Dec
31

Happy New Year 2011 from Aikido Journal!

On behalf of the staff of Aikido Journal, I would like to wish you a happy and prosperous New Year in 2011. We sincerely appreciate your support and interest in our work over the past 36 years since our beginning in 1974.

We have several major projects planned for 2011 that we feel will make a significant contribution to the resource materials available to aikido practitioners.

Please have a safe holiday and approach the New Year with a firm resolve!

Stanley Pranin

Dec
31

“The Martial Arts’ Dirty Little Secret,” by Nhan-Esteban Khuong, L.Ac.

“Historically, the Martial Arts have produced some of the world’s wisest and most enlightened individuals as is often noted in classical Asian literature and folk stories. They were champions of peace, honor, courage, and all that is good.

If you scratch beyond the shiny surface of the chivalry and heroics however, we start to see an entirely different world. A world of fear, paranoia, treachery, and colossal egos.

Obviously, this is a huge generalization and I can’t really comment on the masters of old, but I’d go so far as to say that the modern Martial Arts community is plagued by a sense of volatile inadequacy.

My intention with this post is not to call out self proclaimed masters, keyboard warriors, or forum trolls to a bloody grudge match of egos, but rather to point out a festering eyesore within our community in order to eliminate it, or at the very least minimize it and set in motion a possible solution.

Admittedly, I’ve been guilty of feeding the ego feud with harsh reactions and selfish pride, but at least I’m aware of it and actively working on myself in order to grow as a conscious being helping to perpetuate a sense of giving and gratitude.”

Click here to read entire article.

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Dec
30

“Foot work, foot work, foot work….,” from aikidodoushinjuku.com

“Once someone told me that the reason why Samurai wore Hakama was to hide their foot movement. Then I thought to myself…if they want to hide it, it must be important or maybe a secret lies under there.”

Click here to read entire article.

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Dec
30

New Year’s Greeting from Patrick Augé Sensei

Dear Students, dear Parents, dear Friends:

2011 is about to begin, and I would like to take this opportunity to contemplate two of Mochizuki Minoru Sensei’s maxims that were posted for all to read at the Yoseikan Hombu Dojo in Shizuoka, Japan:

“Human beings have to evolve.”
“Evolution starts from a ?”

Please bear in mind that my objective is to look for ways to improve ourselves by assessing the situation without mincing words or worrying about hurt feelings. Consequently my statements should be considered as material for reflection, not as attempts to either please or attack anyone.
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Dec
29

Biography of Tempu Nakamura: “Heaven’s_Wind_Part_III,” by Stephen Earle

A chapter from Stephen Earle’s seminal English biography of Tempu Nakamura…

“The emerging current in Japanese intellectual circles that most appealed to Sun’s sensibilities was what has subsequently been termed pan-Asianism. In the 1920s and 30s, this term would be turned into a euphemism for Japanese imperialism, but in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries the doctrine it described was largely pure in intent. Its proponents were motivated by a genuine desire to see Asia freed from the yoke of Western colonialism and brought into its own as a collection of sovereign states under indigenous rule. As concerned China, in response to the English-American “open door” doctrine that only thinly masked intentions of partition, Japan supported a “preserve China” policy that favored reform and modernization adequate to withstand Western aggression.”

Click here to download pdf file

Dec
29

“Fitness and Low Back Pain,” by Len Kravitz, Ph.D. and Ron Andrews, M.S., P.T.

“The management of low back pain is a major health and economic concern in the U.S. As one of the leading causes of physical limitation in the U.S, low back pain is a chief source of incapacitation, suffering and expense. The medical costs, not including disability claims, directly attributed to low back pain exceeded $24 billion in 1990 (Lahad, Malter, Berg, & Deyo, 1994). It is also recognized that the cause of this health problem is very difficult to establish because of the irregular nature of its occurrences in individuals and the unclear etiology of low back pain. Although the effectiveness of exercise as a prevention strategy and intervention for low back pain has recently been challenged (Lahad et al., 1994), this awareness actually suggests the need for more controlled studies that may eventually lead to the development of new and improved exercise designs that prove to be viable interventions. This article will review much of the framework about what is known about this mystery and address practical issues for the fitness instructor, personal trainer and health educator.”

Click here to read entire article.

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Dec
28

“Biography of Seigo Yamaguchi,” by Stanley Pranin

“Seigo Yamaguchi Sensei influenced several generations of
practitioners including many of today’s senior Aikikai instructors.”

Seigo Yamaguchi Sensei was one of the most important of the first generation of aikido instructors in the postwar era. He taught at the Aikikai Hombu Dojo in Tokyo for several decades rising to the rank of 8th dan.

Yamaguchi Sensei influenced several generations of practitioners within the Aikikai system including many of today’s senior instructors of the Headquarters school.

Seigo Yamaguchi early in his aikido career

Seigo Yamaguchi was born in Fukuoka, Kyushu in 1924 where he completed his primary and secondary education. At the age of 19 while a college student, he entered the Imperial Navy and underwent training in a kamikaze submarine unit before the war suddenly ended.

Following World War II, Yamaguchi Sensei returned to his native Fukuoka, and resumed his studies. In 1949, he passed an examination qualifying him for entry into government service.

Eventually intending to further his education in Europe, he first decided to study traditional Japanese culture. This led him to research the macrobiotic teachings of Nyoichi Sakurazawa, known in the west as George Ohsawa.

