Archives for January 2012


Slideshow: Katsuyuki Kondo Explains the Fine Points of Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu

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“Outstanding Instruction by One of the World’s Leading Experts!”

Morihei Ueshiba first learned Daito-ryu jujutsu from Sokaku Takeda in Hokkaido in 1915. Morihei mastered much of the Daito-ryu repertoire that consisted founder hundreds of techniques. Their association would last more than 20 years and the curriculum of Daito-ryu supplied the technical basis of aikido. Sokaku was succeeded by his son Tokimune who in turn was the teacher of Daito-ryu’s Katsuyuki Kondo, Menkyo Kaiden.

Editor Stanley Pranin recounts his first meeting with Katsuyuki Kondo Sensei and their long association

My association with Katsuyuki Kondo Sensei of Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu began in 1987, Kondo Sensei was “told” by Tokimune Takeda Sensei, son and successor of Sokaku Takeda, to coordinate with me and participate in the 3rd Friendship Demonstration in Tokimune’s place.

Kondo Sensei was not particularly pleased with this idea, and from the outset, seemed very suspicious of me and my motives in “courting” the Daito-ryu world. He was also very surprised that Tokimune Sensei would cooperate to the extent he had with Aiki News, and make open so much documentation to a little-known foreigner from the aikido “side of the fence.”

His coldness towards me was very evident when we were first introduced by Tokimune Sensei at a Kobudo demonstration in Tokyo. Following our first meeting, I was invited to Kondo Sensei’s home shortly thereafter for what turned out to be a “grilling.” I was met by Kondo Sensei and one of his ranking instructors, and the two of them proceeded to ask pointed questions of me in order to ferret out my motivations in staging this Friendship Demonstration in which Daito-ryu would be sharing the stage with aikido instructors.
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Meiji Jingu Embu

Toby Threadgill on Facebook:

“Friends unfamiliar with Nihon koryu budo frequently ask me what type of martial art I lead, expecting it to be similar to karate or the modern jujutsu one sees in the mass media. I’m often at a loss to answer. How do I explain exactly what Nihon koryu budo is, or why I’ve devoted so much of my life to this fascinating and antiquated pursuit.

This excellently produced film captures my answer better than any words ever could. If you don’t understand my fascination after watching this, you aren’t meant to understand…”

Visit Toby Threadgills’s Takamura ha Shindo Yoshinkai website


“Enter the World of Sokaku Takeda…”

“Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu” Instructional DVD Set!”

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 Menkyo Kaiden Master certification from Headmaster Tokimune Takeda, 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. Be sure to watch the videos we have prepared to understand the quality of this material.

Click here to view the two videos of Katsuyuki Kondo Sensei and Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu


“My Mentor, Bill Perry,” by Stanley Pranin

I have thought of writing this piece for many years now, but never got around to getting started until I recently happened upon a serendipitous discovery. More about that shortly. Let me begin my story.

Shortly after I began my study of Yoshinkan Aikido in Lomita, California in August of 1962, I met a 35-year-old man at the dojo. One day we paired up to train together during class. All I remember is that he was quite strong and was twisting my arms and wrists every which way. After class had ended, he commented, “You’re really flexible, what do you eat?” I was only 17 years old and had no idea of how to respond to such an off-the-wall-comment. He was a pleasant, well-built fellow, and we chatted briefly, and I learned his name was Bill.

Bill attended class regularly during this period as did I, and one day something quite unusual happened. After the workout, Bill stood still on the mat and suddenly threw a back flip. I thought that was pretty cool. Then without warning–again without moving–he performed a perfect front flip, which I’m told is more difficult. I stared in disbelief along with several other training mates who witnessed the scene. Needless to say, this caught my attention.

Edmond Szekely (1905-1979)

After that, Bill became quite friendly towards me and seemed to take me under his wing. It turned out he was quite an intelligent fellow, in addition to being a superb athlete. He began talking to me about things that I had never heard of before. I learned that Bill had been a gymnast in high school, served in the navy at the end or shortly after World War II, and that he moved around a lot and had experienced many things. He was a rather mysterious person in some ways, and totally unpredictable. Although the sequence of events is a bit blurry since I’m straining to recall events of more than 45 years ago, I remember him taking me to a local health foods store and introducing me to the owner. Bill spoke about the importance of diet and natural foods. I tried raw milk and carrot juice for the first time! He was of course a very healthy physical specimen himself and a vegetarian, I seem to recall.

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Video: Katsuyuki Kondo teaching seminars at Aiki Expo 2002

“Daito-ryu Menkyo Kaiden teaches aikidoka at Aiki Expo 2002”

Katsuyuki Kondo Sensei is one of the most highly regarded of Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu masters. Having practiced for more than 50 years, he is the sole person to have received Menkyo Kaiden certification from Headmaster Tokimune Takeda, son of Sokaku Takeda. Kondo Sensei is an authority on the history of Daito-ryu and its intimate connection with the early stages of aikido. He has traveled extensively to America, Europe, and Australia conducting seminars from the late 1980s to the present. Also, literally hundreds of foreign students have gone to Japan to study at his Shimbukan Dojo in Tokyo.

