Sep
30

Recommended reading: “Interview with Hiroshi Ikeda” by Stanley Pranin

The interview below with Hiroshi Ikeda Sensei from 1995 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.

Well, it started with my teacher, Mitsugi Saotome Sensei. He was the instructor at my aikido club when I was a student at Kokugakuin University. I guess that was about 27 years ago, and I’ve been with him ever since. After he relocated to the United States, he asked me if I would consider coming over as well. That was about nineteen years ago, in 1976. I went straight to Florida, and Saotome Sensei then moved to Washington, D.C. I stayed in Florida practicing for two years, then came to Boulder.

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Sep
30

“Form.. Steve thinking out loud again… oh dear..,” by Steve Wildash

“What do I know about form within the realms of Systema? good question, its one of those things like everything else that does take awhile to get to grips with.. Form was one of those so called four pillars of the art and was explained to me as very important. So what does all this form business mean, I suppose it really relates to posture during combat or during general movement. One question I asked myself today was, is it possible to still maintain this ideal of good form or posture under any kind of pressured work or even change of environment. I’m told that good posture equates to proper alignment of the body and translates to holding yourself upright rather that bent over or in a structurally poor position where fluid movement isn’t possible.”

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Sep
29

“Training and Experience,” by Brandon Clapp

“We were having a discussion after training one night as we most often do and began discussing the importance of continuous stress training, not only of the body physically but also mentally. In order to have any technique actually be useful we need to be able to deal with stress.”

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Sep
29

“Martial Arts Instructors and the Reality of Sex Offense,” by Matthew Apsokardu

“As a martial arts instructor and writer I spend a lot of time talking about the outstanding benefits of training. The self confidence, comradery, self defense skills, culture, etc etc. However I also feel that it’s my responsibility to make people aware of the more unpleasant side of the martial arts world; the manifestations that come with individuals who achieve positions of power and influence when they have no right attaining them.”

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Sep
28

Recommended reading: “Constant Alertness needed to Avoid Dojo Injuries” 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.

It’s been my experience that this type of injury could have occurred almost anywhere in the aikido world. It is amazing to me that otherwise intelligent and prudent people will abandon their normal attitude of alertness when immersed in the warmth of the “family atmosphere” of an aikido dojo. I have practiced and observed aikido in numerous countries and it is not uncommon to see classes conducted under crowded conditions where injuries can easily happen. The danger is especially great during ki no nagare practice where big, flowing movements are used. Apart from a few words of admonition from the teacher in charge to be careful, I have seldom seen a systematic approach to insure a safe training environment. Students tend to throw freely into any open space.

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Sep
28

“Aikido, Peace & Violence,” by Marc Abrams

“Imagine that you are standing outside and you see some raging lunatic running at your young child. this person screaming that your child is going to die. Some feeling in your ‘gut’ tells you that this person will not stop until your child is dead. You believe that you are a peaceful person. You train in Aikido as a way of making yourself and the world more peaceful. You have learned that you are responsible for the well-being of your attacker. What would you do?”

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Sep
27

Recommended reading: “Interview with Hitohiro Saito” by Sonoko Tanaka

The interview below with Hitohiro Saito Sensei 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 foundation of aikido training is forging yourself. You cannot do this if you start practicing ki no nagare (ki-flow techniques) from the beginning. The basic training consists in allowing your partner to hold you firmly. By doing so he is doing you a favor. Your partner restrains you and only then do you start practicing a technique. This is the first step on the path. One of the founder’s instructions was to start with tai no henko. You should not neglect even one tai no henko practice. This is what we teach in Iwama.

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Sep
27

“Do Your Thoughts Lead to Consequences?,” by Adam Dean

“I just recently read an article that made me shake my head with disbelief and frustration because it was nonsense. What slowed me down however was that I thought there was also an element of truth there, however it seemed misguided. After some consideration I have come to the conclusion that the article is incorrect, correct and also ill informed. How is THAT for sitting on the fence???”

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Sep
26

Stanley Pranin on Youtube.com introducing “Aikido Pioneers – Postwar Era”

Aikido Journal Editor Stanley Pranin has just put together a high-definition video clip explaining about the contents of his new book “Aikido Pioneers – Postwar Era.” This 360-page book contains interviews with 20 of Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba’s top disciples from the prewar era. Interviews with many famous aikido masters such as Kisshomaru Ueshiba, Koichi Tohei, Gozo Shioda, Kenji Tomiki, Minoru Mochizuki, Noriaki Inoue, and many more are included!
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Sep
26

“Masakatsu Agatsu,” from Aikido Doushin Juku

“This year, on my birthday, I decided to do something I’ve never done before. I live in Colorado, and I haven’t taken advantage of some of the things we have right here. So, I decided to go white-water rafting. For my first trip on the river, I chose a spot that promised nothing more dangerous than category 2 rapids. It was a nice introduction to the river with some nice splashes here and there. Midway thru the trip, we made a stop in the middle of a gorge where we were invited to jump off the edge of a 25 foot cliff into the river. Let me just explain here that I am very afraid of heights. Not in a normal It’s-a-bad-idea-to-get-too-close-to-that-ledge kind of way. I am afraid of heights in a way that keeps me from going into buildings that are over 12 stories high. The kind that makes me cling to the sturdiest thing available (usually, my husband) when crossing a high bridge. The kind that makes me shiver uncontrollably standing at the edge of a cliff in the heat of July; which is exactly what I found myself doing this year for my birthday.”

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Sep
26

Brian Kagen pick: “Cultural Center Focuses On Community – Gaku Homma of Denver” from thedenverchannel.com

“Many martial arts studios put an emphasis on enhancing mind and body. At the Nippon Kan Japanese Cultural Center in Denver, they also focus on community. Chief instructor Gaku Homma teaches the Japanese martial art of aikido. It relies on open hands, not fists. The idea is to help people develop themselves. Homma makes sure those open hands extend to the community.

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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Sep
25

“The most important part of Aikido,” by Jake McKee

“A command I heard CONSTANTLY when I started Aikido training back in 1993 was one simple word – relax. I would try to do a technique and a senior student would stop me and say – ‘just relax’. Then I would exhale, try to release the tension in my shoulders and try again. Again I would be stopped and there’s that word again – ‘relax!’”

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