Seigo Yamaguchi: DVD clip now on Youtube!

Watch exciting video clip of Seigo Yamaguchi Sensei from new DVD on Youtube!

We are proud to offer the first publicly available DVD featuring famous Aikikai Hombu Dojo instructor, Seigo Yamaguchi. Yamaguchi Sensei was one of the most important of the first generation of aikido instructors of the postwar era. He taught at the Aikikai Hombu Dojo in Tokyo for several decades until his passing in 1996. Now nearly a legend, Yamaguchi Sensei influenced several generations of practitioners within the Aikikai system during his career including many of today’s senior instructors of the Headquarters school.

Yamaguchi Sensei’s aikido had a unique flavor that was appealing to thousands of aikidoka who came into contact with him during his long teaching career. His style was characterized by a powerful, spontaneous technique adapted freely to rapidly changing circumstances. His movements ranging from soft to explosive must be seen to be appreciated. The present video represents a rare look at Yamaguchi Sensei in his prime during a seminar held in Paris, France in 1987. Now aikido practitioners everywhere will have an opportunity to experience his instruction and superlative technique for the first time ever!

This outstanding program is available with complete subtitles in English and French for greater accessibility to an international audience.

Click here for further information and to order the DVD.

Check out these action photos below for a glimpse of this wonderful seminar content!

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  1. Alister Gillies says:

    This an excellent DVD of a man with a unique talent who influenced many of today’s Aikido teachers. The DVD clearly shows how Yamaguchi’s style of Aikido underpins the Aikido of many notable Aikidoists practicing and teaching today, including Senseis Endo, Tissier, Gleason, Takeda,Yamashima, Walther….etc. The film provides brilliant examples of the relationship between spontaneous and basic techniques, and the importance of posture, centre, connection, and relaxation. I would recommend this film to anyone practicing Aikido. If there is more film of Yamaguchi Sensei out there, please don’t keep it hidden for another twenty years!

  2. …may have to have this. I have very faint memory of an Osawa Sensei seminar I attended in SF, maybe 1975, and this is reminiscent…

  3. craig tolbert says:

    I’ve done aikido for almost 20 years and I cannot understand why practice of this nature is celebrated. The utter lack of realism in demos of this nature only decreases the already low opninion of aikido in the market today. There is a limit to the value of uke participation. Going along with a technique for safety or to help nage learn may be necessary, but uke just standing around looking at nage is ridiculous and everyone outside mainstream aikido can see that. Is the goal of aikido to learn a usuable defense or to learn circus tricks? We’ve seen what happens when the “trained” animal tires of pretending and gets down to some real business with his trainer. If O’Sensei stressed the importance of atemi and movement, why don’t you see them in today’s “masters” waza? If O’Sensei’s opinions are are no longer valued, can you even call this aikido? This isn’t brilliant, it’s hokum.

  4. This DVD is definitely vintage Yamaguchi Sensei. I attended his classes in Hombu Dojo, 30 years ago. Short of actually getting thrown around by him, this DVD gives you the feeling of being in his class. Regardless of style, anyone who is serious about having a well rounded aikido education can’t afford to ignore this DVD. Whether or not his brand of aikido is your personal preference, Yamaguchi Sensei was a major influence on modern day aikido. Watching this DVD is like being a fly on the wall at Hombu Dojo.

    Bruce Bookman
    Tenzankai Aikido

  5. To Mr TOLBERT

    I understand your position if you never had opportunity of training with Yamaguchi sensei, or some of his students -now masters themselves-, it´s logical you have that opinion.

    My sensei, SAKANASHI Masafumi, was student of Yamaguchi sensei in Japan, co-student of Yasuno sensei, Takeda sensei, Sensei Tissier and Sobue sensei.

    I can tell you that kind of practice is possible, and real. I felt it several times with my sensei in my fifteen years of practice.

    Hope you had sometime the chance to feel it. You will not forget it.

  6. Mr. Tolbert has hit the nail of the head. Thinking that having people run at you with basically no “attack” and then applying a technique is just silly. These types of “demonstrations” are the reason people all over the world think Aikido is ridiculous. Unless you can deal with puches, kicks, takedowns, etc. being thrown at you, not is a stylized way, and from that apply your technique then you are wasting your time. These so-called “masters” are propped up for cultural and lineage reasons. As O-Sensei said 80% hitting 20% throwing. This video AIKIDO? NO.