This video offers highlights of Kondo Sensei’s seminars at Aiki Expo 2002 held in Las Vegas, Nevada. You will see the power and precision of his approach to Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu. Key concepts from classical Japanese martial arts such as maai, metsuke, kokyu, atemi, zanshin, etc. will be evident in the execution of his techniques.

A close viewing of this video offers aikido practitioners an excellent opportunity to study the precursor forms of various aikido techniques. You will be able to discern both similarities and differences between the two arts. You will notice in particular the liberal use of atemi and the specialized pinning movements peculiar to Daito-ryu.

Duration: 16:47 minutes
Access: free through January 12

Aikido Journal Members Site subscribers: If you are already a subscriber, click here to login and view the video of Katsuyuki Kondo Sensei

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The Unending Saga of the “Chameleon” photo of O-Sensei…

For those who have been following the saga of the “chameleon” photo of O-Sensei from Ayabe c. 1922, we have uploaded yet another altered version from “Aikido Shintei” published in Japanese in 1986. You will find the whole story and all of the different versions of the photo on the Aikido Journal Members Site. It’s all a part of aikido history!

Aikido Journal Members Site subscribers: If you are already a subscriber, click here to login and read the article on the Ayabe photo

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“The amazing chameleon photo of O-Sensei revisited,” by Stanley Pranin

The original 1922 photo of Morihei Ueshiba with the Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu placard in the background

“The Elusive Truth of Morihei Ueshiba’s connection to Daito-ryu”

Back in October, 2011, I published an article titled “Historical photo: The amazing chameleon photo of O-Sensei from 1922!” The purpose of the article was to call attention to the fact that a very important historical photo of Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba that firmly established his close connection to Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu and Sokaku Takeda had been altered in different ways and published over the years.

This article provoked a strong reaction from the aikido community, was widely read, and generated many comments from our readers. Now this article has been revived as a result of a thread posted on currently in progress. As I read through the various comments, I became uncomfortable with the fact that the entire discussion hinged on my unsubstantiated statements about the altered photos and speculations as to the reasons that this occurred.

For that reason, I have taken the step of uploading two of the instances of altered photos in my possession to document this matter. You can find them here posted at the end of the archived article on the Aikido Journal Members Site.

I have been placed in an awkward situation due to these acts and have maintained silence on the subject for over 30 years. I did not wish to become an accessory to this sort of questionable behavior or allow these actions to go unnoticed and result in any confusion occurring if someone should innocently republish the altered photos and build a thesis on a false foundation. I have seen this sort of thing happen many times during the course of my research. With the advent of the Internet, this danger has increased manifold.

Aikido Journal Members Site subscribers: If you are already a subscriber, click here to login and view the different versions of the famous photo.

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Video: Hiroshi Ikeda, 7th dan, instructs at Aiki Expo 2002

“The Elegant Technique of an Aikido Master!”

Hiroshi Ikeda, 7th dan, is the chief instructor of Boulder Aikikai in Boulder, Colorado. He is one of the top aikido instructors in the USA due to his incredible skill level and extensive travel schedule which has carried him all over the USA and many foreign nations. This video clip taken at Aiki Expo 2002 which took place in Las Vegas, Nevada, captures highlights from classes he conducted at that event.

Ikeda Sensei’s aikido is minimal and elegant at the same time. He has mastered the use of precise movements to quickly unbalance his uke and exert control with almost no physical effort. You will see his uncanny skill as you view this video clip.

Born in 1950, Hiroshi Ikeda began aikido training under Mitsugi Saotome while a student in the aikido club of Kokugakuin Univesity. He entered Saotome’s Reimeijuku dojo in 1970. In 1976, he relocated to Sarasota, Florida,taught in Florida from 1978-79. Ikeda Sensei moved to Boulder, Colorado in 1980 and established the Boulder Aikikai. He travels extensively throughout the USA and abroad conducting seminars. Ikeda Sensei also operates Bujin Design, a martial arts supply company.

Duration: 11:40 minutes
Access: free through January 10… Hurry!

Aikido Journal Members Site subscribers: If you are already a subscriber, click here to login and view the video of Hiroshi Ikeda, 7th dan

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“Thinking Large,” by Francis Takahashi

How “large” do you think?

It is said that “great people talk about ideas; ordinary people talk about things; small people talk about other people”. We get to “think” about whatever interests us long before we talk about them to others, or choose to act on such matters in a meaningful way. Question is, what do we choose to think about, most of the time. Why, and to what extent? What has to happen for us to seriously consider changing our closely held points of view or hard won beliefs from an earlier time?

Do we tend to think “exclusively” about matters of importance or great interest? By this I mean, do we automatically reject the consideration of ideas, suggestions or raw data that do not appear to support or validate our original points of view? Are we willing to be open and receptive to alternative points of view that appear legitimate and noteworthy, even when they may actually threaten the bases for such earlier notions, even perhaps causing us embarrassment of publicly reversing our earlier statements?

