Apr
30

What art is the strongest? “Real nature of martial arts and their benefits,” by Stanley Pranin

In deliberating the relevancy of martial arts in modern society, it seems that the discussion eventually comes around to a debate on the superiority of one martial art over another. Martial arts magazines and Internet forums are filled with articles and discussions about what martial art would come out on top in a hypothetical match-up. I submit that such comparisons are an exercise in futility since all scenarios dreamed up to test whether one martial art will best another are highly artificial and usually take the form of competitive matches…

Click here to read more

Apr
30

Preserving O-Sensei’s aikido… “Interview with André Cognard (2),” by Stanley Pranin

Kobayashi Sensei’s work focused on that. He also insisted on many points, for example, he would say, “When you’re grabbed, you do nothing without adopting the other’s point of view. He’s here and looking over there, so you must look over there. If you look in the opposite direction, you’ll never know what he sees and what’s motivating his actions, so whatever you have to do, even if it’s omote, the first thing to do is to take his point of view.”…

Click here to read more

Apr
29

Improved stamina and strength… Competitive martial arts training: “What you get, what it costs,” by Robert

Sparring is a form of training like any other form of training. Even the most brutal MMA matches are not fights. They are sparring. As with any form of training, the questions are: What does it get you? What does it cost you? Every kind of sparring, from light to no contact “tag” to MMA matches serves a purpose…

Click here to read more

Apr
29

The Master in action… Morihiro Saito Sensei teaching shihonage and kotegaeshi at UK seminar in 1988

This is a rare clip from a video of Morihiro Saito Sensei instructing a seminar in London in 1998. Here he is explaining important points of shihonage, aikido’s four-corner throw, also demonstrating how shihonage corresponds to the use of the Aiki Ken. Aikido Journal Editor Stanley Pranin is interpreting…

Click here to watch video

Apr
29

He sang me a song… “Takuma Hisa, the bridge between Daito-ryu and Aiki Budo,” by Stanley Pranin

I was able to piece together that he had been a student of Morihei Ueshiba first, and then Sokaku Takeda, at the Asahi News dojo in Osaka. Having learned this, I began to sense that perhaps this man might have played some important role in the early evolution of aikido. Toward the end of our conversation, he began to sing me a song. I remember the introductory words very well: “You came, you came, you really came…” He really liked me, but I don’t exactly know why because I wasn’t knowledgeable enough to ask very many intelligent questions at this early stage of my research…

Click here to read more

Apr
26

Commemorating the 45th Anniversary of the Passing of Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba

Today marks the passing of Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba. O-Sensei died this day in 1969 at his residence in Tokyo. We would like to offer an opportunity to readers to familiarize themselves with the illustrious life of the Founder through this series of articles that present background information on his life-story and the development of aikido.

“Morihei in Tanabe” by Stanley Pranin
“Morihei’s Ueshiba Juku, Launchpad of a Martial Arts Career” by Stanley Pranin
“Kobukan Dojo Era (Part 1)” by Stanley Pranin
“Kobukan Dojo Era (Part 2)” by Stanley Pranin
“Iwama: Birthplace of Aikido” by Stanley Pranin
“Exploring the Founder’s Aikido” by Stanley Pranin

os-films-downloadable-600x300px

Apr
25

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…

Click here to watch video

Apr
25

Discover what has been lost!! “Decoding Morihei Ueshiba’s Technical Evolution,” by Stanley Pranin

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…

Click here to watch video

Apr
25

Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu… “The Hidden Source of Aikido Techniques”

There is no escaping the fact that Morihei Ueshiba was one of the leading experts of Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu, and that most of aikido’s techniques have their roots in this old-style jujutsu. It would be ingenuous to deny this well-documented connection.

So how is it that a large segment of the aikido world blissfully continues forward without acknowledging the art’s roots and the relevance of Daito-ryu in aikido training today?.

Have a look at this demonstration of Katsuyuki Kondo Sensei, one of the leading experts of Daito-ryu and see how many of the techniques he performs are familiar to you.

Click here to watch video

Apr
24

The pitfalls of history by omission! “Morihei in Tanabe,” by Stanley Pranin

Unlike other periods in the life of Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba, his early years in Tanabe and family circumstances are not well documented. Our principal sources of information on this period of Morihei’s life are the biography of Morihei Ueshiba published by his son Kisshomaru in 1977, later interviews and conversations with the author, and a few pages from the first biography of the Founder written by Kanemoto Sunadomari in 1969. To this can be added the recollections of members and relatives of the Ueshiba and Inoue families…

Click here to read more

Apr
24

Genial paired weapons practice! Morihiro Saito demonstrates ken tai jo

This is an excellent video clip of Morihiro Saito Sensei, 9th dan, demonstrating three ken tai jo exercise: choku barai, kaeshi barai, and kaiten barai. These are excellent practices for developing a better understanding of distance and timing with weapons. This video was shot at a San Diego seminar in the early 1990s…

Click here to watch video

Apr
24

Takumakai demo… “Amazingly ingenious Daito-ryu techniques!”

Here are scenes from a video documentary released in 1980 featuring a breathtaking demonstration of Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu techniques under the supervision of Menkyo Kaiden Takuma Hisa. This is an opportunity to observe the intricate Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu taught by both Morihei Ueshiba and Sokaku Takeda in Osaka in the 1930s. This film is perhaps the earliest one ever produced on the subject and is beautifully filmed with multiple camera angles.

Click here to watch video