“How I figured out a way to quickly navigate Aikido’s vast curriculum” by Stanley Pranin

Photo-credit: Daniel Toutain Sensei

Photo-credit: Daniel Toutain Sensei

“Finding a needle in Aikido’s haystack of techniques!”

stanley-pranin-thumbnailA while ago I was having difficulty finding and grouping together aikido techniques even though I have literally thousands of books and videos to choose from in the Aikido Journal archives and on the net. And therein lies the problem: how do you quickly access specific techniques from the hundreds contained in the vast aikido curriculum?

We have amazing technology available to allow us to preserve and disseminate to a worldwide public any form of information we desire. But when you have millions of items to browse in order to find a specific set of information the problem boils down to the system of classification and method of quickly accessing the desired content. This is the exact problem I was facing.

One of my main purposes was to be able to create lesson plans without having to spend tons of time looking for related techniques and then wading through them. After thinking about this challenge for many months, I came up with a solution. Let me show you what what I did.

guide-interfaceAs you can see I created a table consisting of three columns: Attack, Technique, and Aiki Ken – Aiki Jo. The leftmost column groups techniques according to the type of attack. You click on one of the links in this column and you are presented with a list of all items corresponding to the particular attack available in the videos and books indexed.

The center column groups the content by technique. In a similar manner, clicking on a specific link accesses the same indexed content by type of technique. So you have two separate views of the technical archives depending on your purpose.

The third column is I believe self-explanatory: most of the Aiki Ken and Aiki Jo forms developed by Saito Sensei based on the teachings of Morihei Ueshiba O-Sensei are presented and retrievable via a single click.

If this concept interests you, please watch this 10 minute screencast below which will walk you through the interface of Morihiro Saito’s vast aikido curriculum consisting of more than 600 techniques.


Through a simple interface, you’ll have the ability to quickly access over 500 empty-handed and weapons techniques via 1,100 links to videos and technical explanations in book format. This is the most extensive technical reference on aikido ever compiled!

Click here for information on Morihiro Saito's &ldquoComplete Guide to Aikido”


  1. Rick Post says:

    Hi Sensei,

    Is this library of techniques going to be for sale?
    Because this seems like a real time saver, and reference guide..

  2. That’s pretty cool, Stan! I think I told you my problem is generally where to start. I could throw darts at your chart… or I could ask for questions from the class. ‘What do you folks want to work on today? Attack? Technique? Name me one…’ Then I have Tim. Tim is recovering from a stroke. That’s pretty successful, actually. He can do most anything you would expect of a guy in his sixties who let his physical conditioning go for forty years or so. He’s built about like our old teacher Saito Sensei. Real strong. Not, however, all that flexible. The hybrid of all that is spontaneous creativity. If I do something, he might not see it exactly right, or be able to reproduce it exactly, but he usually will come up with a close variation, which itself can be taught. I joke and tell him he’s teaching my class. In a real sense he’s teaching me. Iwama style we learn forms. It’s a bit like we have a vocabulary list in language class. Tim is like the guy in the back of the class who is frantically leafing through the dictionary to find one of the vocabulary words and comes close… Well, without him, what is the likelihood I would ever have paid attention to that word? Inoue Sensei has what I consider to be some mind bending ushiro waza variations. Tim isn’t Inoue Sensei, but he’s alive and comes out for class.

  3. Thank you so much Stan. A real treasury for today and the future.

  4. Awesome work you did there Dear Stan Sensei. Many thanks. I am happy enjoying it.

    Concerning the photo on top of the article, its courtesy goes to Daniel Toutain. This photo was shot in his former dojo in Rennes in 1998. I don’t know who was the photographer. There were two. Most probably Daniel Sensei knows.

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