Feb
18

Video: William Gleason demonstrates kokyunage with a focus on internal power

An interesting video clip featuring William Gleason demonstrating kokyunage techniques with a focus on internal power. His explanations are very detailed and easily understood…

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Feb
18

“A Look Inside Morihei’s Revolutionary Training Manual,” by Stanley Pranin

When I discovered Morihei’s little 1938 training manual during an interview in 1981, little did I realize how important a find it was. I immediately showed it to my teacher Morihiro Saito who had no idea that such a document existed. Saito Sensei was delighted at the discovery because “Budo” contained irrefutable evidence that his way of teaching in Iwama was faithful to the Founder’s curriculum as he had learned it after the war directly from Morihei…

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Feb
18

“Budo” provides a capsule view of those techniques that Ueshiba considered the basics and the way they were executed in the mid-1930s

From a technical standpoint, “Budo” offers numerous insights into the prewar martial art of Morihei Ueshiba. It provides a capsule view of those techniques that Ueshiba considered the basics and the way they were executed in the mid-1930s. The technical descriptions offered are succinct and highly instructive. As “Budo” was published in 1938, the techniques covered represent a transition phase between the Daito-ryu aikijujutsu Ueshiba learned from Sokaku Takeda and modern aikido.

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Feb
18

Follow-up to “An End To Collusion,” by Tom Collings

We have trivialized what is profound, and made superficial that which should have depth, the Founder’s earnest struggle to learn and understand, and find new possibilities in conflict. Our modern culture attempts to make everything light and easy, even O’Sensei’s work of a lifetime…

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Feb
18

Christian Tissier’s mentor: “Biography of Seigo Yamaguchi”

Seigo Yamaguchi Sensei was one of the most important of the first generation of aikido instructors in the postwar era. He taught at the Aikikai Hombu Dojo in Tokyo for several decades rising to the rank of 8th dan. Yamaguchi Sensei influenced several generations of practitioners within the Aikikai system including many of today’s senior instructors of the Headquarters school…

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Feb
17

“The only training manual where Morihei personally appears demonstrating techniques”

Budo is the only work on aikido -— Ueshiba’s art was actually called aiki budo at this stage — in which the Founder personally appears demonstrating techniques. Ueshiba’s training partners in the book are his son Kisshomaru, Gozo Shioda—who would later create Yoshinkan Aikido—and a third man named Okubo about whom little is known…

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Feb
17

Video: Hiroshi Kato, 8th dan, demonstrates ikkyo techniques

The late Hiroshi Kato, 8th dan, demonstrates ikkyo variations at a seminar in Jakarta, Indonesia in 2006. Notice that he also demonstrates from a static position and takes care to break uke’s balance prior to throwing…

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Feb
17

Ebook: Morihiro Saito on koshinage, tenchinage, kaitennage, jujinage, morotedori kokyuho and suwariwaza kokyuho

Takemusu Aikido, Volume 3: Basics Concluded is the third volume of this comprehensive series presenting the aikido of Morihei Ueshiba O-Sensei. Volume 3 covers the following series of 57 techniques: koshinage, tenchinage, kaitennage, jujinage, morotedori kokyuho and suwariwaza kokyuho. This work is illustrated with more than 500 photos and includes detailed, step-by-step explanations of each technique…

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Feb
16

Video: Rare demonstrations by Mitsugi Saotome, Seigo Yamaguchi, and Doshu Kisshomaru Ueshiba (1970)

This is a rare film shot in 1970 at the Edogawa-ku Aikido demonstration. It features a young Mitsugi Saotome, a superb performance by Seigo Yamaguchi, 8th dan, and the finale with Second Doshu Kisshomaru Ueshiba. During this period, demonstrations sponsored by the Edogawa-ku aikido organization were held every year and attracted some of the top instructors from the Tokyo area…

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Feb
16

Pat Hendricks video: “A close-up look at the rigorously precise Iwama Aikido curriculum”

This video presents highlights from a seminar Pat Hendricks conducted in New Zealand and will give viewers a feel for her clear and precise teaching style. This is Iwama Aikido at its best. Pat, one of the highest ranking female aikido instructors in the world, will be conducting a joint aikido seminar with Aikido Journal founder Stanley Pranin in Las Vegas, March 9-10, 2013…

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Feb
16

“Character Counts!,” by Stanley Pranin

“I had never intended to confront the person responsible for this dubious act due to his prominent status–to do so would have no doubt been suicidal on my part…”

From Aikido Journal #106, 1996

All of the hoopla in the U.S.A. surrounding the infamous O.J. Simpson trial and the recent handing down of a verdict has caused me to reflect once again on the issue of character. Most agree that the pivotal event leading to the acquittal of Simpson was the revelation of the blatant perjury of an L.A. police detective who was a key witness in the trial. In this bizarre event, which fed a media frenzy for more than a year-and-a-half, the man who many are convinced committed a double murder walked free because another man was caught in the act of lying. Admittedly, this case represents an extreme example of the far-reaching consequences of an immoral act–in this instance, a bold-faced lie–exposed to public scrutiny.

Why do I bother to mention this in the context of aikido? The answer lies in the nature of aikido as a martial art. Aikido bills itself, so to speak, as a martial art with a spiritual core. That is, beyond self-defense skills, aikido promises its followers a path through which they may “polish” their spirits in order to become better people. Doshu Kisshomaru Ueshiba even goes so far as to state that the main relevance of aikido in modern society is as a vehicle for developing better members of society more so than as a martial art, If one accepts this view–as I have come to over the years–then the character, integrity, and conduct of individuals, rather than their level of technical mastery, become the true measure of their stature in the art.

Given its lofty goal, aikido often attracts idealistic students who seek in their teacher a skilled martial artist and spiritual mentor all rolled into one, Much too frequently, however, these neophytes become enchanted with aikido to the point that they develop an attachment to their teacher that borders on devotion. They become “true believers” in the real sense of the term, for whom the sensei is incapable of any wrongdoing. Even when the commission of a wrongful deed is undeniable, these devotees are quite capable of rationalizing away such behavior by attributing it to some deeper, hidden agenda. Naturally, this concealed purpose is known only to the teacher, who is revered as a superior being.

My professional obligations, in part dictated by a desire to provide wide-based coverage of the major approaches to aikido, have required me to meet and enter into long-term associations with numerous well-known figures. Yet, I will be the first to admit that I find myself naturally drawn to those teachers I personally consider to exemplify the aikido ideal rather than to those whose main claim to fame is skill at techniques or longevity in the art.

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Feb
16

Ebook: “Takemusu Aiki: Koshinage,” by Morihiro Saito

This ebook consists of a rare technical manual originally published in 1981 containing a detailed treatise on the koshinage techniques of aikido. A total of 26 koshinage–hip-throw techniques–are presented with sequential photos accompanied by both English and Japanese explanations…

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