Aug
16

Brian Kagen pick: “Chin Kon Ki Shin: Shinto Elements in a Modern Warmup,” by Dan Penrod

“Chinkon-kishin has ancient roots that are referenced in the old Shinto texts such as the Kojiki. The shamanistic practice of mystical breathing and meditation of uniting the divine and human spirits was often used in old times in the preparation of waterfall misogi, an ascetic practice of standing under a freezing waterfall for long periods of time, in meditation, with the objective of cleansing the mind, body, and spirit. O Sensei often practiced this kind of misogi (spiritual cleansing), but to O Sensei, aikido was his daily misogi practice. For this reason the founder would prepare for the misogi of his aikido training by performing chinkon-kishin techniques in his warm-ups.”

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.

Aug
16

“Aikido is 100% atemi!,” by Patrick Parker

“A while back I mentioned the old aphorism that ‘atemi solves 80% of the problems in aikido,’ and I got a response from someone along the lines of, ‘What? Are you nuts? Do you really think that hitting people in the face will ever solve any problems in aikido?’ At the time I didn’t respond, but it’s funny how this sort of thing roils in my mind for a while until I decide that I really do want to respond.”

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Aug
15

Recommended reading: “Cultivating a Martial Spirit” 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.

Aikidoka sometimes see shortcomings in their art in comparison to other martial arts. Consequently, it is tempting to debate “what if” scenarios in discussing the effectiveness of aikido techniques. But are we really training to be able to defeat a championship karateka, a professional boxer, or an Olympic wrestler? How will channeling our energies toward such goals help us in our lives to prepare for the kinds of attacks we might be exposed to? There is no real way to rank the arts in some hierarchical order of efficacy because no objective standard can be devised to measure their relative merits. This mental exercise may provide good grist for bulletin board discussions, but the hypothetical nature of any matchup makes any conclusion purely speculative.

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Aug
15

“Martial Arts Addiction,” by Krista de Castella

“I’m frequently told that we should aim for moderation in all things but when I look to those exceptional people – the people I find truly inspiring – moderation isn’t exactly something they have in spades. To be honest, it’s never been my strong suit either (and maybe its something in the genes). But, I wonder if martial arts addiction (compulsive training, obsession with details etc) is by definition unhealthy?”

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Aug
14

“Aikido with Ki DVD with Koichi Tohei – Reviewed, by Jake McKee

Aikido with Ki makes this the first DVD of Koichi Tohei that is available to the public. Other videos of Tohei sensei were very hard to come by as they were not only very expensive, but also only in Japanese and only available to Ki Society members.

When I heard that Stan Pranin was putting together a DVD of Tohei I was very much looking forward to it. Well it just came out and it was worth the wait! The footage is all some 30 and 40 years old so this was all filmed while Tohei was still the chief instructor of the Aikikai.”

Click here to read entire review.

Aug
14

“Principles: Philosophy,” by Sensei Strange

“In the mid 1990s during a seminar a great teacher told he something that changed my relationship with the art. He said, ‘Aikido is the physical embodiment of a philosophy.’

I believe that you do not read a book, or have long discussions on ethics, Aikido philosophy will transmit simply through the act of practice. Unlike the practice of formal Zen which seeks to quiet the mind through the act of seated meditation, dynamic non-action, Aikido engages the mind and body in dynamic action. Each motion of it slowly working to reprogram the nervous system and the mind/body reaction to stimulus.”

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Aug
14

Recommended reading: “An Aikido Life (15)” by Gozo Shioda

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.

Since that event, I taught them aikido every day, and I spent more time teaching aikido than working for my company. However, I think the fact that I was teaching aikido was contributing greatly to my company, and also in a broader sense both materially and immaterially to my country.

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Aug
13

“Mind & Body, Principles & Techniques,” by Dan Kawakami

“Aikido training focuses on both techniques and principles. Techniques are bodily movements designed to defend against and control physical attack. Typically, an instructor demonstrates a technique of self defense against a specified attack, and the student learns by imitating the instructor’s movements. Further refinements are made under the guidance of the instructor, and the movements become established with repetitive practice with a partner.”

Click here to read entire article.

Aug
13

Recommended reading: “Koichi Tohei: Ongaeshi – Repayment of Kindness” 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.

Indulge me for a short while as we board together a time-machine to the golden years of aikido’s infancy in the USA in the mid-1960s. We see a totally different landscape when compared to the art of today. The name of Koichi Tohei is on everyone’s lips. He is now in his vigorous 40s, handsome, charming, and physically gifted. He is a fluent speaker of English, the author of best-selling books on the art. He is supremely confident, a wonderful teacher. He is the chief instructor of the World Headquarters Dojo, the Mecca of aikido, and he is the “ambassador of ki.” Yes, Koichi Tohei is the man every devotee wants to see in the flesh, the one whose techniques are to be emulated, the one who inspires. His interpretation of techniques represents “the” standard. His views on the principles of aikido and the “mysterious” concept of ki are unending topics of conversation. He is the motive power driving the spread of the art. Koichi Tohei IS aikido!

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Aug
12

“Aikido for the Modern Society,” by Will Gable

“In this time of uncertainty in our society we have a high level of civil unrest, we all need some security in all levels of our lives whether it be physical, emotional or financial. Most people try to be secure in their person by locking their doors either at business or home in hopes that they can control any unwanted elements intruding into their lives. The truth is we can neither predict when, where or if these intrusions will happen to us. Most people don’t want to think about these things and go along unaware that they are involved in a world that can and will at times produce violent acts towards them and their loved ones.”

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Aug
12

“Not The Shape But The Communication,” by Nev Sagiba

It’s not the shape of techniques; but the communication of training; that unlocks the secrets of Aikido.

Forcing and struggling is a deeply seated primitive instinct. It drives all animals to survive, by forcing a hoped for result, not always obtained. Unfortunately, the conclusion is foregone. The strongest will win, irrespective of wisdom or compassion or love.

Trial by combat did not always produce wise or benign leaders. Herd animals have an innate need to be absolved of responsibility by following, instead of going through the pain of learning how to think new possibilities. And so tyranny had its day.
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Aug
11

“Dawn of Aikido” Book Set Special!

For some, Aikido is a leisure activity. For others, it is a life-transforming path they take very seriously. What is it for you?

If you fit into the later category, you train diligently and focus your energies on learning the art to perfection.

Part of your toolkit for achieving success in Aikido is an understanding of the origins of the art. Who was Morihei Ueshiba, the man who created this highly refined martial discipline? Who was the enigmatic martial genius by the name of Sokaku Takeda who disseminated Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu, the art that forever changed Morihei’s life?

Two books by Aikido Journal Editor Stanley Pranin answer these questions and many others based on authoritative research conducted at the source in Japan over a period of decades.

Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu: Conversations with Daito-ryu Masters and Aikido Pioneers – Prewar Era, both fascinating collections of interviews with the key figures of Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu and early Aikido, belong in your collection of must-read books!

Find answers to all your questions about the origins and evolution of the marvelous discipline we practice by obtaining our Dawn of Aikido book set comprising nearly 600 pages, now made even more affordable through this special offer!