Jan
31

Slideshow: “Spotlighting the Dynamic Technique of Shoji Nishio!”

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“One of Aikido’s Greats in Action… Watch this Slideshow!

Shoji Nishio was one of the art’s true innovators, possessor of a dynamic style built on long years of study in other disciplines melded superbly into his unique aikido. Speed, effectiveness, and elegance are the hallmarks of Nishio Sensei’s aikido. His impact on aikido was felt strongly both in Japan and abroad during to his extensive travel and frequent seminars.

Fortunately, his technical legacy is preserved in the form of this wonderful 4-DVD set that he compiled during the height of his career. These study aids are essential to learning his vast aikido system and will stimulate the thinking of beginner and advanced student alike.

This is the time for you to take action and get exposure to one of postwar aikido’s major teachers. Aikido Journal is making these materials available at an extremely affordable price, so it is up to you to avail yourself of this opportunity to improve your skills. Serious martial artists are always challenging themselves with new input from the very best instructors. Shoji Nishio Sensei is one such person.


Shoji Nishio will thoroughly acquaint you with his unique approach to aikido in these high-quality professional DVDs. You will come to understand his extensive use of weapons and their theoretical and practical relationship to empty-handed techniques. Nishio Sensei’s aikido is precise, effective, and displays all of the characteristics of a martial mindset. At the same time, his aikido is morally-principled in consonance with the high ideals of Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba.

Jan
28

FREE VIDEO thru Monday: Focus on History — “Morihei on Weapons in Aikido… More evidence!,” by Stanley Pranin

“Morihei demonstrates jodori with his son, Kisshomaru”

In this screencast, Stanley Pranin presents an unusual photo of Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba shot around 1961. The Founder is shown handling a jo thrust attack from his son, Kisshomaru Ueshiba.

Transcript of screencast

Hi, I’m Stanley Pranin, and welcome to another episode of “Focus on History”

Today, we have another unusual photo to show you. Of course, on the right is Morihei Ueshiba, the Founder of Aikido, and I would estimate him to be about 77 years old. That would date the photo to around 1961. Morihei’s partner is none other than his son, Kisshomaru Ueshiba, who would have been about 40 at this time.

Notice that both father and son are dressed formally on this occasion. They appear to be inside a tatami room, perhaps in a private residence. Chances are that this was a private aikido demonstration given before some prominent individual or small group. It may have have taken place before a politician, a wealthy businessman, perhaps a religious group, or in a similar setting.

O-Sensei’s demonstration was no doubt accompanied by a lecture in which he mentioned aikido’s universal principles, and social goals, with a liberal sprinkling of the names of various Shinto deities from out of the “Kojiki.” As aikidoka, you should be familiar with the “Kojiki,” which is Japan’s collection of creation stories and myths, roughly analagous to the Bible. This ancient text contains many of the stories and metaphors that Morihei would draw upon when explaining aikido’s principles…

Duration: 4:40 minutes
Access: free through Monday, January 30

Aikido Journal Members Site subscribers: If you are already a subscriber, click here to view the screencast on the photo of Morihei Ueshiba executing jodori

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Jan
27

FREE PDF: “Morihei’s early students eloquently retell the story of Aikido’s birth”

“Peruse this document to gain an overview of the evolution of Aikido”

We have prepared a lengthy PDF file of some 90 pages containing extracts from 20 interviews of the pioneer students of Morihei Ueshiba who participated in the process leading to the creation of aikido. Many of the most famous names in aikido are featured. We encourage you to peruse this document to gain an overview of the evolution of aikido.

Morihei Ueshiba (1883-1969) drew on his extensive martial arts experience as a young man, fusing this knowledge with his deeply-held religious beliefs, to create the modern self-defense art of Aikido.

During his long career, Ueshiba associated with some of prewar Japan’s most colorful characters, including famous jujutsu master Sokaku Takeda, the charismatic religious leader Onisaburo Deguchi, and numerous members of Japan’s military, political, and business elite. Here is the captivating story of the birth of aikido, based on the first-hand accounts of Ueshiba’s top students prior to World War II.

The interviews contained in Aikido Pioneers – Prewar Era have been meticulously edited from hundreds of hours of conversations conducted over a 30-year period with those closest to the Founder. These early devotees of the art offer an insightful portrayal of the character of the Aikido Founder, and a detailed description of his teaching and activities, spanning nearly half a century. More than 100 photos, many published for the first time, add an important visual dimension to the testimonies of the interviewees. This is an essential volume for those desiring to discover the roots of Aikido, a true cultural treasure of Japan.

Aikido Journal Members Site subscribers: If you are already a subscriber, click here to login and download the 90-page sample of Stanley Pranin’s “Aikido Pioneers – Prewar Era”

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Jan
27

Knowing vs Knowledge – The Reversal

Nothing is static in the universe. All things move, vibrate, change fluctuate and vacillate.

But they do so in accordance to governing principles or laws.

