Jan
31

Recommended reading: “Founder of Aikido (07): Self Education and Independence” 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.

It was at about this time, at the age of 17, that the Founder became involved in the “Sulfur Affair,” a movement by the hard-pressed local fisherman to protest the grievances they were suffering from the harsh and sometimes corruptly inequitable enforcement of a strict new “Fishing Industry Law.” Filled with sympathy for the fishermen and with indignation at the fact that some of the wealthiest fishermen were using political influence to block the licensing of their poorer competitors, the Founder disregarded his own interests, as he often did later in life when moved by a principle. He quit his job at the tax office to work on the protest movement, which he pursued with great boldness.

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Jan
31

“Black Mice and Happy Accidents …,” by John Will

“How do new techniques evolve? I see techniques evolving two different ways; firstly, they can be designed through the process of intellect; that is, we can deliberately build them, correcting and modifying as we go – or they can be stumbled upon and evolve through what I call the process of ‘happy accident’.
To understand the happy accident concept – we need to understand how the evolutionary process works in nature. To explain this process (and perhaps highlight how quickly it can happen) I’ll use the example of how a mouse population might change/evolve from white to black in only a few short generations.”

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Jan
30

Recommended reading: “Interview with Seigo Okamoto Shihan (02)” 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.

Roppo can be understood in a variety of ways, such as the roppo of roppogumi [six groups of chivalrous young men who used to wander the city streets in the Edo period]. Or it can be equated with the roppo from the kabuki term roppo o fumu of Benkei [a priest of the early Kamakura period and a famous retainer of Yoshitsune Minamoto. Roppo o fumu means to make one’s exit with bold gestures along the runway]. However, I usually compare roppo to gaming dice to describe techniques which can deal with any situation from any direction, top or bottom, front or back, right or left, like the faces of dice. But these techniques do not have square angles like dice but are round, forming six (roku) infinite circles. I am eager to get as many meanings as I can out of the term.

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Jan
30

“The Broader Meaning of Kuzushi,” by Dan Prager

“The first and most important step in applying a throwing technique [ideally: any technique] is to first employ kuzushi. Usually, I would explain kuzushi as ‘unbalancing’, but delving a little deeper we find that kuzushi derives from the verb kuzusu, meaning ‘to level, pull down, or demolish’.”

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Jan
29

“Extract #2 from ‘Essential Jo,’” by Dan Djurdjevic

“As with golf, tennis, or any other activity which requires using a stick-like object, your grip is one of the most important features.

The ‘informal grip’ is one you adopt when you are not actively engaged in training. We use the traditional method also seen in other Japanese and Chinese weapons arts: the weapon is held palm down and behind your shoulder. This is not only subtle and non-confrontational; it also provides an element of concealment and surprise, should you need it against would-be assailants.”

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Jan
28

Recommended reading: “Is Aikido Teachable?” by Peter Goldsbury

The article below by Dr. Peter Goldsbury 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.

What a silly question! Of course aikido is teachable. The fact that there are probably a million past and present aikido practitioners in Japan and overseas is eloquent testimony to the fact. Since Morihei Ueshiba actually taught relatively few of these million practitioners, the phenomenal growth of aikido can be due only to the hundreds of dedicated teachers who trained at the hands of the disciples who were taught directly by O-Sensei. This response is plausible, but unconvincing…

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Jan
28

“School judo deaths prompt protest in Japan,” from theage.com.au

“The government’s bid to make the martial art compulsory in schools has alarmed parents.

RESEARCH showing that an average of four children die each year during judo lessons in Japan has alarmed some parents as the country prepares to introduce martial arts as a compulsory school sport.”

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Jan
27

“Absorbing Attack,” by Nev Sagiba

moriteru-ueshiba-kotegaeshi

“Only you have the power to make an injury a wall or a steppingstone.”

sagibaBudo training is research, not performance.

Injuries, whilst to be avoided at all costs, can be some of the best learning curves had in life. Aside from the fact that an injury provides a unique opportunity to conduct Mitori Geiko, observation training, for the full duration of a class, injuries also provide EMPATHY. In other words, what it would feel like to be damaged by such a technique.

Some people like to imagine unscathed fighting capabilities, to be able to dish it out without receiving a scratch. Fiction. You must be able to take it as well. To absorb the opponent’s attacks enable safe “taking it.”

Injuries in training usually come from inflexible mental attitudes which cause resistance instead of flexible absorption and are an opportunity to discover oneself. Only you have the power to make an injury a wall or a steppingstone.
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Jan
27

“Where Did the Martial Arts Come From?,” from Budo-warrior.com

“This is a little video we produced a few years ago at the Joint Multinational Readiness Center (JMRC), Hohenfels, Germany to match the script that was developed to introduce Level I Combatives and Martial Arts training to new students. The script was written and composed by Matt Larsen, director and founder of the Modern Army Combatives Program (MACP).

For those of you in the Martial Arts for a long time, it is probably a little simplistic and general. It is that. However, what I think it does a good job in a few short minutes in give a brief overview, and sets the stage up for helping students begin to understand martial methodology and what to look for when deciding to form their own program of study.

You may not agree with everything in the video. I would be interested in hearing your thoughts!”

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Jan
26

“Aikido Pioneers – Prewar Era” – The book that will change your view of Aikido’s origins!

DOWNLOAD PDF FILE (SEE BELOW).

It is our pleasure to announce the availability of one of the most important books on Aikido history ever published, Aikido Pioneers-Prewar Era by Stanley Pranin. This new title weighs in at a hefty 364 pages and contains in-depth interviews with twenty of the most important early students of Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba. These early disciples of the art witnessed and participated in the process that culminated in the birth of modern Aikido. Their testimonies constitute an invaluable source of information for those seeking an understanding of the roots of aikido.
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Jan
26

Recommended reading: “Anatomy of an Attack” 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.

We perceive an attack when we believe our lives or well-being are in danger or when we consider that our territory, physical or psychological, has been encroached upon. For example, if an angry three-year old child, arms flailing, approaches an adult, normally such an act is not regarded as an attack. That is, the adult does not consider the child’s action to be a physical threat. The same adult, however, the object of an assault by a gun-wielding assailant will certainly feel he has been attacked. Let us imagine a third case where a skilled martial artist is confronted by a man in possession of a knife. It is conceivable that such an individual due to long years of training and mental preparation will not in any way behave as though in an emergency situation and will matter-of-factly proceed to apply a measure appropriate to the circumstances. In all three instances, the question of whether or not an attack has occurred is dependent on the perception of the person acted upon or the person evaluating the scene.

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Jan
26

“Rambled Thoughts on Change,” by David

“There is little else as divisive in Aikido as the hakama.

Of course, different organizations and their super-shihans have their own takes on Aikido as they understood it from Ō-Sensei, but when the practitioners of these different organizations get together for a good chat, technique is rarely a point of contention. By and large, we can all agree that we can learn from each other.”

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