Apr
21

“Aikido and the Reality of Self-Defense” by Jim Sullivan, Ph.D.

jim-sullivan-01

“In reality our primary need for self-defense
today is truly defense against ourselves!”

This article highlights a topic of great importance for all aikidoka and martial artists. I have written a number of articles expressing similar viewpoints that I believe are often overlooked in training. I highly recommend that you read and reread Jim’s article. -Ed.

 Dr. Jim Sullivan


Dr. Jim Sullivan

Aikido, like all martial arts, evolved from a need to defend oneself against physical assaults from other people – hence the term “self-defense”. The world remains a dangerous place and it may never be so safe that there is no need for martial arts training. However, the reality is that in today’s modern U.S. society the biggest threats we face are not so much violence from other people but chronic diseases resulting from our own sedentary, unhealthy lifestyle. Nearly 88% of all deaths are considered premature due to lifestyle related factors. Foremost amongst these factors is lack of regular strenuous physical activity. In fact, according to a recent Surgeon General’s Report, the single most important thing a person can do for overall health and longevity is regular physical activity. Other controllable factors that can contribute to an early demise include poor diet, obesity, high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, smoking and stress. There is always a chance that Aikido technique such as Nikyo, Iriminage or Kokyunage may be needed to defend oneself; but in reality, inactivity and other poor lifestyle choices are much bigger threats to a person’s safety and well-being. Statistically speaking, the chance of a person using a specific Aikido technique to save their life is very remote – perhaps one in a million. On the other hand, statistically one out of two persons will die prematurely from some form of heart disease, and many others as a result of the effects of cancer and diabetes. Being physically fit may not entirely prevent these diseases, but it will certainly delay them and improve ones’ chance of survival. Data show that people who exercise regularly live significantly longer, have fewer dysfunctional years prior to death, and a much greater functional capacity throughout life. While physical threats from others still exist, in reality our primary need for self-defense today is truly defense against ourselves!
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Apr
20

The only required real win is when life is at stake: “Absorbing Attack by Nev Sagiba

Going through what it takes to learn from injuries how to absorb attacks flexibly with Aikido Body-Mind, will reveal how serious you are in your attitudes about just about anything in life. It will also transform your body, mind and spirit to understand the nature of the universe and its magic potentials to overcome what to the average person are considered limitations…

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Apr
20

Morihei and Sokaku… “Vague financial arrangements and strong personalities led to problems between these two martial arts geniuses”

Ueshiba eventually established himself as a well-known teacher of jujutsu in Tokyo while Takeda continued to travel extensively all over Japan, giving seminars primarily to prominent persons such as judges, police officials, military officers and the like. Although Ueshiba and Takeda had little direct contact from that point on, they did maintain a correspondence. Further, Ueshiba, now an accredited teacher of Daito-ryu, awarded scrolls of proficiency to his direct students until quite probably as late as 1937. Among the recipients of Daito-ryu diplomas from Ueshiba are Kenji Tomiki, Minoru Mochizuki, Rinjiro Shirata, and Gozo Shioda…

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Apr
20

Haruo Matsuoka Sensei’s Aikido Journey: Part 4

Steven Seagal in "Above the Law". Photo credit: redunbeck.blogspot.com/


Steven Seagal in “Above the Law”. Photo credit: redunbeck.blogspot.com/

“Matsuoka Sensei talks about his move to the United
States to join Seagal Sensei in Los Angeles.…”

This is part four of a multi-part interview. You can find part 3 here.

Josh Gold: Sensei, it was around 1981 when Seagal Sensei moved to America, right?

Yes, that’s right.

And he took Craig Dunn with him?

He took Craig Dunn, yes.

Haruo Matsuoka and Craig Dunn in Japan


Haruo Matsuoka and Craig Dunn in Japan

And what was the motivation or the goal? He wanted to make movies?

He wanted to establish Tenshi Bugei Gakuen, a cultural center based on aikido. He wanted to promote Japanese culture. Things like traditional dance and tea ceremony, and The Way, “The Do” to the American people. Those were his intentions. And also movies. He had a strong desire to make Hollywood films.

Really?

He said he wanted to make films, movies. And at that time I thought maybe some kind of documentary with aikido. But now I know what he meant. He was young so he had a lot of dreams and hopes, and one of his dreams was to make movies.

That’s interesting. Many people have the hope of making films or being a movie star when they’re young, but it’s incredibility difficult to make that kind of hope a reality.

Yes. He had such charisma. Anyway, for me it was a bit of an unusual opportunity. I didn’t really dream about making action movies. People didn’t believe he could do it. And this is why I believe in the American dream or the Hollywood dream. It happens. Not often, but I witnessed it. It’s possible. This is the first thing I learned about America. In Japan it’s different. America is really interesting. My first time when I came to this country… wow. Even Seagal Sensei said to me that in this country, especially in this town, if you have skill, and hope, and effort, you can make it happen. That’s what he said before he became a movie star. I learned a lot from his encouragement. It’s not easy of course, but this is Los Angeles.

But when he first moved to America, he moved to Taos, New Mexico, right? That’s a really remote place.