  7. Since everyone’s entitled to an opinion… here’s mine. This is a fabulous video and Yamaguchi was a remarkable teacher. A lot can be learned by carefully watching this video. Not all viewers have had an opportunity to feel this kind of training, take this kind of ukemi, or realize just how compelling this kind of movement is from uke’s perspective. Yamaguchi understood principles of aiki that go back to Takeda Sokaku but are uncommon in much aikido today.

  8. bruce baker says:

    Watch .. how he uses his entire body … uses good form .. maintains martial awareness.

    One must STUDY every practitioner, every teacher you come across in your aikido journey, and figure out why each type of human body uses certain techniques that work for their structural/ physical human body against another human being’s structural/ physical human body.

    As part of your library … I would recommend it, but for some of the “over the top” printed advertisement comments .. I wish reality would set in for you Bozo’s.

    There are a LOT Of great teachers out there, and maybe they don’t all exhibit perfect classic aikido techniques all the time, but you take what you can from each one. STEAL their best instruction, their best performance techniques, or at least … keep a video library and .. you would be surprised what you learn over the years.

    Fact is .. nobody, not even the founder, can be perfect in everything they teach, so you take what you can from each instructor, and try to make it the best you can for what you can possibly do.

    Watch how he starts movement with his entire body, even though he hides it so well with a somewhat stiff upright stance as he keeps so much of the structural martial arts stance-integrity in his techniques. I give him a B+ to A- for what I quickly saw in the clips. Well-worthwhile adding this video to your library of classic Aikido forms and techniques.

  9. steve kwan says:

    The purpose of “kata practices”; “techniques application trainings”; “drills”; “demonstrations” ; “decades of hard trainings ” ; ” free style sparrings ” etc. in all kind of martial arts (including Aikido) are to prepare you to have a better chance to fight, and survive. No less, no more, no guarantee. All kinds of martial arts open a door for those who are interested to practice and train, physically, mentally and spiritually but everyone walks his/her own path, reach his/her own destiny. Martial arts demonstrations are not real fights (who wants to be seriously injured or mortally wounded ?) Real fights are not meant to be demonstrations. By watching martial arts demonstrations to decide which fighting system is best or most effective is like looking in the mirror, by seeing yourself in the reflection of the mirror, you believe that you know a lot about yourself, but do you ?

  10. Gene Martinelli says:

    Without a doubt Yamaguchi Sensei’s was the real deal, simply taking a look at the instructors he taught alone should be convincing enough.

    If you get what your seeing, your Aikido has a chance to improve dramatically. At some point working on this improvement you too can have people look surprised at how easy your uke seems to be thrown.

  11. As some one who is new to Aikido and has a deep respect for its heritage, discipline and self control of body mind and emotions I’m truly surprised that such childish bickering over a DVD by ‘mature masters’ who I’m supposed to take my example from as a ???? Well, maybe I’m in the wrong discipline. Perhaps I need to research other forms before I place my trust and the remainder of my life into the hands of immature power hungry ego driven children.

  12. Hello Andy,

    Your point is well taken, and, without speaking for others, I feel a bit diminished by the immature, misguided and self serving opinions of others on matters beyond their ability to appreciate fully and enjoy.

    Respect, trust and genuine regard for the feelings of others are key ingredients to maintaining a healthy and long lasting relationship. Losing any one damns the whole.

    In life, we constantly observe the rash, ill conceived and spiteful attempts to denigrate matters, figures and principles others hold dear and sacred. We always find ways to overlook such negativity, and hold true to the essential value and worth of such targets of insensitivity. It is my hope that you, and others rightly outraged, can see and move beyond the petty examples of humanity we all witness.

    My dealings with Yamaguchi Shihan likewise included different viewpoints of the man, his art and his undeniably important contributions to the respect and regard others have for Aikido. He was just as fallible as the next person, and his foibles are right up their with his magnificence in Budo for all to see and learn from.

    Let us not be so prone to shoot the messengers of Aiki, but to glean all we can from the attempt by these amazing human beings to keep the Founder’s legacy and vision ever fresh and vibrant in our eyes.

