“Penn State Aikido Lesson Plan for Week 4,” by Jim Sullivan

Gozo Shioda, founder of Yoshinkan Aikido, applying nikyo from 1958 film

“It is important for those who wish to become experts or perfect
their aikido to acquire a total mastery of basics! — Gozo Shioda”

Penn State University is currently conducting an aikido course and part of the course materials are period by Aikido Journal. We invite our readers to follow along with these well-designed assignments.

Hello Aikido students,

This week your assignment is to:

Watch the video of Morihiro Saito Shihan demonstrating outdoors in Iwama

Read article: An Aikido Life (01) by Gozo Shioda

You have already seen film of Morihiro Saito Shihan in the video “Aikido Classics 1: Postwar Greats” shown in class. This video you will watch is of Morihiro Saito Shihan performing a number of essential Aikido techniques outdoors in Iwama. Many of these techniques you have already done or will do soon. Next week you will hear and see many references to Morihiro Saito Shihan and Iwama when Mark Larson Sensei comes to Penn State.

At this point in the semester as you are learning Aikido common questions pop up such as “Is this a real martial art?”, “why don’t we have sparring or competitions?”, “Why are we supposed to have a level of cooperation and ‘agreements’ when practicing?”, “Why do we have to keep repeating techniques like tai no henko and morotedori kokyho?”, and the most common question, “Would this stuff really work in a real situation?”

These questions are addressed in class and best answered over time through training. However, in one succinct article Gozo Shioda Sensei perfectly address all of these and many other questions that plague the beginning Aikido student – and often teachers! Shioda Sensei was one of the premier students of the Founder (also featured in the “Aikido Classics 1: Postwar Greats” shown in class and in the documentary “Budo” that you will see soon. In addition to answering these classic questions examine the differences between Shioda Sensei and his friend, the situation in which they found themselves, how they got there and the outcome. When you look closely there are some very interesting additional insights about Aikido methods and philosophy that are pertinent to students and instructors alike. On a side note, last summer during our class when we visited the Dojo behind Meiji Shrine in Tokyo, Mark Larson Sensei told us an interesting story involving the Founder and Gozo Shioda Sensei – ask him about it next week!

Jim Sullivan, Ph.D.
Instructor of Kinesiology
Penn State University
266 Rec Hall
University Park, PA 16823


  1. I have found out, as most will, if they keep training that everything you ask for from Aikido is already there and you will see and fill it as time go by. As “James Brown” would say, open up the door and I will get it myself. The door had been open, you are the one who open it when you came to the Dojo you just have to put in the time.

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