“Quite Probably the Most Spectacular Aikido Video of All Time!”
Of all of the surviving documents of the prewar era, perhaps the most important is the 1935 film of Morihei shot at the Asahi News company in Osaka. This film was shot in sound in 16mm format and runs slightly over 14 minutes. Morihei demonstrates many suwariwaza, hanza handachi (hanmi handachi), tachiwaza, multiple attacks, and sword and juken techniques. His partners are Shigemi Yonekawa and Tsutomu Yukawa. There are brief appearances by Takuma Hisa and Rinjiro Shirata.
Most of the techniques preserved in this film are advanced and are performed in a flowing style building up to a spectacular multiple attack finale! One is struck by the modernity of many of the techniques and the “ki no nagare” like style of execution. The visual and sound impact of this film is tremendous and it provides a window in time to the wonderful techniques of Morihei from that era. The influence of Daito-ryu techniques in this film is much less obvious compared to the techniques contained in Budo Renshu and the Noma Dojo photos, the latter series being taken very close in time to the Asahi film.
I had known about the existence of the 1935 film of Morihei for a number of years. A few of the old-timers had actually seen the old Asahi News documentary, and spoke about it in terms that fired the imagination. Why was this precious document being withheld? Since the film was no longer shown and had been locked away, my only hope was to find an outside source; it was like looking for the veritable needle in the haystack. Nonetheless, I undertook the challenge of finding it. One day, a Japanese friend came up with a lead to something that sounded promising. There was a certain prewar film among thousands languishing in a Tokyo archive that appeared to contain some old jujutsu footage. It was titled simply “Budo.” Not much to go on, but perhaps an interesting find nonetheless.
A private showing was arranged for me back in 1979. I sat down in the viewing room while the operator threaded the film into the 16mm projector. Then the lights were dimmed and the projector started rolling making a loud clattering sound. The titles flickered across the screen accompanied by rather grandiose music, and I settled into my seat holding my breath. Then a short, muscular man with a balding head walked briskly onto the mat and bowed to his students. I felt the tears well up in my eyes because at that moment I realized I was watching Morihei at 51 years of age! I felt like I had entered a time machine, and watched the Founder’s amazing technique in a trance state. Within a few week’s time, the precious film had been snatched from the jaws of oblivion and made available to aikido practitioners all over the world. It was a deeply satisfying moment for me on a personal level.
The 1935 film offers a rare opportunity to study in depth and up close the movements of Morihei, a true martial arts genius. Notice the fluidity and grace of his techniques, his relaxed manner, and his perfect balance and timing when executing techniques. Pause the action, zoom in, zoom out… watch the film many times, and you will glean new knowledge that you can take back into the dojo and incorporate into your personal training.
This historical film has been digitally remastered and output in a high-resolution format for the highest possible image quality on any device you choose to view your video.
File size: 240 mb
Frame size: 720 x 480
This historical video treasure will help you understand the early development of aikido technique and give you a deeper appreciation for Founder Morihei Ueshiba. 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!
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