Your input needed! Aikido Journal Podcast with Stanley Pranin and Pat Hendricks

Stanley Pranin and Pat Hendricks with Morihiro Saito Sensei in Denver, c. 1997

“Get your questions on Aikido answered by Pat Hendricks and Stanley Pranin!”

Pat Hendricks Sensei, 7th dan, and I will shortly be making a skype recording for Aikido Journal’s first podcast. We will discuss plans for our upcoming seminar to be held March 9-10, 2013 in Las Vegas. Pat and I have had a long association going back nearly 40 years and always have an animated conversation when we have an opportunity to chat. We look forward to being able to share our experiences in aikido and reminisce about our association with Morihiro Saito Sensei.

That being said, we would like to invite Aikido Journal readers to freely submit any aikido-related questions that might make interesting topics for our podcast discussion. So if you have something on your mind that we might be able to shed light on, by all means, submit your questions below as comments. We will address as many of your queries as possible during the time we have available for discussion. The podcast will become available a few days after we have completed the recording.

Yoroshiku onegaishimasu!


Click here for signup information for the Aikido seminar with Pat Hendricks and Stanley Pranin to be held in Las Vegas, March 9-10, 2013


  1. I think it would be interesting to explore the origins and meanings of certain aikido attacks, such as the morote-dori grip which on the one hand appears to place uke in a vulnerable position while giving nage a huge advantage, and on the other hand (from uke’s point of view) would be very difficult to achieve, i.e., trying to grab the wrist of anyone not just standing there without moving. If this was originally intended to stop nage drawing a sword,it would appear to reverse the nage/uke roles, apart from being somewhat redundant when no sword is involved.

  2. Jan Michels says:

    There is for a long time now one question on my mind.
    We speak in aikido about love, universal mind, being one with the universe, and partners instead of opponent.
    Why is it in spite of everything, that there is so much political rumblings and envy in the aikido top.
    You would expect that they have passed this station long time ago.

    Greetings, Jan Michels

  3. cheryl miller says:

    I dropped out of aikido about a decade ago after a third knee surgery, but I REALLY miss it, in spite of the fact that I was often in pain or outright injured over the years that I did train (between my late 30’s and late 40’s). I’m in my 50’s, bad knees, borderline back, fibromyalgia… and now out of shape to boot. Is there a place / a way to start back (and stay in) without destroying myself? The stories about the grand masters practicing into old age don’t fit my situation — they started as very young folks in the first place and had the skill and stamina established at an age when I had never even discovered aikido. It seems to be my experience that aikido doesn’t hurt you — but the learning curve breaks you, and I don’t have the young person’s ability to bounce back from my mistakes, even as much as I did back then. I was on the standard dojo protocol of “just do what you can/train at your own level” when I tore my knee up the last time, so just guessing what will work and what won’t does not seem to be a good idea, but that is the only advice I’ve gotten (aside from give up and try swimming, or something).

    • Charles Humphrey says:

      Dear Cheryl,

      I know you wanted an answer from the editors but I couldn’t help but offer my own little suggestion. Try to find some good Taiji (very difficult to find,) something based on the Chen lineage but softened up a little like the Hun Yuan system would be good for you if you really want to get back into Aikido, since the large spiral movements of these systems share a lot with Aikido training. Taiji will allow you to gently soften up the tensed places in your body without any significant risk of causing injury, will strengthen your knees and back and reduce your fibromyalgia. After a year or two you of daily practice your body should be in sufficiently good condition to return to Aikido. You’ll likely find that it is much easier, more enjoyable and less risky if you come back to it after putting down a Taiji foundation. Learn to crawl before you start running again. I’ve met people about your age or older who were in much worse shape and were able to not only regain their health, strength and energy but became so good that they can push the young likes of me around like a ragdoll even while suffering from ongoing neurodegenerative diseases. I’m sure Stan and Ms. Hendricks will provide some excellent advice but for what its worth there’s my two cents.

  4. Dear Stan,

    I would be very interested in learning about how Saito Sensei taught, demonstrated, discussed or explained ki.

    Respectfully yours

    Peter McGregor

  5. mel. willin says:

    Hi Everyone

    I am now a few months into my post-doctoral study researching alleged ‘paranormality’ in the martial arts. There are many claims about levitation, telepathy etc. So far it has been disappointing since practitioners have invariably dwelt on the fraudulent or the amazing, but not ‘paranormal’, feats that can be achieved through long, hard training. I wonder if anyone knows of anyone living who can demonstrate any powers that might be classed as ‘paranormal’ perhaps via ki energy? I am based in the UK.

    Over to you

    Mel. Willin

  6. I’d like you to spend a little time exploring the topic of basic technique and ki no nagare. Can ki no nagare be taught, or is it all basic technique? If ki no nagare is teachable, then when should it be taught – indeed, should it be taught? And if either, or both of you, teach it, how do you teach it? What do you emphasise: movement, awareness of ki, or something else?

  7. The topic in aikido and other Eastern philosophies that I find most intriguing is the notion of selflessness. I would like to know how advanced aikidoka have reconciled the apparent contradiction between suppression of self and using self to make decisions for others, which is necessary if one were to make decisions for “the greater good.”

  8. Charles Humphrey says:

    The one major flaw that I experience in the general Japanese training methodology is the rank system. When I am at a Taiji or Systema class and somebody makes a critique or suggestion, I am forced to look at the way that person moves and make an estimate of their actual skill in comparison to my own to decide whether I am well served by listening to them or not. I am not socially compelled to take their words seriously and meanwhile the careful observation of their movement to make such a judgment is beneficial for my learning and understanding of martial arts. Learning seems to be more effective as a sharing between equals in my experience. In the Japanese system, I become socially compelled to follow instructions of higher ranking people, even against my better judgment, even when I know that the person in question trains less, has less experience, less training or any of the above. This situation was annoying for me in the past (and is the primary reason I now avoid Japanese training) but it can be devastating for beginner students who tend to take the words of anyone with a bit of black cloth around their waist or wearing a skirt as holy writ and so expose themselves to the risk of adopting the mistakes or limited view of another whom they don’t feel they have a right to critically evaluate. It also limits the growth potential for higher-ranking practitioners by encouraging them to feel that they have nothing to learn from those “below” them. What do you think of abolishing the rank system?

  9. David Soroko says:

    I think that it is not controversial that Saito sensei’s Aikido in the 80s differed from his Aikido in the 70s and his Aikido in the 70s different from the 60s. Did he ever give an account of these changes and if so what was it? Did they reflect a deeper understanding? Injuries and age? Did he consider a particular period as his “golden age”?

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