Archives for April 2012


“Aiki Ken and Jo Suburi: Part 2 – Kaeshi Tsuki” by James Neiman


This is the second in a 27-part series on the Aiki Ken and Jo Suburi presented by James Neiman, Dojo Cho of Shugyo Aikido Dojo, where martial arts instruction in Union City, California is offered. All the articles are paired with YouTube video demonstrations of each of the Suburi (click here to subscribe to the channel). These paired demonstrations and articles are offered to Aikidoka who would like to more fully understand the precise mechanics within each of the Suburi, how they can be practiced in both solo and partner settings, and how one can align the Suburi with taijutsu to develop increasing competence and precision with both basic and advanced technique.

Kaeshi Tsuki

In this article we examine Kaeshi Tsuki, which is the second of the Aiki Jo Suburi in the series known as the Tsuki No Bu. Below is a video demonstration of the components of this Suburi.

In summary, Kaeshi Tsuki is a forward moving thrust, related in important respects to Choku Tsuki, but with a reversed grip in the right hand that results in the practice of a spiral motion through space. The exercise requires a fluid combination of movements that can be divided into 3 major sections:

  1. Drop
  2. Transfer momentum forward and initiate spiral from center
  3. Complete thrust

[Read more…]


O-Sensei’s “Founder of Aikido” video from 1961 in Hi-Res!

“Watch for O-Sensei’s incredible ability to perceive
his partner’s intent before the attack even starts!”

This video titled “The Founder of Aikido”consists of the uncut version of a Japanese tv documentary titled “Aikido” produced in 1961. This film focuses on the life and techniques of Morihei Ueshiba, and was shot on location in Iwama and Tokyo. It contains beautiful footage of the Founder in his daily life and during training. There are many marvelous action scenes,
including an incredible display of empty-handed techniques, defenses against multiple attacks and a live sword!

Both the late Doshu Kisshomaru Ueshiba and Morihiro Saito figure prominently as O-Sensei’s training partners. Watch for O-Sensei’s incredible ability to perceive his partner’s intent before the attack even starts! You’ll also hear the Founder’s actual voice in several scenes of him in prayer that highlight his great spirituality. This film will bring the figure of O-Sensei alive, and you are sure to be captivated by his energy and charisma!

Complete English subtitles of the Japanese narration are provided.

This film is ideal to show to students and the general public as an introduction to the Founder of Aikido and the milieu in which he lived and trained during the postwar era.

Duration: 26:53
File size: 408 mb
Frame size: 720 x 480

This is one of the most important surviving films of Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba. It is offered here in a high-resolution mp4 format for your personal video collection. You will be watching your video within minutes of your purchase. This video is affordably priced at only $4.99. It is no longer necessary to pay for shipping, customs charges, or lost packages. Nor is there any need to wait!


Free PDF Magazine download: Aiki News Number 67, May 1985

“The historian is not free to neglect or delete important persons or happenings merely because they do not conform to some preconceived image of the figure or events under scrutiny.”

Access: free through May 3

Contents of Aiki News Number 67

  • Editorial – “Why We Do What We Do,” by Stanley Pranin
  • Interview with Nobuyoshi Tamura (2), by Stanley Pranin
  • History of Daito-ryu, by Tokimune Takeda
  • O-Sensei Biography: Chapter VI – Part 4, “Training in the Way and Farming in Iwama, by Kisshomaru Ueshiba
  • Morihiro Saito Technical Notebook (36) — Tachidori kokyunage, by Morihiro Saito
  • Heard in the Dojo
  • Aikido Friendship Demonstration Report, by Stanley Pranin
  • Letters to the Editor

Morihei Ueshiba demonstrating group weapons attack in Shingu, c. 1960. Courtesy of Michio Hikitsuchi Sensei

Click here to get access to the pdf file of Aiki News Number 67

“Bypassing Father Time,” by Stanley Pranin

“Your Role in Preserving Aikido’s Heritage”

I remember many years ago being very surprised to learn that only a small percentage of the films from the silent screen era–perhaps less than 10%–had been preserved. This had to do partially with film studios wanting to reclaim expensive storage space, and throwing away movies thought to be of no further commercial value. Another reason was because the silver nitrate film used was subject to deterioration, not to mention being dangerous leading to many fires.