  13. Craig, Unless you can see you won’t see…..
    Keep practising, sooner or later you’ll see…. Maybe?

  14. señor tolbert: si ud quiere realismo , vea en la calle como matan a una persona solo a 10 metros de distancia con un arma de fuego para robarle dinero o simplemente por nada.El aikido tan hermoso que tengo la suerte que la vida me dio para practicar es UN ARTE para enrriquecerlo, para descubrirse a si mismo y como decia O’sensei para cortar con el sable aiki el ego que nos ensombrece.Lamento que usted este orientando su aikido solo hacia afuera, se esta perdiendo mucho solo ha creado el embase! a mi modo de ver deberia llenarlo aprendiendo de los maestros, pero principalmente confiando en usted mismo!.No lo tome a mal, disfrutelo.SALUDOS OMAR.

  15. David Hood says:

    And here I thought that everything we do is a journey. As such – there is no end to this process.
    It would appear some have already arrived at their destination ( in life and maybe Aikido as well)- as their views would seem to be so concrete, that accepting that others DON’T want what THEY have attained – seems to be impossible for them to understand.
    I don’t want to be such a hard-arse martial practitioner every waking hour of the day. But – I am content to be one – WHEN the time arises.
    My martial art therefore reflects that – and my demonstrations as well.
    Please – continue to believe what you will – that your martial art is better – stronger – faster – more effective – more real.
    Some how – I don’t think O’sensei would have been very impressed with that opinion.
    Nor am I.

  16. David Hood says:

    P.S. Graig
    I don’t actually necessarily disagree with the sentiment of your post – as I too have uttered such offerings in the past. (but generakly about my own students / my own techniques) sigh!!
    But that is a great vid of Yamaguchi Sensei
    Can I see one of yours?
    No – no-one will ever see mine :)

  17. Brett Jackson says:

    Well-said, David (referring specifically to the first post, “And here I thought….”

  18. Since everyone’s entitled to an opinion… here’s mine. This is a fabulous video and Yamaguchi was a remarkable teacher. A lot can be learned by carefully watching this video. Not all viewers have had an opportunity to feel this kind of training, take this kind of ukemi, or realize just how compelling this kind of movement is from uke’s perspective. Yamaguchi understood principles of aiki that go back to Takeda Sokaku but are uncommon in much aikido today.
    My Page : Roth IRAs

  19. Jack Hosie says:

    The essence of aikido is “aiki” without aiki, their can be no musubi, without musbi, their can be no awase, without these three essential elements, aikido has to performed in a tori/uke cooperative/partnership, i.e. the run around/fall down game, which so often belittles aikido, to the level of a circus clown act.

    I did not know Yamaguchi sensei, but I have experienced his said legacy at the hombu dojo, to be honest it was not what I expected or hoped for, nor am looking for.

    Ueshiba sensei said. Do not criticize any other martial art. The mountain does not laugh at the river because it is lowly, nor does the river speak ill of the mountain because it cannot move about. Everyone has his own characteristics and gains his own position in life.

    Good advice I think in these days for keyboard warriors of unparalleled ability.

  20. Brett Jackson says:

    Well said, as usual Mr Hosie. Glad to see you posting! Liked the comment you left at the end of the other blog as well (the “Hocus Pocus” blog). REally like the analogy about the mountain and the river. I wish more of us would take that to heart. I’m disappointed by all the criticisms (of others) we see and the lack of humility. Direct criticism is like force against force, where is the “ai(ki)”?

  21. The first years of practicing Aikido Techniques was a most wonderful and exciting learning experience. We practiced very regularly and intensely. We were only several Kyu level members in the hands of some of Australia’s most experienced and powerful Black belts and Sensei. At second Kyu level and after 8years of training I had a good grounding in the Basic Aiki-Kai Grading syllabus and I developed a powerful technique and physique. Later, Sensei departed Australia. I was invited to a seminar with a senior sensei from Yamaguchi Shihan Dojo. That day was a turning point in my practice of Aikido and my understanding took on a different curve. After the Seminar Sensei approached me with the usual questions, how I felt and how I liked the seminar. After I complimented the practice, he said that I had quite a muscular looking body for a small man, and must have practiced martial arts very hard. I then thanked him, feeling pretty good about my self. Then he said, “If I continued training with him, he would take away all my big muscles”. After 27 years of training with him, he did take away those muscles I was so aware and proud of. Never the less, he instilled in me a line of Aikido I find so liberating and free, that what ever I do and say, seems to fits in well with my day and practice. Although I never met the man personally, I hold the line from Yamaguchi shihan Dojo so very dear to my heart.

  22. Brett Jackson says:

    That’s a great story and very well said!

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