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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Jun
16

Stanley Pranin Video Blog… “Iriminage — O-Sensei Style”

Aikido Journal Editor Stanley Pranin describes the origin and execution of Aikido’s iriminage technique as conceived by Founder Morihei Ueshiba. He explains how this essential technique has its origins in prewar Japan and was further refined in Iwama after World War II. Iriminage today is practiced in many different ways, but O-Sensei’s method, though well documented, is not widely known…

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Jun
15

Spectacular Ukemi performances! “Doshu Kisshomaru Ueshiba in Paris (1980) featuring Moriteru Ueshiba, Hayato Osawa, and Christian Tissier”

The demonstration of Second Aikido Doshu Kisshomaru Ueshiba during the 3rd Congress of the International Aikido Federation in Paris, 1980. Ukes are Moriteru Ueshiba Waka Sensei, Hayato Osawa Sensei, and Christian Tissier Sensei…

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Jun
15

Aikido began here… “Iwama: Birthplace of Aikido,” by Stanley Pranin”

If asked, many aikido practitioners could not explain how aikido came into being. At best they would mutter words to the effect that Morihei Ueshiba was the founder of aikido, and that he created the art either before or after the war, depending on whatever story they have heard.

Of course, from a historical standpoint, aikido evolved over a period of many years. The more well-known organizations describe the process differently, usually in terms of their own creation.

A very strong argument — also espoused by Morihei’s son Kisshomaru Ueshiba — can be developed that aikido was created during and immediately following World War II in Iwama. It was here that the Founder had time to concentrate fully on his personal endeavors that included farming, meditation, and aikido practice.

This article goes into the subject of how Morihei ended up in the country town of Iwama and the daily life and activities of Morihei Ueshiba with emphasis on the period of 1942-1955. This time frame was crucial to the development of modern aikido.

Be sure to read through this article as it is well documented, and will almost certainly contain new information for those wishing to better understand the fascinating process of how aikido was born!…

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Jun
15

O-Sensei’s Shomenuchi Ikkyo… “The old way… or the right way? by Stanley Pranin”

This photo has enormous significance as a technical reference. Taken in 1938, it shows a much younger Morihei Ueshiba beginning to execute what we would today call shomenuchi ikkyo omotewaza. What will appear odd to many present-day aikidoka is the fact that the Founder is initiating the technique.

For most practitioners, common sense dictates that uke will initiate the encounter, with tori (= nage) responding. Yet if we consult O-Sensei’s 1938 Budo manual, we find the following description of the commencement of this technique…

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Jun
12

Feather touch! Yoshimitsu Yamada Sensei demonstrates katatedori techniques in Australia

This video contains a number of unusual techniques from katatedori demonstrated by Yoshimitsu Yamada Sensei, 8th dan, of the New York Aikikai. Some of them you will probably be seeing for the first time…

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Jun
12

Rediscovering prewar techniques! Christopher Hein reconstructs techniques from Morihei Ueshiba’s 1934 manual titled “Budo Renshu”

I have been working with the techniques from Budo Renshuu, the 1933 Kobukan Aiki Budo training manual. These are the techniques that eventually became what we know today as modern Aikido. There are 166 techniques in this manual, here are techniques 50-60…

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Jun
12

Hint… It’s not gentle! Katsuyuki Kondo, Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu Menkyo Kaiden, demonstrates Shihonage

In this video, Katsuyuki Kondo Sensei, Menkyo Kaiden in Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu, demonstrates the art’s shihonage technique both with and without the sword. In Daito-ryu, the concept of “Aiki” is very important and Kondo Sensei gives some examples in his demonstration…

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Jun
11

Keep yourself in tip top shape! Morito Suganuma — “O-Sensei’s Warmups Alive and Well”

This is an outstanding video featuring Morito Suganuma Sensei, 8th dan, of Fukuoka, Japan. In it, he expertly performs the jumbi taiso or warmup exercises taught by O-Sensei in his later years. These exercises were taught in various forms and combinations at the Aikikai Hombu Dojo in the 1950s and 60s. These are an important legacy and a reminder of the importance of throughly warming up the body prior to practice. Notice the outstanding physical condition of Suganuma Sensei, a man now 70 years old…

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