I actually saw a cannister of 16 mm film from the 1930s of Admiral Isamu Takeshita that had turned to a gooey substance due to the passage of time and improper storage. It was heart-breaking to witness this loss first-hand.

In recent months, I have touched upon the theme of the importance of preserving as much as possible of our aikido heritage in the form of films, video, photos, books, etc. It was my original idea that the Aikido Journal Members Site would serve as the platform for hosting this vast collection of valuable documents. After working with the membership software and learning its ins and outs, I think it will indeed serve this purpose, but not in the way I originally thought.

Let me explain. Our recent offerings of high-resolution downloadable ebooks and videos has demonstrated unequivocally that readers would rather pick and choose the items that interest them, and purchase them separately. In other words, they are less interested in a subscription-based model and would prefer to build their own tailor-made collection of aikido-related materials. This was a revelation to me and totally unexpected. We are perfectly willing to offer our customers the fare they prefer in their preferred format. The digital revolution now in progress and dramatically falling storage and bandwidth costs has made this possible.

Look at some of the advantages this approach offers. Your purchases provide a source of funding for our preservation efforts. Due to the low prices of digital goods, a worldwide market has opened up which was formerly restricted because of much higher production and shipping costs.

There are other significant advantages for the consumer. Since the digital files are stored on our servers “in the cloud,” customers can download files to any of their devices at their convenience. Since the files are located remotely, they are automatically backed up. They are also backed up locally in our facility.

Here is the best part. Over time, with several tens of thousand high-resolution copies dispersed throughout the world on countless devices, this wonderful treasure of aikido’s history will surely survive far into the future, and with a little luck, be there for many generations to come, to benefit from and enjoy.

For this reason, I would like to thank each and everyone of those of you who have and continue to support our efforts. Be aware of the fact that your individual role is very important, and that you play an indispensable part in realizing a noble goal that has eluded every generation that has preceded ours.


Rare book: Stanley Pranin’s “Encyclopedia of Aikido” now an ebook!

“The most in-depth reference book on Aikido available!”

Stanley Pranin’s 1991 book titled “The Aiki News Encyclopedia of Aikido” is now available in ebook form for the first time. This book, long out of print, is a one-of-a-kind aikido reference work containing a cornucopia of essential information about every aspect of the art. In it, you will find hundreds of biographies of aikido personalities, rare photos, addresses, definitions of specialized terms, a bibliography of books, even capsule histories of the art for the world’s major countries up to the time of the publication of the book.

To give you an idea of how readers have reacted to the work, we have excerpted a few comments about the book found on

“Author Stanley Pranin includes a huge variety of information in this encyclopedia on people in all different branches of Aikido and related arts, places of historical interest, specific events, different styles of aikido and their founders, and styles related to Aikido. Unfortunately, this volume has been out of print for some time…

Includes information about Ueshiba Morihei, Ueshiba Kisshomaru, Takeda Sokaku, Tohei Koichi, Saotome Mitsugi, Saito Morihiru, Tomiki, and many more. Japanese and non-Japanese instructors are covered, and Stanley Pranin has gone through the trouble of authenticating many of the ranks held by prominent Aikido people. I hope someday we will see an updated version in print!”

“Pranin has researched aikido as has no one else–American OR Japanese–and this book is a goldmine of information that’s hard to get elsewhere. Whatever style of aikido you practice (and maybe jujutsu or the ken, too) this book will have information on it. A lot of the scuttlebutt on the acrimony between the various teachers of harmony, too. Highly recommended.”

[Read more…]


“Petrol Money – Is Aikido For Its Own Sake Extreme?”, by Nev Sagiba

Some people practice Aikido because they love it whilst others comparatively fail at it because they try to make it too much of a commercial venture.

Pure science, that of discovery never made a penny but the technologies that come from it have been exploited to the tune of many trillions of dollars globally.

Why the divide? Why the disparity?

The goose lays the golden eggs but no-one seems to care to reward that goose by feeding it.

