Archives for February 2014

Feb
19

Cross-training on steroids! Highlights of Aiki Expo 2005 seminar with Top Martial Arts Instructors

On May 27-29, 2005, one of the most significant martial arts events of our time was held in Los Angeles, California. Aiki Expo 2005 featured a stellar lineup of 36 top instructors from aikido, Daito-ryu aikijujutsu, traditional karate, Russian Systema, and several classical Japanese martial arts. Over 500 practitioners were in attendance for this memorable weekend. This video features highlights from seminars given at Aiki Expo 2005 by the following instructors from aikido and related arts: Christian Tissier, Hiroshi Ikeda, Vladimir Vasiliev, Kenji Ushiro, Bruce Bookman, James Williams, Toby Threadgill….

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Feb
19

Long-time student of Morihiro Saito: Pat Hendricks, 7th dan, christian-tissier-highlights-ex2005 demonstrates basic and advanced techniques at 2011 seminar

In this video, Pat Hendricks, 7th dan, demonstrates a series of beginning and advanced techniques from katatedori and katadori grabs. Pat Hendricks Sensei was a long-time student of Morihiro Saito Sensei and spent several years training in Iwama. She served as Saito Sensei’s uke and interpreter at many demonstrations and seminars…

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Feb
19

Screencast: Focus on History — “Morihei Ueshiba’s Ill-starred Mongolian Expedition,” by Stanley Pranin

There is something very odd about the photo. This picture was taken somewhere in the middle of Mongolia. But the party had a photographer along with them despite the fact that they traveled through wilderness and a lot of rough terrain. Onisaburo was very conscious of the promotional potential of this grand adventure and took steps to document aspects of the trip. I have personally seen 20 or so photos taken on this expedition, and Morihei appears in several of them…

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Feb
19

First and only time: “Mochizuki, Shioda, Saito, Sugino, Shimizu pool their collective expertise!”

Five unforgettable lecture demonstrations were presented at the 1986 Aiki News Friendship Demonstration in Tokyo by these famous teachers: Minoru Mochizuki, Gozo Shioda, Morihiro Saito, Yoshio Sugino, and Kenji Shimizu. These experts bring you the benefits of their decades of training to provide insights that will stimulate your own practice and deepen your understanding of martial essentials. Here are some highlights…

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Feb
18

Subtlety in movement! Hiroshi Ikeda demonstrates katatedori balance-breaking techniques

Hiroshi Ikeda Sensei, 7th dan, of the Boulder Aikikai, demonstrates a series of sophisticated, minimum movement balance-breaking techniques from katatedori grabs. Ikeda Sensei’s performance is a study of efficient movement and relaxed, explosive power. One well-known kobudo teacher once described Ikeda Sensei’s aikido as “crazy good.” He maintains perfect balance and impeccable timing to control uke. Ikeda Sensei’s aikido is exemplary in all respects…

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Feb
18

How competition in aikido started: “The Dawn of Tomiki Aikido,” by Seiji Tanaka

I would like to explain how, where and why Tomiki Aikido started. It goes back to the month of April, 1958 when Waseda University approved our Aikido Club as an officially sanctioned sport club (called “Undo Bu” in Japanese), while no other universities recognized any Aikido clubs as such. Instead, all other Aikido clubs were called “Doko-Kai”, meaning a loosely organized club made up with people of the same interest. These unsanctioned sport clubs had neither the prestige nor the status of other sanctioned clubs such as Judo, Kendo, Karate, baseball, soccer, and other major sport clubs…

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Feb
18

Six masters on one stage! “A Gaijin in Japan Ruffles a Few Feathers!”

The first step was to draw up a list of invitees, and assess the likelihood that each person might accept our proposal. Another consideration was how comfortable a given individual might feel in the presence of certain others. It was like a jigsaw puzzle. I can’t remember everyone’s name, but I can assure you the list read like a “Who’s Who” of top teachers in the aikido world. Naturally, at the head of the list was Second Doshu Kisshomaru Ueshiba. If he would agree to participate, then others might be more inclined to do so…

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Feb
18

The exuberant founder of Yoshinkan Aikido! “Morihei Ueshiba and Gozo Shioda,” by Stanley Pranin

When it comes to showing aikido to the general public in a way both attractive and easy to understand, Gozo Shioda stands alone. He combines a lucid analysis of aikido theory with crisp technique and a liberal dash of humor. The observer of a Shioda aikido demonstration is almost invariably caught up in the mood of the experience and is ready to join an aikido dojo without the least bit of coaxing. Moreover, Shioda never fails to acknowledge his teacher Morihei Ueshiba and the fact that aikido evolved from the techniques of Daito-ryu aikijujutsu…

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Feb
17

Always experimenting! Masatoshi Yasuno, 8th dan, at 2013 All-Japan Aikido Demonstration

This is a video clip of Masatoshi Yasuno Sensei’s performance at the 51st All-Japan Aikido Demonstration at the Nippon Budokan in Tokyo. Yasuno Sensei was one of the late Seigo Yamaguchi Sensei’s senior students and drew much from his training under the latter. Yasuno Sensei’s demonstrations in recent years have shown an individualization of his style amid much experimentation. In this video he uses very soft, blending movements, and subtle balance-breaking to set up techniques. There is a feeling of free form and spontaneity in his presentation…

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Feb
17

Gamblers scattered with a wet towel! “Sokaku Takeda: Bodyguard in Hokkaido,” by Tokimune Takeda

Under cover of darkness, Sokaku, carrying his cherished sword, went directly to the house of Tsunekichi Morita, the head of the Mo group, instead of the headquarters of the mobsters set up at the inn, for a fight to the finish. There are said to have been three people at the front door when he arrived. When one of them saw Sokaku’s face, he said: “You must be Takeda Sensei…”

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Feb
17

Due recognition finally! Historical photo: “Noriaki Inoue, Aikido’s Forgotten Pioneer,” by Stanley Pranin

My efforts to meet Inoue Sensei were either ignored or rebuffed over and over. I can’t remember the exact sequence of events, but probably due to my persistence, he finally agreed to meet me with the proviso that I bring along a couple of “old-timers” with me. This was not exactly what I had hoped for, but at least it gave me a chance to get “a foot in the door,” so to speak…

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Feb
17

Unforgettable event! How to assemble six martial arts masters on one stage… and not lose your mind!

The First Aikido Friendship Demonstration drew over 900 people and was a resounding success. We went on to sponsor three more events in subsequent years, the last taking place in 1988. The Aikido Friendship Demonstrations were among my most unforgettable experiences in Japan. Thankfully, the video record of these events remains as a testimony to the skills and willingness of the participating instructors to share the stage in a spirit of harmony. I think the Founder, Morihei O-Sensei, would have been pleased…..

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