Apr
30

“Trajectories of Intention,” by Nev Sagiba

Where the unclear mind sees only form, lucidity notices trajectories of intention. This enables interception.

Ki flows through conduits of ki such as limbs or weapons. It cannot easily or functionally travel where it is not easy for it to do so.

But what is Ki? What is intention?

Without intention a human cannot generate action.

In-depth-back-up adjusts to contingencies and that’s the way nature works. The universe is not either flat or linear.

The options of potential are almost infinite in possibility.

Because milliseconds count in life and death situations, arts such as iaido are not stage fetishes on how to look impressive, but rather practice in optimizing efficiency in a single moment, which if lost, the opportunity is gone forever. A practical means of capitalizing on the draw where milliseconds count to make the difference between life and death.
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Apr
29

“An Overview of Aikido History,” by Stanley Pranin

“It is difficult to appreciate the uniqueness of modern aikido without an understanding of its extraordinary founder, Morihei Ueshiba. This innovative man presents a challenge to historians not simply because he lived in an earlier age very different from our own-he was unusual even for his time and cultural context. His esoteric views were heavily influenced by the doctrines of the Omoto religion and are barely comprehensible to modern Japanese. The challenge faced by foreign aikido devotees who hope to absorb the founder’s philosophy is made even greater by the formidable barrier of the Japanese language. The task would be seemingly hopeless were it not for the aikido techniques themselves, which offer everyone an avenue of approach to the essence of the art, irrespective of language or culture.”

Click here to read the entire article.

This article is excerpted from “Takemusu Aikido: Background and Basics,” by Morihiro Saito and Stanley Pranin. It forms part of this week’s special which also includes Saito Sensei’s DVD “Lost Seminars, Part 1.” This DVD/book combination will take you step-by-step through scores of aikido basics, providing you with specific hints on the do’s and don’ts of proper technique. The availability of these outstanding materials is your opportunity to make a giant leap forward in your aikido training.

Click here for more information and to order Morihiro Saito’s Sensei’s book “Takemusu Aikido: Background and Basics” and DVD “Lost Seminars, Part 1″ at the special price of $29.95, yours this week only!

Apr
28

Recommended reading: “Interview with Shigenobu Okumura” 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.

Mr. Tomiki was actually recruited from the Kobukan Dojo to go to Manchuria by Hideki Tojo. Tojo had become the provost marshal of the Guangdong Army sometime before Kenkoku University was established. Mr. Tomiki came to Manchuria and set up the Tomiki Dojo in Daiyagai. He was the Manchukuo government’s official aiki bujutsu teacher at Daido Gakuin and also an instructor to the military police. Kenkoku University was established a little later, in 1938, and from then on Hideo Oba taught the military police while Mr. Tomiki went to Kenkoku University as an assistant professor. At that point he was still teaching aikido as he had learned it from Ueshiba Sensei, in other words, without the competitive matches he later introduced.

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Apr
28

Book Review of Morihiro Saito’s “Takemusu Aikido, Volume 1,” by Robert Noha

“The newly revised and reissued “Takemusu Aikido, Volume 1: Background & Basics” by the late Morihiro Saito and Stanley Pranin is a significant addition to anyone’s Aikido technical library.

This review will provide an overview of the book and compare the first printing in 1994 with the just released 2007 printing.

One of the many enhancements in the new printing are the numerous photos that highlight Aikido history and the roles of O-Sensei and Saito Sensei in creating and spreading the art. The clarity of all the photos is much improved over the 1994 printing.

The introductory section provides useful background material on the principles and history of Aikido that gives context to the technical chapters.”

Click here to read the entire review.

For this week, our special offer consists of Saito Sensei’s “Takemusu Aikido: Background & Basics,” the subject of this book review, and “Lost Seminars, Part 1.” This DVD/book combination will take you step-by-step through scores of aikido basics, providing you with specific hints on the do’s and don’ts of proper technique. The availability of these outstanding materials is your opportunity to make a giant leap forward in your aikido training.

Click here for more information and to order Morihiro Saito’s Sensei’s book “Takemusu Aikido: Background & Basics” and DVD “Lost Seminars, Part 1″ at the special price of $29.95, yours this week only!

Apr
27

Recommended reading: “Interview with Yukiyoshi Sagawa” by Stanley Pranin

The article below with Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu master, Yukiyoshi Sagawa, 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.

The term “Aiki” is a very old one. It was used from the Meiji period. This is a memo book my father used for writing down notes on techniques he learned from Takeda Sensei. Here you see the phrase “execute Aiki (written in katakana),” in several places. This entry was made on May 14, 1913. My father was 50 years old and Takeda Sensei was in his 55th year at that time. So the term “Aiki” was also in use before the period you refer to. Takeda Sensei would make a distinction between “Aiki Jujutsu” and “Jujutsu” when he was teaching.

