Nov
22

Video: Rinjiro Shirata, 9th dan, at the 1986 All-Japan Aikido Demonstration

Rinjiro Shirata was born in 1912 in Yamagata Prefecture. He was from a family of Omoto believers whose mother practiced Aiki Budo at a dojo of the Budo Senyokai in Japanese-occupied Manchuria. Shirata Sensei joined Morihei Ueshiba’s Kobukan Dojo in 1933. He was known for his exceptional physical strength. Shirata was later dispatched to Osaka where he taught until his induction into the Japan Imperial Army. He resumed teaching aikido c. 1960 in Yamagata continuing until shortly before his death. Shirata supervised publication of the 1984 book in English, Aikido: The Way of Harmony by John Stevens.

In this demonstration that Shirata Sensei gave at the All-Japan Aikido Demonstration in 1986, he first reads aloud a scroll containing a poem in praise of Morihei Ueshiba O-Sensei written by the religious leader Masahisa Goi. This is followed by a free-style sword kata that includes elements of sword movements practiced by O-Sensei in the prewar period. Shirata Sensei next demonstrates a series of jo kata of his own creation. The finale consists of multiple attacks by four opponents wielding the jo and bokken with the finish featuring a classic Daito-ryu pin!

Duration: 9:15
Access: Free for limited time

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Nov
21

Daito-ryu Instructional DVD Special Ends Tonight at Midnight!


“What Morihei Learned Before Creating Aikido!”

Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu, the major technical influence on modern aikido, was a martial art taught in the first part of twentieth century Japan by the famous Sokaku Takeda of the Aizu clan, a certified martial arts’ genius. Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba met Sokaku in 1915, and immediately became engrossed in training. Daito-ryu, in Morihei’s words, “opened his eyes to budo.”

This week’s special consists of two instructional DVDs on Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu by Katsuyuki Kondo Sensei. Kondo Sensei is the leading figure in the Daito-ryu world, having received the Menkyo Kaiden–Master Certification–from Headmaster Tokimune Takeda, the son of Sokaku Takeda.

The “Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu – Hiden Mokuroku” DVD series by Kondo Sensei is the perfect introduction to Daito-ryu for beginners and experienced martial artists alike. Expertly demonstrated and explained, these two DVDs cover all of the techniques of the Hiden Mokuroku transmission scrolls of the formerly secret Daito-ryu school.

You’ll Just Make It Before the
Deadline If You Act Now!

Nov
21

Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 2, by Peter Goldsbury

In the next few columns of this series, I plan to examine in more detail the activities of teaching, learning and ‘stealing’, especially as these applied to Morihei Ueshiba and his immediate disciples, and also the crucial relationship between these activities and their own (and our own) personal training regimes.

Preliminaries
As they progress with their training, aikidoists tend to encounter various problems, when they are led to question the validity of what they are doing. They practice under the supervision of a ‘Sensei’, who has also practiced—and perhaps received his license to teach, from another ‘Sensei’ and the pattern then is to trace the lineage and also competence as an aikidoist and an aikido teacher, right back to O Sensei, who is generally considered to be the Source (acknowledgements to the Wachowski brothers), hence the etymology of the Japanese term Sensei [before + life/living].

The problems arise when these aikidoists encounter exponents of other martial arts, who tell aikidoists that they are lacking in their technique and training, and also when they encounter other exponents of aikido who are from a different lineage to their own. How is it possible that aikido can be lacking in such essential skills, given that the Founder was the Source, and how is it possible that there can be so many different ‘schools’ of aikido, when there is only one Founder/Source? The problems have led to much discussion, especially on dedicated websites like AikiWeb, and have also led dedicated aikidoists to question severely their own training history. There is no point in going into denial here. The problems exist and the most honest approach is to admit this and then try to find a way to resolve the dilemma in the best traditions of 文武 BUN/BU: study and training….

