Archives for October 2012


“Modulate,” by Nev Sagiba

“Problem is most young men want to train “hard,” but end up injuring themselves because they foster the illusion of being “the best in the world.”

“The things that work can’t be practiced.” Oh, really?

Go to any sports fighting manual and there are pages and pages of banned techniques, the things that work. Practice these. The sport stuff is good for sport.

Budo’s aim is to offer valid protection in the face of serious attrition. To practice Budo safely you will have to tone down or modulate your power, tempo and speed, forget about ego and proving and set about learning and improving. Helping each other.

If you don’t have this attitude you cannot practice Budo. More so Aiki Budo, the Aikido jujutsu that works.

Problem is most young men want to train “hard,” but end up injuring themselves because they foster the illusion of being “the best in the world.” An all or nothing approach is self defeating. Excess of zeal causes injuries and can deplete vital reserves needed for recovery and balance.

Old athletes often stop training and become unhappy because they still want to compete. In their mind they still want to contend. But it not about contest rather improving. To be the best that you can be for today is an attitude well worth fostering. There are other, more valuable things that are learnt on the Way of Budo than playing catchup in fighting, rather maintenance, caring, nurturing and protection of life and core values.

Your own mind is a powerful thing. It can make you or break you and it’s never too late for anything. Small steps towards any worthwhile goal will make changes. Persistence is the key. Every day input what you can and you will see results. Tempus fugit. You can never claim back lost time. Don’t use the past as an excuse to miss out on your future while you have time in credit. Even if tomorrow is your last day you can achieve a lot in 24 hours, even 12.
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Hitohiro Saito Sensei demonstrates tantodori, tachidori, and jodori

Hitohiro Saito Sensei, son and heir of Morihiro Saito, expertly demonstrates a series of defenses against knife, sword, and staff attacks at his private dojo in Iwama. Hitohiro Sensei is one of aikido’s finest technicians and travels extensively worldwide conducting seminars.

Iwama Aikido is based on the curriculum taught by Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba in the postwar area at his country dojo in the town of Iwama. Morihiro Saito, 9th dan, was the most notable of Morihei Ueshiba’s students from this era. The Iwama curriculum places equal weight on empty-handed and weapons techniques (Aiki Ken and Aiki Jo) and is one of the most influential styles of aikido today.

Click here to view Hitohiro Saito Sensei demonstrating tantodori, tachidori, and jodori techniques


Free PDF download: Interview with Morihei Ueshiba: “The Great Giant Aikido” (1958)

“The spirit of aikido is of harmony to be sure, but even more
it is a princple of nature, heaven and earth.”

Many martial arts magazines have come and gone over the years. A few of them contain articles that are especially worth preserving. This interview with Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba from the short-lived Self-Defense World certainly qualifies as one of them. Here is an excerpt from the interview:

“In the old days, the martial arts were used in deplorable ways, especially during the Japanese Era of the Warring States when they were used to benefit the private interests of daimyos. That’s not all to be admired. I myself taught martial arts to solders during the war, instructing them in killing or wounding people. After the war, I became much agonized about it. But seven years ago [1951], I began to understand the real way of aiki.”

“Heaven and earth are complete, but mankind is wavering and undecided. Man’s purpose is to set things straight, and I began to look upon aikido as an expression of love and harmony. Since then I have studied aikido for the benefit of all people. The spirit of aikido is of harmony to be sure, but even more it is a princple of nature, heaven and earth. It is a martial art derived from all of the phenomena of the cosmos, a surpasssing martial art.”

Access free through October 15

Click here to download the PDF of the Interview with Morihei Ueshiba free through October 15


“Penn State Aikido Lesson Plan for Week 3,” by Jim Sullivan

“Catch a glimpse of techniques you will soon perform demonstrated by the teacher who trained the longest amount of time with the Founder of Aikido.”

Morihiro Saito executing tachidori

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 video: Morihiro Saito Shihan demonstrates Ryokatadori Techinques
Watch video: Steven Seagal at 1995 All-Japan Demonstration
Read article: “Budo and Aikido: Finding the Source”, specifically read the section of this article written by Frank Doran Sensei.

While watching the techniques of Morihiro Saito Shihan think about how these movements relate to the techniques you have learned so far in class. You will catch a glimpse of techniques you will soon perform demonstrated by the teacher who trained the longest amount of time with the Founder of Aikido.

Watch the video of Steven Seagal, the man who introduced Aikido into mainstream America with his movie “Above the Law”. During the Aikido study abroad class you will get the chance to meet the teacher who significantly influenced Seagal Sensei, whom Mark Larson Sensei also trained with significantly. In October you can ask Mark Sensei directly about his conversation with Seagal Sensei at the All-Japan Demonstration!

The article “Budo and Aikido: Finding the Source” has many excellent points by several outstanding instructors. The comments made by Doran Shihan are especially pertinent to the points recently discussed in class – Awase, balance point, and posture. Doran Shihan has graceful, yet powerful and practical technique. I had the pleasure of training with Doran Shihan many times while living in California and at the various Aiki Expo’s which were painstakingly and successfully organized by Stan Pranin Sensei (Thank you!).


“Aiki Ken and Jo Suburi: Part 17 – Hasso Gaeshi Ushiro Uchi” by James Neiman


This is the 17th in a 27-part series on the Aiki Ken and Jo Suburi presented by James Neiman, Dojo Cho of Shugyo Aikido Dojo, where martial arts instruction in Union City, California is offered. All the articles are paired with YouTube video demonstrations of each of the Suburi (click here to subscribe to the channel, and click here to view all the articles in this series). These paired demonstrations and articles are offered to Aikidoka who would like to more fully understand the precise mechanics within each of the Suburi, how they can be practiced in both solo and partner settings, and how one can align the Suburi with taijutsu to develop increasing competence and precision with both basic and advanced technique.

