Archives for December 2011


Happy New Year 2012 from Aikido Journal!

On behalf of the staff of Aikido Journal, I would like to wish you a happy and prosperous New Year in 2012. We sincerely appreciate your interest and support of our work over the past 37 years since our beginnings in 1974.

We will continue working unabated in our efforts to preserve and disseminate the best in aikido-related materials for our worldwide community.

Please have a safe holiday and plan to make 2012 your best year ever!

Stanley Pranin


“Kotodama – At the Beginning – At Each Moment Vibrations,” by Nev Sagiba

The Japanese have been around for over 1000 years or so.

They inherited the concept and some applications of Kotodama from the Chinese.

Atsutane argued that many efforts in the theoretical study of Shinto were based on the borrowed language from Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism. He wanted to study this native spirituality before the influence of Buddhism. Atsutane’s beliefs were passed on to a few students who later established Shinto schools based on particular aspects of Shinto theories and early Japanese beliefs.

The Chinese got sonic, meridian and chi sciences from the Vedic Indians (“Hindu”) Mantrayana, who got it from the Bön Nepalese and Tibetans, who in turn referred to Mongolian “Shamans.”

However the Egyptians had this as a fine art in the days of Vedic India (Aryaveda) and what some have come to call “Atlantis.”
[Read more…]


Magazine: Aiki News Number 88, Summer 1991

Aiki News Number 88, Summer 1991


     ● Editorial – The Winds of Change, by Stanley Pranin
     ● Letters to the Editor
     ● Interview with Morihiro Saito, by Stanley Pranin
     ● Morihiro Saito Technical Notebook — Shomenuchi kotegaeshi, by Morihiro Saito
     ● Open Forum
     ● Daito-ryu Aiki Budo , by Takuma Hisa
     ● Aiki News Video Catalog
     ● Aiki Forum – Shindo Muso-ryu Jojutsu, Kenji Matsui
     ● Interview with Tokimune Takeda, by Stanley Pranin
     ● Yoshinkan Aikido Techniques: Iriminage applications, by Gozo Shioda
     ● Heard in the Dojo

Access: free through January 2, 2012

Aikido Journal Members Site subscribers: If you are already a subscriber, click here to download the PDF file of Aiki News Number 88

Not yet a member? Please enter your name and email address below to gain instant access to this item and the hundreds of other free aikido-related documents that await you!



New Year’s Greeting from Patrick Augé Sensei — English and French texts

Dear Students, Parents, and Friends:

About twenty years ago, on a Saturday afternoon after practice, as we were starting the weekly mondo (question and answer period) for the advanced students, I asked the following question: “What keeps you motivated?”

Many people already had come and gone over the years since the time Kaoru Sensei and I had started teaching. But on that day, the students present had been there almost from the beginning. We had all been traveling together back and forth from Ottawa to Montreal, Sherbrooke, Quebec City, Tuscaloosa-more times than we could remember-in order to spread and develop Mochizuki Sensei’s Budô. We had been doing kangeiko (winter training) and shochugeiko (summer training) in Japan, Canada, and the US; we had been overcoming challenges of all sorts, and we were eventually able to build our own permanent dojo which, although it wasn’t the end of our difficulties, was definitely a step forward on the path. As a result, a strong bond was keeping those students together.

Kaoru Sensei and I were convinced of the value of Mochizuki Sensei’s teachings and felt that we had a duty to pass them onto the next generations and, therefore, to find the right people to continue the lineage. So when I asked that question, I wanted the students to develop a clear understanding of what they were doing. That is what distinguishes leaders from followers.
[Read more…]


Historical photos: Morihei Ueshiba O-Sensei Warmup Photo Series — Free Download

“Available for Free Download through December 31!

A few days ago, we uploaded a rare photograph of Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba that was taken in February 1969 at the Aikikai Hombu Dojo in Tokyo. This was only a few weeks before his passing on April 26. The photo is part of a series of six images that were shot by Jean Greslé, a French pilot for Air France who was visiting Tokyo at the time with his wife. The photos have been restored in Photoshop and came out beautifully.

