Feb
26

Video: Morihiro Saito Sensei performs Ushirowaza

Morihiro Saito Sensei performs numerous ushirowaza (rear techniques) in this amazing video. He provides the name and then proceeds to demonstrate each technique in term in an incredible display of technical mastery. This video will give you an understanding of what is meant when it is said that Morihiro Saito Sensei had an encyclopedic memory!…

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Feb
26

The Founder in Action: “Morihei’s Technical Tour de Force Still Amazes after 78 Years!”

Locating these films over a period of nearly five decades has involved a series of meandering treasure hunts. This span has been marked by countless moments of frustration, punctuated by a few experiences of pure elation. The majority of these old films had been long gathering dust in private hands, their very existence hanging by a tenuous thread. Some of the most exciting moments of my life have involved the discovery of these elusive old O-Sensei movies. Let me tell you about a couple of those occasions…

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Feb
26

Morihei Ueshiba: “Transcending the normal level of human consciousness,” by Stanley Pranin

The Founder’s art was truly magical. Even by watching the old films that preserve his movements one is captivated by his commanding presence, joyful ebullience, and complete mastery of energy and space. Such a level of expertise could only be attained by one who has reached a state that many would hasten to call “enlightenment.” In any event, he without doubt transcended normal human consciousness and entered into a state of elevated alertness and sensitivity…

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Feb
26

“A Solid Foundation,” by Nev Sagiba

The primary of Budo skill is HONESTY. Honesty with oneself and honesty with everyone else. In fact honesty is critical because to be able to stop violence you require understanding of predispositions, and the clarity which comes from honesty…

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Feb
26

Video: Rickson Gracie demonstrates training exercises involving yoga and hydrotherapy

Rickson Gracie is the best-known of the famous Brazilian jujutsu family headed by Helio Gracie. Rickson is a legend as a champion in what is now called mixed martial arts competitions. He is known for his unusual training methods that include adherence to a strict diet and inclusion of yoga and other stretching methods in his preparation. This video clip highlights some of the exercises that Rickson has incorporated into his preparations and includes both yoga and hydrotherapy. Rickson Gracie is incredibly fit as is amply shown in this video. He is also said to have studied aikido…

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Feb
25

“Mining O-Sensei’s Old Films for Gold,” by Stanley Pranin

The hyperawareness, sharpness, and unbridled exuberance displayed by the Founder while demonstrating his art can hardly be seen anywhere. In a similar vein, the Founder’s religious perspective and view of himself as an instrument of the “kami” whose purpose is to realize peace and brotherhood on earth is too grandiose a vision for most aikido teachers who see themselves mainly as providing self-defense and exercise training for the public…

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Feb
25

Video: Pat Hendricks, 7th dan, demonstrates 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. Pat Hendricks Sensei of Aikido of San Leandro, one of the highest ranking female aikido instructors in the world, will be joining Stanley Pranin, founder of Aikido Journal, for a joint seminar in Las Vegas, March 9-10, 2013….

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Feb
25

“The Subtle Secrets of O-Sensei’s Art Hidden in Plain Sight,” by Stanley Pranin

No one will argue that there is no substitute for long years of dedicated training, the Founder being an outstanding example. But beyond that, what are those special characteristics of O-Sensei’s art that set him apart from the generations of students who followed in his footsteps? Using still frames extracted from several of his surviving films, we would like to capture key moments that illustrate the dynamic principles of the Founder’s aikido…

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Feb
24

Add Morihei Ueshiba’s Name Card to Your Collection of Aikido Memorabilia! by Stanley Pranin

For those who have come to believe that Morihei’s association with the Omoto religion became distant after the devastating consequences of the Second Omoto Incident of December 1935, this simple name card speaks volumes. This meishi was used by Morihei toward the end of his life and he is listed as the “President” of one of the Omoto religion’s most active arms…

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Feb
24

“Aikido in Shanghai,” by Li Dong Ming

“Compared to other countries, China’s Aikido is
very young but I believe it has a bright future.”

Aikido was officially introduced into mainland China in 1983 through an Aikido demonstration by Yoshiaki Yokota Shihan of the Aikikai, but due to the social situation of that time Aikido didn’t quickly spread among the public.

By 1990, there was a local Shanghainese sensei, Mr. Chen De Ming, teaching Aikido without formal upgrading examinations. There was no official direct connection between the Aikikai Hombu and China mainland until 2004 when the Aikikai started to have their shihans visit China, hold seminars and examinations yearly on a regular basis.

Personally, I was learning Kyokushin Karate in that time and was introduced to Aikido by some friends at a martial arts forum in 2002. I was attracted at first sight by its techniques and spirit when I observed a small Aikido group training and decided to join immediately.

Mr. Xu Lei, a young aikidoka who had trained under Mr. Chen De Ming, led the small group as instructor. We had around 10 young men training together in a very small place. It was dirty, hot and humid in summer and very cold in winter; but because of the passion to study Aikido, all members trained hard. Unfortunately Mr. Xu severely injured his knee in training and a Japanese couple, Mr. & Mrs. Nokura (at the time both 2nd Dan) who where the highest rank in the group, took over the teaching responsibility. Through their connections they succeeded in inviting Seishiro Endo Shihan to our dojo for a yearly seminar and examination. As time passed, more and more people joined our group to practice Aikido, and its official name became Shanghai International Aikido Club. In 2003, both Mr. Chen’s dojo and SIAC became recognized dojos under Aikikai Hombu’s umbrella. 10 years, later the Nokura Senseis have almost never missed teaching classes. Mr. Nokura was in senior management of a Japanese company in Shanghai and Mrs. Nokura has devoted all of her time operating the club. Now, the couple of senseis are both 5th Dan, and the club has members from Japan, Europe as well as local Chinese.
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Feb
24

Join Pat Hendricks & Stanley Pranin for a Joint Aikido Seminar in Las Vegas March 9-10, 2013

I asked how they applied the body techniques to the ken, but no one showed me. Since there was nothing to be done about the situation, I began practicing the ken in 1955 soon after I began Aikido training. What else could I do? Nobody taught me! O-Sensei did sword techniques at lightning speed and would say, “That’s how you do it,” and then disappeared from the dojo. I tried in vain to understand what he was doing and the next moment he was gone.

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Feb
24

“Ranking, an Aiki Perspective,” by Francis Takahashi

Some cynics may point out that grading, while arbitrary, and not necessarily conforming to any universally established or accepted standards, is an excellent method of acquiring and keeping students who pay the bills. This viewpoint may especially be applicable on reviewing how children and youth programs are administered, and have successfully been run…

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