One of the most important Aikido instructors–a man known worldwide for his early efforts in disseminating the art–is Koichi Tohei, 10th dan. Tohei Sensei’s contributions to the art are legion: development of a technical curriculum based on ki principles, later known as Shin Shin Toitsu Aikido; publication of many of the first books in English on Aikido; personal training of several prominent athletes including homerun hitter, Sadaharu Oh, and sumo champion, Chiyonofuji; the first man to receive a 10th dan in Aikido, directly from the Founder Morihei Ueshiba. Click here to see a rare photo and action video of this great teacher!
Archives for January 2011
Swami Maitreyananda was good friend. She saved my life.
After ten years of breathing toxic smoke (pro firefighting), the detox pathways of my liver were all but stalled and I was officially dying (1984). Doctors had wiped their hands. The best they could offer were more toxins to alleviate pain on the way out.
Swami M took up where the medicos had given up. Because of her, I’m still here.
Initiated by the great yogi, Shivananda himself, she was also a great yogi, teacher, master of Zen, gardener, herbalist, natural healer, and so much more.
One of her favourite tenets was: "Create a thing of great beauty and move on, leaving it behind for the enjoyment of others."
Watch the videos. O-Sensei just DID inspired aikido. He undoubtedly selected ukes who could handle the random without getting hurt (much, or often). It took me years to see what he was doing, and even now it’s not especially obvious. I firmly believe that if the ukes hadn’t been exceptionally aware and versatile there would have been broken and writhing bodies littering the mat. When “challenged” he, in what I believe is a very Japanese fashion, picked contests which were not particularly martial, trying to push him over and such. The objective was widely understood in Japan and the results were accepted as proxies for martial ability. Translation to foreign cultures did not always preserve that nuance.
Tohei, as a fairly young student came to O-Sensei late in his career. He was dedicated and talented. He learned the shorthand techniques and systematized many of the “tricks” underlying the barely martial contests. I have no doubt that he could have done and taught the same material Saito Sensei chose to emphasize, but putting on a little show is fun. It also fills the dojo and pays the rent.
Musashi, commenting on his times and martial arts instruction, said something like, “the flower is regarded as more valuable than the fruit.” Well, when lives aren’t imminently on the line… Who doesn’t like flowers? The difficulty is that many aikido schools have gone so far into “flower arranging” that they are completely unfamiliar with picking fruit.
The interview below with Noriaki (Yoichiro) Inoue, nephew of Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba, 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.
When I met Takeda Sensei and he told me to practice with him I refused to do so saying I didn’t like his type of training. Takeda Sensei really wanted to teach me. My father and Ueshiba’s father talked things over back in Tanabe and built a dojo for him. Because Morihei said he wanted to study the art in Shirataki, my father and Ueshiba’s father built a dojo and Takeda Sensei was invited to teach. I think at that time my uncle was already over 30. Ueshiba’s father (Yoroku) was a great person and also very strong. I don’t think anyone, not even sumo wrestlers, were stronger than him. He too was fond of the martial arts and this was why he understood Morihei’s strong desire to study the art and agreed to help him. Although I don’t know how much, they sent money to Takeda Sensei every month. Our fathers certainly gave what Sensei needed for the rest of his life and sent him cash every month. My father also thought that it would be nice to have a budo man from our family. Ueshiba’s father did it out of affection towards his child.
We are at the beginning of a New Year, a time for new resolves. What better resolution for aikidoka than to renew their commitment to training in the art to tap the numerous benefits it offers.
Allow us to suggest that one element of this effort might be the purchase of this week’s DVD sale offering: “Morihiro Saito: Lost Seminars – Part 2.” In this video, Morihiro Saito steps onto the mat and gives you top-quality instruction in aikido techniques, in a clear, easily understandable manner, concealing nothing. Having carefully observed his teachings–replete with complete English subtitles–your aikido will improve. The interrelationships among techniques and the importance of precision in execution will become very clear. This was his pedagogical approach and you will reap great benefits by following his methods.
Take a look at the detailed description below to learn more about the contents of “Lost Seminars 2.”
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!”
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.
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.
Plans were under way already for establishing a new self-governing nation to be called “Koraikoku” and encompassing the territory of modern Manchuria and Mongolia. Three members of the “Keikoku Kai” had secured the help of certain influential leaders of the three eastern (Chinese) provinces. Koraikoku was to have been created with the cooperation of a group of people working for the restoration of the Ching (Manchu) dynasty and others who hoped to set up independent nations for the (Non-Chinese) border-district peoples. The Japanese government was interested in driving a wedge between Russia, the U.S.A. and Great Britain. It also hoped to disrupt the internal affairs of the central government of China as a means of promoting a solution to its own problems by opening a “new frontier” which would in fact be a new colony
One of the articles of a biographical nature I have written concerning the life of Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba is titled Morihei in Tanabe. It covers the period from his birth to Tanabe in 1883 until his relocation to Hokkaido in 1912. This article introduces information that adds new perspectives to the understanding of Morihei’s formative years. – Stanley Pranin
Unlike other periods in the life of Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba, his early years in Tanabe and family circumstances are not well documented. Our principal sources of information on this period of Morihei’s life are the biography of Morihei Ueshiba published by his son Kisshomaru in 1977, later interviews and conversations with the author, and a few pages from the first biography of the Founder written by Kanemoto Sunadomari in 1969. To this can be added the recollections of members and relatives of the Ueshiba and Inoue families.