Jul
21

Enjoy reading about Aikido? Who could ask for more than this?

Everyone can reap benefits by investing time reading about a topic they love. Our focus is the serious practitioner, the aikido instructor, those who value the heritage of the art. One of the best tools we have to reach our valued readers with this information is our special two-year subscription offer. The material you receive at no extra cost will provide you with a virtually inexhaustible source of material.

Look at what your two-year subscription or renewal gets you:

  • Aikido Pioneers – Prewar Era – FREE OF CHARGE!
  • Aiki News / Aikido Journal back-issue DVD
  • More than 4,300 pages of Aiki News / Aikido Journal magazine from 1974-2000
  • Access to more than 800 archived articles
  • Access to over 100 rare video clips
  • Encyclopedia of Aikido reference book from 1991 in PDF form
  • Special bonus! 4-hour lecture on Aikido history by Aikido Journal Editor Stanley Pranin

Click here to find out more!

Jul
21

“Ego and Conflict,” by Juan M. Ponce Jr.

“People with a healthy mind have a clear understanding of what is right and wrong.”

Conflict is an inevitable and unavoidable aspect of human behavior. Pride can be blamed for the vast majority of these conflicts. Being an individual involved in the martial arts world for the better part of a decade, I have seen not only the most obvious and visible example of conflict in the form of sparring and competition, but the rarely seen conflict within groups and organizations in the form of differences in administrative decisions and technical applications of their art. What drives this mentality to believe a person, group, or even so far as a nation, is superior to anyone and everyone else? Why is the urge to prove this superiority so strong and prevalent in the martial arts world?

Ego and Freud

The reason comes down to one singular culprit. The answer is ego, more accurately, how the ego fails to meet certain needs of the human psyche. An overview of Freud’s Structural Model of Personality is necessary to better understand the ego’s involvement, or lack thereof, in creating conflict. Freud’s model explains the different roles that the Id, Ego, and Superego play in how we interact with the world around us.

The id is crucial to our survival, more specifically during our infancy, and is oblivious and indifferent to the reality of the current situation being experienced. The most common example given is that of an infant feeling hungry. Having the urge to satisfy its hunger, the infant will cry until its needs are met and will not care whether the parent is sleeping or otherwise preoccupied. The id is solely interested in doing whatever will give it pleasure at that moment.
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Jul
21

“Aikido’s Context,” from Aikidostudent.com

“Aikido is a martial art. Nothing revolutionary about that statement. But what kind of martial art is Aikido? There are many different types of martial arts. Martial art systems designed to be used in many different contexts. So what is the proper context for Aikido?

There are many kinds of martial arts. Systems designed to do all manner of things martial. Some systems are designed around weapons, some around environment, some based on stealth, and some for sport. The world of the martial art is deep and rich with diversity. However most of us pigeon hole the martial arts into one small category: unarmed one-on-one combat. When you say the word ‘martial art’, most people will immediately think of: Karate, Tae Kwon Do, MMA, or Kickboxing. This is what most of us limit our concept of a martial art system to. However this is only the tip of the iceberg.”

Click here to read entire article.

Jul
20

Koichi Tohei Sensei’s technical curriculum from the 1960s

“Early foreign practitioners of the art in the Aikikai system relied heavily on this book to guide their training and preparation for testing as they progressed in aikido. This book has long been out of print. Nonetheless, it is a valuable historical document that reflects the state of aikido at this important juncture of the art’s history.”

We have prepared a reference section based on the 1960 book of Koichi Tohei Sensei titled Aikido: The Arts of Self-Defense in which the main points of the early technical system of this great master are presented. This book is now extremely rare and has been out of print for years.

Click here to view reference materials from Koichi Tohei Sensei’s early book

Click here for information on Koichi Tohei Sensei’s new DVD, Koichi Tohei: Aikido with Ki.

Check out our new adjunct website “Koichi Tohei Resources” dedicated to this great Aikido master.

Jul
20

“A Curious Observation (at least to me),” by Bob Patterson

“Since kung fu ended I have started gaining weight. My fear is I’ll end up like Ninja Matt so I had to reassess my at-home workouts.

For a few months now I’ve been walking but I have to be honest: it sucks. My main complaint is that walking takes too damn long to burn the same amount of calories as running once did! Since I don’t have to worry about those killer kung fu workouts anymore I thought I’d give running another try.”

