Stanley Pranin’s Video Blog: “Should Weapons be a Part of Aikido Training?”

“Where did the Founder Morihei Ueshiba stand on this issue?”

Aikido Journal Editor Stanley Pranin offers a video blog in which he discusses the issue of whether or not Aikido training should involve the practice of weapons. He provides some historical background and explains the reasoning for the two major viewpoints on this subject.

Finally, he discusses two DVDs by Morihiro Saito, 9th dan, that present the Aiki Ken and Aiki Jo curriculum.

Click here for information on Morihiro Saito’s Aiki Ken video now in hi-res format


  1. John Hillson says:

    You give a very good overview of the history. A teacher who was in Tokyo training at the Hombu Dojo during this period is probably unwilling to say that their Aikido is somehow less than that of people who weren’t present in Tokyo. I know one Shihan who claimed he was offered a space in Tokyo and said, “O Sensei is never there!” Politics have not been kind to this teacher.

    I trained in a dojo with a low ceiling. Weapons work was less common. I had people who studied the forms and had us practice them. I’ve been shown the entire 31 Jo form in a single hour, and I don’t believe I was any better for it. I was asked to help teach at a local university, and the teacher was offering to show me some of Chiba Shihan’s form – a few movements ahead of the rest of the class – so that I could teach next time. The forms can look very empty to me when they are badly done, and I chose to quit this teaching opportunity – I knew how to use a Jo for my own practice, and I found the Jo can heal and improve sprained wrists. I have had occassion to use a tool in a fight, and I have some faith in my ability to do so. I was sick at the thought that I might some day meet Chiba Sensei and he would find out how I was “teaching his system.”

    If you are wanting to use a weapon, learn to use it well. Learning it badly offers no practicular benefit – I think its better to learn the core body movements than practice a weapon poorly.

  2. I am an advanced student in Aikikai aikido. In fact I’m an advanced student about to quit aikido once and for all after 4 years of training!!!! It is so sad to see how this beautiful and effective martial art has just become a mere art without any martial application. The Aikikai has “killed” the martial side of the art. No weapons training, no self defense applications. Why bother? I’m going to karate. I wish there was an Iwama dojo around so i wouldn’t have to quit.

  3. This is an excellent historical perspective. As Stan Pranin points out, I follow my lineage, which is Patricia Hendricks Shihan / Morihiro Saito Shihan / O’Sensei, and practice the Iwama tradition of Aiki Ken and Jo daily in my own dojo. The focus in this training is that the weapons and taijutsu work together to align the body and techniques, and there are countless ways in which one finds relationships between taijutsu and weapons.

  4. Luciano Estivill says:

    I’m an Argentinian Aikido practitioner that follows the Mitsugi Saotome (O Sensei disciple) Aikido system, in which weapon and taijutsu training go together, and the reason is too clear to see: Aikido comes from old weapons techniques. It is impossible to master taijutsu in Aikido without a proper knowledge of weapons. The system taught by Saotome Shihan includes: 1 sword (aikiken), 2 swords (nito), jo, naginata, tanto, tanbo, hanbo, boshuriken, yari, etc., a complete set of weapon training, just to have a decent taijutsu practice. Weapons are a must in Aikido.

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