Jun
22

Massaging of history… “Six giants who were axed!”

A futile attempt is being made at this very moment to erase my personal teacher, Morihiro Saito Sensei, from the annals of the Iwama Dojo since his passing in 2002. These attempts to rewrite history have motivated me to devote a great deal of attention to these historical figures. Except for Sokaku Takeda, I personally knew and interviewed all of the names I mentioned…

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Jun
19

From cripple to athlete… Arthur Boorman’s Yoga Miracle Story with nearly 19 million views!

Arthur Boorman was a disabled veteran of the Gulf War for 15 years, and was told by his doctors that he would never be able to walk on his own, ever again. He stumbled upon an article about Diamond Dallas Page doing Yoga and decided to give it a try — he couldn’t do traditional, higher impact exercise, so he tried yoga and sent an email to Dallas telling him his story. Dallas was so moved by his story, he began emailing and speaking on the phone with Arthur throughout his journey – he encouraged Arthur to keep going and to believe that anything was possible…

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Jun
19

The dainty lady who lit up Morihei Ueshiba’s Kobukan Dojo… “Interview with Takako Kunigoshi” by Stanley Pranin

Morihei Ueshiba’s Kobukan Dojo was the base for O-Sensei’s professional teaching career. In the 1930s, it was bustling with activity and many youngsters and oldsters trained side by side. The dojo attracted primarily well-to-do persons from the elite of Japanese society. But there were exceptions too… One of these was a young lady who attending art school who developed a passion for Aiki Budo. For several years, she trained regularly alongside the young, strong uchideshi being groomed by Morihei as instructors. Takako Kunigoshi made a tremendous contribution during this time frame that provides first-hand evidence of the techniques being taught by the Founder at this stage of his career…

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Jun
19

Zoning in on uke… “How the Founder O-Sensei would set up techniques to execute throws”

Despite the fact that Morihei Ueshiba O-Sensei is revered as the Founder of Aikido, few practitioners today understand his philosophy or the specifics of his techniques. As we are several generations removed from the source of our art, it might be a useful exercise to go back and analyze how the Founder would approach the set up of aikido techniques. Stanley Pranin presents his thoughts on the matter. Some surprises await you!…

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Jun
18

Dojo enforcers… “The Pitbulls of Aikido,” by Autrelle Holland

When pit bulls are given status as an instructor, or even a high dan ranking, they often serve the role of the enforcer. These enforcers pit bulls do just that – enforce. Often, these pit bulls are used as a rook, in some sort of a chess game. The rook is a powerful piece, but it is not the most important piece. I have seen pit bulls in schools that have weak aikido. The school, overall, lacks martial effectiveness, but somehow, one of the members is a pit bull, a capable martial artist…

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Jun
18

High-energy action! Christian Tissier’s Dynamic Iriminage

This video is an excellent compilation of iriminage techniques performance by Christian Tissier Sensei, 7th dan, culled from many different demonstrations. Tissier Sensei’s exuberance and precision are apparent throughout…

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Jun
18

Kisshomaru Ueshiba, John Stevens, and Kodansha… “Shapers of the Image of Morihei Ueshiba O-Sensei,” by Stanley Pranin

The main sources of information on Morihei Ueshiba in the English language are books written by his son, Kisshomaru Ueshiba, and American author John Stevens. Both have written a series of books dealing with Morihei and his writings that have been widely distributed in English and translated into several European languages. A large percentage of these books have been published through the Kodansha Limited Company, Japan’s largest book publisher. Parenthetically, there is a historical relationship between Morihei Ueshiba and Seiji Noma, the founder of Kodansha…

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Jun
17

Well executed, unusual techniques! Women’s Self-Defense (1947): “Keep Your Hands Off Me, Mister!”

This rare video shot in 1947 presents Mary Parker and Lon Leonard in a demonstration of women’s self-defense that is obviously mostly jujutsu. There are a lot of unusual techniques that are well executed. Great fun to watch!…

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Jun
17

Adding a dash of muscle power… “Why Brute Force is Self-Defeating,” by Stanley Pranin

For you to apply a technique on someone, you must have a physical connection. If follows that there are a number of points where your body touches your opponent’s. At each of these points of contact, there are body sensors that receive impulses from the brain that control our nerves and muscle structures. But the interesting thing is that your opponent, who is also in contact with your body, can pick up on these same brain signals that precede your action. In other words, your opponent is “intercepting” information about your plan of action before the fact…

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Jun
17

Check your assumptions… “O-Sensei… Why did you conceal your true techniques from us?” by Stanley Pranin

As a historian, how should I think about this idea that Morihei would hide the essence of his techniques from students? Why would someone who thought of things on a grand scale and considered aikido as a tool for bringing about world peace deliberately hide the true nature of his art? To do so would only insure that the essence of his art and philosophy would not be transmitted to future generations, the exact opposite of his stated goal. Basically, this makes no sense at all…

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Jun
16

Flexibility of a young man! “Hung Kuen Master Leung Daiyau at 90 years of age, performs the rare Snake guiding the Crane set!”

An extraordinary video featuring Master Leung Daiyau, a 90 year old Hung Kuen master. Here he performs the rare Snake guiding the Crane set. Even at this advanced age, he has the energy, spring, and flexibility of an athletically toned young man!…

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Jun
16

Don’t dance around in a circle! “Yoshimitsu Yamada explains kosadori iriminage at Montreal seminar (2010)”

Yoshimitsu Yamada Sensei, 8th dan, of the New York Aikikai, demonstrates kosadori iriminage at a seminar held in Montreal, Canada in 2010. During his demonstration, he explains the alignment of nage with uke’s body in iriminage, and also mimicks jokingly this technique performed where nage dances around in a circle, a commonly seen but ineffective way of executing iriminage…

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