Mar
04

“The heart against the sword,” by André Nocquet

“This injunction of the Japanese Grandmaster Morihei Ueshiba, the founder of Aikido, is incontestably relevant for men and women of the entire world. It is urgent to meditate about it at a moment when everywhere around us, violence extends its ravages. It savagely opposes peoples, ethnicities, religions and nations. After the horrors of two World Wars and the atrocities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, wars keep raging on, propagating never ending killings, child mutilations, tearing of families, senseless massacres, destruction and vandalizing. The worst of it all is that violence penetrates even up to schools where children kill and injure teachers, supervisors and even comrades for no reasons.”

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Mar
03

“Death and Dying in the Dojo,” by The Senior Samurai

“Japanese warrior folklore says that samurais were warriors who woke each morning saying, ‘Today is a good day to die.’ While they meant it literally, the rest of us might benefit from some sort of reminder to stay in our day. But in this culture, the recognition that any day could be our last is considered kind of a downer. We certainly don’t want to wake up thinking that this would be a good day to die. We seem to prefer things like, ‘Where’s the coffee?’ or ‘What do I need to do today’ or ‘Maybe I should call in sick.’”

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Mar
02

Recommended reading: “Founder of Aikido (24): Omoto Affair, Prelude and Repercussions” 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.

This series of major changes within the organization brought the founder an official role as “Head of Agricultural Affairs.” This Office of Agricultural Affairs was in a position to regulate everything pertaining to the physical aspects of life at Omoto, food, clothing, and housing, and was also responsible for correcting the terrible state of economic affairs. This was to be achieved by a sort of “boot straps” effort at making the organization self-supporting. The founder applied himself single-mindedly to clearing new field land, since Omoto adhered to a strict vegetarianism, and supplying enough vegetables to meet their needs was a persistent problem. Here the experiences of the founder during the opening of Shirataki village were put to good use…

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Mar
02

“Hard to fight what you’ve never seen,” by Sean Ingvard Ashby

“One of the greatest potential weaknesses of any martial art is the fact that it’s hard to fight what you’ve never seen before. The Gracie family proved that quite effectively when they took every kind of fighter who signed up for the UFC and took them to the ground. Virtually no other style ever spent time on the ground, so the jiu-jitsu folks had a field day once they got down there.

Aikido is like that. No ground game whatsoever. Our particular school or ryu or whatever has a supplementary system of very basic, self-defense ideas for aikidoka because our organization historically has also been involved with judo as well. It works pretty well against people without much training should things degrade to a ground fight. Against a trained grappler, however, you’re more or less toast.”

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Mar
02

24-hour sale! O-Sensei-s “Way of Harmony” + “Noriaki Inoue: Aikido’s Forgotten Pioneer”

We offer you another outstanding opportunity with this week’s special sale. It features one of the finest DVDs of Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba, “Way of Harmony,” plus an eye-opening retrospective on O-Sensei’s nephew, Noriaki Inoue. Both are available for the price of $24.95, a phenomenal offer available for 24 hours!

O-Sensei’s “Way of Harmony” includes several of the finest surviving clips of the Founder of Aikido. You will witness the sophistication and subtlety of the Founder’s aikido and comprehend the high-level potential inherent in the art.

Who is Noriaki Inoue? He’s the man whose existence establishment historians have actively sought to obscure. Why? Because his role in the early phase of the development of aikido was so critical, and because of personal and family issues that emerged over the years. From the period of around 1914 through 1935, wherever Morihei was, Inoue was there at his side playing a pivotal role.

What is Inoue’s aikido like? Some consider him on a par with his famous uncle Morihei. That good? Yes, that good. You can be the judge when you see him in action.
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Mar
02

“Another Aikido Stamp,” by Clark Bateman

These scans depict last year’s issue by the Republic of Togo of a commemorative martial arts postage stamp set of four. As you can see, O’Sensei is in good company in this set. Other than the “Disneyfied” cartoon stamp from Antigua and Barbuda that I ran here a few years back, I believe this the only other legitimate Aikido stamp in print. It certainly is a more dignified issue. I can’t help but wonder as I look at the “action drawing ” on the stamp whether somebody “borrowed” a Pat Hendricks photo to make that drawing… Hmmm…

Below is the block of four commemorative stamps depicting Morihei Ueshiba, Masutatsu Oyama of Kyokushin Karate fame, Choi Hong Hi of Taekwondo, and Jigoro Kano of Judo:

Mar
01

“Uke for formal demonstrations,” by Patrick Parker

“In our club and many associated clubs, there is a mostly-unspoken rule that when someone does a rank demo, their uke should be about their same level or perhaps slightly lower in rank. Whenever possible, we tend to do rank demos with pairs of people advancing to the same rank. There are several potential benefits to this practice…

* It provides a preview of what is to come for the lower-ranked uke.
* It gives the students a sense of solidarity or comradere to have gone through a demonstration together.
* It might provide a more realistic demonstration to not have a super-uke jumping for the testee.”

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