Mar
11

“Reactions….,” by Steve Wildash

“‘A bit jumpy today aren’t we’ how many times did I hear that.. the usual sarcastic comment directed at me from classmates as a youngster.. having problems at that time with jumping out of my skin at the slightest thing, it was as though my flinch response was out of control, jumping away from anything vaguely threatening my reactions were in overdrive, whether I was just a very jumpy kid I don’t know, but I know it was embarrassing at times and didn’t really know what the cause was.. as time went on I grew slowly out of it, now it only occasionally rears its ugly head, like the times when my wife appears from nowhere right behind me just as I turn around causing a sharp intake of breath on my part followed by a few expletives.. must be those Ninja slippers I bought her last Christmas…”

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Mar
10

Free PDF: “The History and Content of Morihei Ueshiba’s 1938 technical manual “Budo”

“The book that vindicated the authenticity of Morihiro Saito’s technique!”

We have uploaded a PDF file of the complete introduction to “Takemusu Aikido Special Edition: Budo,” authored by Morihiro Saito, 9th dan.

This book is based on technical material contained in the technical manual entitled Budo published in 1938 by Morihei Ueshiba supplemented by detailed commentary by Morihiro Saito Shihan. The technical material in this volume includes preparatory exercises, basic techniques, knife (tantodori), and sword-taking techniques (tachidori), sword vs. sword forms (ken tai ken), mock-bayonet (juken) techniques, and finishing exercises (shumatsu dosa).

Takemusu Aikido Special Edition also features an essay by Aikido Journal Editor-in-chief Stanley Pranin on the history and background of the publication of Morihei Ueshiba’s prewar manual Budo containing newly-discovered findings!

Click here to download this informative essay on one of aikido’s most important historial documents.

This volume completes the “Takemusu Aikido” series of six books by Morihiro Saito, 9th dan.

Mar
10

“More Advice For Beginners,” by Nev Sagiba

Many people forget what it was like to start for the very first time. So many people would like to make a start, but out of either fear, timidity, unsureness, or a list of other reasons, never do.

If you made it past the wishing and hoping and perhaps occasionally enquiring, and have got as far as actually finding and visiting a dojo; CONGRATULATIONS!

That was the first test, “Grasshopper!” Your warrior spirit is showing! Make no mistake about it, whatever anybody says. Any Budo is a warrior yoga not to be taken lightly.

Highly recommended: Watch first. Watch attentively. EVALUATE. The second test of a warrior is to exercise the discernment muscles.

Are the people you see training sincere? Are they sleazy? Are they overtly competitive? Are they happy? Are they enjoying themselves? Are they brutal? Do they talk too much? Are they focused on what they are doing? Are they caring? Do they look safe or slovenly? How is the appearance of the dojo? What is the condition of the mats? Is healthy humor present? Or inappropriate levity? Are people intense or merely angry? Is the training kind or cruel?
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Mar
10

“Ki Meditation,” by Shinichi Tohei

“When our mind firmly sticks to something, we call that state of mind ‘obsession’. We obsess many times in our daily life.

Dwelling on our success in the past is one of our obsessions. The present day is the only time we can act, however, we often obsess with past successes and cannot see the future correctly.

Failure in the past is also an object of obsession. The important thing is to learn from the failure and continue until arriving at achievement without giving up. But we often obsess with the failure in the past and stop challenging ourselves in the present.”

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Mar
09

“Expanding and Refining the Notion of Self-defense” 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.

Self-defense can be defined as the protection of one’s life and/or property against an attack. In cases where people take active steps to safeguard themselves and their possessions, fear is often the strongest motivating factor. Take the example of a young man who decides to join a martial arts school or self-defense course. Most likely he is driven by apprehension due to some perceived vulnerability such as small physical size or weakness. Perhaps he has recently been the victim of an attack at the hands of a bully that has left him injured and humiliated in the eyes of his friends. As a teenager, I personally witnessed one such violent incident. Even though I was not the victim, the fear I felt at seeing the perpetration of violence at close hand proved to be the deciding factor in getting me to join an aikido dojo.

