May
31

As the Aikido world was being ripped asunder! Doshu Kisshomaru Ueshiba’s 1974 Demo in Los Angeles

The fact that Doshu had traveled from Japan to lead this demonstration was certainly special. However, a great deal was going on behind the scenes and, in many ways, this event was truly historic. This is exactly the point in time when the resignation of Koichi Tohei from the Aikikai Hombu Dojo had become imminent. In fact, Koichi Tohei was in Los Angeles at the very same time to give a demonstration and seminar! Aikido in the USA was in a state of upheaval…

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May
31

Video: “Source of the first kumitachi of the Aiki Ken!”

Completion of the “Ichi no Tachi” (1st Kumitachi) of the Kashima Shinto-ryu school performed by students of Headmaster Koichiro Yoshikawa and virtually identical to the first kumitachi of Morihiro Saito.

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May
31

Video: “Absolute Proof of the Roots of Morihei’s Aiki Ken!”

Of special interest is the first section of footage in the Kashima Shinto-ryu clip as it contains a demonstration of the first kumitachi of this school that was later incorporated by Morihei Ueshiba into his Aiki Ken. This and many other weapons techniques form part of the Iwama Aikido weapons curriculum disseminated by Morihiro Saito Sensei, 9th dan, from the 1970s forward…

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May
31

New video series: “Cutting to the chase,” by Stanley Pranin

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“When I awoke this morning and checked the stats on youtube,
I found that over 1,100 people had watched this video.”

Aikido Journal Editor Stanley PraninYesterday, I published the first of a new series of video blogs. It’s title is “Iriminage — O-Sensei Style.” The purpose of this video is to present the essential points of Morihei Ueshiba’s iriminage, one of the most sophisticated and iconic of Aikido’s techniques. The video contains a series of images from both the prewar and postwar eras that demonstrate O-Sensei’s way of executing iriminage.

The video blog itself is very short, exactly 2:08 in length. Scene changes consist of “cuts” exclusively. This type of editing technique creates a quickened pace, and allows for the inclusion of a surprising amount of information within a compressed time frame.

My thinking in producing the type of video is as follows: Our lives are busy, and we tend to consume content in small chunks. We don’t retain very much of what we read. We prefer to watch videos. The viewing of a video, with its combined visual and audio components, results in a higher retention rate in our minds compared to the written word.

The challenge for me in planning this type of production was to choose a very narrow topic, make the content easy to understand, and keep the video short and to the point. This video says, among other things, “I work for you in support of your interest in aikido. I respect that your life is filled with a cacophony of competing information inputs of which this video is merely one. If I have conveyed the idea that Morihei Ueshiba’s execution of techniques is a worthy subject of study for today’s aikidoka, then I have succeeded with this video.”

video-statsWhen I awoke this morning and checked the stats on youtube, I found that over 1,100 people had watched this video. I am very encouraged and am hard at work on the next video blog!

Thank you one and all!

Click here to view Stanley’s Pranin Video Blog: “Iriminage — O-Sensei Style” on youtube

May
31

Kanshu Sunadomari: “His technique was dynamic and flowing with a great emphasis on the principle of kokyu.”

Even the audience of 900 people was becoming restless not knowing what to expect next. It turns out we needn’t have worried because Sunadomari Sensei gave one of the most unusual and polished performances I had ever seen. His aikido was totally different from any other. Kanshu Sensei’s technique was dynamic and flowing with a great emphasis on the principle of kokyu. He had a peculiar way of using his wrist and forearm to break uke’s balance with impeccable timing. Kanshu was a small man, but it was obvious he had discovered some subtle ways of generating power that no one had seen before. He also showed bokken and jo kata that were completely original. Kanshu capped off his demonstration with several spectacular multiple-attack defenses that were superbly executed…

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May
31

Amazing action! “Gozo Shioda in Japanese tv documentary”

This Japanese tv documentary presents a brief overview of Gozo Shioda Sensei’s career, an interview, and a series of demonstrations and highlights from his remarkable career. Gozo Shioda, the founder of Yoshinkan Aikido enrolled in Morihei Ueshiba’s Kobukan Dojo in 1932. After World War II, Shioda was the first to teach aikido on a large scale in a difficult era when the Aikikai Hombu Dojo was barely operating…

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May
30

American soldiers made fun of me! “Interview with Hiroshi Isoyama,” by Stanley Pranin

There in Chitose there were many wrestlers and boxers and the like who came to make fun of what we were doing. Because of the wartime draft, there were all kinds of different people in the American military. Normally during aikido practice you enter and apply your technique as your opponent is moving in with his attack, but when I did that many of them would complain that they weren’t ready yet; they wanted me to let them get a good hold or choke on me and then see if I could still do my techniques…

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May
30

Kanshu Sunadomari: “He had a peculiar way of using his wrist and forearm to break uke’s balance with impeccable timing.”

Fukiko Sunadomari Sensei came from a family of devout Omoto believers. Her father was a friend of Morihei dating back to the Ayabe period in the 1920s. The elder Sunadomari had three children, all of whom were lifetime followers of the Omoto religion. The eldest was Kanemoto Sunadomari, the man who wrote the first biography of Morihei Ueshiba that was published in 1969, shortly before the Founder’s death. The second child, Fukiko, was his half sister. And the third, the youngest of the siblings, was a man named Kanshu….

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May
30

“Kanshu Sunadomari’s mind-blowing performance at the 1st Friendship Demonstration”

Kanshu Sunadomari Sensei seemed like an excellent candidate for the 1st Friendship Demonstration and Fukiko was keen on the idea that we invite him. There were a couple of problems, one being that he had separated himself from the Aikikai shortly after Morihei’s passing in 1969. There was consequently a tension between him and his organization and the Aikikai. This made some of the other teachers somewhat nervous about Kanshu and how the Aikikai might react to his participation…

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May
30

Stanley Pranin’s Video Blog: “Iriminage — O-Sensei Style”

“Investigating the origins of Morihei Ueshiba’s iriminage”

stanley-pranin-blog-iriminageAikido Journal Editor Stanley Pranin describes the origin and execution of Aikido’s iriminage technique as conceived by Founder Morihei Ueshiba. He explains how this essential technique has its origins in prewar Japan and was further refined in Iwama after World War II. Iriminage today is practiced in many different ways, but O-Sensei’s method, though well documented, is not widely known.

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Click here to view Stanley’s Pranin Video Blog: “Iriminage — O-Sensei Style” on youtube

May
29

“Morihiro Saito Sensei’s unique perspective as the perserver of O-Sensei’s postwar technique!”

The last performer of the day was Morihiro Saito Sensei of Iwama, custodian of the Aiki Shrine. Saito Sensei offered a comment about how it was perfectly natural for many styles of Aikido to evolve and how they could all be considered authentic. He stressed that he regarded his personal role as being to preserve the techniques he learned from the Founder. He gave a demonstration which traced the historical development of various techniques from the prewar period (using as a reference point the 1938 book by O-Sensei entitled “Budo”) up until the latter years of the Founder’s life.

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May
29

“Kanshu Sunadomari Sensei amazes the audience of 900 people!”

What was intended to be a relaxed evening turned into a late-night speech revision session as the editor was given another timely lesson in the mysterious workings of the Japanese mind. Only hours remained before our rendezvous with Aikido history. Sunday morning, April 7, dawned to cloudy skies with a forecast of rain to come. Nevertheless, our spirits remained undampened as we hurtled ourselves into a frenzy of activity trying to set up the beautiful Edogawa Bunka Center for the soon-to-come crowd of 900 eager Aikidoists…

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