Archives for June 2012


“Who Controls the Technique, Uke or Nage?” by Nev Sagiba

“I pretend to attack you telegraphing a single movement such as never exists in combat and you pretend to bowl me over with skill that is not there because I’m taking a dive.”

In Aikido partner kata training where a single technique or set of combined techniques or counters are practiced, who controls the technique? Uke or Nage?

The word “throws” is used a lot, by many, but if this were the case it would no longer be Aikido, but a form of judo expressing the same-old-same-old bully-victim paradigm of one person “doing something” to someone else following a contest of some kind.

In such case not only is it not Aikido, but nothing has been learned of the Founder’s paradigm of transcending violence. “Throwing” someone or pushing “them” over plays into the very illness true Aikido was formulated to transcend!

In any event what would we be reenacting? I pretend to attack you telegraphing a single movement such as never exists in combat and you pretend to bowl me over with skill that is not there because I’m taking a dive. Repeat on the other side then change roles alternating until a change is called. To what end? Yoga? Cardio? Calisthenics? Dance? We are both faking something, who-knows-what, whilst drowning in false ego.

Would we be reaching deeply, or at all, into our own dark side, where violence dwells, to root it out and to reveal a better way with this kind of frottage? I think not.

The only “spin” that should exist in true Budo is a good tenkan!

The Founder called Aikido, “An Invincible Budo.” What did he mean by this? That you could get yourself into a violent situation and always win? I think not. No mortal exists, ever has or ever will, who is so immutable. As revealed by the experiences of several supposed “masters of aikido,” a best keep secret, when attacked, they became the recipients of a sound hiding, following which, in each event, they mysteriously took an extended vacation until the bruises had healed over.

Self-deception is not “victory of oneself” and neither can it be of any practical use.

This was never the case with the Founder or his teachers. So what was lost on the way?
[Read more…]


“The Book with a Thousand Covers!” by Stanley Pranin

“I was like a kid in a candy shop with
so many great covers to choose from!”

I confess I’ve exaggerated a bit. Let’s call it “editorial license.” Back in early 2010, I published a book called “Aikido Pioneers — Prewar Era.” It’s a collection of 20 interviews with many of the closest students of Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba from the 1920s and 30s. This work was based on scores of interviews I conducted from 1973 through about 2005. It was a long, arduous task, but I think the result is an essential source book on aikido history.

I had written and published some earlier works on aikido from the pre-Photoshop age, but I never could get the printed covers to come out the way I wanted. Not wishing to repeat this experience with “Pioneers,”, I decided to try something radical to get a good cover design.

Here is a quote from an old blog that describes the process I used to get the final cover.

About two months ago, we put out a call to the aikido community for interested designers to submit sample designs for the cover. To our great surprise, we had over 20 submissions, many of them fully worthy of being selected as the final cover. We would like to express our appreciation for the outstanding efforts of the many participants by showing you some samples of their submissions. Take a look at the great material we had to work with…

[Read more…]


“Subtle Energy Synchrony/ Meditation, ChiGung, Budo,” by Nick Lowry

“Over time we develop greater and greater ease in
dealing with what once was simply overwhelming.”

If you have a lot of pendulums swinging in a room, over a short period of time they all tend to entrain toward synchrony with the largest one. This works with people’s subtle emotional and energetic qualities as well. Folks tend to get in synchrony with the person who has the strongest energetic and emotive field. With this in mind, it behooves us to learn some good hygiene for the care and maintenance our personal energetics.

Learning to get grounded and centered with meditation (both standing and walking forms); to recharge your energy and fill your body and your aura with high energy through practices such as chi gung or kriya yoga (particularly something that includes both movement, visualization and sound or chanting), and to move from a fully embodied sense of steady free flowing confidence as we do with budo training (here we need efficient methods involving sweat and motion and including work from all ranges and including weapons work); these methods all go a long way toward developing this subtle quality. Plow the field and plant the seeds—slow and steady does the deed.
[Read more…]


New Ebook: “Takemusu Aiki – Koshinage” by Morihiro Saito Now on Sale!

“A rare technical manual by Morihiro Saito, the most complete treatise ever compiled on “Koshinage,” aikido’s hip throws, is yours for download within minutes!”

This ebook consists of a rare technical manual originally published in 1981 containing a detailed treatise on the koshinage techniques of aikido. A total of 26 koshinage–hip-throw techniques–are presented with sequential photos accompanied by both English and Japanese explanations. This volume is the most complete compendium available on this portion of the aikido curriculum by one of the art’s most famous masters.

At the time of the publication of “Takemusu Aiki: Koshinage,” Saito Sensei was 50 years old and in his physical prime. His mastery of technique and ability to organize and explain aikido’s vast curriculum are legendary. Saito Sensei’s skills and great attention to detail will be readily apparent to readers of this volume.