Some ancient cultures did not suffer as we do from extremes of fear-based greed, the very cause of the bulk of violence, aggression and war. They thrived for a long time but are selectively not often included in our narratives of prehistory because they don’t conform to prejudice.

Whether my dojo ever made a profit, broke even, or had to be subsidized was never a concern of mine. I train for Aikido. Money I make by working for it. When necessary I financed my dojo myself. At other times, it made some small pocket money or when owning a car, sometimes petrol money, although with the escalation of petrol prices my other work has had to maintain the cars more and more.

When it came to a choice between Aikido and owning a shiny would-be rust bucket, I chose walking. Walking augments Aikido anyhow. In my teens if it was a choice between eating and Aikido, Aikido would win and I’d return to my flat to an empty fridge and boiled rice. Not recommended. Had I eaten better I could have trained even harder instead of running on youthfulness as fuel. (In those days miso had not arrived in Australia. It would have helped nourish me better.)
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2012 San Francisco Aikido Project featuring Christian Tissier, Bruce Bookman, and James Friedman

“Welcome to the San Francisco Aikido Project”

Thank you for coming to the San Francisco Aikido Project web site. May 2-6, 2012 will be the dates for our international Aikido summer camp. Our guest this year will be: Christian Tissier Sensei 7dan, from Paris, France and Bruce Bookman Sensei, Tenzan Aikido Kai-cho from Seattle. The seminar is hosted by James Friedman Sensei. The seminar will be held at Suginami Aikikai San Francisco, California. Aikidoists of all styles are welcome.


“I have a mountain of photographs lying around here… What should I do with them?,” by Stanley Pranin

If you’ve been following our efforts for the last nine or so months, you will realize that we have been building a new base on which to preserve and disseminate the vast store of documentation we have accumulated during 40 years of research and publication. We have the Aikido Journal Members Site in place. We have opened a dojo directory recently. Then, just the other day we have launched our new store which focuses on downloadable products, something readers have long requested.

It is in connection with the “Store” site that I would like to get your opinions about a matter that has long concerned me. Basically, in our photo collection we have somewhere between 100,000 and 200,000 thousand images… maybe more. It would take literally weeks to count everything! Of course over the years, we have published thousands of photos in the old Aiki News / Aikido Journal magazines, and more recently on our succession of websites.

Consider the dilemma… The printed medium–unless one is a large organization with ample means– is a poor one for reproducing photographs. Likewise, webmasters are always looking to compress images to save space for rapid loading of data, often to the great detriment of image quality. Thus, the two main media normally relied on to reproduce photos offer little when one thinks of the long-term preservation of high-quality photographic images.

As with almost everything else these days, along comes the Internet to the rescue! Since we now have the platform of the Members Site, we can also offer photo downloads–just like we do for ebooks and videos–that are of very high resolution, that one could take to a printing service and blow up to a large size and still have excellent quality. That would be one way of solving the problem of preserving and disseminating these important historical documents.
[Read more…]


“Aiki Ken and Jo Suburi: Part 1 – Choku Tsuki,” by James Neiman


O’Sensei developed the Aiki Ken and Jo Suburi, which thankfully have been faithfully preserved and transmitted as excellent forms from which Aikidoka can develop precise technique in both empty-handed taijutsu and weapons partner practices. The basis for the utility of Suburi is the introduction of large external objects that increase visibility and awareness of all aspects of Aikido technique.

At Shugyo Aikido Dojo we teach the Suburi to beginners as part of a standardized curriculum in the traditions passed to us through our lineage with Morihiro Saito Shihan, Hitohiro Saito Shihan, and Pat Hendricks Shihan, and we encourage advanced students to continue exploring the Suburi as a means to deepen competence in all aspects of Aikido.

The Suburi are helpful exercises that enable students to put into meaningful practice their understanding of lines and positioning, develop hanmi, kokyu, and dynamic balance, establish effective movement from center and hips, and work on timing of movement and breath. They are the subatomic particles that comprise our more complex movements, and provide an invaluable opportunity to refine and perfect the innumerable details that go into each technique. The more deeply we explore and live with the Suburi, the greater the connection we find with all forms of Aikido technique. The Aiki Ken and Jo Suburi truly are a magnificent creation by O’Sensei, and his beautiful gift to all of us contains the key and gateway to mastery of the art. The more advanced we become, the more deeply we are invited to explore the Suburi, and the greater the reward of discovery this path offers.
[Read more…]


Free PDF Download: Aiki News Number 94, Winter-Spring 1993

“I believe that Saito Sensei is capable of seeing the hearts of people directly… on a spiritual level.”