We’ve all hear the trite cliché that, “the only constant is change,” but this does not provide the navigational keys.

Aikido does!

Consider. You defend with an Ikkyo. (Or any one of the core kihon)

Now Ikkyo is supposed to work. It’s been around for almost a thousand years, but in this instance the attacker was real and not from the-big-organization-that-owns-aikido, so he refuses to jump and take a fall for you.

At this point most, especially the devotees from the-big-organization-that-owns-aikido usually do a turncoat or a Judas and, if they live, blame aikido when they get out of hospital. “It doesn’t work,” they then start to say. They either hide at home forever with their agoraphobia. Or else they promptly seek out free money on a pension for post-traumatic-stress-syndrome.

Aikido’s fault, of course.
[Read more...]

Jan
26

Video: “Too bad you missed seeing Koichi Tohei Sensei… Actually, you didn’t!”

“More of Koichi Tohei’s Insights on Ki Training?”

This video is the second part of several hours of rare video footage taken during a seminar taught by Koichi Tohei Sensei in Osaka in July, 1983. Tohei Sensei continues his presentation of Ki principles and techniques in clear language and with repeated demonstrations to communicate his message effectively. He taught his approach as Shin Shin Toitsu Aikido, or Aikido with Ki, as it was often known. Tohei Sensei’s methods also included a healing technique called Kiatsu.

Videos such as these allow those who missed the opportunity to train with many of aikido’s greatest teachers–all direct students of the Founder, Morihei Ueshiba–to erase time and distance and partake of their knowledge directly.

Modern technology has allowed us to preserve and disseminate these precious documents on a broadscale. Take advantage of these resources to advance your martial arts skills and personal growth.

Duration: 19:05 minutes
Access: free through Sunday, January 29

Aikido Journal Members Site subscribers: If you are already a subscriber, click here to login and view part two of the 1983 Osaka seminar taught by Koichi Tohei Sensei

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Jan
25

Video: Focus on History — “That This Photo Survived is a Miracle!,” by Stanley Pranin


“Morihei Ueshiba’s Ill-starred Mongolian Expedition”

In this screencast, Stanley Pranin tells the fascinating story behind a rare photograph of Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba taken in 1924 in Mongolia. The fact that this photo has survived is nothing less than a miracle!

Transcript of screencast

Hi, I’m Stanley Pranin, and welcome to another episode of “Focus on History”

Today, we have a fascinating historical photo that many of you will seeing for the first time.

Let me give you some background. This photo was taken in 1924 in Mongolia. The man on the right is a 40-year-old Morihei Ueshiba. Do you recognize him?

The other man is Masazumi Matsumura. Matsumura was, incidentally, one of the scribes who helped to take dictations of Onisaburo Deguchi’s lengthy account of his spiritual experiences that was published under the title of “Reikai Monogatari.” This work consists of 81-volumes and is usually translated into English as “Tales of the Spiritual World.” This massive collection is considered one of the sacred texts of the Omoto religion. Morihei had a complete collection of Reikai Monogatari in his personal library and and is said to have read the entire text.

Now, back to our story of the photo…

Duration: 6:17 minutes
Access: free through Saturday, January 28

Aikido Journal Members Site subscribers: If you are already a subscriber, click here to view the screencast on the photo of Morihei Ueshiba taken in Mongolia in 1924

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Jan
24

Video: “What exactly was Koichi Tohei teaching after the Aikikai?”

“Tohei Sensei’s Ki Society training curriculum revealed”

Koichi Tohei Sensei needs no introduction. He is one of the most important figures in the postwar development of aikido, and was the first and only person to be officially promoted to 10th dan by Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba. Tohei Sensei played a pivotal role in spreading the art in Japan and the USA from the early 1950s through the mid-1970s. He traveled abroad on numerous occasions during his active years conducting seminars and demonstrations.

Tohei Sensei is also a prolific author, having published many works in Japanese and English. His publications had a strong influence both technically and philosophically on early aikido practitioners.

This video is the first part of several hours of rare video footage taken during a seminar taught by Koichi Tohei Sensei in Osaka in July, 1983. It provides an answer to the question of what Koichi Tohei was teaching after his departure from the Aikikai. In fine physical condition, Tohei Sensei demonstrates and explains the essential principles and techniques of his Ki system. Start with this introduction, and watch for the rest of the seminar clips to come shortly!

Duration: 19:13 minutes
Access: free through Friday, January 27

Aikido Journal Members Site subscribers: If you are already a subscriber, click here to login and view part one of the 1983 Osaka seminar taught by Koichi Tohei Sensei

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Jan
23

Video: Focus on History — “Morihei Ueshiba’s Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu Teaching Certification,” by Stanley Pranin

The Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu "kyoju dairi" teaching certification awarded to Morihei Ueshiba by Sokaku Takeda

“At the Center of the Rift between Morihei and Sokaku Takeda”

This is the first of a series of screencasts titled “Focus on History” by Aikido Journal Editor Stanley Pranin. This video provides detailed information on the “kyoju dairi,” or teaching certification, awarded to Morihei Ueshiba by Sokaku Takeda in Ayabe in 1922. This award was made during a six-month long visit of Sokaku to Morihei’s “Ueshiba Juku” located near the headquarters of the Omoto religion.

