Mar
18

“Koichi Tohei’s 10th dan Promotion” by Stanley Pranin

“What was the reason for the delay and did Morihei Ueshiba
actually authorize Tohei Sensei’s 10th dan promotion?”

Koichi Tohei, 1967. Photo courtesy of Jason Hirata

Koichi Tohei Sensei is one of aikido’s most famous instructors and was the head of the Aikikai Instructors Staff for many years prior to leaving the Aikikai. Tohei gained fame as one of aikido’s pioneers and was responsible for taking the art to Hawaii in 1953. He also authored numerous early books on aikido that greatly contributed to the early success of the art.

The subject of Tohei Sensei’s 10th dan promotion has generated quite a bit of controversy over the years. It seems that enough time has elapsed that access to source materials is scarce and therefore the rumor-mill has taken over and various speculations have been made.
[Read more...]

Mar
17

Recommended reading: “An Aikido Life, Part 2″ by Gozo Shioda

“You cannot say that you will never encounter situations where the strong bully the weak or where someone acts in an unjust manner or where you yourself are exposed to danger. If you ever find yourself in these types of situations, you may of course control the opponent using the aikido you have learned. However, you should never lose your temper out of hate for the enemy. If that happens, you will lose your pure mental state which is important in aikido and won’t be able to execute proper techniques.”

Aikido Journal Online has the world’s largest archive of Aikido-related material including articles, interviews, photographs and video clips. As an Aikido Journal Online subscriber you will have access to a variety of website resources reserved exclusively for members. These include:

  • Full access to the ever-growing Aikido Journal archives consisting of more than 650 articles.
  • Full access to Stanley Pranin’s “Encyclopedia of Aikido” featuring some 900 entries with over 200 rare photos.
  • Full access to an ever growing collection of technical and historical video clips featuring many of the best-known exponents of aikido, Daito-ryu aikijujutsu, and other arts.

Besides these advantages, by becoming an Aikido Journal Online subscriber, you help support our staff in its continuing work of researching and documenting the history of aikido, Daito-ryu aikijujutsu, and related martial arts.

Finally, we are pleased to offer two free gifts for those readers who subscribe or renew for two years. In an effort to avoid any duplication of gift items, we have expanded the options to choose from. Click here to find out more information about our subscription/renewal options.

Click here to read entire article.

Mar
16

Recommended reading: “Sokaku Takeda: Bodyguard in Hokkaido” by Tokimune Takeda

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.

Since I receive many inquiries concerning this subject, I would like to describe what really happened. Why did Sokaku Takeda, a famous martial art expert, choose to live in a backward region like Hokkaido instead of in the center of the country? It is quite natural for a question like this to be raised. About 1868, the colonial troop system was introduced with the object of developing Hokkaido and the traditional clan system was abolished. Thus, some samurai, having lost their jobs, established themselves in Hokkaido and were eager to develop the land. This northernmost island was a most suitable place for those who dreamt of making their fortunes overnight or for criminals to hide….

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Mar
16

Photo portfolio of 2nd Aikido Friendship Demonstration featuring Morihiro Saito, Gozo Shioda, Minoru Mochizuki, Yoshio Sugino, and Kenji Shimizu!

We have just uploaded 41 photos of the 2nd Aikido Friendship Demonstration held in Tokyo in 1986. This was a ground-breaking event featuring 5 of the leading aikido senseis of the day.

We are offering a special on this 2-DVD set which will remain in effect for a few more hours. Please hurry!

Click here for information and to order the 2nd Aikido Friendship Demonstration DVD set at the special price of $24.95 today only!

Click to view the demonstration photo album on Facebook

Mar
16

24-hour sale: “2nd Aikido Friendship Demonstration!”

Add this historic event featuring Aikido’s best to your collection during this special offer! See Morihiro Saito, Gozo Shioda, Minoru Mochizuki, Yoshio Sugino, and Kenji Shimizu in action!

Many of you have taken advantage of our weekly sales to build your library of aikido study materials. Our offering this week will quickly become one of the prizes of your collection. Let me tell you why… One of aikido’s most historic events took place in Tokyo in 1986, the 2nd Aikido Friendship Demonstration. Several of the art’s most significant figures appeared on the stage together for the first and only time. You will see and hear their detailed lecture-demonstrations complete with English translation.