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Apr
27

Gallery of screenshots from Morihiro Saito’s “Lost Seminars, Part 1!

Please have a look at this excellent selection of 35 screenshots we have uploaded to our Facebook page from Morihiro Saito Sensei’s “Lost Seminars, Part 1.” This together with his book “Takemusu Aikido: Background and Basics” comprises the two products of our special sale for this week!

Album of screenshots from Morihiro Saito’s “Lost Seminars, Part 1″ on Facebook!

“What are the essential elements of correct aikido practice? A good command of basic technique surely tops the list of requirements. That’s where this week’s special comes in… Morihiro Saito Sensei, 9th dan–one of aikido’s most highly regarded technicians and teachers–systematically covers many of the art’s basic techniques for you with his “Lost Seminars” DVD and “Takemusu Aikido” book series.

This time, our special consists of Saito Sensei’s “Lost Seminars, Part 1, and “Takemusu Aikido: Background & Basics.” This DVD/book combination will take you step-by-step through scores of aikido basics, providing you with specific hints on the do’s and don’ts of proper technique.”

Click here for more information and to order Morihiro Saito’s Sensei’s DVD “Lost Seminars, Part 1″ and book “Takemusu Aikido: Background & Basics” at the special price of $29.95!

Apr
24

Masterful Presentation of Aikido’s Fundamentals by Morihiro Saito!

What are the essential elements of correct aikido practice? A good command of basic technique surely tops the list of requirements. That’s where this week’s special comes in… Morihiro Saito Sensei, 9th dan–one of aikido’s most highly regarded technicians and teachers–systematically covers many of the art’s basic techniques for you with his “Lost Seminars” DVD and “Takemusu Aikido” book series.

This time, our special consists of Saito Sensei’s “Lost Seminars, Part 1, and “Takemusu Aikido: Background & Basics.” This DVD/book combination will take you step-by-step through scores of aikido basics, providing you with specific hints on the do’s and don’ts of proper technique.

During his instruction, Saito Sensei constantly refers to the techniques and principles emphasized by Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba. Learning in this way, you will be tied in to the art’s roots, and be assured of the authenticity of the practice methods being taught.

Click here to order Morihiro Saito’s Sensei’s DVD “Lost Seminars, Part 1″ and book “Takemusu Aikido: Background & Basics” at the special price of $29.95!

Apr
24

“Vigilance,” by Nev Sagiba

The average person of weak resolve is predisposed to celebrating a perceived victory.

This is because understanding is bereft of the fact that victory makes you vulnerable. Particularly when such occurs at the expense of another, as history consistently reveals, everyone has ultimately lost. But sometimes reprisals come quickly.

True victory is inclusive and a paradigm where all win and then sustain. Ultimate victory is an ordinary thing in the universe as the universe does not act against its own interests which are all inclusive. Relative victory and loss are trivial matters only important to small minds, fragmented and separated from the source that temporarily provides their life-breath.

Ultimate victory is where all life wins without victims being exploited. This is a rare skill on this earth. There are no “others.” There is only us.
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Apr
22

“Morihiro Saito’s Aikido Bible!” by Stanley Pranin

While living in Iwama, Japan in 1981, I conducted an interview with one of the few remaining prewar students of Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba, a man named Zenzaburo Akazawa. During the course of our conversation, Mr. Akazawa pulled out an old book full of photos of a young Morihei Ueshiba demonstrating martial techniques. I had no inkling that such a book even existed!

Knowing that this was a major discovery, I asked everything I could think of about the book’s origin and purpose. Mr. Akazawa informed me that this training manual was published privately in 1938 and was given to a limited number of Founder Morihei Ueshiba’s top students and patrons. It also served the purpose of providing income for the dojo which, at that time, was in poor financial condition because of the depletion of its ranks due to an intensification of the war effort.

What are the contents of Budo, the title of this technical primer, and why is it so important? The manual consists of 50 techniques demonstrated by Morihei Ueshiba, with one to three photos used for each. The techniques depicted include many basic techniques from the Aiki Budo period that are surprisingly modern in character. Also, included are numerous weapons techniques using the sword (ken), staff (jo), and training bayonet (juken). The emphasis on the latter techniques is certainly a reflection of the times.

Mr. Akazawa was gracious enough to allow me to borrow the book. When I had finished the interview, I headed directly over to Morihiro Saito Sensei’s house nearby. I could hardly contain my excitement at having found such an amazing document! To my great surprise, Saito Sensei had neither seen nor heard of this little book and he was obviously delighted as he turned the pages of Budo and scanned its contents with an expert eye.

This manual turned out to be very important to Saito Sensei because it provided irrefutable evidence that the techniques he was teaching at the Iwama Dojo were indeed a faithful representation of what he had learned from the Founder. It enabled him to deflect criticism often directed at him that he had created a “Saito-style” aikido that was a marked departure from Morihei’s technique. He could now shake his finger at his critics and say, “I’m teaching exactly what I was taught by O-Sensei in Iwama and here is the proof!”

