Free video: “Kenji Tomiki — The Basic Curriculum of Aikido Kyogi”

“Kenji Tomiki, the Second 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 documentary film was made in 1975 at Waseda University and is part one of a two-part series. Tomiki Sensei and Hideo Ohba–his long-time assistant–demonstrate many individual and paired forms, basic techniques and the kata comprising the curriculum of Aikido Kyogi. These are the building blocks necessary to acquire a high level of skill in his martial system and to compete in a tournament setting.

Duration: 22:25
Access: Free through Tuesday, December 27

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