Oct
16

Surprise kaeshiwaza… When you lose control of uke in shihonage, here’s what can happen!

Dojo practice is often seen as a pleasant activity among friends. The problem is that we also believe that we are learning a martial art. There is something akin to cognitive dissonance at play in the sense that we are casual in our practice when we need to be alert for what should be construed as a life-or-death scenario. This enlightening video prepared by the Kikentai-Berlin Dojo shows the kind of unfavorable outcome that can occur when nage loses control of uke while performing shihonage. A number of well-executed kaeshiwaza, or counter-techniques are demonstrated…

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Oct
16

Happy among friends… Stanley Pranin at Aywaille Seminar in Belgium 2014

This is an artistically edited clip of highlights of Stanley Pranin conducting an aikido seminar in Aywaille, Belgium in March 2014. The seminar’s videographer is Carlo Van Parys whose deft editing skills add a magical touch evoking the atmosphere of friendship prevalent at the event…

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Stanley Pranin offers you solutions to problems
that are holding back your progress in Aikido!

Click here for detailed information on Stanley Pranin's Zone Theory of Aikido Course

Oct
15

“Words of advice for the starving yoga teacher,” by Stanley Pranin

starving-yoga-how-do-i-eat

“Everything mentioned here could be readily applied to the starving Aikido teacher!”

This is a slightly modified version of an article I wrote some months ago for one of my yoga teachers who was lamenting the fact that she couldn’t make a living doing yoga alone. Everything mentioned here could be readily applied to the starving Aikido teacher as well.

I’ve been thinking a bit more about one interesting way a yoga teacher might apply various Internet marketing techniques to enhance her reach and income.

Here is a hypothetical example. A yoga instructor goes to a park with her mat on a day with good weather. She finds a shady area under a large tree. By choosing such a location you don’t have to worry about harsh shadows. A friend comes with a video camera and tripod. If two friends are available, so much the better, as the yoga poses can be shot from two different angles.

She proceeds to perform a yoga routine at a slow to moderate speed that consists of about 25 (or whatever number) of asanas. There is no talking in the video, she just concentrates on performing the routine as expertly and gracefully as possible.

She goes home and takes the memory card(s) from the camera and fires up her laptop and inserts the card. She uses an inexpensive video editor like Sony Vegas Movie Studio to edit the video.

The video is cut up into 27 parts. The first part is an intro 1-2 minutes in length, then the 25 poses, and finally, an “outro” with contact information, link and whatever other relevant information that serves as a “call to action” for the viewer at the end of each segment. In other words, you want the viewer to take some specific action like provide an email address, go to a website or page.

The first edited video consists of the intro and the first pose with its title in Sanskrit and English. The instructor sets up her microphone and, while viewing the video footage, records a soundtrack which would be similar to her speech during a yoga class. An additional soundtrack consisting of royalty-free meditative type music may optionally be added.

If she wants to go into further detail, the footage at normal speed can be repeated and attached as a slow motion section thus tripling the length of the first installment. The overall length of the video clips should be no more than 3-4 minutes. Even 2 minutes is fine because people are in a hurry and want to consume the information in convenient, bite-size portions.

After the soundtracks are added to the video and all editing is complete, the video clip is uploaded to youtube. (If you don’t already have a youtube account, you need to set one up.) In the description section on youtube below the video, all relevant contact information and explanations with a clickable link are provided.
[Read more...]

