Aug
23

Shoji Nishio: “Delicate use of atemi”

When Nishio Sensei explained the use of atemi in aikido techniques he demonstrated their application at successive points in the movement showing that they are always available. No physical contact actually takes place in order to assure safe practice conditions. The movement corresponding to the atemi does indeed neutralize the opponent’s mind and body rendering him unable to continue his attack…

Click here to watch video

Aug
22

Spirit of honest attack! “Aikido Ukemi: its Pathology & Treatment,” by Chetan Prakash

In budo practice there is a transformation of ukemi, based on skill at the kihon level, into a much more sophisticated function. Yet this transformation comes from a very simple idea: uke attacks in all sincerity and with deadly intent, but upon having the attack rendered ineffective, enters survival and/or reversal mode, while maintaining connection with nage, with the greatest alacrity…

Click here to read more

Aug
22

Power and Precision: “Morihiro Saito at Melbourne Takemusu Aikido Seminar (1985)”

In 1985 Morihiro Saito Sensei accompanied by Hiroki Nemoto conducted Takemusu Aikido seminars in Melbourne and Sydney, Australia at the invitation of instructors Michael Field, Barry Knight and Saburo Takayasu. This video contains highlights from that event…

Click here to watch video

Aug
22

Over 900 in attendance! “Video: Highlights of 1st Aikido Friendship Demonstration featuring Kanshu Sunadomari, Mitsugi Saotome, Morihiro Saito, Shoji Nishio, Yasuo Kobayashi, Yoshio Kuroiwa”

The Friendship Demonstrations introduced a new concept where teachers of different backgrounds and affiliations shared their accumulated expertise before a large, appreciative audience. The skill level of the participants in this demonstration is extremely high and their detailed explanations provide an abundance of information that will stimulate your training and understanding of the art…

Click here to watch video

Aug
22

Shoji Nishio: “Technicians are people who make people’s dreams come true.”

We are technicians. Technicians are people who make people’s dreams come true. If they can’t achieve this they are worthless as technicians. Technicians concretize people’s dreams and make them a reality in society. Aikido is the same. By meeting people’s wishes we contribute to society. That’s what Aikido should be. Takemusu Aiki which creates and which nurtures all things was first created by O-Sensei. It is from this standpoint that I approach budo.

Click here to watch video

Aug
22

Raise your arm like a sword! Michio Hikitsuchi Sensei demonstrates Katatedori Kokyunage and Morotedori Kokyunage

In this video, Michio Hikitsuchi Sensei, recipient of a 10th dan from Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba, demonstrates Katatedori Kokyunage and Morotedori Kokyunage. Michio Hikitsuchi (1923-2004) operated the Kumano Juku dojo in Shingu, Wakayama-ken, for over 50 years. Beginning in the 1970s, he made frequent trips abroad to the USA and Europe conducting seminars…

Click here to watch video

Aug
21

Magnificent Aikido: “Nobuyoshi Tamura in Paris”

An extraordinary video of the late Nobuyoshi Tamura Sensei, 8th dan, explaining and demonstrating a very high level technique of a sophistication seldom seen. Tamura Sensei was one of the most skilled teachers of the postwar era. He was dispatched to France in 1964 and spent the rest of his career as one of the major aikido instructors in Europe…

Click here to watch video

Aug
21

“Why has Morihei Ueshiba O-Sensei had so little impact on the development of Aikido?” by Stanley Pranin

morihei-ueshiba-color-crop

“The art’s finest exponent, and the man who conceived of the system of ethics that underpins the art, is not a major factor in discussions of aikido, be they of a technical or philosophical nature.”

Aikido Journal Editor Stanley PraninI realize that the title of this blog will elicit disbelief in many quarters. Isn’t the opposite the case?

Why did I choose such a title and why do I believe this statement to be true? I’ll explain my reasoning.

