May
27

“A bright idea turns into a nightmare followed by a narrow escape!”

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 Had these teachers actually withdrawn, it would have sunk the event and resulted in a catastrophic financial loss…

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May
27

How to assemble six martial arts masters on one stage… and not lose your mind!

The First Aikido Friendship Demonstration drew over 900 people and was a resounding success. We went on to sponsor three more events in subsequent years, the last taking place in 1988. The Aikido Friendship Demonstrations were among my most unforgettable experiences in Japan. Thankfully, the video record of these events remains as a testimony to the skills and willingness of the participating instructors to share the stage in a spirit of harmony. I think the Founder, Morihei O-Sensei, would have been pleased…

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May
27

O-Sensei Actual Voice: Excerpts from a 1962 radio interview with Morihei Ueshiba

This video clip contains portions of a fascinating interview of the Founder conducted about 1962 during which he is questioned about aikido. As was his custom, many of the Founder’s comments reflect his spiritual views and mention Japanese kami. This recording, which includes full subtitles, affords a rare chance to gain an intimate glimpse of the Founder’s charm and personality…”

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May
27

Screencast: Focus on History — “Morihei Ueshiba’s Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu Teaching Certification,” by Stanley Pranin

This is the first of a series of screencasts titled “Focus on History” by Aikido Journal Editor Stanley Pranin. This video provides detailed information on the “kyoju dairi,” or teaching certification, awarded to Morihei Ueshiba by Sokaku Takeda in Ayabe in 1922. This award was made during a six-month long visit of Sokaku to Morihei’s “Ueshiba Juku” located near the headquarters of the Omoto religion. The actual photo of the kyoju dairi entry in Sokaku Takeda’s eimeiroku (enrollment book) is shown and explained. The nature of the conditions imposed on Morihei as a certified Daito-ryu instructor, and the vagueness of the financial arrangement specified was a major cause of the eventual split between the two men dramatically altering the course of aikido history…

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May
27

Very sophisticated Aikido: Ichiro Shibata Sensei at Winter Aikido Seminar in Florida in 2012

This excellent video which features Ichiro Shibata, 7th dan, illustrates several important principles of aikido. First of all, while the techniques are effective, they are applied without the use of physical force and with excellent positioning. Shibata Sensei is the initiator in almost all cases. This, in effect, neutralizes uke’s ability to launch a strong attack. Notice how when executing iriminage, Shibata Sensei sets himself up in parallel to uke achieving an excellent blend in preparing for the throw…”

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May
26

O-Sensei’s admonition: “Don’t make a thief!” by Stanley Pranin

O-Sensei’s response suggests that budoka should be acutely aware of their surroundings. They should understand the social, economic, and political situation of the environment in which they find themselves. They should be able to sense potential danger to persons and property and plan accordingly. In short, budoka should assimilate the training and lessons learned in the dojo and apply them to daily life. In Japanese, this type of opening to an attack is called a “suki”…

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May
26

Free PDF download: “Morihiro Saito’s step-by-step techniques in Aiki News Number 32, 1978

O-Sensei said, “Come and strike me!” I went to strike him and tumbled over. “Come and kick me!” When I tried to kick him, I was gently overturned. “Come and grab me!” I was thrown without knowing how!”…

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May
25

Morihiro Saito: “Aikido world distancing itself from O-Sensei’s techniques!”

“The aikido world is gradually distancing itself from O-Sensei’s techniques. However, if the technique of aikido become weak it’s not a good thing, because aikido is a martial art. My practice of aikido is always traditional, the old-style way. Now I am looking after my Sensei’s dojo. Also, I am guardian of the Aiki Shrine, the only one in the world. Many teachers create their own techniques, but I can’t do that, I’ve got a hard head! I’m following exactly the teachings of my Sensei.”

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May
25

Popular… Video: Yoshimitsu Yamada, 8th dan: Highlights from instructional video

This video is an excellent introduction to Yoshimitsu Yamada Sensei’s videotape, “Aikido: The Power and the Basics 1.” A rather young Yamada Sensei performs a lively demonstration with an equally young Donovan Waite as uke. Yoshimitsu Yamada, a direct student of O-Sensei, is an 8th dan and the chief instructor at the New York Aikikai…

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May
24

Free download: The Explosive Aikido of Hiroshi Isoyama, 8th dan

“When I tried to do koshinage on some of the taller men I found that they could just step over me; no matter how I tried the technique, I couldn’t manage to throw them because the height difference…”

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May
24

Morihiro Saito: “No Ki no Nagare in Iwama? Not so!”

“It is a big mistake to think that there is no ki no nagare practiced at Iwama. The ki no nagare techniques of Iwama are executed faithfully as O-Sensei taught them. People tend to train in a jerky way. And when people do soft training they do it in a lifeless way. Soft movements should be filled with the strongest “ki.” People can’t grasp the meaning of hard and soft because they didn’t have contact with O-Sensei.”

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May
24

Morihiro Saito: “I saw nothing but the real thing for 23 years!”

“Many shihan create new techniques and I think this is a wonderful thing, but after analyzing these techniques I am still convinced no one can surpass O-Sensei. I think it is best to follow the forms he left us.These days people are inclined to go their own way, but as long as I am involved, I will continue to do the techniques and forms O-Sensei left us…”

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