Oct
15

Eye-popping action! “Katori Shinto Ryu featuring members of the Viet Nam Dojo”

Excellent video on Katori Shinto-ryu featuring members of the Viet Nam Dojo. The Katori school is one of Japan’s oldest classical martial arts traditions. The breath of the technical repertoire and instructional level are extremely high. The production values exhibited in this clip are top-notch. Exciting fare!…

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Oct
15

Implicated in a killing! “Sokaku Takeda and Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu, by Stanley Pranin”

Sokaku Takeda is well-known as the principal martial arts instructor of Morihei Ueshiba, the founder of aikido. As I have pointed out on several occasions, the revival of interest in Takeda’s art, Daito-ryu aikijujutsu, is largely due to the popularization of aikido in Japan and abroad after World War II. It seems inevitable that with hundreds of thousands of people having now studied aikido, there would be a certain interest in the “roots” of the art. In the first two articles of this series we have tried to place Daito-ryu in historical context and trace Sokaku’s formative years…

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Oct
15

“Iriminage: Potential vulnerabilities,” by Stanley Pranin

iriminage-vulnerabilities

“We can do a great deal to self-diagnose our techniques and
work toward honing our skills to higher and higher levels.”

Here is a random screenshot retrieved from an online video that exposes several potential vulnerabilities when executing aikido’s iriminage. Although we are looking at a single image, this manner of throwing in iriminage is quite common, especially in mainstream aikido.

When done this way, the setup for the technique involves nage bringing uke downward using centrifugal force and pressure on the neck. After uke has reached the bottom of his downward movement, the logic is he will “rebound” upward in an attempt to save himself. Finally, nage reverses his motion and swings his right arm through as he steps forward to complete the throw. Uke is thrown in a “high fall”. The entire effect is very spectacular and can be seen widely in demonstrations.

Limiting ourselves to this still image — a moment frozen in time — let us analyze some potential difficulties in approaching iriminage this way. Let’s look at the numbered regions of the image first.

1 – Here, uke’s head rests against nage’s right shoulder and upper arm. Uke is partially unbalanced but very close to nage. Uke also has hold of nage’s right arm with his right hand. As you can see, uke is attempting to support himself using nage’s body as a prop. This close contact of uke with nage’s body creates a major weakness that may be exploited.

2 – Though perhaps not obvious, uke’s right elbow is very near nage’s groin and upper thigh. If uke still has partial control — and I would suggest that he does — he might use his elbow supported by his right-handed grip to attack these vital spots of nage.

3 – In a like manner, uke’s right hand can be used to attack nage’s knee. In fact, given the multiple points of contact between uke and nage’s body, uke might collapse his entire structure against nage’s body and execute a counter-throw. This is a very real danger when the iriminage throw is executed in this manner.

Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba executing a setup to iriminage that is very different and does not reveal the vulnerabilities mentioned in this analysis.

Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba executing a setup to iriminage that is very
different and does not reveal the vulnerabilities mentioned in this analysis.

[/caption]When iriminage is well performed at high speed, I believe the average eye does not see the details of what is happening. The action is so fast that the body mechanics at work cannot be analyzed. Also, it is common for there to be a “gentleman’s agreement” that assures good cooperation between the two partners.

An untrained person would not and could not respond as uke does in these iriminage demonstrations due to the high-level of skills involved. The mere fact that uke can respond in a high fall indicates that he has a certain measure of control over his body.

My purpose here is not to criticize any particular person or method but to suggest that we should submit every technique we practice to close analysis. Is uke being fully unbalanced? Does uke have the possibility of responding with a counter-attack at any stage of the technique? Is the technique prolonged unnecessarily affording opportunities for exploitation? These are questions that we should ask constantly. By doing so, we can do a great deal to self-diagnose our techniques and work toward honing our skills to higher and higher levels.

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Stanley Pranin offers you solutions to problems
that are holding back your progress in Aikido!

Click here for detailed information on Stanley Pranin's Zone Theory of Aikido Course

Oct
14

At the NY Aikikai! Nuns learn Aikido and Karate as self-defense

This is a quite extraordinary video clip of a group of nuns at the New York Aikikai about 1978. It is quite spectacular to see these well-trained ladies in religious garb executing aikido and karate maneuvers. This video has nearly 600,000 views!…

