Apr
22

Morihei Ueshiba: “Hidden gems to be discovered in Founder’s films”

To be sure, there have been some excellent technicians and inspiring teachers during aikido’s early years of growth starting in the 1950s. There have been those, too, who have spoken of the moral dimension of aikido and its role as a vehicle for the betterment of individuals and society. Nonetheless, the hyperawareness, sharpness, and unbridled exuberance displayed by the Founder while demonstrating his art can hardly be seen anywhere…

Click here to read more

Apr
22

“Submission – Movement as Identity,” by Charles Humphrey

“We pronounce death based on absence of movement. So strange then that we are so poor at understanding the very quality upon which we define and judge life”

I sat in my family living room a few hours ago, staring out the window as the sun began to lower itself casting innumerable long shadows through the pines. I was greeted by the sight of a friend I had not seen through all the long winter months – a little chipmunk scurrying about between the gaps in our wood pile. Something seized me, a new perception or rather a consolidation of an old one. I saw the movement of the chipmunk. More accurately, I saw the movement as the chipmunk. I have over the past three or four years gradually begun to see movement as a quality in itself. But for a moment today the gestalt shift took place and the chipmunk in its material identity of shape, colour size etc., faded out and I saw “chipmunk” as a wholly dynamic, energetic identity instead. This provided some insight into something in some religious text I read somewhere (I can’t remember whether it was Eastern or Western… probably in both) about seeing the nature of creatures, of revealing a common truth in them. For while a chipmunk looks very different from a tree as matter, their dynamic nature in movement rather than their static nature in matter-constitution, makes them appear much more similar. The chipmunk is a pair of spherical nodes, now at rest and nonexistent in quietude now one end now the other darts up rapidly, sometimes one following the other, making forward movement possible, sometimes to shift position or direction of observation, sometimes for apparently no reason but to enjoy the abundance of its nature as dynamic being.

This was not such a dramatic thing as it sounds when put into writing. I did not consider it so but it was an interesting property to observe more fully in nature, a clarification of the nature of life and being captured in the movement of a chipmunk. Its little 法 (fa, po), rapid, sudden movements gave it an identity which at once both distinguished it more from other creatures but also united it more closely with the rest of creation by the relative simplicity of comparing movement signatures to material characteristics. It made me realize that the correct observation of movement simultaneously provides greater unity to the environment and greater diversity.

When I have such observations I laugh in reminding myself no wonder I feel so alienated from the mass of my own North American cultural milieu. A place where my parents walk hunched over with hips and torsos nearly locked up as they do their “exercise walk”, furiously attacking the pavement all the while looking for all the world like they are still hunched over the same desks they claim to have retired from forever. Or where a woman who is a senior police officer and fitness instructor waddles around with no hip movement, looking like she ate a tire some years ago and now has to swing her upper body to and fro around the inanimate piece of rubber lodged in her midsection. Where young girls try to appeal to me at bars with bodies screaming self-consciousness, locked into a pitiful replica of the well-rehearsed and no less artificial sensuality that has infected their brains through television images.
[Read more...]

Apr
20

Morihei Ueshiba’s 1938 Training Manual: “O-Sensei’s Morihei’s innovative iriminage, the entering throw

Iriminage — one of Aikido’s most iconic techniques — has its roots in jujutsu schools. However, Morihei Ueshiba’s powerful, yet smooth rendition is totally unique. Look at his form!

Click here to watch the video

Apr
20

Morihei Ueshiba’s 1938 Training Manual: “Emphasizing Atemi throughout!”

Most aikido techniques benefit from atemi in order to unbalance uke prior to applying a technique or throwing…

Click here to watch video

Apr
20

Morihei Ueshiba: “Budo” features an essay by Stanley Pranin on the history and background of the publication of Morihei Ueshiba’s prewar manual

The technical material in “Budo” includes preparatory exercises, basic techniques, knife (tantodori), and sword-taking techniques (tachidori), sword vs. sword forms (ken tai ken), mock-bayonet (juken) techniques, and finishing exercises (shumatsu dosa).

Click here to watch video

Apr
20

Popular! “Steven Seagal can’t lift Koichi Tohei!”

One of the big problems with many of the Aikido articles printed by westerners is that they are opinion articles, often with fuzzy interpretations of numerous Aikido or Aikido-related ideas. Sometimes the idea of “Aikido-related” is a far stretch indeed, getting into self-help, psychology, and other areas that Ueshiba never directily mentioned or advised on in his life…

Click here to read more

Apr
20

Video: Christian Tissier demonstrates at Bercy Festival of Martial Arts (2004)

This is an inspiring demonstration by Christian Tissier Sensei, 7th dan, at the annual festival of martial arts at Bercy, in Paris, France. Amazing poise and precision throughout!…

Click here to watch video

Apr
19

Morihei Ueshiba: “Budo” is the only book ever published that features the Founder personally demonstrating and explaining aikido techniques.

All of the techniques of “Budo” are presented and include taijutsu, aiki ken and jo, spear and bayonet exercises. The Founder’s art at this point in time is closely related to the Takemusu Aiki period of Iwama immediately following World War II…

Click here to watch video

Apr
19

Morihei Ueshiba: “The Keys to Success in applying effective Aikido techniques!”

Budo: Commentary on the 1938 Training Manual of Morihei Ueshiba. Morihiro Saito Sensei reads and demonstrates the fifty techniques of “Budo,” the rare training manual of Morihei Ueshiba O-Sensei published originally in 1938. This privately published book was compiled as a gift to a member of Japan’s Royal Family. It is the only book ever published that features the Founder personally demonstrating and explaining aikido techniques.

Click here to watch video

Apr
19

Is O-Sensei Really the Father of Modern Aikido?, by Stanley Pranin

What does all of this mean? It means that the common view of the spread of aikido following the war taking place under the direct tutelage of the Founder is fundamentally in error. Tohei and the present Doshu deserve the lion’s share of the credit, not the Founder. It means further that O-Sensei Morihei Ueshiba was not seriously involved in the instruction or administration of aikido in the postwar years…

Click here to read more

Apr
19

“50 techniques that Morihei Ueshiba taught that we know about with certainty!”

In 1987, Morihiro Saito made a high-quality video in which he explained and demonstrated the 50 techniques of Morihei Ueshiba’s 1938 training manual titled “Budo.” Nothing like this had ever done before. Suddenly, the aikido world was taking notice of the fact that there were indeed historical records that documented the Founder’s technical evolution culminating in the birth of modern aikido. While certainly not a mainstream practice, serious aikidoka have in recent years been exploring the technical content of “Budo” to glean a better understanding of Morihei Ueshiba’s technical odyssey and the rationale for modern techniques…

Click here to watch video

Apr
19

Popular! Video: Women’s Self-Defense — “The Weaker Sex Rules Again!”

Another delightful old newsreel clip from British Pathe in the mid-1930s featuring May Whitley and “The Bandit” demonstrating women’s self-defense. Here is an example of the jujutsu instruction that was available in the UK at that time brought over by some of the early Japanese teachers. May’s English is impeccable!…

Click here to watch video