Mar
16

“Photo of the Iwama Dojo after the Japan earthquake,” by Stanley Pranin

Italian Friend Francesco Corallini was kind enough to send this photo of the Iwama Dojo showing damage to the interior structure following the great Japan earthquake last week. The damage to the ceiling is clearly visible. The note accompanying the photo says that the extent of damage is greater than what appears to be the case.

It seems that the roof structure was heavily damaged. The original structure was built around 1943 and expanded in 1964, so the building is quite old and not constructed to withstand a disaster of this scale. We are told Doshu Moriteru Ueshiba will go to Iwama soon to assess the damage to the Iwama Dojo before deciding on a course of action.

Mar
15

Recommended reading: “Interview with Todd Jones” by Ikuko Kimura

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.

… [I]t’s a good observation because many people plateau. They stop challenging themselves. Unfortunately, many very talented Sensei fall into that trap. It’s easy to get lazy. One of the reasons, even at fifteen years old when I started aikido, I realized that gosh, this is really something I could do at eighty or ninety years old. So I knew that someday I would not be able to do side kicks seven feet in the air anymore, not that they are practical anyway, but because of the nature of aikido practice, you can do it your whole life. We’ve seen it many, many times. How many Tae Kwon Do or karate masters do we see doing kumite at eighty or ninety years old? You don’t. You see ippon kumite, you see kata, and that’s great, because they can still convey and teach the concepts that are necessary for their students. But it’s kind of like gymnastics… if you study gymnastics from the time you are three until you’re sixteen, unless you go to the Olympics, you’re pretty much done. In aikido that’s not true.”

[Read more...]

Mar
14

“News from Iwama following the Japan earthquake,” by Stanley Pranin

In checking various reports on the Internet, we have learned the following concerning the effects of the horrific earthquake of last week in Iwama. The Iwama Dojo built by Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba has been badly damaged with the collapse of the roof and walls of the dojo. Fortunately, no injuries have been reported. Doshu Moriteru Ueshiba is scheduled to inspect the dojo next week to decide on a course of action.

The home and dojo of Hitohiro Saito Sensei also suffered some damage, but the family are all safe. Hitohiro Sensei was in Florida when the earthquake struck and has not yet been able to return home.

Our prayers go out to the Japanese people and our aikido friends who have suffered so greatly as a result of this terrible catastrophe.

Anyone having further news is encouraged to post comments below as more information on the situation comes to light.

Mar
13

Recommended reading: “Kyoichi Inoue, Katsuyuki Kondo, and Kenji Ushiro at Aiki Expo 2002″

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.

During the first Aiki Expo held in Las Vegas in 2002, a fascinating interview among Kyoichi Inoue of Yoshinkan Aikido, Katsuyuki Kondo of Daito-ryu aikijujutsu, and Kenji Ushiro of Shindo-ryu Karate took place. Aikido Journal editor Stanley Pranin also participated:

I found the Americans and others gathered here very easy to work with, and many I thought were very skilled martial artists, too. Also, in Japan there are always vertical or hierarchical relationships, but people here in the U.S. don’t seem to worry so much about that sort of thing. Also unlike Japan, people here necessarily have strong concerns about their personal safety, and consequently they’re very serious about their budo studies. I think that’s probably one thing that contributes to the surprisingly high level of skill I’ve seen here. I was also very impressed to see so many truly skillful demonstrations by the various instructors gathered here at the Expo.

Aikido Journal Online has the world’s largest archive of Aikido-related material including articles, interviews, photographs and video clips. As an Aikido Journal Online subscriber you will have access to a variety of website resources reserved exclusively for members. These include:

  • Full access to the ever-growing Aikido Journal archives consisting of more than 650 articles.
  • Full access to Stanley Pranin’s “Encyclopedia of Aikido” featuring some 900 entries with over 200 rare photos.
  • Full access to an ever growing collection of technical and historical video clips featuring many of the best-known exponents of aikido, Daito-ryu aikijujutsu, and other arts.

Besides these advantages, by becoming an Aikido Journal Online subscriber, you help support our staff in its continuing work of researching and documenting the history of aikido, Daito-ryu aikijujutsu, and related martial arts.