By the time aikido began to spread in the postwar era in Japan and abroad, the Founder was already an anachronism. He was elderly, selfish, cantankerous, spoke at times incomprehensibly, and moved in ways that only the most astute observer could follow. He was too much trouble to deal with, and he was consequently marginalized in the dojo he had built.

So what happened? Morihei’s words were edited and “prettified,” and made to sound like a sage. When rendered into English and other languages, what we have are “free” translations that are not identified as such. We are at least two levels removed from his original words. O-Sensei’s techniques that were poorly explained and too hard to learn were eschewed in favor of the approaches of the Founder’s son, Kisshomaru and Koichi Tohei, in particular. His weapon studies were judged to be amateurish and incomplete, and thus irrelevant to the art.

Where does that leave us?

It means that the Founder of aikido, perhaps the art’s finest exponent, and the man who conceived of the system of ethics that underpins the art, is not a major factor in discussions of aikido, be they of a technical or philosophical nature. O-Sensei’s influence is akin to a far off echo, weak and distorted. As a result, aikido has been impoverished.

To end on a positive note, if Morihei Ueshiba’s ideas were ever to be understood and widely discussed, the art’s potential as a martial art and a powerful social force would be greatly magnified.

Further reading

Is O-Sensei Really the Father of Modern Aikido?, by Stanley Pranin
O-Sensei’s Spiritual Writings: Where did they really come from? by Stanley Pranin
Exploring the Founder’s Aikido by Stanley Pranin

—————————–

BEST VIDEO RESOURCE OF AIKIDO FOUNDER MORIHEI UESHIBA AVAILABLE…

Click here for information on the complete collection of Morihei Ueshiba films in downloadable format for $49.95

Aug
21

Shoji Nishio interviewed: “Morihei Ueshiba’s philosophy served as a beacon for Shoji Nishio’s thinking in developing his unique aikido.”

I always say that if a teacher of Aikido takes up the ken, he can re-apply his knowledge to the ken. And the same is the case for the jo. (When I was a beginner) I asked how they applied the body techniques to the ken, but no one showed me. Since there was nothing to be done about the situation, I began practicing the ken in 1955 soon after I began Aikido training. What else could I do? Nobody taught me!…

Click here to watch video

Aug
21

Founder’s favorite! “Tai no henko: 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…

Click here to watch video

Aug
21

“One change you can make to dramatically improve your aikido!” by Stanley Pranin

stanley-pranin-balance-breaking

“If aikidoka continue to practice this way over the course of their careers, never noticing this failure to unbalance their partner, their technique will remain ineffective.”

I don’t travel nearly as much as I used to. But by the same token, I surely see more different approaches to aikido than ever before thanks to the amazing resource that is youtube.

When watching videos across the spectrum, I am constantly amazed at how many practitioners and teachers alike attempt to apply techniques on a “balanced” uke. Another way of expressing this is that nage has failed to disrupt uke’s posture before attempting a throw. This is especially obvious when uke takes a spectacular fall. An uke whose body structure has been broken will not have the chance to perform an acrobatic fall.

If aikidoka continue to practice this way over the course of their careers, never noticing this failure to unbalance their partner, their technique will remain ineffective.

On a physical/mechanical level, an aikido effective technique begins with repositioning, followed by unbalancing uke often with the use of atemi (combative strikes), and a skilled throw or lock.

The general process is easy to describe, but takes a great deal of practice to learn to apply consistently.

This simple realization and an ongoing effort to notice the effect of your mechanics on your partner will go a long way toward dramatically improving your aikido.

Your thoughts, please!

Aug
21

“In some dojos, atemi has gone the way of the Dodo bird!”

While atemi or preemptive strikes, have fallen into disuse in mainstream styles of aikido, Nishio Sensei saw their employment as essential to the success of aikido techniques: “I regard atemi as the soul of Japanese martial arts. Atemi temporarily neutralize the opponent’s fighting ability and allow him to correct his attitude and return to his previous condition…

Click here to watch video