Yes. The culture, the way, and the town. It’s spiritual, it’s really spiritual. But it didn’t make sense to promote things there. It only had a few thousand people, and there were no movie people. That’s why he almost immediately changed his mind and…

Moved to L.A.?

Yes. He moved to L.A.

Craig stayed in New Mexico?

Yes, because Craig made a decision to stay in Taos and lead the dojo there, Seagal Sensei asked me to move out and join him in Los Angeles.

 Matsuoka Sensei’s going away party in Japan


Matsuoka Sensei’s going away party in Japan

Who took over at the dojo when you left Japan?

There were several instructors. And then a little later Seagal Sensei’s wife took over, his ex-wife.

And then you moved to America in 1983?

September 1983.

So what was that like when you moved to America, a totally different country? Did you speak English at all?

No. I only had school English. As you know, school English is bad, it’s not practical. I now realize it’s not practical.

So what did you think? You came from Osaka to Hollywood and basically couldn’t speak the language. It must have been difficult.

It was okay because, at first, I lived with Seagal Sensei at his house. So I pretty much went out with him. I was watching and learning. It was a golden memory for me. The first time he took me to a restaurant for some American food, it was a hamburger. He and I sat down and ordered hamburgers, and we ate together. That was a golden memory. This would never happen again… He ate a hamburger, and I ate a hamburger, and we drank a 7Up.

To Be Continued: In part five of the interview, Sensei talks about the founding of Ten Shin Dojo in Los Angeles and the challenges of adjusting to life in America.

This interview originally appeared on the Ikazucho Dojo website and is reproduced here with the kind permission of Josh Gold.

Apr
18

Fluid and athletic! Masamichi Noro of Kinomichi demonstrates Jo Kata in late 1970s

This is a splendid jo demonstration by Masamichi Noro Sensei, the founder of Kinomichi, taken in the late 1970s. His movements are fluid, athletic, and unlike anything you may have seen. The influence of Noro Sensei’s exposure to dance is readily evident…

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Apr
18

Get entire mag in PDF! Aikido Journal Number 119, Spring 2000

Contents

● Editorial – Aikido: A Restatement of Universal Truths, by Stanley Pranin
● Letters and Threads
● Interview with Hiroshi Isoyama, 8th dan, by Stanley Pranin
● My Career in Yanagi-ryu Aiki Jiu Jitsu, by Don Angier
● Takemusu Aiki (4), by Morihei Ueshiba
● Interview with Mariye Takahashi (1), by Stanley Pranin
● Everything in Black and White, by David Lynch
● Interview with Walther von Krenner, by Stanley Pranin
● Aikido and Independence, by Peter Goldsbury
● Takemusu Aikido — Yokomenuchi yonkyo omotewaza, by Morihiro Saito
● Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu Takumakai — Hijinobashi Aiki, by Takeshi Kawabe & Hakaru Mori
● O-Sensei’s Songs of the Way, by Seiseki Abe
● Virtue of the Sword, by James Williams
● Heard in the Dojo

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Apr
18

A must read for every aikidoka! “Responding to Aggression – III” by Tom Collings

Most of us have a deep rooted inhibition against harming other human beings. We all have a right to our own values and moral beliefs, but they must be clear, and our technical training must be consistent with those values if we are to apply it without reservation or hesitation. A high stress moment of crisis is not a good time for soul searching. In that moment, their must be no confusion…

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Apr
17

The art of rolling… Richard Moon Sensei demonstrates backward ukemi

A guide to the basics of rolling, for teachers even more than students, especially for those who help beginners learning Aikido. Introducing the fundamentals of ukemi: the art of rolling. Learn the diagonal path that protects the head and neck and allows for a safe practice. How to train the body to find that path naturally…

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Apr
17

Move to uke’s flank! Stanley Pranin’s Video Blog: “The Zone Theory of Aikido”

In this video, Aikido Journal Editor Stanley Pranin introduces a model describing the interaction between nage (defender) and uke (attacker) called “The Zone Theory of Aikido.” He explains how it is dangerous for nage to remain in front of uke when attempting to counter an attack and why the attacker has the advantage in this situation. By contrast, moving to the side or rear of uke, into his “dead zone” or “blind spot,” makes it extremely easy for nage to safely execute an aikido technique…

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Apr
17

Spectacular Aiki Ken Demo… Screenshots from Morihiro Saito’s performance at the Nippon Budokan in Tokyo

Highlights from the memorable Aiki Ken demonstration given by Morihiro Saito, 9th dan, at the 1989 All-Japan Demonstration in Tokyo seen by more than 5,000 people. Saito Sensei at his finest!…

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Apr
16

Neither throwing nor being thrown… “Who Controls the Technique, Uke or Nage?” by Nev Sagiba

This is an interesting clip of a highly-polished aikido katatedori demonstration by the representatives from Slovaka at the 2013 World Combat Games held in Saint Petersburg, Russia. Aikikai members have become regular participants in these international events…

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Apr
16

“I joined under false pretenses!” Interview with Kisaburo Osawa by Katsuaki Terasawa

If something is too difficult, nobody can do it. If the true goal of the aikido way is to achieve paradise or a happy life everybody should be able to do it: a child, an old person, a woman, a handicapped person, a weak or a strong person. I believe this to be the true path…

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