Jan
22

Note sword footwork! Seigo Yamaguchi Seminar Highlights from 1983

This is a color 8mm film of Seigo Yamaguchi, 8th dan, shot in 1993 at a seminar in Buenos Aires. Yamaguchi Sensei is seen demonstrating shomenuchi techniques which he relates to sword footwork and linear entries. Very interesting! Yamaguchi Sensei was one of the most important of the first generation of aikido instructors of the postwar era. He taught at the Aikikai Hombu Dojo in Tokyo for several decades until his passing in 1996…

Click here to watch video

Jan
22

Elegant and powerful! Christian Tissier at 2012 Vienna Seminar

This is video features Christian Tissier Sensei, 7th dan, conducting a seminar in Vienna in March 2012. Among the techniques presented are yokomenuchi shiohonage, shomenuchi ikkyo, iriminage, kaitennage, etc. Christian Tissier began aikido as a boy in France in 1962,. He spent eight years in Japan at the Aikikai Hombu Dojo in Tokyo training with many of the art’s top masters. On his return to his native France, he brought back a new kind of aikido that soon captured the imagination of the Aikido world in his country and practitioners throughout Europe…

Click here to watch video

Jan
22

Default mode is power — “Tension vs. Relaxation,” by Stanley Pranin

The first has to do with the tension-filled body state of the attendees — most of whom were yudansha and teachers — when executing techniques. This was especially the case for techniques involving hand grabs, that is, katatedori techniques. As I have experienced elsewhere virtually without exception, students will tense their arms at the start of a technique. Even when I explained that that the tension in their their body alerts uke to their intent, timing, and direction, it was very difficult for them to grasp this concept and apply it to the technique…

Click here to watch video

Jan
22

“The Religion of Aikido” By Nathan Ray

“The dojos around the world are like churches and the religion practiced is one of self-mastery and improvement through Aikido. “

nathan-rayWhat a title, right? Well, before you tune out what I am about to share, just take a moment to think of religion in simple terms. In this article, the term “religion” is a reflection of time and dedication, not in terms of specific dogma. If you take a step back and look at the parallels, I think you will agree. In this sense, there is a central focal point or person. In Aikido, the founder Morihei Ueshiba is the beginning, even though he learned from Sokaku Takeda and others. The founder is that deity or central figure, Kami, if you will. He is our ideal of the real Master that we aspire to be.

Those in the Iwama lineage next look to the example of Morihiro Saito. He was that special student of the founder who was the direct link to the founder, his tradition and legacy. I was not fortunate enough to have trained with Saito Sensei, however, I am blessed to have begun my journey with Saito Sensei’s vast legacy of books and videos. This is where my Iwama Journey began. Actually, it was the classic footage of O-Sensei – in “Budo” filmed at the Asahi News dojo in 1935 that inspired me to jump head long into the world of Iwama Aikido after more than 20 years of aikido on a different path.

We see the image of O-Sensei on dojo walls around the world, fulfilling the vision that Morihei’s spiritual teacher Onisaburo Deguchi had for him. Deguchi saw in the young Ueshiba the future, and shared his vision of martial arts (Aikido) that would touch the entire world. Deguchi’s vision came to pass and is alive and well today. It is the spirit of the founder that still fuels the Aikido world.

There is nothing like the dedication of the disciples of the founder and succesively their students. For me, I am very blessed to connect to the spirit of Morihiro Saito through his direct disciples. I have had the pleasure to train with Hitohiro Saito, Aviv Goldsmith, Wolfgang Baumgartner, Patricia Hendricks, Hans Goto, Bernice Tom, Shigemi Inagaki, Daniel Toutain, and Paulo Corallini to name a few. The legacy passed through Morihiro Saito is in good hands around the world.

nathan-ray-croppedPractitioners everywhere are dedicated across all lineages. It all leads back to O-Sensei. They train devotedly in Aikido. This is similar to the devotion displayed by church goers. As in the church, there is pomp and ceremony that consitute the spiritual ties to the traditions of Aikido, both technical and spiritual. Each bow, each lighting of candles, each offering to the shomen altars around the globe, ties us all together with the spirit of Morihei Ueshiba. Our purpose and daily practice commit us to a higher ideal and expressions of humanity.

The dojos around the world are like churches, and the religion practiced is one of self-mastery and improvement through Aikido. This is not some blasphemous comparison, but rather a look into the mind of man and his ability to take an art like aikido and express it as way to promote good and righteousness in a world deeply in need of change. We are certainly members of a movement that is doing just that… changing the world!

Jan
21

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…

Click here to read more

Jan
21

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…

Click here to watch video

Jan
21

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…

Click here to watch video

Jan
20

Encyclopedic memory! Morihiro Saito Sensei performs Ushirowaza

Morihiro Saito Sensei performs numerous ushirowaza (rear techniques) in this amazing video. He provides the name and then proceeds to demonstrate each technique in term in an incredible display of technical mastery. This video will give you an understanding of what is meant when it is said that Morihiro Saito Sensei had an encyclopedic memory!…

Click here to watch video

Jan
20

The origins of Hombu Dojo techniques… Kisshomaru Ueshiba: Early Aikikai techniques (1957)

This is an extremely important video. It features Second Doshu Kisshomaru Ueshiba and Nobuyoshi Tamura Sensei performing techniques from the core aikido curriculum in 1957. If people are interested in understanding how aikido evolved in the postwar period, this is an excellent resource. It was Kisshomaru Ueshiba Sensei and Koichi Tohei Sensei who were the most influential instructors in the development of aikido in the Aikikai system…

Click here to watch video

Jan
20

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…

Click here to watch video

Jan
19

High-level training… high-level people: A Consideration of Aikido Practice within the Context of Internal Training (Revised) by Ellis Amdur

I am of the opinion that no martial art is better than another, but not for the reasons some might think. Some martial arts are clearly, undeniably, better for fighting, at least in certain contexts, and some martial arts are far more adaptable when moved to a different context. Each martial art is good for what its good for, and whatever it is good for is what it is made for. Consider this: in prewar Japan, professional sumo players were, on average, probably the toughest, most fearsome empty-handed fighters around. During the Second World War, they were primarily used as draft animals, like donkeys or other beasts, to haul heavy objects up hills…

Click here to read more

Jan
19

Strong martial spirit! Hayato Osawa demonstrates his powerful style of aikido

In this video, Hayato Osawa, son of the late 9th dan Kisaburo Osawa, displays his style of strong, precise aikido. His techniques are characterized by a strong martial spirit and physicality even though he is of a small stature. He demonstrates suwariwaza, hanmi handachi, and standing techniques on this occasion. Osawa Sensei is one of the senior instructors at the Aikikai Hombu Dojo in Tokyo…

Click here to watch video