This did not entirely silence his critics, but anyone taking a good look at Budo could not help but acknowledge the close resemblance between what Saito Sensei was teaching and the techniques demonstrated by Morihei in the book. Moreover, Budo provides ample evidence that the Aikido Founder attached great importance to weapons practice as an essential part of aikido training, a matter of controversy even today with the Aikikai Hombu Dojo taking the position that weapons practice is but an adjunct to the taijutsu techniques of aikido.

The above will serve as a preface for a story I have never written about before that might be of interest to our readers. Knowing the significance of this book, I succeeded in convincing Saito Sensei to demonstrate all of the techniques of Budo in front of a video camera. The opportunity arose while we were in Italy in 1987 conducting a seminar sponsored by Paolo Corallini Sensei. Paolo was inviting Saito Sensei regularly every year and would record the seminars using the services of a professional videographer.

Paolo fully supported the project and engaged the cameraman for a full day of shooting. It was an ambitious project as Saito Sensei had to read aloud the entire text of Budo and then demonstrate each technique, one by one. This was only part of the labor involved. Allow me to elaborate.

Only some of the techniques in the book had names associated with them. Since it would make for an awkward presentation to show techniques with no names, I sat down with Saito Sensei for a planning session where I gently “coerced” him into coming up with terminology for these “nameless” techniques. At one point, Sensei–hardly the literary type–became frustrated and exclaimed he couldn’t think of names for several of the techniques. Still I pushed him so that we could finish this part of the project in the limited time remaining. Finally, he exclaimed in exasperation, “Pranin, you name the techniques!”

What was I to do now? Even being a foreigner with a reasonable command of Japanese, this was beyond my level of competency and I found myself in quite a pickle! I tried as best I could to calm him down by reassuring him that we were “almost done,” how this book “proved the authenticity of his aikido,” and that we should “think about how important this project was for future generations of aikidoka.” He continued grumbling, but we somehow managed to come up with acceptable names for every technique in the book. Whew!

What more than twenty years ago seemed a huge, tiring task, has proven in retrospect to be a landmark event in the documentation of the evolution of aikido technique.

I have only sketched a few details here about Budo and its widespread impact following its discovery. I have written about it extensively elsewhere should you wish to research the subject further.

Just to remind AJ readers, for the duration of this week, we are offering a sale of Morihiro Saito’s book and DVD that explain in detail all of the 50 techniques of O-Sensei’s “Budo” book. This is an excellent opportunity to obtain these wonderful instruction materials that will give you the keys to significantly improve your aikido practice.

Click here for more information on the Book and DVD offer and to order.

Apr
21

Aikido Training in Las Vegas

Aikido Journal Editor Stanley Pranin is conducting regular classes in Las Vegas on Mondays and Thursdays, 7:00-8:30 pm.

The home dojo is located near the South Point Casino and Iwama Aikido is the style practiced. If you live in the area or are a visitor and would like to stop by you may contact us as described below:

- Go to the following link: http://www.aikidojournal.com/askaway
- Select the “Aikido Training in Las Vegas” topic from the drop-down menu
- Write a brief resume of your aikido training background, if any, describe your training goals, mention the area of town you live in, and provide an email and contact telephone number. We will contact each interested person and arrange a meeting to go over our training procedures and answer any questions you might have.

Apr
21

Historical context for “Budo”: “Kobukan Dojo Era, Part 2,” by Stanley Pranin

When Morihei Ueshiba’s technical manual “Budo” appeared in 1938, he was well advanced in his development of the forms that soon would emerge as modern aikido. Since this book is of such pivotal importance to an understanding of what Morihei’s techniques were like in the late prewar era, we think it appropriate to provide readers with some historical background concerning the events surrounding its publication.

Budo contains 50 pages and is divided into two parts: an essay on “The Essence of Techniques,” and a second part presenting 50 techniques demonstrated by Morihei through photographs. The material covered includes preparatory exercises, basic techniques, knife and sword-taking techniques, sword vs. sword forms, mock-bayonet techniques, and finishing exercises. Budo is the only written work in which the founder personally appears demonstrating techniques.”
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Apr
20

“An Aikido Life, Part 9,” by Gozo Shioda

“To resume the thread of my story, Ueshiba Sensei and the three of us finally arrived at the house of Razan Hayashi which was our destination as I mentioned before. When we settled down after cleaning the house, Ueshiba Sensei admonished us with the following words: “We are going to lead an ascetic life for 20 days starting today. During this period we will eat meals consisting of one kind of soup and a serving of fish or vegetables and rice. We are also going to train at night. So get yourselves in the right frame of mind.””

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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