Nov
08

“Fear, the ultimate component,” by Francis Takahashi

In May, 2010, I wrote a brief article entitled “Fear as an opponent.” Carina Reinhard responded with a brilliant illustration of what fear can cause in a man’s behavior. You may find both in the Forum section of my website, aikidoacademyusa.com.

In assessing what we as Americans, and all of us as citizens of this planet earth, are truly facing at this time of unprecedented uncertainty, as well as from economic, sociological and religious turmoil, much of the cause, as well as the source of viable solutions may be found in the same comprehensive, though complex answer.

Fear is an elemental component of our DNA, being responsible for the so called “fight or flight” reaction that resides in us all, as well as in many other higher level animals. Nature provides us with many resources with which to compete, to survive and to ultimately thrive in our respective environments. I do recognize the phenomenon of fear, along with its historic role in mankind’s evolution, as a significant, but little understood or appreciated factor in the quality of our existence, and in the direction of our continued growth of being mutually progressive on environmental issues, and as a species interacting responsibly with one another.

The Japanese word for fear is “kyofu”, and the state of being afraid is “osoreru”. All cultures recognize that being fearful, being afraid, and being paralyzed by those “things” we fear, are seemingly unavoidable facts of life. Kind words of consolation, or courageous exhortations for bravery, may well prove inadequate when it comes to dealing effectively with those things we truly fear, that we do not yet fully understand.
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Nov
08

O-Sensei: “Saito, get yourself a wife!”

“Sensei threw one of his students flying in a seemingly
casual way that left the audience agape!”

One day, Ueshiba Sensei said to me, “Saito, get yourself a wife.” Fortunately, through some twist of fate, I ended up meeting my wife, Sata. I say fortunately because I wasn’t exactly a good catch as a husband, and I can’t think why anyone would want to marry her either. Once we had settled on one another, Sensei said, “You can have the wedding in my house,” which we did. Soon afterward, however he said, “You’re in charge of the place now,” and promptly left on a trip to the Kansai region. Well, I didn’t know what to do, so the next day I chased after him, following him all around Kansai asking him to come back. Because of that we never did get to go on a honeymoon!…

Click here to read the entire article “Remembering Morihiro Saito Sensei (2)

Nov
07

Video: Aikido versus outside low kick

One example of Aikido defense against outside low (leg) kick of the sort used in Muay Thai using an application of “extend ki” and adaptation of the “unbendable arm” principle to become “unbendable leg.” Demonstration by Enso Aikido Dojo.

Click here to view video on aikido vs. outside low kick

Nov
07

Video: Have you ever seen this nikyo before? It hurts!

In this video, Stanley Pranin explains and demonstrates a very unusual katatedori nikyo oyowaza that you have probably not seen before. Pranin is the founder of Aikido Journal and will be conducting a joint seminar with Pat Hendricks Sensei of Aikido of San Leandro, one of the highest ranking female aikido instructors in the world, in Las Vegas, March 9-10, 2013.

Click here to view the video of this unique nikyo technique

Nov
06

Tetsuzan Kuroda: “Martial Artist of Impossible Skills!”

Tetsuzan Kuroda, the headmaster of the martial legacy of the Kuroda family, is one of the best known and respected of contemporary Japanese koryu practitioners. He is one of Japan’s finest swordsman, a master of a variety of classical weapons, and an adept in the soft-style Kuroda family jujutsu. One quickly runs out of superlatives when attempting to describe the skills of Tetsuzan Kuroda Sensei. Watching Kuroda Sensei draw his sword is a stunning experience. It’s akin to a religious revelation where you humbly thank the Creator for allowing you to witness such a miracle of movement! This video was shot during Aiki Expo 2003…

Click here to view the video of Tetsuzan Kuroda

Nov
06

Video: Shoji Seki’s powerful display of technique at 10th International Aikido Congress

Shoji Seki, 7th dan, is one of a group of Aikikai Hombu Dojo instructors who began their careers in the late 1960s. He has maintained himself in excellent physical condition, and his technique is fast and precise. Although Seki Sensei is not verbose in his explanation, he repeats the technique he is demonstrating many times, and it is possible to catch the fine points of his movements through careful observation.

Click here to view the video of Shoji Seki, 7th dan

Nov
05

Hi-res video: Seigo Yamaguchi – A Seminar in Paris, 1987

We have added Part 1 of the first publicly available video featuring famous Aikikai Hombu Dojo instructor, Seigo Yamaguchi to the Aikido Journal store. The video was taken at a large seminar in Paris, France hosted by Christian Tissier in 1987. Yamaguchi Sensei, 8th dan, was one of the most important of the first generation of aikido instructors of the postwar era.

Click here for more information on the Seigo Yamaguchi hi-res video

Nov
05

“Remembering Morihiro Saito Sensei (1),” by Stanley Pranin

“The grainy image of Sensei caught on the film was that of a huge block of a man moving haphazardly around the stage while left and right demolishing attackers who appeared to be mere playthings!”

Saito Sensei’s classes were always full and he enjoyed a reputation as perhaps the finest technician teaching at the Hombu Dojo in those days. His explanations were clear and methodical in contrast to most of the other Hombu teachers that simply demonstrated a technique with little or no commentary. He was always smiling and circulating around the dojo giving a lot of personal attention to students. In addition to his superb taijutsu, Saito Sensei also spent the last part of his class teaching the aiki ken and jo, the only teacher to do so when I was there. Sensei would show the basic striking and thrusting movements of the ken and jo and then incorporate them into a series of paired kata. I thought his system of relating taijutsu and weapons was very genial and hoped to have a chance to do more of this kind of training at some future date…

Click here to view the article “Remembering Morihiro Saito Sensei”

Nov
05

Morihiro Saito’s “Lost Seminar” DVDs: The Keys to Your Aikido Training Success…

Unbelievable offer of $97.95 for 7-DVD Set! Top-level instruction!