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Oct
14

Free PDF download: Aiki News Number 82, October 1989

Excerpted from interview with Yukiyoshi Sagawa Sensei from Aiki News #82: Yukiyoshi Sagawa Sensei was born in Yubetsu, Hokkaido in 1902. He began formal study of Daito-ryu under Sokaku Takeda at age 11. He received an instructor’s license from Takeda in 1932. After that he traveled with his teacher to various locations as his assistant. One of the most prominent deshi of Sokaku Takeda, he is 85 years old this year. Sagawa Sensei’s unbelievable technique is the product of his long training experience. Presently his teaching at a dojo attached to his home in Kodaira City, a suburb of Tokyo. On February 20, 1987, the AIKI NEWS staff observed a class conducted by Yukiyoshi Sagawa Sensei of Daito-ryu Aiki Jujutsu for about two and a half hours. The following is an interview conducted after the class…

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Oct
14

Some teachers permit this deplorable state of affairs! “Aikido and Injuries,” by Stanley Pranin

Given the reality of everyday practice where one of the training partners is dominant having demonstrated physical and/or technical superiority, and the indisputable fact that human beings are naturally competitive, we have, not surprisingly, a scenario where injuries will occur with greater or lesser frequency. Naturally, where certain individuals are involved, the incidence of injury occurs with “greater frequency.” It seems that most dojos have at least one resident “macho cruncher.” He is usually a “he” and either a senior student, or sadly, the teacher…

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Oct
13

You should know about this Sensei… Tribute to Hirokazu Kobayashi, 8th dan Aikikai Shihan of Osaka

This is a fascinating video consisting of a compilation of clips of 8th dan Hirokazu Kobayashi (1929-1998), one of the lesser known of the Aikikai shihan of the postwar era. Kobayashi Sensei was especially active in Europe during the 1973-1996 period where he regularly visited dojos in France, Switzerland, Belgium, Italy,Germany and the Netherlands…

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Oct
13

You will be surprised! “50 techniques that Morihei Ueshiba taught that we know about with certainty!”

In 1987, Morihiro Saito made a high-quality video in which he explained and demonstrated the 50 techniques of Morihei Ueshiba’s 1938 training manual titled “Budo.” Nothing like this had ever done before. Suddenly, the aikido world was taking notice of the fact that there were indeed historical records that documented the Founder’s technical evolution culminating in the birth of modern aikido. While certainly not a mainstream practice, serious aikidoka have in recent years been exploring the technical content of “Budo” to glean a better understanding of Morihei Ueshiba’s technical odyssey and the rationale for modern techniques…

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Oct
12

Knowledgeable Aikidoka sought for assistance with Wikipedia entries

wikipedia-editor

“Can you write a well-crafted Wikipedia entry on Aikido?”

Among the treasures mankind has gained thanks to the Internet is the unequalled resource that is Wikipedia. And there are hundreds of aikido-related entries in this vast online reference work. I use it myself almost daily to fact-check quickly.

Aikido Journal and my published research are often quoted as reference sources in Wikipedia entries. Professionally speaking, this is quite gratifying. At the same time, it is unsettling to be confronted with the frequent factual and historical errors these aikido entries contain. This erroneous information is itself sometimes sourced by unnamed editors who toil without access to original materials.

As one of the most-consulted references on aikido-related subjects, we at Aikido Journal would like to take a more active role in providing well-researched, documented material to correct and supplement what currently exists on Wikipedia. At the very least, perhaps we can improve upon some of the more important entries.

With that goal in mind, we would like to reach out to our audience to find a writer/researcher with a strong background in aikido who can coordinate with our staff on editing existing Wikipedia articles and creating new entries.

Here is the description of the type of person we are looking for:

- You are a native English speaker, have practiced aikido for a number of years and have a deep commitment to the art.
- You write well and can supply samples of your writing skills.
- You are familiar with Wikipedia, and ideally, have experience with the Wikipedia interface.

If you would like to be considered for this position, kindly reply via email describing a little about your background, your qualifications, and why you would be interested in applying for this work.

Our staff will review all documents submitted and contact those who seem best suited for this work with further instructions.

Thank you!

Stanley Pranin
Editor Aikido Journal