Finally, we are pleased to offer two free gifts for those readers who subscribe or renew for two years. In an effort to avoid any duplication of gift items, we have expanded the options to choose from. Click here to find out more information about our subscription/renewal options.

Click here to read entire article.

Mar
12

“An Aikido Life, Part 1″ by Gozo Shioda

“I often hear people say that the Yoshinkan dojo is a rough school. I believe there is a misunderstanding concerning this point. Among those who practice aikido there are those who wish to master the art, or to develop their minds and bodies through aikido, and also those who want to practice just to improve their health. There are young men and women, children and also elderly people. But in all cases, students of the Yoshinkan have to practice repeatedly in order to master the basics of aikido.”

Aikido Journal Online has the world’s largest archive of Aikido-related material including articles, interviews, photographs and video clips. As an Aikido Journal Online subscriber you will have access to a variety of website resources reserved exclusively for members. These include:

  • Full access to the ever-growing Aikido Journal archives consisting of more than 650 articles.
  • Full access to Stanley Pranin’s “Encyclopedia of Aikido” featuring some 900 entries with over 200 rare photos.
  • Full access to an ever growing collection of technical and historical video clips featuring many of the best-known exponents of aikido, Daito-ryu aikijujutsu, and other arts.

Besides these advantages, by becoming an Aikido Journal Online subscriber, you help support our staff in its continuing work of researching and documenting the history of aikido, Daito-ryu aikijujutsu, and related martial arts.

Finally, we are pleased to offer two free gifts for those readers who subscribe or renew for two years. In an effort to avoid any duplication of gift items, we have expanded the options to choose from. Click here to find out more information about our subscription/renewal options.

Click here to read entire article.

Mar
12

“The Delusions of Self-Defense in Aikido,” by Marc Abrams

“I find the concept of ‘self-defense’ to be a thread of delusions wrapped around a core of fear and insecurity. Some people conveniently use this term to justify their distorted views of their world which can range wildly on a ‘fight-peace’ spectrum of possible responses to potential threats.

On one end of this spectrum we have those who view their world as dangerous. They perceive that the best way to survive is to be tough enough to deal with that threatening world. They tend to promote the ‘We must practice hard in intense encounters in order to to be able to use Aikido as a martial art. All that soft ki stuff is useless and crazy….’ The more macho, tougher, beat-up you become, the safer you become. People who practice like that over a long period of time end up with chronic injuries that prevent them from being able to continue to train in the manner that they are accustom to. They then tend to replicate that with the next generation and reminisce about the good old days and complain about how soft the next generation has become. They absolutely miss the proverbial boat in learning another way that is also effective, but allows you to still practice effectively in old age. Of course, they cannot ‘see’ this and instead talk about how the students are taking dives for that old person out of respect….”

Click here to read entire article.

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Mar
11

Recommended reading: “Interview with Morihiro Saito (2)” 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.

Aikido consists of taijutsu (body or weaponless techniques) and bukiwaza (weapon techniques) so we have to practice both. I have to teach at least the basic techniques from those the Founder left us. I am doing this because it is my duty to do so. It is more understandable for students if I explain multiple-attack techniques through the sword rather than taijutsu. I cannot explain and have them understand true Aikido well unless I explain the sword through taijutsu.

Aikido Journal Online has the world’s largest archive of Aikido-related material including articles, interviews, photographs and video clips. As an Aikido Journal Online subscriber you will have access to a variety of website resources reserved exclusively for members. These include:

  • Full access to the ever-growing Aikido Journal archives consisting of more than 650 articles.
  • Full access to Stanley Pranin’s “Encyclopedia of Aikido” featuring some 900 entries with over 200 rare photos.
  • Full access to an ever growing collection of technical and historical video clips featuring many of the best-known exponents of aikido, Daito-ryu aikijujutsu, and other arts.

Besides these advantages, by becoming an Aikido Journal Online subscriber, you help support our staff in its continuing work of researching and documenting the history of aikido, Daito-ryu aikijujutsu, and related martial arts.

Finally, we are pleased to offer two free gifts for those readers who subscribe or renew for two years. In an effort to avoid any duplication of gift items, we have expanded the options to choose from. Click here to find out more information about our subscription/renewal options.

Click here to read entire article.