Through his connection with Ohsawa, Yamaguchi Sensei received an introduction to Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba in 1950. Captivated by Ueshiba’s aikido, the 26-year-old Yamaguchi immersed himself in the practice of the little-known art and soon displayed his considerable aptitude.

After several years of aikido training, he became a regular staff instructor at the Aikikai Hombu Dojo and also fulfilled teaching duties at various outside locations during the early years of the spread of the art in Japan.

In 1958, Yamaguchi Sensei was dispatched to Burma, present-day Myanmar, on a cultural mission where he taught aikido to the National Army for about two years. On his return to Japan in 1961, he resumed his role as a senior Aikikai instructor.
During the 1960s and 70s, Yamaguchi Sensei’s singular style of aikido began attracting the attention of foreign aikidoka who came to Japan to train. Among his well-known students from this period were Christian Tissier of France and William Gleason of the USA.

Starting in 1977, Yamaguchi Sensei began conducting seminars abroad on a regular basis. Continuing through 1995, he made annual visits to numerous countries in Europe, especially France on the invitation of his student Christian Tissier. He also gave seminars in the USA, Canada, Argentina and Uruguay.

In addition to his teaching activities at the Aikikai Hombu Dojo, Yamaguchi Sensei conducted regular courses at several universities and locations in the Tokyo Metropolitan area. He also accepted numerous invitations to teach all over Japan.

His Zoshukan Dojo located in Shibuya where students were accepted only by invitation, was the center for his personal aikido research.

Yamaguchi Sensei passed away on January 24, 1996 in Tokyo after remaining active in aikido for more than 45 years.

Aikido Journal offers a DVD that represents a rare look at Seigo Yamaguchi Sensei in his prime during a seminar held in Paris, France in 1987. Never before shown in public, this precious footage will serve to introduce his unique form of aikido to a new generation of practitioners the world over.

Video of Seigo Yamaguchi conducting seminar in Paris in 1987

Dec
28

“Thoughts on Ki,” from Riz’s Martial Arts Training

“The Ki/Chi debate is all over online messages boards. Personally, I’ve never bothered to comment on any but I do very much enjoy reading the arguments from both parties (believers and non-believers). The debates do tend to get unnecessarily heated and often end up with plenty of personal insults and online forum warrior-style challenges. Which is a shame because I think it is a really interesting topic!”

Click here to read entire article.

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Dec
27

Ends Wednesday am! Sale of “Morihiro Saito: Lost Seminars, Part 1″ at 50% off!

We trust you, our valued readers, have had an enjoyable holiday. We seldom rest at Aikido Journal because we love what we do! At this juncture, it is our pleasure to announce the next DVD in our special series of discounted items, perfect for the season. This week’s product is titled “Morihiro Saito: Lost Seminars – Part 1.” It is available for a 24-hour period at $19.95, half off the retail price.

Morihiro Saito needs no introduction as he is one of aikido’s towering figures, and a master technician. The footage of “Lost Seminars I” contains highlights of an unforgettable seminar Saito Sensei gave in Italy in 1985. The seminar was professionally filmed and is fully subtitled in English to allow viewers to closely follow his teachings.

Full description of “Morihiro Saito: Lost Seminars – Part 1″

Here is how we have described the “Lost Seminars” DVDs elsewhere:

“Imagine being able to turn back the clock and be present at a seminar given by an Aikido great of a bygone era. Imagine being taught by Morihiro Saito Sensei, 9th dan, up close and personal and being able to understand every word he speaks in English. Imagine no more as this opportunity does indeed exist! Think of the possibilities to improve your Aikido practice and teaching skills!”

Order “Morihiro Saito: Lost Seminars – Part 1″ at 50% off!

This offer can only be accessed through the link above. Please click on the “Order link” to obtain your discount, place the item in your shopping cart, and proceed to checkout.

The 24-hour clock starts NOW!

Thank you very much for considering this special offer.

Stanley Pranin

Dec
27

“Lessons from the world of Aikido,” by Garr Reynolds

“At some point in a future presentation you may encounter tough questions or even a hostile audience member who may be more interested in making you look foolish or derail you during your talk than getting at the truth. It happens. Even if an audience member does choose to assume the role of “opponent,” your irritation or any display of anger will surely not do you or the rest of your audience (98% of whom may support your views) any good at all.”

Click here to read entire article.

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Dec
27

Recommended reading: “Interview with Shoji Nishio (1984), Part 1″ 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.

Because of that problem, I felt the limitations of Judo and started Karate. My teacher was Konishi Sensei of Jinen-ryu who had practiced Karate longer than anyone else at that time. I was practicing Karate with Konishi Sensei but I also felt the limitation of Karate. I thought there must be something else. At that time, a former Karate sensei of the Butokukai named [Toyosaku] Sodeyama who was running Konishi Sensei’s dojo and also teaching there came up to me and said: “I met someone who is like a ‘phantom’. I couldn’t strike him even once.” I was amazed that there was someone that even Sodeyama Sensei couldn’t strike. It was O-Sensei.

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Dec
26

Recommended reading: “Perceptions And Deceptions” by Stanley Pranin

The article below from the fall of 1991 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 our role as chroniclers of aikido and Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu we come into contact with a large number of adherents of different styles and approaches to these martial arts. The emphases of the various groups run the gamut from the physical and self-defense oriented all the way to the “spiritually” inclined styles for whom technique is of secondary importance. Despite these remarkable differences, I have often encountered a common characteristic in the mentality of the practitioners of these diverse persuasions. I will refer to it as the “true believer” syndrome.

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