Brian Kagen pick: “Focus and Aikido Training,” by Francis Takahashi from

“There is no doubt in my mind, based on my training and experience, that the Founder’s art form and original techniques were designed to be effective, and to be validly accepted as genuine martial techniques by other genuine and sincere martial artists and masters within the martial arts brotherhood. Nonetheless, the vast majority of students who train in Aikido, instructors and trainees alike, do not appear to have the ability nor the training to properly “focus”, and have their Aikido techniques reach their desired potential of effectiveness, authenticity and respectability.”

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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  1. In my experience, things never change in Japan unless there is strong pressure from overseas.

    Ueshiba Sensei was a true visionary. Some of his students were also visionaries. But after the war Aikido became a leisure activity for multiple tasking people with a short attention span.

    Few students are training more than twice a week and very few are doing shugyo (extending practice beyond dojo time). Most budo celebrities are “stars” and few are masters. What is the difference? A star is there for himself first, a master is there for others first. Careful observation of a person’s lifestyle will reveal their true intentions. But who cares to take the time to reflect on that when it may disturb one’s habitual patterns?

    Those who don’t like it quit or switch to another martial art.

    In my opinion, it’s only at the individual level, as teachers and shugyosha that we can make a difference. Only by inspiring our students to raise themselves to the standards established by our masters will we be able to maintain those standards. Many will drop out or jump ship in order to accommodate their own needs and will end up in dead ends.

    But those who maintain the lineage and persevere will be there when demand for authentic budo arises again. It may take several generations. But a true teacher does not expect to see the results of his efforts within his lifetime.

    Patrick Augé

  2. don’t know about anybody else here, but mostly i just train. i have a couple Chinese students. they saw something they wanted and we are a teeny little family trying to unearth and elaborate aikido starting from Saito sensei’s basics. now, i would never say anything bad about Saito sensei who was always kind to me and whose training is my foundation. and even he said that you START with kihon waza, move to flowing technique and eventually you will start to be inspired. also, whenever in doubt, go back to basics. indeed i give him every credit for preserving and disseminating those basics and rarely showing “his” art. i try to follow his example and when something inspires me, back it off so that everybody can see its basis (even me 😉 ).

  3. I can say without a doubt that I have learned more aikido from non-aikido practicing martial artists than from aikidoka.

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