May
22

Where to look to take your kokyunage to the expert level?

Focus your training on one of Aikido’s trademark throwing techniques: Kokyunage. You need to internalize these movements to raise your art to the next level. Takemusu Aikido, Volume 4: Kokyunage presents some 80 variations of kokyunage that will acquaint your with the essential details of this technique…

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May
21

“Do not look at uke when executing Morotedori Kokyuho!”

The spacing, or maai, between you and your partner will be wrong if you look at him. If you face the same direction with the feeling of enveloping him, you will stay close to him and he will be unable to escape. If you look at your partner even slightly, his body will separate from you and there will be too much space between you…

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May
21

“Do not look at uke when executing Morotedori Kokyuho!”

The spacing, or maai, between you and your partner will be wrong if you look at him. If you face the same direction with the feeling of enveloping him, you will stay close to him and he will be unable to escape. If you look at your partner even slightly, his body will separate from you and there will be too much space between you…

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May
21

Must watch… Rumiko Hayes — “More Martial Magic of the Diminutive Ninja Lady!”

This video presents another inspiring display of this incredible martial artist. Rumiko Hayes’ perfectly timed soft-style manuevers take advantage of positional and anatomical weaknesses to control her opponent. These movements are beyond style and much martial wisdom awaits the careful observer!…

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May
21

“Envelop uke to prevent his escape!” Morihiro Saito’s Morotedori Kokyuho

Learn how to neutralize uke’s power with this blending move taught by O-Sensei during every class. “When your partner stands in right hanmi and grabs your left hand, move your left foot to your partner’s right foot and turn your hips to change from left to right hanmi. Do this movement with the feeling of dropping your shoulder, elbows, and hips slightly. Turn to a position beside your partner, looking in the same direction. This is basic for all kokyuho exercises. The spacing, or maai, between you and your partner will be wrong if you look at him…”

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May
21

The Martial Artist’s Dilemma: “Traditionalism vs. Innovation,” by Charles Humphrey

“Ueshiba had a powerful physique in his youth. He wasn’t born doing this quasi-no-touch stuff. He went through a whole process to that eventual end.”

I would like to address an issue in martial arts training in general that has bugged my subconscious for some time. It was only recently that I understood it well enough to articulate it clearly. Many of my realizations came, of all places, from undertaking a program of strength training. Shifting my paradigm a little and learning a whole new skill set with which I was relatively unfamiliar helped me get a new perspective on the skill set with which I am more familiar — my core martial arts training.

The issue is one that can only be described as the lack of innovation and logical progression in most training methodologies in the classical martial arts. I have been very frustrated with my training for some years now. Because of this, and I am in the process of trying to recruit training friends who share my perspective with whom I can pursue from my experience and body of personal research into neuroscience, exercise and sport science. This research is by no means extensive, but it doesn’t need to be. The correct approach to martial arts training, indeed any physical skill set, should be obvious. However, I have never found a single group that was following the basic principles of sound training. The closest group I’ve come across that does something close to this is the Systema school and I think this explains the frequently-reported rapid skill increase in Systema.

Russian Systema with Vladimir Vasiliev

Russian Systema with Vladimir Vasiliev

Now, I am not suggesting everyone drop what they’re doing and go out and study Systema instead of whatever Aikido style they practice or whatever art they do. There’s no need. What makes Systema so effective isn’t that “Systema” as a “style” is the best, it’s just that Vladimir Vasiliev and his crew are highly innovative, humble and questioning in their approach. You don’t need to go Russian style to do this — everything you need is out there in the infosphere. Why are so few martial artists going for this? I think a lot of the reason lies in taking some of the calcification that has set in many Asian martial cultures for granted as some Orientalized mystical necessity.
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May
21

Video: “Tai no henko… O-Sensei first did this exercise with one hand, but then later with two hands”

Daily practice begins with tai no henko. First open your fingers. The basis of ura movements is footwork. Bring the toes of your left foot to meet the toes of your partner’s right foot. Turn in a circular movement into a position along your partner’s side. When pivoting, open your fingers fully and extend your ki…

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May
21

“An Overview of Koichi Tohei’s Early Aikido Career,” by Stanley Pranin

Koichi Tohei in Goleta, California at the Aikido school of Ken Ota, April 1970. Photo courtesy of David Everett

Koichi Tohei in Goleta, California at the Aikido school of Ken Ota, April 1970. Photo courtesy of David Everett


From the viewpoint of the Aikikai, Tohei’s actions and attempts to dictate the technical curriculum and teaching methodology were unacceptable. In Tohei’s eyes, the aikido headquarters had snubbed his leadership and failed to sufficiently acknowledge his many accomplishments and contributions to the postwar spread of aikido, both in Japan and abroad. The contentious issue was further complicated by a web of long-standing personal relationships that had gone sour…

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May
21

Video: “Tai no henko… the gateway to the execution of Aikido’s ura or turning techniques”

When pivoting, open your fingers fully and extend your ki. Learn to keep your hips stable regardless of whether your partner pushes or pulls. At one time the founder executed tai no henko with a single hand, but in his later years he used both hands. Pivot around and bring the fingers of both hands to the same level…

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May
20

Awesome technique! Seigo Yamaguchi Seminar Highlights from 1983

This is a color 8mm film of Seigo Yamaguchi, 8th dan, shot in 1983 at a seminar. Yamaguchi Sensei is seen demonstrating shomenuchi techniques which he relates to sword footwork and linear entries. Very interesting! Yamaguchi Sensei was one of the most important of the first generation of aikido instructors of the postwar era…

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May
20

Video: “The Vast Curriculum Forged in Iwama by Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba”

The Iwama aikido curriculum as disseminated by Morihiro Saito, 9th dan, has its roots in the techniques taught by Founder Morihei Ueshiba in the postwar era in Iwama, a small town in the countryside of Ibaragi Prefecture. Morihei Ueshiba lived, farmed, and practiced his aikido with great intensity in Iwama after the war left Japan in a poverty-stricken state. For the first time in years, he was able to concentrate his efforts on the perfecting of his martial techniques and spiritual development.

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May
20

Tai no henko video: “Foundation of stable hips and the execution of ura techniques”

Daily practice begins with tai no henko. First open your fingers. The basis of ura movements is footwork. Bring the toes of your left foot to meet the toes of your partner’s right foot. Turn in a circular movement into a position along your partner’s side. When pivoting, open your fingers fully and extend your ki. Learn to keep your hips stable regardless of whether your partner pushes or pulls. At one time the founder executed tai no henko with a single hand, but in his later years he used both hands. Pivot around and bring the fingers of both hands to the same level…

Click here to watch video