Aikido Journal Members Site subscribers: Click here to login and read the entire article by Peter Goldsbury

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Nov
20

“Interview with Katsuyuki Kondo (1),” by Stanley Pranin

Born in Tokyo in 1945, Katsuyuki Kondo, Sensei first learned Daito-ryu while still a child from Tsunejiro Hosono of the Shineikan dojo. He began studying under Tokimune Takeda Soke in 1961 and under Kotaro Yoshida in Hitachi in 1963. He became a direct student of Tokimune Takeda in March 1966, and was appointed soke kyoju dairi in November 1974 and soke dairi as well as menkyo kaiden in May 1988. At the national branch managers’ meeting in September 1994 he was made headquarters’ chief and executive division chief for Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu. He is also a researcher of Tesshu Yamaoka.

The following text is an edited compilation of two interviews of Katsuyuki Kondo conducted in 1988 and 1992. Both of these talks took place before the death of Headmaster Tokimune Takeda in 1993, so there are a number of references to the state of his health at the time, as well as discussions of the future directions for the organization.

Would you describe Daito-ryu aikijujutsu?

It would be difficult to explain its entire history, so I will just summarize. About eight hundred years ago there was a man named Shinra Saburo Yoshimitsu, who resided in a mansion known as “Daito.” He is considered to be the founder of Daito-ryu. His art was then transmitted through the Minamoto family line and then to their descendants, the Takeda family in Kai [present-day Yamanashi Prefecture]. After that it was handed down through the Takeda family as a gotenjutsu [martial art for use inside the palace]. In addition to this line, during the reign of the fourth Tokugawa Shogun, Ietsuna [1641-1680; shogun 1651-1680], Masayuki Hoshina of the Aizu clan, the fourth son of Hidetada, entered Edo castle as an instructor to the shogunal family and completed development of an art that came to be known as oshikiuchi. The Daito-ryu of the Takeda family and the oshikiuchi of Lord Masayuki Hoshina were transmitted separately. Then, in the Meiji period, Sokaku Takeda Sensei perfected Daito-ryu by combining the school of the Takeda family with the tradition of the Aizu clan. Thus, Sokaku Takeda Sensei is the father of modern Daito-ryu and should not be omitted from the history of the art.

I understand that Sokaku was not interested in studies as a boy and was illiterate.

Although it is said that Sokaku Sensei was totally illiterate, I understand that he actually could read. It seems that when he was a child he had a reason for declaring that he would never write. I have heard that whenever there was an election, he would practice writing the Chinese characters of the name of the person he was going to vote for and then go to the polls.

[Read more...]

Nov
19

Video: Hiroshi Tada at the 1986 All-Japan Demonstration

“One of Aikido’s Most Dynamic Senseis in Top Form!”

Hiroshi Tada Sensei is the last of the high-ranking instructors of the postwar generation within the Aikikai system. He started practice at the Hombu Dojo in 1950 while still a Waseda University student. Tada Sensei spent eight years instructing in Italy starting in 1964. He has also traveled extensively, especially in Europe, to teach aikido. Tada Sensei returns to Italy at frequent intervals to conduct seminars.

Following his return to Japan, Tada Sensei taught at the Hombu Dojo for a period of some 30 years, being one of the mainstays of the Aikikai instructors staff. He remains active teaching at several private dojos in the Tokyo area.

Tada Sensei displays the vigor of a man many years junior in age. At the time of this demonstration, he was ranked 8th dan. His dynamic technique, physical conditioning, and command of distance and blending provides much food for study for aikido aspirants.

Duration: 4:20
Access: Free for limited time!

Aikido Journal Members Site subscribers: Click here to login and view the video clip of Hiroshi Tada Sensei at the 1986 All-Japan Aikido Demonstration

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Nov
19

“Real nature of martial arts and their benefits,” by Stanley Pranin

old-jujutsu

“If martial arts are not really ‘martial’ at all, and if comparisons of one to another are destined to fail, what useful purpose can they serve in modern society?”

Martial arts began enjoying popularity in western cultures starting in the 1960s. Japanese, and later Chinese films, depicting heroic warriors caught the fancy of many in the west and fueled the boom by providing the young with a new model of heroism and strength that had broad cross-cultural appeal. The epic films of directors such as Akira Kurosawa and the dashing figure of action star Toshiro Mifune achieved a cult following and were emblematic of this phenomenon.