These six images show Morihei in the midst of leading the class in warmup exercises. The Founder took great pains to maintain his physical conditioning all of his life. This is an excellent example for both students and instructors to follow throughout their aikido careers.

Aikido Journal Members Site subscribers: If you are already a subscriber, click here to view and download the images of Morihei Ueshiba O-Sensei leading warmups

Not yet a member? Please enter your name and email address below to gain instant access to this item and the hundreds of other free aikido-related documents that await you!



Free video: “Kenji Tomiki introduces his system of Competitive Aikido”

“Following in the Footsteps of Jigoro Kano”

Among the many distinguished disciples of Morihei Ueshiba, the Founder of Aikido, Kenji Tomiki stands out for his intellectual stature and skill in articulating the historical and ethical rationale of the art. Whereas the Founder viewed life and, consequently, his budo, mainly in religious terms, Professor Tomiki espoused a view of aikido that included a form of competitive sparring where an attacker wielding a dagger attempted to score points against an empty-handed adversary. Tomiki launched and refined his system of Aikido Kyogi, or “Competitive Aikido,” during his years as a professor at Waseda University.

Tomiki’s rationale for introducing competition to aikido was his view of the martial arts as a means for edification of the individual that was heavily influenced by Professor Kano’s philosophy. On the one hand, Tomiki regarded the traditional martial systems of Japan as feudalistic, brutal and thus unsuited for the modern age. Yet, at the same time, he wished to guarantee the survival in some form of these highly-refined technical traditions that had been developed over hundreds of years.

Tomiki Sensei’s solution was therefore to modify the classical ryuha eliminating dangerous techniques without, however, losing sight of their historical rationale. The practice of kata would permit the preservation and transmittal of the classical forms while competition insured that the trainee would gain a practical understanding of the application of offensive and defensive techniques.

This is part two of a documentary film shot in 1975 at Waseda University. It focuses on Kenji Tomiki Sensei’s progressive curriculum designed to prepare students for increasingly intense training levels, culminating to actual competition. Each step of the program is presented and explained including an exhibition match. In addition, Tomiki Sensei, using Hideo Ohba as uke, demonstrates the Junanahon no Kata, the 17 basic techniques of Tomiki Aikido. In the final segment of the video, Tomiki Sensei gives a brief explanation of his aikido system.

Duration: 20:26
Access: Free through Tuesday, December 31

Aikido Journal Members Site subscribers: If you are already a subscriber, click here to get access to part 2 of the Kenji Tomiki video on Competitive Aikido

Not yet a member? Please enter your name and email address below to gain instant access to this item and the hundreds of other free aikido-related documents that await you!



Historical Photo: “Morihei Ueshiba… A Model of Physical Fitness!” by Stanley Pranin

This is a most unusual photo snapped by Jean Greslé in February 1969 at the Aikikai Hombu Dojo in Tokyo. Given the late date, this is certainly one of the last classes taught by Morihei O-Sensei. As you can see here, the Founder is performing a stretching exercise. This is one of five or six photos from the same series that shows O-Sensei executing a variety of warmup exercises.

Morihei maintained a high degree of physical fitness throughout his career. He possessed a powerful, yet flexible body as a young man. With time, his body became lighter, but even in old age, he still preserved his impressive physique. A 16mm film from 1962 survives where Morihei is seen doing excercises such as those described above. He even performs the splits at 79 years of age. How few of the aikido masters have followed his example!

Notice this particular stretch. It is not commonly done in an aikido context, and seems almost yoga-like in nature. In addition to such warmups, Morihei would perform a series of misogi exercises of esoteric Shinto origin including such movements as torifune undo and furitama undo. These movements were commonly practiced in Aikikai dojos from the era of the Founder, but have gradually fallen into disuse in contemporary aikido.

A note on the two people in the background. Most of you will recognize the Second Doshu Kisshomaru Ueshiba, the Founder’s son, but do you know who the thick gentleman to the left is? He was a famous politician named Sunao Sonoda who was, at that time, Japan’s Minister of Health and Welfare. Sonoda later became the Minister of Foreign Affairs in the Fukuda cabinet. He was one of Morihei’s staunchest supporters in the postwar era, and was on the Board of Directors of the Aikikai for many years.


