Sep
08

“DEEP WEIGHT,” by Ralph Pettman

“A couple of simple exercises can make this mental dimension easier to see. I don’t want to claim any more for these exercises than they warrant. But it’s hard to appreciate just how much difference a change in mental intention can make to our physical performance without experimenting a little with changes in mind and seeing what changes they make to the body. And it’s just such experimentation that can start a line of personal enquiry that can lead, through an art like aikido, to a much more profound awareness of what mental awareness means in practical, physical terms.”

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Sep
07

Recommended reading: “On the Martial Ways of Japan” by Moritaka 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.

People are cut first not by the blade of the sword, but by the sakki, the bloodthirsty wish to kill, which is thrust out from the mind of the attacker before the blade moves. The famous teacher of the third Tokugawa Shogun, Iemitsu, Yagyu Taiima no Kami was walking one day in a garden followed by a servant who was suddenly taken up with the thought, “If I were to attack him now, even such a great swordsman as my master would surely be unable to resist…” At that very instant, as if taken over by some great anxiety, Tajima no Kami hastily returned to his own quarters and spoke to his servant, “Just now while walking in the garden, I felt sakki attack me. But no one except yourself was present. What I fear is sakki where no enemy is apparent.”

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Sep
07

Brian Kagen pick: “Budo Senmon Gakko,” from wikipedia.com

“In 1905 a division of the Butoku Kai was formed to train bujutsu instructors. This system was revised and improved a number of times and them led to the formation of the Butoku Gakko (School of Martial Virtue) in 1911. This became known as the Bujutsu Senmon Gakko (Bujutsu Specialist School) in 1912, and then the Budo Senmon Gakko in 1919 when the term ‘budo’ officially replaced ‘bujutsu’. The Budo Senmon Gakko (or Busen as it became known) together with the Tokyo Koto Shihan Gakko (Tokyo Higher Normal School) led the way in producing young instructors who would be posted to schools throughout the country to teach children the arts.”

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
07

“Getting Your Priorities Straight,” by John Vesia

“I find it interesting that karate teaches methods of mayhem alongside of social responsibility. At least that’s what most schools strive for. Budo (martial ways) and bujutsu (martial methodology) are defined as having similar goals, but stressing different ones. The priorities that distinguish budo and bujutsu are laid out in Classical Budo”

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Sep
06

“Martial and Dance Arts Flexibility, Agility, and Coordination,” by John W. Zimmer

“What do you think it takes to be a good martial artist? Do you need knock out power? Do you need a mean karate yell? How about striking fear into the hearts of thugs of the world!!!? Well maybe but have you considered some the of attributes of the softer and many will argue the important parts of the martial arts? What am I talking about? Well flexibility, agility and coordination!”

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Sep
06

Recommended reading: “Morihei Ueshiba and the Omoto Religion” 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.

Aikido is known internationally as one of Japan’s modern martial arts enjoying a reputation as a unique, ethically-based self-defense discipline. The Omoto sect was one of the most significant of the so-called “new religions” of Japan in the early part of the 20th century. At the height of its influence in 1935, it had nearly two million adherents before its brutal suppression at the hands of the existing military government. While Aikido and Omoto are not normally associated together in the public’s mind, there exists an inseparable link between the two due to the close personal bond between their two central figures, Morihei Ueshiba and Onisaburo Deguchi.

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Sep
05

Brian Kagen pick: “List of Judoka” from wikipedia.com

“Kano Jigoro (Japan, 1860–1938) founded judo, and established the Kodokan in 1882. Judo was the first Japanese martial art to gain widespread international recognition, and the first to become an official Olympic sport. Kano was also a pioneer of international sports. Accomplishments included being the first Asian member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). His official honours and decorations included the First Order of Merit and Grand Order of the Rising Sun and the Third Imperial Degree. He was inducted to the IJF Hall of Fame on 14 May, 1999.”

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.

Sep
05

“Why The Fundamentals Of Martial Arts Are Neglected,” by Neal Martin

“Thanks to my previous post on the importance of learning and continuing to practice the basics, a few people have asked why I think it is that so many martial artists are quick to neglect the basic techniques when it comes to training, so I thought I would try and answer that question here in this post.

I have also posed the same question to some of the other martial arts bloggers out there in the blogosphere and you can read some of their answers by clicking on the links at the end of this article. I think you’ll find some of them quite interesting.”

Click here to read entire article.

Sep
04

Recommended reading: “Founder of Aikido (27): Martial Way – Human Way” 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.

In the fall of 1925, the Founder came to Tokyo to teach Aiki at the request of Admiral Isamu Takeshita. Twenty years earlier he had come to Tokyo at least two times. Once was during his early business life. The other was right after the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923 to deliver relief funds from Omoto in Ayabe. This time, however, he came as one of the foremost budoka (martial artists) of the time. Admiral Takeshita, who was one of the most devoted enthusiasts of budo in the navy, had been trying to find a budoka embodying the genuine essence of Japanese martial arts.

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Sep
04

“Padwork And Movement Drills Against Multiple Attackers,” by John Law

“One very safe method for getting a handle on fighting multiple opponents is windsucking. This is a drill they use over at DKK, something that Gavin Mullholland came up with I believe. In simple terms it involves one person striking the kick shields and/or thai pads of 2 to 4 others, while they move and jostle/barge the striker. It’s simple but puts a lot of pressure on the striker particularly when tired and it doesn‘t take very long to get tired!”

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Sep
03

“Supreme Excellence,” by Nev Sagiba

When striving for excellence, we generate light, the nature of the expanding universe. No, this is not a mystical statement. When striving against odds, the neurones fire more, and the more they are practiced and used, the more they fire. The more the neurones fire, the more electrical energy is generated, the more light, hikari.

This is not a trite statement, but a fact of life and nature, millions of years in the making.

Conversely, when undermining any creation or creative process, we expend much more energy also undermining ourselves. Petty manipulations tend to backfire. In the end, they all recoil because they fail to generate light, but are parasitical in nature. Invariably something in nature will swat a mosquito.

To simply do the job is less energy expending than making a lot of noise in excuse making. Getting to the point is easier than avoidance. But this requires sincerity, clear perception and morality.
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Sep
03

Recommended reading: “Interview with Koichi Tohei (4)” by Stanley Pranin

The interview below with Koichi Tohei 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.

It is the same for the character for person (hito). Its original meaning in Chinese, based on its shape (which shows two people leaning on each other) was to the effect that “people must rely on one another to get along in the world.” In Japanese we retain the readings nin and jin that approximate the original Chinese, but we also have the Japanese reading hito. Like mizukagami, the word hito existed in Japan prior to the introduction of Chinese characters. It comes from the classical language of Japanese spirituality, with a specific connection to the word naohi (direct spirit). The syllable hi expressed the spirit of the universe, and when this spirit coalesces into a physical form, you have hito (“spirit-stop”) – a person. The same applies to the word kokyu (breath); I teach my students to exhale with “haaah” sound and inhale with a “suuuh” sound-in other words, to use the more natural pronunciation instead of the words themselves. Whole-body breathing would be impossible if you tried to exhale with the sound “koooh” an inhale with the sound “kyuuuh” (i.e. kokyu).

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