Westerners by the droves began studying Japanese, Chinese and Korean martial arts, as schools sprang up everywhere. For a time, success begat success and martial arts and martial experts became household words and the darlings of the media. Today, after several decades in the limelight, martial arts have become institutionalized and lost much of their early allure leading some to conclude that they have entered a period of decline.

What art is the strongest?

In deliberating the relevancy of martial arts in modern society, it seems that the discussion eventually comes around to a debate on the superiority of one martial art over another. Martial arts magazines and Internet forums are filled with articles and discussions about what martial art would come out on top in a hypothetical match-up. I submit that such comparisons are an exercise in futility since all scenarios dreamed up to test whether one martial art will best another are highly artificial and usually take the form of competitive matches.

The only comparisons that can be attempted with any degree of safety are between empty-handed opponents. Yet even in the case of unarmed competitors, the differences among fighters of vastly different size and body weight require the introduction of weight categories and rules to level the playing field. This can be seen in judo, boxing, wrestling and various mixed martial arts competitions such as the UFC. It is obvious that the larger opponent, at least statistically speaking, has a clear advantage over a smaller person.
[Read more...]

Nov
18

Special Offer! Katsuyuki Kondo Sensei’s “Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu Hiden Mokuroku” DVDs

Menkyo Kaiden, Katsuyuki Kondo Sensei

This week’s special consists two instructional DVDs on Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu by Katsuyuki Kondo Sensei. Kondo Sensei is the leading figure in the word of Daito-ryu, having received the Menkyo Kaiden from Headmaster Tokimune Takeda, the son of Sokaku Takeda.

Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu, the precursor to aikido techniques, was a martial art taught in the first part of twentieth century Japan by the famous Sokaku Takeda of the Aizu clan, a certified martial arts’ genius. Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba met Sokaku in 1915, and immediately became engrossed in training. Daito-ryu, in Morihei’s words, “opened his eyes to budo.”

The “Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu” – Hiden Mokuroku series” DVDs by Kondo Sensei are the perfect introduction to Daito-ryu for beginners and experienced martial artists alike. Expertly demonstrated by Kondo Sensei, these two DVDs cover all of the techniques contained in the Hiden Mokuroku transmission scrolls of the formerly secret Daito-ryu school.

Order This Week’s Special Offer Now for only $24.95!

Nov
18

Reading the Forest

When a professional protector turns out to do his job, there is no fear, no life or death, no ideas about this or that and no orchestra in the sky.

It just a job and you do it.

Whether you live or die is not at issue. In any event there are only two possible outcomes, skill and life or error and death. The dead do not worry and the useful are too busy to hold extraneous thoughts.

The samurai, on induction was made to understand that he had died to the previous lifestyle. He understood

From Hagakure:

“If by setting one’s heart right every morning and evening, one is able to live as though his body were already dead, he gains freedom in the Way. His whole life will be without concern, and he will succeed in his calling.”

This is not a matter of being careful. It is to consider oneself as dead beforehand.

As everything in this world is but a shame, Death is the only sincerity. It is said that becoming as a dead man in one’s daily living is the following of the path of sincerity.”

More succinctly, The Buddha, referred to this state as “Living in the Moment.”

After all, in reality, that is all there is.

Every out breath is a death and every in breath a rebirth. So yes, there are “born again Buddhists,” reborn every conscious breath. The universe is remade at every millisecond and destroyed and all the other cycles of existence follow even before our heart can beat.
[Read more...]

Nov
17

Video: Stanley Pranin welcomes you to the Aikido Journal website!

Editor Stanley Pranin talks about the Aikido Journal website and the new Members Site which houses the extensive Aikido Journal archives. If you are seriously interested in aikido, our resources will prove invaluable in the studies.

Visit the Aikido Journal Members Site to sign up for a free subscription and check out the website!

Sign up here for a One-Year Subscription to the Aikido Journal Members Site. Paid subscribers have access to all available materials. At the present time, this includes over 2,000 articles, encyclopedia entries, interviews, chronologies, images and videos. The vast amount of content covers virtually every aspect of aikido and related disciplines.