The actual photo of the kyoju dairi entry in Sokaku Takeda’s eimeiroku (enrollment book) is shown and explained. The nature of the conditions imposed on Morihei as a certified Daito-ryu instructor, and the vagueness of the financial arrangement specified was a major cause of the eventual split between the two men dramatically altering the course of aikido history.

Duration: 10:47 minutes
Access: free through Thursday, January 26

Aikido Journal Members Site subscribers: If you are already a subscriber, click here to login and view the video on Morihei Ueshiba’s Daito-ryu teaching certification.

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Jan
22

Historical photos: “The first person to introduce Aikido to the US revisited,” by Stanley Pranin

Takeshita receiving the keys to San Francisco in 1935

Today I was looking through some old photo albums. I happened across my collection of photos of famous Admiral Isamu Takeshita. The admiral was an early student of Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba and one of the people most responsible for Morihei’s success in Tokyo and his introduction into elite circles of Japanese society.

You may recall that I did a brief article titled “Who was really the first person to introduce Aikido to America?” back in October of 2011. I published this rare photo you see here. On this trip, we know that the admiral visited Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Seattle. There were large Japanese communities in each of these cities.

Well, as I was looking through the old Admiral’s album, I caught a glimpse of an unusual photo in one of the contact sheets. I couldn’t get much of an idea of what was going on other than the admiral was wearing the same suit he was when receiving the keys to San Francisco. I noticed it had a hand-written caption that I couldn’t make out. By then, very curious, I decided to scan that photo to get a better look. Here is what I found…

Aikido Journal Members Site subscribers: If you are already a subscriber, click here to login and view the historical photos of Admiral Isamu Takeshita

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Jan
22

“The Aiki Solution,” by Nev Sagiba

Nature abhors a vacuum and is always generating imbalance so there can be interaction. Interaction is life and relationship. It generates energy and light.

Now, I don’t personally like reducing things to a formula. It’s not that simple.

And yet, sometimes it’s possible to come close. There are underlying principles that appear to dictate existence.

To the point. When you attack an attacking force you increase the destructivity. That’s simple physics, the impact of two forces rushing headlong is going to be more than that of one.

That’s analogous to “attacking a problem.”

Since all “problems” are identifiable by a singular factor, i.e. Transgression, it is folly to transgress back. Two problems don’t make a solution, as the old saying goes.

Conversely, two solutions can sit there like limp rags waiting for a problem, but unless there is one, nothing happens. Stagnation perhaps.

Further, “the bottom of the universe,” raw matter, primordial chaos, devils, ghosts and goblins are as endless as your imagination wants them to be. Giving them life by “attacking” them, makes an attacker out of you. A pest, a mischief maker and an aggressor and transgressor.
[Read more...]

Jan
21

Magazine: Aikido Journal Number 108, 1996, Seigo Yamaguchi Memorial Issue

This jam-packed issue of Aikido Journal featuring a tribute to the late Seigo Yamaguchi Sensei, 9th dan, following his passing in 1996. Read the touching eulogy written by Second Doshu Kisshomaru Ueshiba.

Aikido Journal Number 108, 1996

Contents

     ● Editorial – Aikido & Weapons: The Last Word?, by Stanley Pranin
     ● Journal News, by Diane Skoss
     ● Letters to the Editor
     ● Seigo Yamaguchi: In Memoriam
     ● On Writing Zen Combat, by Jay Gluck
     ● Interview with Fumio Toyoda, by Mark Binder
     ● Improvisations, by Ellis Amdur
     ● In My Own Way, by David Lynch
     ● Takemusu Aikido — Yokomenuchi Iriminage Kihon, by Morihiro Saito
     ● The Omoto Religion and Aikido, by Yasuaki Deguchi
     ● Kicks & Aikido, by Roger D’Onofrio & Hans Goto
     ● Famous Swordsmen of Japan: Toru Shirai, by Takefumi Hiiragi
     ● Heard in the Dojo
     ● Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu: Kubi Hineri, by Takeshi Kawabe as transmitted by the Takumakai
     ● Events & Announcements
     ● The Book Page
     ● Our Contributors

Access: free through Monday, January 23

Aikido Journal Members Site subscribers: If you are already a subscriber, click here to login and download the PDF file of Aikido Journal Number 108

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Jan
20

Subscription Options Spelled Out Clearly

We have just prepared a subscription options page to make it crystal clear what your choices are when subscribing to the Aikido Journal Members Site.

By way of review, here are the four choices:

Paid subscribers have access to all available materials on the Aikido Journal Members Site. At the present time, this includes over 2,000 articles, encyclopedia entries, interviews, chronologies, images, videos, references, etc. 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!