May
29

“Aikido legends of the past return to inspire us in the present!”

It may have been raining outside, but those inside had their minds on things other than the weather. They were witness to an extremely rare display of Aikido talent and what amounted to a profound statement about the possibilities of cooperation among Aikidoists of different persuasions. The six senseis who performed were, in order of their appearance: Yasuo Kobayashi Sensei, Mitsugi Saotome Sensei, Kanshu Sunadomari Sensei, Yoshio Kuroiwa Sensei, Shoji Nishio Sensei, and Morihito Saito Sensei…

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May
29

Gozo Shioda Sensei: “Keeping on his toes!”

Gozo Shioda: One of O-Sensei’s most skilled students from the prewar era and founder of Yoshinkan Aikido. Shioda Sensei taught an effective, martial-style of aikido that attracted tens of thousands of students over his long teaching career. He is also the author of numerous technical manuals on Yoshinkan Aikido.

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May
29

O-Sensei’s War: “A Grand Assault on Port Arthur’s Forts” by Richard Barry

Readers will recall that Morihei Ueshiba was a foot soldier during the Russo-Japanese War. It is not known whether he was on the front lines or served in a support capacity. In any case, Morihei spent considerable time under life-threatening conditions during this brutal war. Morihei was a member of the 61st Osaka Regiment and troops from Osaka are specifically mentioned in this article. It is certainly possible that the young Ueshiba found himself nearby during this particular battle since he was stationed in Dalien, not far from Port Arthur…

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May
29

Yoshio Sugino Sensei: “Toshiro Mifune’s martial arts choreographer!”

Yoshio Sugino: A judo and Katori Shinto-ryu master who studied under O-Sensei in the prewar era. Sugino Sensei was one of Japan’s most famous martial artists, and choreographed the fighting scenes in Kurosawa movies such as “The Seven Samurai,” “Yojimbo,” and others…

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May
28

Video: Kenji Shimizu, Favorite Uke of Morihei Ueshiba O-Sensei

This video features Kenji Shimizu, one of the last generation of Aikikai instructors under Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba. Shimizu Sensei had a strong judo background and quickly came up through the ranks in his early aikido career. He was one of Morihei Ueshiba’s favorite uke during O-Sensei’s latter years. A few years after the Founder’s passing, Shimizu became independent of the Aikikai and established “Tendokan Aikido” centered in his private dojo in Tokyo…

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May
28

“Hanging Out With Back Pain-Old School Style,” by Mark Hauer

I feel a little intimidated adding my 2 cents worth when it comes to the subject of pain abatement for aching backs. Especially given Stan Pranin’s contributions on the subject. Most of the back pain I’ve suffered over the years was due to compression. And while Yoga’s downward facing dog pose gives some relief (either that, or the sensation of relief was confused with the euphoria from nearly blacking out from the “head rush” of standing up too quickly), the discomfort was always there in the background: muted, but still present…

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May
28

“Morihiro Saito returns to this year’s event with a taijutsu and weapons demonstration”

Morihiro Saito: 9th dan, and one of aikido’s most respected teachers. Saito Sensei was one of O-Sensei’s closest students and achieved worldwide recognition due to his numerous international seminars and the publication of many authoritative technical books.

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May
28

First and only time: “Mochizuki, Shioda, Saito, Sugino, Shimizu pool their collective expertise!”

Five unforgettable lecture demonstrations were presented at the 1986 Aiki News Friendship Demonstration in Tokyo by these famous teachers: Minoru Mochizuki, Gozo Shioda, Morihiro Saito, Yoshio Sugino, and Kenji Shimizu. These experts bring you the benefits of their decades of training to provide insights that will stimulate your own practice and deepen your understanding of martial essentials. Here are some highlights…

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May
28

“Yasuo Kobayashi Sensei: “The man who stepped up to save the day!”

The person who stepped in to save the day was Yasuo Kobayashi Sensei. He adamantly refused to yield to the pressure, and insisted on honoring his promise. Kobayashi Sensei’s act of courage while under a lot of peer pressure earned my eternal gratitude. One by one, I and my staff made phone calls to the teachers who were thinking of bowing out. Our means of persuasion was to point to Kobayashi Sensei’s courage as a budoka, and the importance of being able to rise above political considerations to display a public spirit of friendship and cooperation….

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May
28

Video: Self Defense for Women: Penny Bernath – “Strike with a Bottle”

In this video, Penny Bernath, 6th dan USAF, demonstrates an aikido defense against a strike with a bottle. This is a yokomenuchi technique where the attack is redirected and finishes with a counterstrike at the attacker’s head…

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May
27

Screencast: Focus on History — “Morihei and the Young Bucks of the Aikikai,” by Stanley Pranin”

In this screencast, Stanley Pranin analyzes a rare historical photo in which a number of the junior Aikikai instructors from the 1960s appear formally with Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba. He talks about each individual, and the uchideshi system which was replaced by the modern apprentice system…

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May
27

“Most of the participants were about to withdraw from the event after initially agreeing to participate!”

What happened later, only a few short weeks before the demonstration, proved a nightmare. It turned out that pressure had been applied behind the scenes to convince several of the teachers to withdraw from the event. This was successful in the case of Shioda Sensei as mentioned above. In addition, four of the six participants informed us of their intention to withdraw after becoming nervous about participating. Everything about the event was done outside normal organizational channels. This was the main bone of contention, and some invitees were uncomfortable with the fact. Had these teachers actually withdrawn, it would have sunk the event and resulted in a catastrophic financial loss…

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