Hasso Gaeshi Ushiro Uchi

In this article we examine Hasso Gaeshi Ushiro Uchi, which is the 4th of the Aiki Jo Suburi in the series known as the Hasso No Bu. Click here to view a video demonstration of the components of this Suburi. In summary, Hasso Gaeshi Ushiro Uchi contains part of a figure-8 movement, resulting in a block followed by a strike in the rear direction. This exercise continues the orientation toward multiple ukes in the Hasso No Bu. The exercise requires a fluid combination of movements that can be divided into 3 major sections:

  1. Initiate Rotation and Block
  2. Re-orient your body for movement in the rear direction
  3. Complete the rear moving strike

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Video: Morihiro Saito demonstrates ryokatadori techniques

Morihiro Saito, 9th dan, once again reveals his encyclopedic knowledge of aikido by demonstrating a series of ryokatadori techniques. The uke is Alessandro Titarelli.

Morihiro Saito was one of the closest and talented of Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba’s students in the postwar period. Over his nearly 60 year aikido career, Saito Sensei taught widely both in Japan and abroad and left an important body of book and video materials that are considered among the best sources on aikido technique.

Click here to view the video of Morihiro Saito demonstrating ryokatadori techniques


Free PDF Magazine: Aiki News Number 67, May 1985

“The historian is not free to neglect or delete important persons or happenings merely because they do not conform to some preconceived image of the figure or events under scrutiny.”

Access: free through May 3

Contents of Aiki News Number 67

  • Editorial – “Why We Do What We Do,” by Stanley Pranin
  • Interview with Nobuyoshi Tamura (2), by Stanley Pranin
  • History of Daito-ryu, by Tokimune Takeda
  • O-Sensei Biography: Chapter VI – Part 4, “Training in the Way and Farming in Iwama, by Kisshomaru Ueshiba
  • Morihiro Saito Technical Notebook (36) — Tachidori kokyunage, by Morihiro Saito
  • Heard in the Dojo
  • Aikido Friendship Demonstration Report, by Stanley Pranin
  • Letters to the Editor

Morihei Ueshiba demonstrating group weapons attack in Shingu, c. 1960. Courtesy of Michio Hikitsuchi Sensei

Click here to download the PDF file of Aiki News #67 free thru October 14th


Video: Steven Seagal at 1995 All-Japan Aikido Demonstration

“This demonstration was given on the occasion of Steven Seagals’s 7th dan award”

Steven Seagal is a well-known action movie star who has showcased aikido in many of his films. Steven lived in Japan for a number of years where he operated an aikido dojo in Osaka. After first following Koichi Tohei Sensei upon arriving in Japan, he later became part of the Aikikai Hombu Dojo system. Steven was close to the late Seiseki Abe Sensei and hosted seminars in Osaka in which people like Noriaki Inoue, Morihiro Saito, Hiroshi Isoyama, and other famous teachers participated.

Early in Steven’s movie career, there was somewhat of an “aikido boom” due to the popularity of his movies. He was instrumental in familiarizing millions of people with his dynamic aikido technique, which was often portrayed in a brutal manner in his films.

This video clip is from the 1995 All-Japan Aikido Demonstration and Steven performs in the center mat in deference to his celebrity status to an appreciative audience. On this visit to Japan, he was also awarded 7th dan ranking by Second Doshu Kisshomaru Ueshiba.

Click here to view the video of Steven Seagal’s 1995 All-Japan Aikido Demonstration


“Intention, Ki and Aikido,” by Francis Takahashi

“These folk attempt to use their powers of Ki extension to guide the innocent, protect the vulnerable, and to effect real changes for the common good.”

In Japanese, the word “intention” may be “ikou” or “ishi.” This may simply describe a simple purpose or wish, or it could represent a firm and resolute desire for a specific result or goal. It may remain a wish, or be transformed by action.

The Japanese word “Ki” may be translated and used in a myriad of ways, from the simplistic to the intricately convoluted. `Most people accept a translation of “mind, intention, or purpose”. If so, this may become a trap for the uninitiated, as the Japanese language is not necessarily “user friendly,” nor primarily intended to convey reasoned ideas or authenticated information, but to buttress the underpinnings of Japanese societal structure, to cement the need for conformity from all classes within society, and to enforce clear and often strict standards of social behavior, and their uncompromising compliance from all affected and involved.

The power of Ki applied with intent, may well function similarly to a wave of impulse energy, for example, a tsunami event. The difference may well be that, while a tsunami may be mindless as to its agenda, the will to purposely apply Ki energy actually serves as the mindful vehicle to facilitate the true intent and agenda of the one who decides to act with a specific purpose. The stronger the exercise of such a will, the more impact it will have on those on whom it is exercised, including the one exercising this activity.

Most instances of someone utilizing his or her “KI”, appears to be mainly occurring for the purpose of confidently demonstrating some ability to impress, or to be acting out some closely held comviction. It usually follows that such an activity will not necessarily validate or substantiate any proven principle of Aiki, or end up with any meaningful or a result oriented purpose.
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Video: Do NOT Punch In A Street Fight… Over 8,000,000 views!

“These first two knuckles are going to get nailed… It’s like hitting a wall!”

An interesting analysis of the dangers of using a punch in an actual altercation along with a series of suggestions for accomplishing the effects of a punch without causing injury to your hand. This video has over 8,000,000 views!…

Click here to view the “Do NOT punch in a Street Fight video!