Archives for June 2011


“Self Preservation,” by Nev Sagiba

Which “self” is it that we are preserving in the event of an imminent threat?

The average Jo Blo simply follows his instincts, poor as these unconsciously accumulated millions of years of ancestral experience may be, he sometimes succeeds and at other times fails. He puts the outcome down to the mythical entity, “luck.”

The more sophisticated and virulently ill in the mind, tend to imagine threats that do not in fact exist and then set about complex and devious plans to harm the world to feed their unfounded fears. In so doing they succeed in manufacturing very real threats that did not previously exist. This does no one any favours.

Self-preservation, so called, is a valid instinct when it does not become rampant, predatorial and a harm causing pathological state addicted blindly to vampiric habit tendencies.

Conversely, the overly pious, in their imagination, have been heard to propound “self preservation” as somehow, “bad,” on the basis that there may be a measure of fearful roughness and discomfort involved. But when the chips are down, these have been noted, just like everybody else, to either seek to run, or to stand up and fight. Albeit mostly too late from lack of preparation.
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Recommended reading: “Hideo Ohba Biography (1)” by Fumiaki Shishida

The article below written by Waseda University Professor, Fumiaki Shishida, 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.

At that time Hideo decided to go to Tokyo to train at the Kodokan, and he would stay at his sister’s in Tokyo while he was there. The next year, 1931, he was promoted to nidan. In that same year, Kenji Tomiki, who was to become Hideo’s sensei for the rest of his life, took a job teaching public affairs at Kakunodate Middle School, and from that time Hideo enjoyed learning from him and was greatly influenced by him.

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Recommended reading: “Interview with Tokimune Takeda (1)” by Stanley Pranin

Tokimune Takeda (1916-1993), son of Sokaku TakedaThe 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.

Sokaku’s sword came from the traditional Onoha Itto-ryu. The first short sword technique in this art is the same as the first technique in Daito-ryu where you pin your opponent then thrust at and cut him. This technique was used only during the age of civil strife but Sokaku taught it as an important technique. Since he had practiced kenjutsu, he could easily turn his wrists. In order to cut your opponent, you need to set the blade of your sword in a specific position; you need to turn your sword this way. You receive your opponent’s sword with the back of your sword and then you turn your sword to cut him. This is not how you hit your opponent with a bokken, you know. Since a real sword has a sharp blade, you need to receive your opponent’s blade with the back of your sword.

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San Francisco Aikido Project with Christian Tissier, James Friedman, and Bruce Bookman next week

Welcome to the San Francisco Aikido Project seminar. June 22-26, 2011 will be the dates for our international Aikido summer camp. Our guest this year will be: Christian Tissier Sensei, 7th dan, from Paris, France and Bruce Bookman Sensei, Tenzan Aikido Kai-cho from Seattle. The seminar is hosted by James Friedman Sensei. The seminar will be held at Suginami Aikikai San Francisco, California. Aikidoists of all styles are welcome.


“Ukemi: The Basics and the Journey thus Far,” by Andrew

“Ukemi is one of the most important components of being an Aikido practitioner, it is also from my experiences with other teachers one of the most abstract – and consequently misunderstood – aspects of the martial art. I might expand on this in the future, but for now I’m going to share with you some of the insights that I have witnessed, experienced, failed at, and done in terms of Ukemi.

Ukemi is also the art of protecting oneself during the fall. You see all these spectacular turns, rolls, and falls by aikidoka and you may wonder: “It’s all flashy stuff, but it is real?” My friends, from the injuries that I’ve sustained from not doing ukemi, I will attest that it is quite real.”

Click here to read entire article


Video Trailer of Morihiro Saito’s “Aiki Ken and Aiki Jo” DVDs

Morihiro Saito, 9th dan, presents his Aiki Ken and Aiki Jo on DVD!

Our special for this week is the famous Aiki Ken and Aiki Jo DVD set by Morihiro Saito Sensei, 9th dan. These DVDs cover all of the basic Iwama weapons forms of the aikdo sword and staff curriculum as taught by Saito Sensei over a period of several decades. We offer this set at the special price of $24.95 for both the ken and jo DVDs, allowing all serious practitioners to build their video libraries.

Is the study of the Aiki Ken and Jo important to your progress?

There are a variety of schools of thought as to whether study of the Aiki Ken and Jo is essential to developing the well-rounded aikidoka. When making your personal decision, consider the following. Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba was very serious about his study of the ken and jo from his middle years onward. He considered knowledge of these weapons as a key component of “Takemusu Aiki,” the highest level of attainment in the art where one is capable of spontaneously executing techniques perfectly suited to the circumstances. Moreover, weapons practice strengthens the entire body, enhances hip stability and an understanding of maai (combative distance). Many who have not had access to aikido weapons training have sought to fill this gap by studying various outside systems such as iaido and classical Japanese weapons schools. Fortunately, aikido does include an elaborate weapons curriculum and these DVDs will open up a new dimension in your training. Highly recommended for every serious aikidoka!

Our affordably-priced “Weekly Specials” are intended to bring our extensive catalog of essential products on Aikido and its most significant figures within easy grasp of most devotees of the art. Your investment of $24.95 will be well spent and prove a continued source of study and inspiration!

Order This Week’s Special Offer Now!


