Sep
30

Iaido master! Junichi Haga, Genius Swordsman who challenged Morihei Ueshiba to a match

This is an excellent video of famous Japanese swordsman Junichi Haga who once challenged Morihei Ueshiba to a match. His iaido skills are of the highest level. Junichi Haga was a physically powerful man with a quick temper. Around 1933, Haga challenged Morihei Ueshiba to a match. Nobuyoshi Tamura describes the circumstances in an interview by Stanley Pranin…

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Sep
30

Step-by-step instruction: “Tackling aikido’s hip throw techniques!”

If a teacher succeeds in communicating key insights to students, they develop good habits, progress becomes rapid, and they acquire the ability to apply the principles learned to other more advanced techniques. It is in this regard that Saito Sensei excelled as a teacher…

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Sep
30

A dignified, paternal figure: “Whose Aikido Are You Practicing?” by Stanley Pranin

Taken collectively, the Aikikai organization consists of several tens of thousands of schools spread over all but the smallest countries of the globe. To my knowledge, no accurate survey of actual numbers exists, but let us adopt the arbitrary figure of one to two million practitioners to give an idea of the art’s scope. The curriculum followed in these schools is largely based on Kisshomaru Ueshiba’s many technical books issued over a 40-year period. Most were published by Kodansha, Japan’s largest publishing firm, in Japanese and English, and various European languages. Kisshomaru’s son, the present Doshu Moriteru Ueshiba, has continued the unabated production of similar books starting even before his father’s death…

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Sep
30

Hip throws with ease! Morihiro Saito: “O-Sensei joked he could do koshinage all day without getting tired!”

In this video clip, Morihiro Saito, 9th dan, explains and demonstrates important principles of Aikido’s koshinage (hip throws) and kotegaeshi (wrist twist) techniques. Hip throws are among the more difficult techniques of aikido. They require a more advanced skill in ukemi or falling, and an appropriate training surface is necessary to make falls safe. For this and other reasons, koshinage are not practiced much nowadays in the art. Saito Sensei was a master of these hip throw techniques and almost single-handedly insured their preservation by regularly teaching them in his seminars…

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Sep
28

Innovative Founder… An Overview of Aikido History, by Stanley Pranin

The founder of aikido breathed his last on April 26, 1969, his death the result of liver cancer. He was succeeded by his son, Kisshomaru Ueshiba, who assumed the title of “Second Doshu.” The Aikikai Foundation, the postwar continuation of Ueshiba’s Kobukai Foundation, today enjoys a preeminent position in the world of aikido. More than half of the national and regional aikido organizations maintain affiliations with the Tokyo-based headquarters, which operates abroad as the International Aikido Federation…

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Sep
27

Seishiro Endo, 8th dan: Grace and centeredness at the 2004 All-Japan Aikido Demonstration

This video features a beautiful demonstration by Seishiro Endo, 8th dan, at the 2004 All-Japan Aikido Demonstration. Endo Sensei moves with grace while remaining centered and eschews the use of any physical strength while executing techniques. Seishiro Endo was one of the last generation of Aikikai instructors to have received training from Morihei Ueshiba and the senior instructors of the headquarters dojo in Tokyo beginning in the 1960s…

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Sep
27

Rediscovering prewar techniques… Christopher Hein reconstructs techniques from Morihei Ueshiba’s 1934 manual titled “Budo Renshu”

I have been working with the techniques from Budo Renshuu, the 1933 Kobukan Aiki Budo training manual. These are the techniques that eventually became what we know today as modern Aikido. There are 166 techniques in this manual, here are techniques 50-60…

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Sep
27

Few early Japanese teachers analytical… Morihiro Saito: Paying attention to small details in learning the basics

For most of his first 25 years of involvement in aikido, Morihiro Saito was almost unknown outside of Japan. All of that changed beginning in the early 1970s when he began publishing a series of five technical volumes on aikido in a Japanese-English format. His books were followed by the first of many teaching tours abroad in 1974 where Saito Sensei’s clear and precise teaching methods were immediately embraced by foreign aikidoka. This led to literally thousands of aikido students from abroad travelling to Iwama during a 30-year period to study with the master until his passing in 2002…

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Sep
27

Innovative Founder… An Overview of Aikido History, by Stanley Pranin

It is difficult to appreciate the uniqueness of modern aikido without an understanding of its extraordinary founder, Morihei Ueshiba. This innovative man presents a challenge to historians not simply because he lived in an earlier age very different from our own-he was unusual even for his time and cultural context. His esoteric views were heavily influenced by the doctrines of the Omoto religion and are barely comprehensible to modern Japanese. The challenge faced by foreign aikido devotees who hope to absorb the founder’s philosophy is made even greater by the formidable barrier of the Japanese language. The task would be seemingly hopeless were it not for the aikido techniques themselves, which offer everyone an avenue of approach to the essence of the art, irrespective of language or culture…

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Sep
27

Morihiro Saito: “The importance of using both hands when performing tai no henko”

Tai no henko is one of three exercises that Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba would teach each and every class. Following World War II, he executed tai no henko using both hands in parallel.

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Sep
27

! Garuda Standing Matwork Introduction

This is a wonderful promotional video of the Garuda system that combines elements of yoga, pilates and dance. It should be of particular interest to martial artists as an efficient means of thoroughly warming up the body while promoting flexibility and conditioning…

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Sep
26

O-Sensei ensconced in Iwama… Is O-Sensei Really the Father of Modern Aikido?, by Stanley Pranin

What does all of this mean? It means that the common view of the spread of aikido following the war taking place under the direct tutelage of the Founder is fundamentally in error. Tohei and the present Doshu deserve the lion’s share of the credit, not the Founder. It means further that O-Sensei Morihei Ueshiba was not seriously involved in the instruction or administration of aikido in the postwar years…

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