These materials are fully indexed for easy search and retrieval of specific content. Paid members have the means to quickly inform themselves on any covered subject, and further deepen their knowledge of all aikido-related areas. Paid subscribers also receive our newsletter containing timely information on new content on Aikido Journal, aikido resources, special discounts, etc. There is no better investment for the serious aikido practitioner!

To sweeten our subscription offer especially for the fast-approaching gift-giving season, we are also offering one-year subscribers one free dvd, and two-year subscribers two free DVDs of their choice. The same offer applies to those renewing for one or two years. You pay only the cost of shipping and handling the DVD.

Here you will find a complete list of all available DVDs. Choose any you like!

After purchasing your subscription, email us here to inform us of your DVD choices.

Nov
17

Aikido’s “Library of Alexandria” Beckons You!

Hi Folks!

WE WANT TO ASK YOU A FEW QUESTIONS…

What if you could hear the revelations of the world’s leading aikido experts:

1. How they began their training and with whom they practiced
2. How they developed their skills
3. How they promoted their art and built their student base
4. What their lessons and best-kept secrets for advancement are
5. What advice they would give YOU to become a top aikidoka and transform your life

I’m talking about the LEGENDS telling you how they did it, and how you can too. Here are just a few names you might possibly recognize:

– Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba
– Kisshomaru Ueshiba, O-Sensei’s son and Aikido’s Second Doshu
– Koichi Tohei, the Founder of Ki Aikido
– Gozo Shioda, the Founder of Yoshinkan Aikido
– Morihiro Saito, one of O-Sensei’s closest students and technical genius
– Noriaki Inoue, the Founder’s nephew and aikido’s “forgotten pioneer!
– Minoru Mochizuki, judo expert and Founder of Yoseikan Aikido
– Kenji Tomiki, student of both Morihei and Jigoro Kano, and creator of competitive aikido
– Shoji Nishio, aikido’s innovative genius
– Seigo Yamaguchi, one of the undisputed greats of postwar aikido
– Christian Tissier, one of Europe’s leading aikido instructors
– and too many more to mention!

Their stories, insights, and advice are available to you TODAY! No waiting…

NOW FOR A FEW ANSWERS…

It doesn’t matter what sparked your interest in Aikido. We have answers to the most asked questions and in-depth information about every aspect of the art. If you are someone who is merely curious about Aikido, a beginner… all the way up to the most advanced student. We offer a storehouse of information unequaled anywhere on all things Aikido.

The Aikido Journal Members Site houses literally thousands of documents including articles, interviews, an amazing photo collection, hundreds of video and audio recordings, reference materials, and more.

AN ENTICEMENT TO JOIN OUR COMMUNITY OF AIKIDO ENTHUSIASTS…

To sweeten our subscription offer especially for the fast-approaching gift-giving season, we are also offering one-year subscribers one free dvd, and two-year subscribers two free DVDs of their choice. The same offer applies to those renewing for one or two years. You pay only the cost of shipping and handling the DVD.

A One-Year Subscription to the Aikido Journal Members Site gives you access to our entire archives, plus one free DVD of your choosing

A Two-Year Subscription gives you access to our entire archives, plus any two free DVDs you like

If you would like to first familiarize yourself with the Aikido Journal Members Site before considering a paid subscription, you can sign up for a free subscription to the Members Site, and explore the website to your heart’s content.

——————-
Stanley Pranin
Founder, Aiki News / Aikido Journal
Author, “The Encyclopedia of Aikido”
Author, “Aikido Pioneers — Prewar Era”
www.aikidojournal.com
members.aikidojournal.com

Nov
16

Video: Morihiro Saito teaches Weapons Seminar in San Diego, California in 1988

This is a beautiful and historically important video of Morihiro Saito teaching a weapons seminar hosted by Sunset Cliffs Dojo in San Diego, California in 1988. Saito Sensei’s instruction is centered on the 31-jo kata awase movements. He explains the jo kata sequences slowly and clearly so that they can be easily understood by beginners. There is a shorter section that covers the kumitachi, or partnered sword kata. This video is an excellent study aid for those wishing to learn or polish their weapon basics. Stanley Pranin is the interpreter.