This manual is based on photos taken in the late 1970s inside the Iwama Dojo that record many aikido techniques, both basic and advanced. All together, two manuals were published, this one on koshinage, and an earlier volume presenting numerous techniques from katatedori grabs. The preparation of these manuals took the form of Saito Sensei tape-recording explanations for the respective techniques while viewing photo layouts. From this, a Japanese text version was created which was then translated into English.

We are pleased to offer this precious training manual, “Takemusu Aiki: Koshinage,” in ebook form for the first time. Readers will be able to download their PDF file within minutes of their purchase. The digital format allows us to offer the ebook at the affordable price of only $3.99. No more paying for shipping, no more customs charges, or lost packages, no more waiting! You can view the PDF book on your mobile device for portability and convenience. Act now and boost your skills!

“The whole purchasing process was smooth and fast. Got my copy in some 5 minutes and confirm that the download went without problems. Thank you very much for your efforts in publishing these hidden gems!” – A.V.

Click here for more information and to purchase
Morihiro Saito’s Koshinage ebook for only $3.99!

“Change As Part of the Cycle of Movement in Aikido,” by Alister Gillies

“Serious practitioners of Aikido face the same situation that O-Sensei
faced: an uncertain future with no guarantees about the final outcome.”

I agree with most of what George Ledyard says in his article, but it does somewhat beg the question regarding change in Aikido. Certainly, the winds of change are blowing. They have been blowing from the outset!

When O Sensei and a few followers left Sokaku Takeda they could not have foreseen the development of modern-day Aikido. Similarly, when O Sensei instructed Bansen Tanaka to recruit the sons of wealthy parents as students, or entrusted Hombu Dojo to the care of his son Kisshomaru, he could not have foreseen the creation of a corporate Aikido. When the founder left Tokyo for Iwama, sick in body and mind, I feel sure that his intention was not to create a definitive style of Aikido as a legacy for future generations. Given what we know of the founder’s life, it is not unreasonable to assume that he was engaged in Shugyo to mend his ailing spirit. Everything he had believed, not least the spiritual uniqueness and divinity of the Japanese people (and therefore himself), had been called into question by the events leading up to and following the Second World War. While the nation was preoccupied with material survival and restoration, O Sensei set about a process of spiritual reconstruction that was to take many years. When he left Iwama, both he and his Aikido had changed.

O Sensei was always moving on, and everyone else has been playing catch up, trying to emulate, imitate, advocate, dispute and incorporate ever since. While O Sensei has left the building, the characteristics that were there at the beginning, schism, financial insecurity, and finding one’s own way (Do of Aikido), are still fundamental preoccupations – as any teacher running a dojo will tell you. It seems that the more things change, the more they remain the same. Serious practitioners of Aikido, those in it for the long haul, face the same situation that O Sensei faced: an uncertain future with no guarantees about the final outcome.

Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba (1883-1969)

Is there anything that O Sensei left behind that can help us to navigate through our own confusion – because confusion there is, an abundance of it? If O Sensei were to take even a casual glance at an Aikido internet forum today, it is doubtful that he would recognise his own creation. He might well ask, as he often did: what are these people practicing? In the face of change, uncertainty is natural, but uncertainty multiplied by fear results in confusion. Did O Sensei leave anything behind? Yes, he left us with ourselves! Not this or that teacher, not this or that technique, not this or that explanation, but an untapped and rich resource of human potentiality that each of us can mine if we can only “become one with the universe”. What could be simpler; what could be more difficult? Fear is what prevents us from moving on.
[Read more…]


Christian Tissier: Special demonstration behind closed doors at Aiki Expo 2005

“Long years of training at the Aikikai Hombu Dojo
built the foundation of a marvelous skill!”

Christian Tissier gives a special demonstration at Aiki Expo 2005, shot behind closed doors, where he explains in clear detail an advanced series of techniques that take advantage of the “forgotten direction” in Aikido that bear his unmistakable trademark. Slow-motion sequences are also included to capture the nuances of the movements of this outstanding technician. Truly much food for thought for your personal training!

Christian Tissier, 7th dan, began Aikido as a boy in France in 1962. He spent eight years in Japan at the Aikikai Hombu Dojo in Tokyo training with many of the art’s top masters starting in 1969. On his return to his native France, he brought back a new kind of Aikido that soon captured the imagination of the Aikido world in his country and practitioners throughout Europe. Tissier is at present the leading figure in the FFAAA organization, one of France’s two large Aikido associations. He is the sole foreign instructor to have taught at the International Aikido World Congress in Tokyo.

French language, complete English subtitles

Price: $1.99
Duration: 8:00
File size: 106 mb
Frame size: 720 x 480