Nov
30

Beautiful portrait of Hiroshi Tada, 9th dan, Aikikai Shihan

One of our Facebooks friends shared this outstanding photo of Hiroshi Tada Sensei, one of the last remaining of the postwar generation of aikido shihan.Tada Sensei was trained at the Aikikai Hombu Dojo in Tokyo under the direction of Kisshomaru Ueshiba and Koichi Tohei, and the Founder. His aikido is based on a dynamic, continuous connection with his partner. He has maintained excellent physical condition and moves like a young man despite being over 80 years of age. If you would like to see Tada Sensei in action, take a look at these videos.

Click here to watch videos of Hiroshi Tada, 9th dan

Nov
30

Moriteru Ueshiba video: “Inside the Aikikai Hombu Dojo at 6:30 am”

This clip is the opening sequence of a documentary on Aikido produced by “The Empty Mind.” It features the early morning class of Moriteru Ueshiba or Doshu including warmups and demonstration of shomenuchi iriminage. Ben Peacock, a student training at the World Headquarters in Tokyo introduces the segment.

Click here to watch Moriteru Ueshiba Doshu teaching 6:30 am class at Aikikai Hombu Dojo

Nov
29

“Aikido doesn’t work in cage fighting…” by Charles Warren

“Aikido is false practice because if we’d train to win a
cage combat, none of the techniques would work!”

As though cage fighting or any other rule-based sport is realistic! The important elements of aikido, and most effective fighting, timing, distance and deception are removed or seriously circumscribed. The only things which are left are strength, speed, endurance and the ability to absorb punishment.

Whenever people think of WWI they think of the Western Front in France. It was simply a trial of strength and endurance. The English Channel and the Swiss border constrained maneuver. Any questions of time, distance and deception were reduced to the small unit level. Churchill had the right idea about attack through the Ottoman Empire, but it failed tactically. The Eastern Front was much more fluid because it couldn’t be entrenched and fortified from one flank to another.

In most real situations, no matter what the original intentions of the parties, uncertainty is dominant in all of the parameters of conflict. Because aikido encourages an upright posture without a “fighting guard,” it offers great advantages. The Boyd cycle — after Lt.Col. John Boyd – USAF — is Observe-Orient-Decide-Act (repeat). The first two are crucial in real situations, but limited in sport. Boyd analyzed aerial combat and ascribed the combat superiority of the F86 to the MiG to superior visibility. The upright posture of aikido with circling moves like two-step and tai-no-henko greatly assist in Observing and Orienting to real situations. Enough training compresses the Decide-Act part of the cycle as well. Of course, if your particular training style emphasizes ineffective actions…

http://www.charlesbwarren.com/

Nov
29

The importance of atemi in Daito-ryu… and Aikido!

Here is an excellent photo of Katsuyuki Kondo, Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu Menkyo Kaiden, executing a technique in which atemi plays an essential part. Atemi, or “combative strikes,” serve the purpose of disturbing an opponent’s attack and balance paving the way for the execution of a technique. The use of atemi fell out of favor in the aikido that was spread in the postwar era due to a variety of factors.

Morihei Ueshiba, for his part, regularly used atemi when demonstrating techniques. To a certain extent, Morihei’s study of the ken and jo went hand in hand with his use of atemi in empty-handed techniques. Atemi consist of strikes and jabs and such movements have analogs in weapons use.

Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu was the jujutsu art learned by Morihei Ueshiba as a young man from Sokaku Takeda. Most of aikido techniques derive from this sophisticated jujutsu system. Aikido Journal has a huge amount of source material on this and related subjects.

Click here to access Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu resources on Aikido Journal

Nov
29

Christian Tissier video: “The dynamic and elegant art of the pride of French Aikido!”

This video captures an outstanding demonstration by one of Aikido’s preeminent masters, Christian Tissier at Aiki Expo 2005 held in Los Angeles, California sponsored by Aikido Journal. In this demonstration, Tissier first offers a series of exciting Kashima Shin-ryu kata. This classical style descends through the lineage of Zenya Kunii and Minoru Inaba, taught at the Meiji Grand Shrine in Tokyo. This school also influenced the aikido of Seigo Yamaguchi Sensei, one of Tissier’s mentors. Following the sword demonstration, Tissier Sensei demonstrates many elegant and dynamic taijutsu forms in his own inimitable style. He reveals a very high level of aikido that has attracted literally tens of thousands of students the world over.

Click here to watch at dynamic demonstration of Christian Tissier at Aiki Expo 2005

Nov
29

“Aiki Ken and Jo Suburi: Part 21 – Ichi No Ken Suburi” by James Neiman

Introduction

O’Sensei developed the Aiki Ken and Jo Suburi, which thankfully have been faithfully preserved and transmitted as excellent forms from which Aikidoka can develop precise technique in both empty-handed taijutsu and weapons partner practices. The basis for the utility of Suburi is the introduction of large external objects that increase visibility and awareness of all aspects of Aikido technique.

At Shugyo Aikido Dojo we teach the Suburi to beginners as part of a standardized curriculum in the traditions passed to us through our lineage with Morihiro Saito Shihan, Hitohiro Saito Shihan, and Pat Hendricks Shihan, and we encourage advanced students to continue exploring the Suburi as a means to deepen competence in all aspects of Aikido.