Videos such as this are part of the on-going effort at Aikido Journal to create a large catalog of visual documents on all manner of subjects related to aikido for the edification and enjoyment of the aikido community.

Duration: 26:39
Access: Paid subscribers

Click here to login to the Aikido Journal Members Site to view the video clip of Morihiro Saito teaching a weapons seminar in San Diego in 1988

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Nov
16

Historical article: “Morihei meets Sokaku — “The Untold Story”

Morihei Ueshiba in Hokkaido c. 1918

“What is not explicitly stated here, but implied, is that Morihei had strong financial support in addition to being a talented student.”

About the age of 30 I went to Engaru in Hokkaido. There I met Professor Sokaku Takeda of Aizu, teacher of Daito Ryu who taught me for 30 dyas. While I studied I felt something like inspiration. After inviting the professor to my house, I very earnestly pursued the real truth of the martial arts with 15 or 16 of my servants and disciples. Professor Takeda had opened my eyes to the real martial arts.

We recently published a long-forgotten interview of Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba that contains the above passage. Morihei’s comment contains a very important bit of information: “After inviting the professor to my house, I very earnestly pursued the real truth of the martial arts with 15 or 16 of my servants and disciples.” What exactly is going on here?

At this point in time, 1915, Morihei was one of the leaders of a group from Tanabe in southern Japan, who was working to establish a settlement in the remote village of Shirataki in northern Hokkaido. He and the group from Tanabe had relocated to Hokkaido three years earlier and had struggled to build a community in this inhospitable climate.

Also, Morihei was a martial arts enthusiast and had heard of the reputation of jujutsu expert Sokaku Takeda who was conducting jujutsu seminars in Hokkaido and elsewhere. Benefiting from an introduction from a mutual acquaintance Kotaro Yoshida, Morihei seized the opportunity to meet Sokaku in person in Engaru, a nearby town, in the winter of 1915. On this occasion, Morihei remained to study for about 30 days, impulsively leaving behind his family and leadership responsibilities in Shirataki.

Sokaku Takeda (1859-1943)

Soon thereafter, Morihei invites Sokaku to live in his house in Shirataki, and learns from him along with 15 or 16 of his “servants and disciples.” We don’t have precise information about how long Sokaku stayed in Morihei’s house, but we do know that a short time later Takeda would uproot his family and settle in Shirataki which became his residence for the rest of his life.

This rather surprising action on the part of Sokaku reveals the importance he attached to Morihei as his student of Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu. In fact, an unpublished interview with the Founder states clearly that Sokaku had asked him to become his successor around this time. Sokaku certainly had high regard for Morihei’s abilities as a martial artist and considered him suitable character-wise to succeed him. Surely, Morihei’s study of Daito-ryu jujutsu during this period was intense and protracted and built the martial foundation upon which his later career rested.

An interesting side note: these 15 or 16 students also included Yoichiro Inoue, Morihei’s nephew, and other young men from Tanabe. It is quite likely that some of these same members trained in the judo dojo set up five years earlier in Tanabe for the benefit of Morihei and other young men to practice. Morihei’s father, Yoroku, and Inoue’s father, Zenzo, were the instigators of this initiative to channel the excessive energy of these young people in a constructive direction. Both Yoroku and Zenzo were in Shirataki at this time, a fact that histories published thus far have glossed over.

What is not explicitly stated here, but implied, is that Morihei had strong financial support in addition to being a talented student. His support base was primarily his father who was a well-to-do man, and Zenzo Inoue who was extremely wealthy. Morihei’s invitation to Sokaku to come live with him in Shirataki also meant that Takeda would stop his normal teaching activities to concentrate on teaching Morihei and his comrades. It would have taken a strong financial incentive for Sokaku to do this as his seminars were expensive and attracted mainly well-off students.

Even after Sokaku moved out of Morihei’s house, he established residence in Shirataki and built his own home which was located physically within short walking distance of Morihei as a map from that period confirms.

I have written a great deal about the later interaction between Morihei and Sokaku in Ayabe, Tokyo and Osaka in subsequent years, but I wanted to fill in some of the lesser known details of their early interaction in this article.

————————-

Click here to order the Daito-ryu Learner's Package in downloadable format for $49.95