Recommended reading: “Fundamental Principles of Aikido” 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.

The selection of the topic for this article came about as the result of a very kind letter from a totally unexpected quarter: Minoru Mochizuki Sensei of the Yoseikan Dojo in Shizuoka. Mochizuki Sensei’s letter was in response to the editorial I wrote in the last issue entitled “Suggestions for the Elimination of Abuses in Dan Rankings”. I was asked to elaborate on my view of the essential nature of Aikido in light of the subject covered in the above article.

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  1. I have to respect Mochizuki Sensei, yet have difficulty finding “defensive” in either my art, or irimi. The techniques themselves are as non-injurious as possible. If you can stay in your form, you will do a minimum of damage. But YOU don’t have to think about the other guy’s well being. The form, or God, takes care of that. If you waste time thinking about anything, in a real situation or a full speed randori, you’ll get behind. As the Master Strategist of the late 20th century USA, John Boyd (USAF/USMC) opined: Observe-Orient-Decide-Act; the one who processes fastest prevails.

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