How does a devoted aikidoka go about exploring all of aikido’s core techniques in detail? You would have to find a skilled teacher with an extensive background who would breakdown aikido’s techniques into categories and explain the nuts and bolts of the execution of each in turn. You would also want the teacher to point out common mistakes and show how to eliminate bad habits. Such a teacher would also place the techniques in historical context and show how they fit into the curriculum devised by Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba.

Does such a teacher even exist? Is there really a resource that covers hundreds of techniques that would enable you to jump to the next level in your training?

The “Lost Seminars” DVD set captures the contents of many of the seminars conducted by Morihiro Saito, 9th dan, during his foreign travels in the period of 1985-1994. A study of these excellent materials will provide aikido aficionados an in-depth glimpse of the teaching methodology of this great instructor, one of Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba’s closest disciples. These 7 DVDs include more than 14 hours of seminar footage and literally hundreds of techniques. Each DVD contains complete English subtitles allowing viewers to closely follow Saito Sensei’s instruction.

Below is a list of the numerous techniques covered in the 7-DVD “Lost Seminars” set. A working knowledge of the Iwama Aikido curriculum will improve your skills in basics through more advanced techniques. There is no better aikido technical reference source available today!

Seminars in Turin, Italy — February 3-5, 1985 / Osimo, Italy – February 8-10, 1985

Tai no henko ▪ Morotedori kokyuho plus variations ▪ Shomenuchi ikkyo omote ▪ Shomenuchi kotegaeshi ▪ Shomenuchi nikyo ▪ Katatedori shomenuchi ▪ Happogiri ▪ Kumitachi ▪ Ki musubi no tachi ▪ Shomenuchi iriminage ▪ Koshinage introduction ▪ Jo awase ▪ 20 jo suburi ▪ Public demo (jiyu waza, jodori, kumijo)
Seminar in Osimo, Italy — June 1986

20 jo suburi ▪ 31 jo kata ▪ 31 jo kumijo ▪ Koshinage (numerous variations from multiple attacks) ▪ Kokyunage (numerous variations from mulitple attacks)
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Nov
04

Ebook: Morihiro Saito – “Takemusu Aikido Special Edition”

“Your Key to Understanding the Evolution of Modern Aikido Technique!”

Among the technical volumes authored by Morihiro Saito, certainly the most unique must be his publication of “Takemusu Aikido – Special Edition.” This 176-page book is an exhaustive analysis of the famous 1938 technical manual published by Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba in 1938. This prewar volume is a landmark document that provides the missing link to understanding the technical evolution of aikido from its Daito-ryu jujutsu origins to the modern form of the art…

Click here to get information on Morihiro Saito’s treatise on Morihei Ueshiba’s 1938 Budo book

Nov
04

“Chasing Butterflies,” by Nev Sagiba

“The Way is not a street but an attitude! Showing up at the dojo without equivocation when you think you are “too tired,” is one of the secrets of mastering the art..”

Chasing butterflies is a fools game. If you sit still and simply notice, they will land on you. Let them go, they do not belong in a collection but to Nature alive!

Over the years I’ve met a few millionaires. The salient feature I noticed is that the truly successful and well adjusted ones are not obsessed with chasing money. Money leaps at them and they can’t get rid of it.

I asked myself why? Speaking to the average was of no avail because the warped logic is, “Because they have money they don’t need to chase it..”

On the surface this appears to be correct but closer observation is that this is an excuse the insincere use to refuse to change themselves and their entrenched habits of chasing and basically wasting a life hankering after what they are making unattainable by either complacency or too much unskilled striving.

Let me explain. I noticed this in other areas of life as well. Some guys attract women like bees to honey. They also don’t strive. The chasers seldom catch more than a cold.

Hmm?

And then along came Budo and I noticed the same thing. Winners don’t care about the relativity of winning or losing or looking good. In training they are in it for the experience. They are not frightened of exploring possibilities. Refreshingly, this naturally makes them look good because they are not hung up on it.

Watch the people who force rote kuzushi. Transparently they will come unstuck the day they come across a non-compliant attacker. What then?
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Nov
04

“Aiki Ken and Jo Suburi: Part 20 – Migi Nagare Gaeshi Tsuki” by James Neiman

Introduction

This is the 20th in a 27-part series on the Aiki Ken and Jo Suburi, and the final presentation within the Aiki 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.

Migi Nagare Gaeshi Tsuki

In this article we examine Migi Nagare Gaeshi Tsuki, which is the 20th and final exercise of the Aiki Jo Suburi, and 2nd in the series known as the Nagare No Bu. Click here to view a video demonstration of the components of this Suburi. In summary, Migi Nagare Gaeshi Tsuki is a combination techniques: it begins with the first movement from Gyaku Yokomen Ushiro Tsuki, followed by a right-oriented turn into an overhead block (the counterpart to Hidari Nagare Gaeshi Uchi), and ends with a basic thrust (the principal movement of the Tsuki No Bu series). Its purpose is to highlight for the student the possibility of combining multiple suburi into meaningful combinations of offensive and defensive movements with multiple ukes, in this case simply by virtue of introducing a basic grip change to transition between the basic techniques. In the two Nagare No Bu suburi, the transition is effected through a pivot in the case of Hidari Nagare Gaeshi Uchi (Morote Dori footwork) and a turn in this case (Tae No Henko). The exercise requires a fluid combination of movements that can be divided into 3 major sections:

  1. Gyaku Yokomen
  2. Turn and Block
  3. Thrust

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