“Training is like saving money and putting it into the bank. You will only improve and get better if you put the hard yards in and save up what you have learnt. Also, the more experience and information you have accumulated the easier it is to connect multiple ideas together to yield even further flashes of enlightenment. It is a bit like getting higher interest rates on larger deposits.”
The interview below with Mitsugi Saotome 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.
If you tell someone in his 60s to train hard from the beginning, he can’t do it, and it is not necessary. That kind of person is already very experienced physically so they don’t need to expend energy that way. Young people are, in a biological sense, very aggressive, and you must make them train vigorously. It won’t work to try to put a damper on young people bursting with energy. Smog is produced by car engines with poor combustion. So I have young people train hard and consume their energy. But that’s not all there is to it. It’s better to wear them out quickly. The purpose of hard training is to make them quickly aware of their own physical limits. You cannot enter into the world of the spirit unless you go beyond your physical limits. That’s why I make them completely exhaust themselves and have them practice rough techniques.
We are pleased to announce that our best-selling book offering, “Aikido Pioneers – Prewar Era,” is now available on amazon.com. We are still in the process of getting the display page set up, but have a look at the sample images that have already been uploaded to get a better idea of the book’s contents.
I would also like to ask all of you who have already obtained Aikido Pioneers to consider submitting a review to amazon voicing your opinions of “Pioneers.” The only requirement is that you have an account with amazon.com and have made at least one purchase.
Here is the link that will allow you to sign in and post your review. We would very much like to thank in advance those of you who take the time to submit a review. We are in the process of preparing our book titles to be sold on amazon.com in an effort to expand our markets beyond this website.
The article below on the late Seigo Yamaguchi 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.
Yamaguchi Sensei taught at Honbu dojo, the world headquarters of aikido at Wakamatsu-cho in Shinjuku, and also had a small dojo at Ikenoue, about a half-hours ride from Honbu on the train. The latter was a large room (24 tatami mats) in a small house that belonged to a partially blind woman who made a living doing shiatsu massage. You could not do breakfalls or rough practice there because it was in a house, and because the mats were a good deal harder than usual dojo mats. One evening, I presented myself at the front door of the Ikenoue dojo with my letter of recommendation. Sensei was not at all pleased. He had never had a foreign student and it seemed he didn¹t particularly want one. This dojo was for his chosen few. It had an atmosphere of secrecy, as though the essence of the art was to be found here alone. In addition, although Sensei could speak English, he refused to do so. He would talk to me using one of his students as an interpreter. To add to his chagrin, my own arrogance was completely obvious. I felt that my past studies gave me an insight into aikido that few others had. I was truly a sword in his side. On the other hand, he could hardly refuse me as I came with a letter of recommendation from his older brother.
This one really presses people’s buttons.
When you are attacked, the responsibility is entirely your own!
Nobody likes to hear it and the vitriol comes up soon to be followed by voluble morally indignant arguments that make sense only to a confirmed excuse-maker who is in fact making a statement that he or she, has made a choice to remain stuck on the wheel and stay a victim of circumstances for the rest of their life.
Aside from Morihei Ueshiba, I think it was the Buddha who had the clarity to make this assertion with confidence.
“She also began studying ballet, which eventually brought her to the Bay Area. In the Bay Area, Robert Nadeau Sensei and Frank Doran Sensei were her first Aikido teachers. In 1980 she began studying Feldenkrais in Amherst, Massachusetts, and continuing her Aikido studies there. She also had opportunities to train with Yamada Sensei, Kanai Sensei and Tamura Sensei while there. In 1988 she returned to the Bay Area after taking a break from Feldenkrais and Aikido.”
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.
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 hard to describe all the ways that Yamada Sensei has helped me. He had something that I wanted—mastery of this art. Yet, he was one of the kindest people I have ever met. I recall the times I was called up to his office for these little talks. I can almost remember them word for word—the attitude adjustments, talking about training and how it related to my life, how a dojo operates, how to interact with other people, and the whole idea behind aikido. One thing that I genuinely appreciate about Yamada Sensei is that he has very few pretenses. At the time, I was reading everything I could about aikido. I had spiritual ideas about the art and Yamada Sensei would go through and destroy every single one of them. Any preconception that I had of what an aikido teacher should be, Yamada Sensei helped me to dissolve. And this helped me to be able to absorb more. It was quite spiritual, in a way. Yamada Sensei probably wouldn’t describe himself as a spiritual person, but I think that at some very important level he is.
The interview below with the nephew of Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba, Noriaki Inoue, 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.
My uncle’s father (Yoroku Ueshiba) was my grandfather. My mother married into our house (Inoue) from the Ueshiba family. She was the eldest Ueshiba daughter. Morihei was the fourth child. There were five brothers and sisters and Morihei was the only son. So, there was not much difference in our ages (eighteen years) even though we speak in terms of uncle and nephew. (Laughter) We all studied in the same way. Ueshiba quit his middle school when he was in the first or second year and came to work in our store in Tokyo. I think he continued his schooling there. I believe that since he had time at night he went to a Judo dojo for practice as a dojo was nearby. I had an older brother and, while we were living in Tanabe, my uncle, my brother and I studied old-style Judo. I was only about ten years old then.