Click here to read entire article.

Jul
20

“Aikido on stage in tails,” by Djong Victorin Yu

Last Friday, June 25, 2010, I gave a small demonstration on stage not only as a martial artist but as an artist. I am a conductor, and the theme of the concert program was “War and Peace” to commemorate the beginning of the Korean War exactly 60 years ago to that day. The composition I conducted was “Ein Heldenleben” by Richard Strauss which is about a hero, his adversaries, his companion, war against his enemies, victory, reflection on his life, and death.

As I always do in my concerts here in Pohang, Korea, I was giving a short lecture about Strauss before the music began. Just as I asked a rhetorical question how a war starts (either by instigating it or being attacked), I had an aikido friend sneak up on stage. To the audience as well as the orchestra members on stage, it looked as if we were having an argument right on stage which developed into a scuffle, and I did a kokyunage which made her (a sturdily-built Austrian girl) fly across the stage and land on the wooden floor with a loud thud. No mats there! She played dead for a short while. As I explained to the audience that I would take care of this matter with the mike held in my left hand, I approached her. She then suddenly grabbed me again, and I threw her off one more time.
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Jul
19

“Disc Golfers and Dog Walkers, part 2,” by Mary Stein

“The parking lot at the amphitheater in John McLaren Park was filling up with people and dogs when Ashford and I arrived last Saturday—100 or 125 people, and 50 or 60 dogs that ranged dramatically in size, from ponyesque to mini-poodle. The dogs were running around and doing a lot of barking while their persons waited for the tour of the proposed disc golf course to begin. Ashford stayed on leash, cautiously socializing.”

Click here to read entire article.

Jul
19

Recommended reading: “Interview with Swordmaster: Kiyoshi Nakakura (2)” by Stanley Pranin

The interview below with the adopted son of Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba 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.

The art was called “Daito-ryu” because of the connection with Sokaku Takeda. Then a few years later it was changed to Aikido. It seems that while I was there, various names were used for the art. For example, “Aioi-ryu” or “Aiki Budo” and so on. I think that the name “Aikido” was used quite a bit later. The dojo was built before I enrolled but its name was changed to the Kobukan while I was there, probably around 1932 or 1933.

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Jul
18

“Inside the Los Angeles Aikikai when Koichi Tohei came to town,” by Stanley Pranin

I’d like to take you back to the Los Angeles Aikikai in 1965, to the month of August, to be exact. There was an air of excitement because Koichi Tohei Sensei–then Chief Instructor of the Aikikai Hombu Dojo–was soon scheduled to arrive in town. The dojo was bustling with activity and a large number of students were preparing themselves for kyu and dan tests in front of this great master.

I was scheduled to take my shodan test along with a number of fellow students, not only from the LA dojo, but from all over the region including quite a few from out of state. There was a palpable feeling of anticipation since many, including myself, were seeing Tohei Sensei for the first time.

Read the entire blog at our new site “Koichi Tohei Resources.”

Jul
18

Brian Kagen pick: “Offsets,” by The Thoughtful Sensei

“Aikido is a pretty funny creature since it tends to “become” the person. Old style (really old style koryu) systems tended to mold the student into the ryu due to the very rigid method of knowledge transmission. This is not the pattern today (for the most part) as there are time (a century or two) and cultural (Old Japan become secular Western Society) considerations that come into play and a lot of that no longer fits the need nor the moment.”

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
18

“Basic Martial Art Training,” by Markos Markou

“Basic training is seen by some as boring and by others as the life and soul of ones fighting technique. We all start off learning techniques which do not require much training, much strength, much flexibility or other physical attributes. Some however, quickly want to be taught techniques which they see in MMA, or in movies, thinking that basic training is for amateurs. Is there more to basic training though? Is it really just a compilation of easy to learn techniques, or something else?”

Click here to read entire article.

Jul
17

Recommended reading: “A Common Sense Look At Aikido” by Yoshio Kuroiwa

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.

As long as we persist in viewing kata superficially, we will begin to think that they are of special importance. One cannot systematically or rationally explain any kata merely by learning in a repetitive manner without an understanding of why certain kata are considered to be basic. What we acquire by learning only repetitively is the preservation of form (the transmission of external form) and not the ability to create (understanding of the essence of kata). In other words, one does not understand what he is doing.

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