The Suburi are helpful exercises that enable students to put into meaningful practice their understanding of lines and positioning, develop hanmi, kokyu, and dynamic balance, establish effective movement from center and hips, and work on timing of movement and breath. They are the subatomic particles that comprise our more complex movements, and provide an invaluable opportunity to refine and perfect the innumerable details that go into each technique. The more deeply we explore and live with the Suburi, the greater the connection we find with all forms of Aikido technique. The Aiki Ken and Jo Suburi truly are a magnificent creation by O’Sensei, and his beautiful gift to all of us contains the key and gateway to mastery of the art. The more advanced we become, the more deeply we are invited to explore the Suburi, and the greater the reward of discovery this path offers.

This is the 21st in a 27-part series on the Aiki Ken and Jo Suburi, and the first in a series of 7 articles on the Aiki Ken Suburi. All articles in the series are paired with YouTube video demonstrations of each of the Suburi (click here to subscribe to the channel). 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.

Ichi No Suburi

In this initial article on the Aiki Ken, we examine Ichi No Suburi, which is the first of the Aiki Ken Suburi. In summary, Ichi No Suburi is the quintessential shomen strike, and a profoundly important exercise in developing hanmi and kokyu. Click here to view a video demonstration of the components of this Suburi. The exercise requires a fluid combination of movements that can be divided into 3 major sections:

  1. Gather energy
  2. Transfer momentum forward
  3. Complete strike

 
[Read more...]

Nov
28

Hiroshi Ikeda, 7th dan, at Aiki Expo 2005!

As the Aiki Expo 2005 was a huge event, we have literally hundreds of nice photos that we would like to put up for the enjoyment of the aikido public. Here is another one of Hiroshi Ikeda Sensei of the Boulder Aikikai that we think you will like.

Click here to read about this historic Aiki Expo 2005

Nov
28

Aiki Expo 2005 video: “The remarkable Christian Tissier!”

Among the major instructors participating in Aiki Expo 2005 was the famous French teacher Christian Tissier, an Aikikai 7th dan. Many of the seminar participants were drawn to his classes and also appreciative of his amazing demonstration at the Expo.

Click here to view the highlight video containing scenes from a Christian Tissier seminar at the Expo

Nov
28

Aiki Expo 2005 video: “A feast of talent and inspiration!”

Behind the scenes, among the instructors, the Expo is a place for making new friends and reacquainting with old friends that we see far too infrequently. With few exceptions, the Sensei are hobnobbing into the wee hours every night, sharing thoughts and experiences, asking questions, postulating on Aikido’s past and future, seeking ways to improve the current situation. Kindred spirits all, the bonds grow stronger every time to everyone’s benefit and betterment.

Click here to view the highlight video of Aiki Expo 2005

Nov
27

Video: Kazuo Chiba’s Dynamic Technique from 1989

Kazuo Chiba Sensei, one of the last generation of the uchideshi of the Aikikai Hombu Dojo in Tokyo, demonstrates a variety of techniques from katatedori, katadori and morotedori grabs. This seminar was held in 1989 at the United Kingdom Aikikai Summer School.

Click here to watch Kazuo Chiba in action in the UK in 1989

Nov
27

“In Fairness, an aiki perspective,” by Francis Takahashi

In fairness to the Founder of Aikido, Morihei Ueshiba, I issue this disclaimer, that whatever opinion or perspective I present, does not presume or assume any direct claim to the Founder, or of any special knowledge or insight into his teachings in any way. All errors, omissions and total blackouts of logic or common sense are mine alone. I met him but once, in only one training session, and in passing. Yet, I have made it my resolute habit to identify and appreciate each person I encounter by the influence he may have made on those who profess allegiance to Aiki Principles, and who willingly and openly share their understanding with others similarly motivated.

The O Sensei videos are entertaining, but lack sufficient definition to truly learn much from. Those words, aphorisms and phrases attributed to the Founder are too often influenced by the translators’ bias and lack of full research, along with a woeful lack of cultural exposure and in depth training in the Aikido of the Founder. We can, and we must do better, by first acknowledging that the Aikido of the Founder is not a done deal. It is an indefinite work in progress for those who willingly take up the challenge to first internalize those Principles, and make them available to all who wish to train, to study, and to eventually share the length and breadth of the Founder’s vision.

In fairness to those who genuinely attempt to reconstruct the elements of the Founder’s personal history, his notable contacts in the field of art, politics, religion, martial arts etc., I do believe that they do their level best with what is available. The Founder left little in written provenance, and the general consensus of those who had first hand contact with him were varied and too often contradictory. They all agreed, however, that most of what they saw, heard, and experienced was unintelligible to them at that time.

In fairness to the direct students of the Founder, who were usually men without much formal training, business training, and demonstrably lacking in people skills, they did succeed in gleaning enough from their experiences to successfully develop their individual styles of training and transmission. It is fair to also say that they did attempt to continue their own sense of growth and development of the multiple skills required of a successful instructor, albeit with varying degrees of success.
[Read more...]

Nov
27

Video: Pat Hendricks, 7th dan, demonstrates the fine points of Shomenuchi Iriminage

In this video, Pat Hendricks, 7th dan, demonstrates shomenuchi iriminage, one of aikido’s most important techniques. She explains the basic version of the technique where nage initiates, and then a more advanced version where nage responds to uke’s attack…

Click here to watch Pat Hendrick’s demonstration of Shomenuchi Iriminage