“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:
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