“Aikido’s technical debt to Daito-ryu is immense. It is difficult to find a movement in aikido which does not originate in Takeda’s jujutsu form.”

Access: free through April 25

Contents of Aiki News Number 94

  • Editorial – “Daito-ryu and Omoto: The Two Pillars of Aikido,” by Stanley Pranin
  • Editorial – “Significant doings at Aiki News English Editorial Office,” by Diane Skoss
  • Letters to the Editor
  • Readers’ Forum: “Bullies in the Dojo”
  • Interview with Paolo Corallini, by Stanley Pranin
  • Yoshinkan Aikido Techniques — Shomenuchi udegaraminage, by Gozo Shioda
  • Interview with Katsuaki Asai, by Stanley Pranin
  • Weapons Training and Aikido, by Larry Bieri and Patrick Augé
  • Aiki News Videotape Catalog
  • Morihei Ueshiba and Sokaku Takeda, by Stanley Pranin
  • Aikido Techniques Compared — Yokomenuchi Yonkyo Urawaza / Yokomenuchi Yonkyo Osae, by Gozo Shioda, Seiseki Abe, Kyoichi Inoue, Yasuo Kobayashi, Kiyoyuki Terada
  • Heard in the Dojo: “In Memoriam — Terry Dobson (1937-1992)

Morihiro Saito with Paolo Corallini, c. 1990

Click here to download the pdf file of Aiki News Number 94


“Clearing the Cache – What’s Really There Right Now,” by Nev Sagiba

“Clarity has been sought after from time immemorial by warriors seeking exemption from defeat…”

Most people live, survive and fight from memory. That’s why they lose.

Wars of aggression initiated for whatever purpose and under whatever pretext arise from outdated information simmering in diseased minds constipated with distorted concepts.

Herein lies the conundrum of human aggression. The browser is not receiving current information, as it exists, in the moment.

The universe and its evolution has been labouring for 15 billion years, and the best we can come up with is cardboard hamburgers, masses of fat ignorant nose picking bogans incessantly addicted to buying stuff they don’t need without even knowing why they are doing it, pollution and governments that rely on theft following mass murder? What will they do when they run out of victims? Turn on their own?

If that’s the case, we have no destiny as a species. Perhaps a black hole.

Simulating what cancer does is no formula for a sustainable and happy humanity.

Apparently in the mists of a long ago superstitious “time,” some cosmic nutter calling himself “the lord” went on a spree and decided to use recombinant chimp genes to produce a species whose behaviours resemble that of aggressive baboons. These unwanted swarms then acquired technology as could wrought such destructivity as to replicate the asteroid belt.
[Read more…]


Koichi Tohei – 1974 Seminar, Part 1, Hi-res video download

“Breakthrough video featuring Aikido’s first 10th dan in his prime!”

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. He 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 downloadable video is the first part of surviving footage of a seminar conducted by Koichi Tohei in 1974 in San Francisco, California. This was near the period of time of his resignation as chief instructor from the Aikikai Hombu Dojo. Tohei Sensei was teaching a mixture of his style of aikido techniques together with the “Ki” exercises that comprised his curriculum. Though physically very powerful, Tohei Sensei emphasized a relaxed, circular form of movement where the intention was to blend with one’s partner and lead his mind. His approach to aikido can be clearly seen through a viewing of this rare video.

This historical film has been digitally remastered using a high-end film frame scanner. It has been output in a high-resolution format for the highest possible image quality on any device you choose to view your video.

Duration: 17:25
File size: 263 mb
Frame size: 720 x 480

This important historical video will provide you with an excellent introduction to the Ki Aikido of Koichi Tohei, 10th dan. You will be watching your video within minutes of your purchase. This video is affordably priced at only $3.99. It is no longer necessary to pay for shipping, customs charges, or lost packages. Nor is there any need to wait!

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