A quote from Henry Ford states, “whether you think you can, or you think you cannot, you are right.” What and how do you think about what’s possible?
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The Claim of “Mastery”

Of what use is it, this claim of “mastery?”

Every bullying buffoon, tyrannical clown and charlatan of history has made it and brought misery with their erroneous and confused opinions.

Mastery is relative. The universe is infinite.

Real mastery is understated and modest because it realizes no such thing exists.

Mastery of what exactly? “Mastery” is a very relative term in the face of the infinite possibilities that in fact exist.

You should realise this and not be detoured from your unique life path and mission.

The disease is that of hubris, the dark side, domination of others with all the needless war and suffering it brings.

Mastery over oneself is task enough. Mastery over others is ultimately impossible following the otherwise avoidable suffering and consequences it begets.

Responsibility is another matter. One of serving the greater good instead of mental fetishes and other weaknesses.

Not so long ago I was sorely tempted to take one insignificant bully’s head off when he excused attacking and abusing a cult member with the words, “I am a master of wisdom and infallible in correcting my disciple..” thereby displaying his status. So much so that not only was his premise in error, but he was in error in many counts. This and other violations he simply lied about.

The “sin” was insignificant. Being an incompetent “leader” he had:
a) Expected one person to be in two places at once.
b) That same person to perform a non-urgent task he, a child or anyone could have instead of sitting idly by chatting in a dry warm room.
c) His own distorted perceptions of time, space, logic, logistics, hubris, self importance and other vices.
d) Targeted this particular individual, a small female already stressed from overworking, out of context, instead of delegating the menial task to any of the numerous idly present.
e) The said small female had been on a roof, in a rainstorm, dutifully patching up other previous neglect, instead of wiping up behind the undisciplined comfortably ensconced indoors.
f) When she rightly gave him some lip instead of asking how high to jump, he became enraged and he snapped!

This was hardly “mastery” of any kind but a forlorn, pathetic, undisciplined primate behaviour out of all proper context and this without a modicum of dignity or respect.

It is a real pity we no longer have lunatic asylums where sociopathic, messianically afflicted, megalomaniac charlatans can be properly ensconced out of harm’s way. I personally prefer the Ancient Roman method. But then again as compassion would have it we would now be missing out of a great many core values had the Romans had their way entirely, so even here a balance must exist.
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Video: Expat Brit and President of IAF– Peter Goldsbury at Aiki Expo 2002

Dr. Peter Goldsbury, 6th dan, is one the best known among non-Japanese practitioners of aikido due to his role as President of the International Aikido Federation and his prolific writings on a variety of aikido topics. Aikido Journal was fortunate enough to have him as one of our featured instructors at Aiki Expo 2002 held in Las Vegas, Nevada. He gave a fine demonstration and conducted several classes over the course of the event. This clip captures some of the highlights of Peter’s seminars at the 2002 Expo.

Peter Goldsbury Sensei teaching
at Aiki Expo 2002

Peter Goldsbury began his aikido journey in 1969 in England. Among his early aikido teachers were Kazuo Chiba and Mitsunari Kanai. Peter relocated to Japan in 1980 to begin a tenure at Hiroshima University and further his aikido training. In 1996, he was elected president of the International Aikido Federation, a post he has held since then. Peter has penned numerous essays on aikido, its history, training, organizations, and Japanese culture, many of which have appeared on and Aikido Journal. He is presently retired in Hiroshima as a professor emeritus of Hiroshima University, and operates a local aikido dojo while continuing his research and writing activities.

Duration: 14:53 minutes
Access: free through January 9

Aikido Journal Members Site subscribers: If you are already a subscriber, click here to login and view the video of Peter Goldsbury Sensei

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Magazine: Aiki News Number 82, October 1989

“Free download of this classic issue of Aiki News through January 8!”

This is your opportunity to download to your computer a classic issue of Aiki News magazine. Look at the information-packed contents of this issue. It’s full of photos as well. This is timely information you won’t want to miss. You can download it for free through January 8!

Aiki News Number 82, October 1989


     ● Editorial, by Stanley Pranin
     ● Interview with Riki Kogure, by Stanley Pranin
     ● Interview with Hakaru Mori (2), by Stanley Pranin
     ● Aiki Forum – Discussion with Hiroshi Ikushima,
     ● Daito-ryu Master Yukiyoshi Sagawa, by Tatsuo Kimura
     ● Heard in the Dojo
     ● Questions & Answers
     ● Sokaku Takeda Biography, by Tokimune Takeda
     ● Jigoro Kano Autobiography (3), by Stanley Pranin
     ● An Aikido Life, by Gozo Shioda
     ● Morihei Ueshiba Biography, by Kanemoto Sunadomari
     ● Appearance and Reality (II), by Yoshio Kuroiwa
     ● Letters to the Editor

Access: free through January 8, 2012

Aikido Journal Members Site subscribers: If you are already a subscriber, click here to login and download the PDF file of Aiki News Number 82

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!