Jun
19

Who was Sokaku Takeda? Free PDF download: Magazine — Aiki News Number 71, June 1986

“Sokaku went into the kitchen and ladled out water for himself using a dipper, and then placed it in the flames of the fire. He put the tea leaves into the dipper and toasted them. I guess he was concerned that the tea might be poisoned…

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Jun
19

The Founder’s technical secrets revealed… “Look Inside Morihei’s Revolutionary Training Manual”

When I discovered Morihei’s little 1938 training manual during an interview in 1981, little did I realize how important a find it was. I immediately showed it to my teacher Morihiro Saito who had no idea that such a document existed. Saito Sensei was delighted at the discovery because “Budo” contained irrefutable evidence that his way of teaching in Iwama was faithful to the Founder’s curriculum as he had learned it after the war directly from Morihei…

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Jun
19

Morihiro Saito’s successor! “Over 140 people from 15 countries attend a seminar with Saito Hitohira Kaicho in Stuttgart, Germany,” by Tim Haffner

Filled with anecdotes and quotations of the direct oral teachings (Kuden) of Aikido Founder, Ueshiba Morihei O’sensei, Kaicho demonstrated a variety of techniques over three days of training that were firmly rooted in the Kihon Waza fundamentals characteristic of Iwama-ryu Aikido. Beginning with Aiki-Ken on Friday evening, Kaicho emphasized the need for every aikidoka to focus on precision in the basic sword suburi. Demonstrating how using the spine (sebone), top of the head (atama) and naval (o-heso) are used as common reference points for all basic cutting practices, Kaicho demonstrated that power and speed are generated from a solid foundation in the principles of sword…

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Jun
19

Welcome! The Aikido Journal Members Site gets a new look

If you’ve visited the Aikido Journal Members Site within the last few hours you will have noticed a radically new look. This members site is the home for most of our legacy material accumulated over nearly 40 years of research on aikido. Through this new layout, we hope to have created a beautiful, welcoming atmosphere for visitors to consult and enjoy this huge repository of documentation…

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Jun
18

Budo: “Decoding Morihei Ueshiba’s Technical Evolution,” by Stanley Pranin

Budo was virtually unknown outside of the inner circles of the Aikikai Hombu Dojo until its “re-discovery” was announced in November 1981 in the magazine Aiki News. During an interview I conducted shortly before the article appeared, Zenzaburo Akazawa, a prewar disciple of Morihei Ueshiba, produced a copy of the rare technical manual. Akazawa stated that only a few hundred copies of Budo were distributed and that it served as a training aid and fund-raising device during the difficult years of the prewar era…

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Jun
18

Rock-solidly stable! Korindo Aikido Founder Minoru Hirai demonstrates the ken and jo

In this rare video, Minoru Hirai, Founder of Korindo Aikido, demonstrates his free-form use of the ken and jo. What is remarkable is his perfect posture and rock-solid stability of movement. His style of aikido remains little known today as he left Morihei Ueshiba’s Kobukan Dojo during the war and pursued an independent path from that point forward…

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Jun
18

How Aikido really got its name… Interview with Minoru Hirai by Stanley Pranin

In other words, the term “aikido” was a cover-all term that could include other things as well. Mr. Hisatomi’s idea was to intentionally select a name that would not be opposed by kendo or other martial arts, but rather an inoffensive, comprehensive term to group together all of the yawara schools. In the end, no one opposed this proposal…

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Jun
18

“Over 140 people from 15 countries attend a seminar with Saito Hitohira Kaicho in Stuttgart, Germany,” by Tim Haffner

H-Saito-STG2013-KJ02

“Precision in the basic suburi was emphasized
as a prerequisite for effective partner practice.”

The Aiki-Shuren Dojo in Korntal-Munchingen, a suburb of Stuttgart, Germany was pleased to host Saito Hitohira, Kaicho of the Iwama Shin Shin Aiki Shurenkai, from 31 May to 2 June 2013. Over 140 Aikidoka from 15 different countries, including Denmark, France, Italy, Lebanon, the United States and Russia, came to a sports center campus to participate in one of the few European seminars Kaicho will conduct in 2013. The sports center offered lodging, meals and training space for all participants without the need to leave the campus.

Filled with anecdotes and quotations of the direct oral teachings (Kuden) of Aikido Founder, Ueshiba Morihei O’sensei, Kaicho demonstrated a variety of techniques over three days of training that were firmly rooted in the Kihon Waza fundamentals characteristic of Iwama-ryu Aikido. Beginning with Aiki-Ken on Friday evening, Kaicho emphasized the need for every aikidoka to focus on precision in the basic sword suburi. Demonstrating how using the spine (sebone), top of the head (atama) and naval (o-heso) are used as common reference points for all basic cutting practices, Kaicho demonstrated that power and speed are generated from a solid foundation in the principles of sword.

This precision is particularly important when working with a live blade during tameshigiri test cutting practice. Kaicho relayed how an improper angle of the blade by only a matter of a few millimeters would cause bamboo to repel the sword. For this reason, alignment of the sword, grip, shoulders and hanmi must be strictly exact.

Additionally, Saito Kaicho emphasized the need to change the angle of the shoulders in relation to an opponent while conducting an advancing cut, like those in the 4th through 7th suburi, in order to avoid being struck. It is the study of angles in motion that allow for the “awase” in Aikido. This study is essential for understanding not only the principles of Aikido, but also the combative applications of sword technique.

HSaito-STG2013-KJ05
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Jun
18

“Budo” represents a transition phase between Daito-ryu aikijujutsu and modern Aikido

From a technical standpoint, Budo offers numerous insights into the prewar martial art of Morihei Ueshiba. It provides a capsule view of those techniques that Ueshiba considered the basics and the way they were executed in the mid-1930s. The technical descriptions offered are succinct and highly instructive. As Budo was published in 1938, the techniques covered represent a transition phase between the Daito-ryu aikijujutsu Ueshiba learned from Sokaku Takeda and modern aikido. Several basic techniques covered in the manual — for example, ikkyo, iriminage, and shihonage — already bear a close similarity to those taught by the Founder in the postwar period in Iwama…

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Jun
17

“Budo” was virtually unknown outside of the inner circles of the Aikikai Hombu Dojo

The book is entitled simply “Budo” and was privately published in 1938 by Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba. Budo was virtually unknown outside of the inner circles of the Aikikai Hombu Dojo until its “re-discovery” was announced in November 1981 in the magazine Aiki News. During an interview I conducted shortly before the article appeared, Zenzaburo Akazawa, a prewar disciple of Morihei Ueshiba, produced a copy of the rare technical manual. Akazawa stated that only a few hundred copies of Budo were distributed and that it served as a training aid and fund-raising device during the difficult years of the prewar era…

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Jun
17

Weapons disarming: Hitohiro Saito Sensei demonstrates tantodori, tachidori, and jodori

Hitohiro Saito Sensei, son and heir of Morihiro Saito, expertly demonstrates a series of defenses against knife, sword, and staff attacks at his private dojo in Iwama. Hitohiro Sensei is one of aikido’s finest technicians and travels extensively worldwide conducting seminars…

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Jun
17

“Decoding Morihei Ueshiba’s Technical Evolution”

Anyone attending a seminar conducted by Morihiro Saito Sensei during his active years will have noted him frequently referring to a small illustrated manual. In fact, Saito Sensei would often open this booklet to the page illustrative of his teaching point and walk from student to student showing the technique in question for a brief moment. He would repeat over and over, “O-Sensei! O-Sensei!,” as if to validate his technical explanation with the stamp of approval of the ultimate authority–Morihei Ueshiba, the Founder of aikido…

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