Koichi Tohei, Aikido’s First 10th dan, and “Aikido With Ki”

Where did the aikido we practice today come from? A man who played a critical role in the gestation of modern aikido is Koichi Tohei. Today, Tohei Sensei is a forgotten name in many quarters, surely an unconscionable omission. Through his many books in both Japanese and English, and his extensive travels in Japan and the USA, Tohei Sensei left a permanent mark on the content and pedagogy of aikido during the postwar period.

Every bit of well-researched information concerning the art adds to your storehouse of knowledge, and makes you a more well-rounded aikidoka. The Koichi Tohei Sensei DVD may fill a gap in your understanding of how modern-day aikido came into being. Tohei Sensei was one of the most outstanding of the early teachers, yet you may know very little about him. Now you can easily remedy this situation by absorbing the contents of this information-packed DVD. You will begin to understand his vast contributions to the art, and get a first-hand look at his teaching methods and execution of aikido techniques.

Click here for more information and to order Koichi Tohei’s “Aikido With Ki” DVD

Peaks, Troughs and Intensity

The nature of the universe and existence consists of peaks, troughs and moments of intensity. Understanding this better, prepares you to navigate life, as it is.

The nature of battle is a more intensified and concentrated rendition of this universal principle. There will be quiet moments.

What you do during the quiet moments determines outcomes in battle per se.

Athletes understand this, apply it; and the better ones use it to successful outcomes. In life, we needs be spiritual athletes and warriors if we are to excel.

Preparation is everything. The longer the preparation, the better the result. The unprepared generally have much stress and embarrass themselves at the critical moment.

We’ve all heard the tale of the squirrel who stockpiled during summer and the fate of the one who played instead.

Swatting the day before the exam is a failed strategy; rather no strategy at all, but mere panic.

When the test comes, it should be, if not entirely happenstance, then certainly less stressful than if no preparation was in place.

Time is your friend. Use the quiet moments, in-between events, to refine and improve related skills and necessary tools wherewith to succeed.
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Video Blog: “Should Weapons be a Part of Aikido Training?” engenders lively discussion on Facebook

Stanley Pranin’s Video Blog: “Should Weapons be a Part of Aikido Training?” published yesterday has stimulated a great deal of discussion on this controversial topic on Facebook. The prevailing opinion seems to be that weapons form an important part of aikido training. Here is a sampling of the comments appearing there from aikido practitioners across the globe:

Ana Carolina Souto Maior
In my opinion, weapons training is as essential as training taijutsu for the development of Aikido. After I started training weapons seriously, I noticed the improvement of my taijutsu techniques. They are becoming stronger, more precise, true empowered with kokyu instead of strength. For me, there is no Aikido training without weapons.

Ken J. Good
Well done. Enjoyed the video and your presentation of the material.

Steff Miller
You can tell if someone has done weapons in the way the execute the techs and strikes.
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New DVD on O-Sensei’s Process by Robert Nadeau

O-Sensei Morihei Ueshiba, Founder of Aikido, represents the highest level of achievement in the art. His martial skills and spiritual attainment are a source of inspiration and example to everyone who practices the art.

His amazing skills are well documented in the many available films of his classes and demonstrations.

This DVD provides an outline of O-Sensei’s approach to training in a step-by-step process. It is a 40-minute compilation of a workshop given in Jan. 2011 by Robert Nadeau, 7th dan Aikido Shihan, a direct student of O-Sensei. Nadeau Sensei has worked over the past 50 years to present what he learned from O-Sensei in a clear and practical form.

This DVD outlines a process of orderly spiritual and daily life development using techniques practiced by O-Sensei himself.
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“Lessons from running and going barefoot with Vibram Five Fingers,” by The Martial Arts Guru

One of my aikido students, Brandon, has been wearing these shoes for two years. He has raved about them. I keep asking him to show me the bottom of his shoes to see how much they have worn. After two years, almost no wear! I’m just about ready to buy a pair myself!

“It only seems like yesterday that I was talking with a Yoga instructor about the strange looking shoes he was wearing. These shoes just so happen to be the increasingly popular Vibram Five Fingers! He was telling me about the benefits that he noticed by wearing them while teaching yoga, and I became intrigued to find out more information. I started doing research on Vibram, learning about their history in the sole making industry and just how these strange shoes came to be. The philosophy behind the idea of barefoot running made so much intuitive sense to me; why change something that nature has already proved to us over time? Think about it, why do we add extra stuff to our feet that will change our posture over time due to the un-natural interaction between us and the ground? This simply is not necessary!”

Click here to view entire article.


Recommended reading: “Remembering O-Sensei” by Fukiko Sunadomari

The article below by Fukiko Sunadomari, a close confidante of Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba, has been selected from the extensive archives of the Online Aikido Journal. It consists of an interview of several of the first students of Morihei Ueshiba of the “Ueshiba Juku” era in Ayabe in the 1920s. This was Morihei’s first dojo which catered mainly to believers of the Omoto religion, and was also attended by numerous naval officers who were enthusiastic students of Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu, the art O-Sensei was teaching at that time.

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.

When Kanemoto Sunadomari began work on his biography of Morihei Ueshiba he enlisted the help of his younger sister, Fukiko, in interviewing the many people whose lives had been touched by the Master. In this interview she joins Shigeo Sakurai, who was acquainted with O-Sensei during his days at Ayabe and Hidetaro Nishimura, a talented judoka who became one of O-Sensei’s uchideshi.

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