Dec
31

Real and compassionate regard: “Ethics, an Aiki perspective,” by Francis Takahashi

Although the Founder of Aikido was wont to expound on Aiki theory in mostly esoteric language and terms, using metaphors and almost mythical allusions to established Shinto doctrine in his teachings, it may be safe to extract certain references to the presence of and connections to the need for ethical considerations and activities in our practice. Chief amongst the many to be cited, would be the Founder’s admonition that Aikido is True Budo, with the obligation to protect all of life, and to be in harmonious co-existence with our environment and all its elements…

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Dec
31

Fluid and athletic! Masamichi Noro of Kinomichi demonstrates Jo Kata in late 1970s

This is a splendid jo demonstration by Masamichi Noro Sensei, the founder of Kinomichi, taken in the late 1970s. His movements are fluid, athletic, and unlike anything you may have seen. The influence of Noro Sensei’s exposure to dance is readily evident…

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Dec
31

Get entire mag in PDF: Aikido Journal Number 119, Spring 2000

Contents

● Editorial – Aikido: A Restatement of Universal Truths, by Stanley Pranin
● Letters and Threads
● Interview with Hiroshi Isoyama, 8th dan, by Stanley Pranin
● My Career in Yanagi-ryu Aiki Jiu Jitsu, by Don Angier
● Takemusu Aiki (4), by Morihei Ueshiba
● Interview with Mariye Takahashi (1), by Stanley Pranin
● Everything in Black and White, by David Lynch
● Interview with Walther von Krenner, by Stanley Pranin
● Aikido and Independence, by Peter Goldsbury
● Takemusu Aikido — Yokomenuchi yonkyo omotewaza, by Morihiro Saito
● Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu Takumakai — Hijinobashi Aiki, by Takeshi Kawabe & Hakaru Mori
● O-Sensei’s Songs of the Way, by Seiseki Abe
● Virtue of the Sword, by James Williams
● Heard in the Dojo

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Dec
31

Forcible application of strength… “My List of Problem Areas in Today’s Aikido,” by Stanley Pranin

In the last several years, I have becomed focused on a number of areas that I have identified as commonly lacking in training and deserving of the attention of aikido instructors. I regard these problem areas as widespread across styles and detrimental to the development of the art. Among my observations — voiced here and elsewhere — are the following…

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Dec
30

Without mercy, ukemi is impossible: “On Mercy,” by Charles Warren

If I choose to go unarmed, some of that is risk assessment. Being armed in a public place in California is usually criminal, so what is more likely, arrest on a weapons charge or being subject to some criminal attack? Some of my choice is confidence in my unarmed martial skills. Some of it, though, is my distaste for killing things, which is a species of mercy. Does that give me some sense of virtue? I suppose…

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Dec
30

The art of rolling: Richard Moon Sensei demonstrates backward ukemi

A guide to the basics of rolling, for teachers even more than students, especially for those who help beginners learning Aikido. Introducing the fundamentals of ukemi: the art of rolling. Learn the diagonal path that protects the head and neck and allows for a safe practice. How to train the body to find that path naturally…

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Dec
30

Saito family property: “He built this dojo when it was announced that the Iwama Dojo would soon be torn down”

This videotape was shot in 1992 in commemoration of Saito Sensei’s promotion to 9th dan. This was also around the time of the opening of the new Iwama Dojo on Saito family property. The demonstration portion of this footage was taken entirely inside the new dojo and there is a scene in which Saito Sensei is seated holding his 9th dan certificate. Saito Sensei demonstrates the basic forms of the Aiki Ken and Jo, as well as several taijutsu fundamentals…

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Dec
30

Focus on History: “Ueshiba Family Tree: The Line of Succession” by Stanley Pranin

The present Doshu, Moriteru Ueshiba, in turn succeeded Kisshomaru. Moriteru has two children, and his son, Mitsuteru, is already being groomed as his successor. Mitsuteru will one day be aikido’s Fourth Doshu. Aikido is unusual among modern Japanese budo in that it has a so-called “iemoto,” or family succession system. The Ueshiba family line has formed the core around which the art has grown and flourished worldwide in the postwar era…

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Dec
27

Mending an ailing spirit… “Change As Part of the Cycle of Movement in Aikido,” by Alister Gillies

When O Sensei and a few followers left Sokaku Takeda they could not have foreseen the development of modern-day Aikido. Similarly, when O Sensei instructed Bansen Tanaka to recruit the sons of wealthy parents as students, or entrusted Hombu Dojo to the care of his son Kisshomaru, he could not have foreseen the creation of a corporate Aikido. When the founder left Tokyo for Iwama, sick in body and mind, I feel sure that his intention was not to create a definitive style of Aikido as a legacy for future generations. Given what we know of the founder’s life, it is not unreasonable to assume that he was engaged in Shugyo to mend his ailing spirit…

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Dec
27

Disgusted with organizational politics! “How do we determine who is good?”, by Charles Humphrey

Such a person is not an invincible warrior. No one is invincible, but they can live a quiet and content life knowing that if they are such a person they will have no more regrets than they should, and live neither a longer nor shorter life than they were intended. The highest level of skill is to be truly natural, foibles included. I have seen examples of this in teachers but none of them are part of organizations. They are obscure men because they are naturally disgusted with organizational politics…

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Dec
27

Developed in Iwama after the war: “Origins of the 31-Jo kata”

By the time I learned it, the 31-jo kata was already complete, but when Koichi Tohei Sensei came to practice in Iwama it had not yet been perfected. What he learned was different from what I learned, probably because O-Sensei’s way of instructing was not yet fully developed. When I learned under O-Sensei his teachings included all of the weapons techniques including the kumitachi. At one stage, there was no one left in Iwama except me, so I trained with O-Sensei by myself. His teaching gradually became more elaborate…

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Dec
27

A major strategic error? Stanley Pranin’s Video Blog: “The Biggest Mistake in Kotegaeshi!”

In this video, Stanley Pranin describes a common opening seen in the application of aikido’s kotegaeshi, a wrist turn throw. This strategic mistake can be seen everywhere across the spectrum in modern aikido. Basically, the first task of nage (defender) prior to applying kotegaeshi is to avoid the attack, and unbalance uke (attacker). But then as nage sets up to execute kotegaeshi, he spins uke around for the throw. Here, uke ends up facing nage square on. At this point, nage becomes vulnerable to uke’s counterattack and is only spared an unpleasant outcome by the cooperative nature of his interaction with uke…

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