Click here for information on the complete collection of Morihei Ueshiba films in downloadable format for $49.95


Free video: Morihiro Saito’s 1992 special demonstration on promotion to 9th dan

“Filmed inside Morihiro Saito’s private dojo”

The name of Morihiro Saito is known almost universally among aikido practitioners. He was one of the giants of postwar aikido and among the closest students of Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba, having trained with O-Sensei in Iwama beginning in 1946 through the Founder’s death in 1969. Saito Sensei had the rare opportunity to train one-on-one with the Founder, especially in aikido weapons, during this time frame.

Saito Sensei left a strong imprint on modern aikido due to his extensive travels both in Japan and abroad. He also published more than 10 technical volumes on aikido technique, including taijutsu and weapons, that have been translated into many languages.

This particular videotape was shot in 1992 on the occasion of Saito Sensei’s promotion to 9th dan. This was also around the time of the opening of the new Iwama Dojo on Saito family property. The demonstration portion of this footage was taken entirely inside the new dojo, and there is a scene in which Saito Sensei is seated holding his 9th dan certificate. Saito Sensei demonstrates the basic forms of the Aiki Ken and Jo, as well as several taijutsu fundamentals. This videotape is an important historical document as it was made in commemoration of this auspicious occasion.

Duration: 27:27
Access: Free through December 29

Aikido Journal Members Site subscribers: If you are already a subscriber, click here to get access to the 1992 special demonstration of Morihiro Saito

Not yet a member? Please enter your name and email address below to gain instant access to this item and the hundreds of other free aikido-related documents that await you!



O-Sensei Through the Years…

Hi Folks!


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:

  • Morihei Ueshiba, Founder of Aikido
  • 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…


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.


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”


“Rethinking Aikido for the 21st Century,” by Francis Takahashi

First of all, what happened? O Sensei happened, and even as talented and proven researchers do their individual and collective magic in attempting to uncover the vast mysteries of the man, the myth and the magnitude of the aftermath of all that has transpired to date in Aikido’s brief, but exciting history, there is more than ample fodder to digest and perhaps to reconstitute for generations to come.

Together with accompanying shifts to our perceptions and cherished beliefs we currently cling to, we may look forward to even more discoveries and paradigm shaping epiphanies that are probably unimaginable today. There is so very much more to anticipate, and in looking forward to the lessons of tomorrow, we may well ponder what roles we will individually and collectively play in their eventual arrival and impact.

With the herculean efforts of people like Stanley Pranin, Peter Goldsbury, and others yet to be recognized, can there be any serious doubt that our understandings and real knowledge of historical truths, will surely improve by quantum leaps and tidal surges. Let us all do our part to support those who keep up the research, and who willingly and generously produce such splendid writings and documentations !
[Read more…]


Merry Christimas from Stanley Pranin and the Aikido Journal Staff

The Aikido Journal staff and I would like to take this opportunity to wish all of you who celebrate Christmas a wonderful holiday! We hope that you will be able to spend quality time with your family and loved ones. We wish you, also, a very Happy New Year, and wonderful things for 2012!

Stanley Pranin and the AJ Staff


Magazine: Aiki News Number 62, July 1984 featuring Rinjiro Shirata and Minoru Mochizuki

Aikido Journal Number 100, 1994


     ● Editorial – Shirata and Mochizuki Senseis, by Stanley Pranin
     ● Interview with Rinjiro Shirata, by Stanley Pranin
     ● Heard in the Dojo
     ● Morihiro Saito Technical Notebook — Eridori kokyunage oyowaza, by Stanley Pranin
     ● O-Sensei Biography — “The Budo Enhancement Association and Takeda Dojo”, by Kisshomaru Ueshiba
     ● Minoru Mochizuki Pictorial, by Stanley Pranin
     ● Letters to the Editor

Aikido Journal Members Site subscribers: If you are already a subscriber, click here to download the PDF file of Aiki News Number 62

Not yet a member? Please enter your name and email address below to gain instant access to this item and the hundreds of other free aikido-related documents that await you!