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Mar
09

“Cardio For the Martial Arts,” by Stephan Kesting

“Cardiovascular training can be a confusing topic and there are many different and divergent views on the subject. Different reputable sources inform us that you don’t need to do cardio – just spar really long rounds (for grappling), or that you should spar twice as many rounds as you are going to fight (boxing), or that you should do sprints, or do long runs, or lift weights for muscular endurance, etc. With so many ‘experts’, it is no wonder that the answer isn’t cut and dried.

I have my own beliefs and they seem to work fairly well for me. I noticed a couple of years ago that my techniques worked best and my sparring was sharpest not when I was stronger but rather when my ‘cardio’ was at its peak. Because I wasn’t getting winded in sparring, I was able to think and make coherent plans throughout the match. At the time I was running 3 or 4 times a week, for 20 to 50 minutes at a time, in preparation for the fire department entrance test.”

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Mar
08

“Distract, distract, distract!,” by Dan Prager

“Last night we spent the bulk of the class applying jiu-jitsu tactics to escaping from common holds: An exhaustive variety of wrist grabs, plus a few chokes.

The beauty of being grabbed is that you can feel exactly where your partner’s hand or hands are, and with a little sensitivity the rest of his or her body too. If (s)he moves you can sense that as well.”

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Mar
07

“A Simple Lesson in Body Mechanics,” by Christopher Caile

“A mistake made by many karate-ka and other martial artists is improper pelvis and hip alignment in their front leaning stance. Instead of the pelvis and hips being aligned naturally under the rest of the spine, the hips are pulled backward and out of line by the back leg. The problem is aggravated if the stance is long and low.”

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Mar
06

Recommended reading: “Interview with Koichi Tohei (4)” by Stanley Pranin

The interview below with the famous Koichi Tohei, aikido’s first 10th dan, 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 is the same for the character for person (hito). Its original meaning in Chinese, based on its shape (which shows two people leaning on each other) was to the effect that “people must rely on one another to get along in the world.” In Japanese we retain the readings nin and jin that approximate the original Chinese, but we also have the Japanese reading hito. Like mizukagami, the word hito existed in Japan prior to the introduction of Chinese characters. It comes from the classical language of Japanese spirituality, with a specific connection to the word naohi (direct spirit). The syllable hi expressed the spirit of the universe, and when this spirit coalesces into a physical form, you have hito (“spirit-stop”) – a person. The same applies to the word kokyu (breath); I teach my students to exhale with “haaah” sound and inhale with a “suuuh” sound-in other words, to use the more natural pronunciation instead of the words themselves. Whole-body breathing would be impossible if you tried to exhale with the sound “koooh” an inhale with the sound “kyuuuh” (i.e. kokyu).

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Mar
06

“Injuries,” by Rick Berry

“Today I received an email regarding sporting participants who get concussions. Attached was a ‘New York Times’ online article regarding this problem. This email was about the lack of reporting the seriousness of the injuries by the injured players. These were the star players who thought they would be sidelined if they showed the symptoms and likelihood of a concussion thereby letting their team down.

This problem should not arise for martial arts practitioners but I mention it for the simple reason that many young students practice organized sports in addition to martial arts. I’ve, on occasion, observed a macho streak running through much of organized sports and I call it the ‘win at all costs’ syndrome. And I remember that attitude as the primary cause of ‘Watergate.’”

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Mar
05

“Silent Pioneer: Shuji Maruyama Sensei, Kokikai Founder” by Gaku Homma

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.

Shuji Maruyama Sensei was on his way once again, this time to Seattle. We drove to the airport in the early morning light. The car was silent as he looked out the window, studying the passing scenery. Softly, almost to himself, he spoke. ‘The best thing about Denver is the clouds. Like that cloud over there. Look at it. It has the freedom to move, to change shape, to drift freely through the sky. That one looks like a dragon. It looks like it is alive. It has infinite freedom, freedom to move.’

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.

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Mar
05

“DISTANCE (mai-ai), Aikido and Life,” by Nick Engelen

“Once in a while we focus on self-defense. Most of the classes focused on the practice of the martial arts and now and then we mixed both traditional martial arts teaching with practical applications. This was going to be one of those classes.

In the changing room we all changed quickly and most of seemed upbeat and excited apart from Tony whose mind seemed far away. Rob asked: ‘What’s up Tony? You seem quite…’”

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