.

Jul
29

“Regarding Kendo as Auxiliary training for Aikido,” by Nev Sagiba

Kendo sparring training provides an invaluable insight into metsuke, maai and deai, ki no musubi; and totally improves Aikido because it reveals insights into many attributes of combat that require speed and attrition to understand.

Some people have called Aikido the swordsman’s jujitsu as a result.

If you do decide to try kendo, be sure to begin slowly and softly and to escalate the intensity safely as you build up tolerances progressively. Otherwise, people won’t come back. The black and blue bruises are not as bad as they look and soon go away. Make sure to keep your elbows tucked in.

NEVER use tsuki in the beginning as it poses a very serious risk of grave injury and even death. (The shinai can shatter and penetrate the faceguard of the men with grave consequences) Use only proper shomenuchi and yokomenuchi cuts with men, kote and do frontal cuts as targets. (no wild sideswipes-they can be dangerous and leave you wide open to brutal counters)
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Jul
29

“The Wonder of Your Brain; Self Defense?,” by John W. Zimmer

“I was reminded on the incredible power of our brain recently as a window in my bathroom fell open. Before I had a chance to think, my body had jumped into a fighting stance as a surge of adrenaline shot through my body and a growl escaped my lips. It was kind of funny but as this was happening I already knew what the affront to my serenity was – the window. But like it or not, I was as ready as my body could possibly be for whatever the external environment might throw at me. This I attribute to my brain’s intervention with my normal thought processes.”

Click here to read entire article.

Jul
28

Nev Sagiba pick: “Stroke of insight: Jill Bolte Taylor on TED.com”

“Neuroanatomist Jill Bolte Taylor had an opportunity few brain scientists would wish for: One morning, she realized she was having a massive stroke. As it happened — as she felt her brain functions slip away one by one, speech, movement, understanding — she studied and remembered every moment. This is a powerful story of recovery and awareness — of how our brains define us and connect us to the world and to one another.”

Click here to view video.

Jul
28

“Get Uncomfortable,” by Michele

“I was fortunate to attend an excellent training seminar taught by Kyoshi Bill Hayes this past weekend. Major Hayes is the author of ‘My Journey With The Grandmaster’. I walked into the session with a notebook and pen. I took several pages of notes but it was not enough to capture the amount of information presented. I simply could not write fast enough.”

Click here to read entire article.

Jul
28

Recommended reading: “Interview with Systema Founder Mikhail Ryabko” 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.

I am a little bit surprised that people have never heard about Russian martial arts and that they are surprised to hear that they exist. Look at the huge territory Russia occupies. Someone had to protect this territory. In Russia there were always warriors who were known for their bravery. And if you look at the development of Russia in the olden times, cities were built by rivers and monasteries were the sources of the first settlements. There were no roads so people traveled by river in boats in summertime and in sleds in wintertime. All the infrastructure of the early settlements came from monasteries. They provided the livelihood for communities. All of the functions of life were centered in them.

[Read more...]

Jul
27

“Reconnecting with the masters of old,” by Stanley Pranin

New practitioners of aikido today have vastly more options than those of us who began decades ago. Aikido has grown enormously as an art and many fine teachers have emerged over the years. The march forward of technology has also provided an abundance of pedagogical materials that would have been unimaginable in the past.

But there is something that newcomers have missed. They have been denied the opportunity to study directly under many of the art’s top masters of the early postwar era. I refer to names such as Founder Morihei Ueshiba, Noriaki Inoue, Koichi Tohei, Morihiro Saito, Kisshomaru Ueshiba, Kenji Tomiki, Minoru Mochizuki, Gozo Shioda, Seigo Yamaguchi, Shoji Nishio, Kisaburo Osawa, and Rinjiro Shirata to mention many of the best known figures.

At Aikido Journal, we have taken upon ourselves to partially remedy this situation by documenting and disseminating the techniques and theories of these past masters. Today’s aikidoka may not have had a chance to learn directly from these masters, but they do have access to excellent study materials such as the many books and DVDs offered through this website.
[Read more...]

Jul
27

Brian Kagen pick: “John Sukumar Ratnam and his journey in Aikido,” by Russell C. Chitty

“When I met him again many years later he had been awarded the 4th Dan black belt by the Aikikai Foundation in Japan and was a fully fledged Aikido instructor based in Dubai where he is the Chief Instructor of the Dubai Aikido Club. He also teaches self defence to the Dubai Police and the cabin crew of a leading airline. As an instructor he regularly visits Aikikai-affiliated dojos in Cape Town, South Africa, Kuwait, Malaysia, Azerbaijan, and Switzerland.”

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.

Jul
27

“Mind Training for Martial Artists Part 1: Introduction,” by Neal Martin

“I believe that training the mind is just as important as training the body, for were the mind goes the body follows, something many of us forget in our pursuit of physical mastery. It is almost impossible to achieve our full potential as martial artists unless we acknowledge the fact that the mind plays a significant role in our over all development. It is the key to all growth and without it we are merely puppets on a string, all physical movement and lacking in the depth and understanding that’s absolutely necessary to take us to the higher levels of mastery.”

Click here to read entire article.