Apr
03

Technical wizardry! Morihei at age 52 in the Noma Dojo

This video is a beautiful presentation of a selection of sequential photos of Morihei Ueshiba from the Noma Dojo collection taken in 1936. These photos are among the most important documents from the prewar era and give a glimpse into earlier forms of the Founder’s prior to the modernization of aikido…

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Apr
02

PDF download: Rare! January 1964 issue of Aikikai Hombu Dojo Newspaper

While going through some old boxes of documents, we recently came upon a collection of old English-language newspapers published by the Aikido Headquarters Dojo in Tokyo. They contain a lot of good historical information that most of today’s practitioners have not seen. In the interests of better informing our readers and insuring that these rare documents survive into the next generation, we are offering a free PDF download of scans of the very first issue published in January 1964. Here are the contents of the first issue of the 4-page newspaper…

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Apr
02

Free hi-res download: “Morihei Ueshiba wielding the Nuboko”

We are pleased to offer readers an extraordinary action image of Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba for your collection. This unusual photo shows O-Sensei performing a type of misogi purification practice that reflects his Omoto-inspired Shinto beliefs, the lens through which the Founder viewed the world, and his mission in creating and spreading aikido…

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Apr
02

Building blocks of the art… Quotable quotes from Morihiro Saito’s “Takemusu Aikido: Background & Basics”

“If you look at your partner even slightly, his body will separate from you and there will be too much space between you.”

“In ura techniques, parry the strike from the gyaku hanmi position. In this way, you will be able to execute a rapid and effective technique.”

“You must use an escape to free one of your hands in order to do the technique. One way to free your hand naturally is to open your fingers and turn your body strongly inward to unbalance your partner”…

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Apr
02

Haruo Matsuoka Sensei’s Aikido Journey: Part 2

 Seiseki Abe Sensei (1915-2011)


Seiseki Abe Sensei (1915-2011)

“Meeting Seiseki Abe Sensei and facing the challenge of a shodan test.”

This is part two of a multi-part interview. You can find part 1 here.

Josh Gold: And didn’t you say you first met Abe Sensei through Seagal Sensei?

Haruo Matsuoka Sensei: Yes. A while after I joined, Seagal Sensei prepared a seminar and introduced Abe Sensei to us. This was the first time I met Seiseki Abe Sensei, and the first time I saw his Shodo (calligraphy). And then I learned that Abe Sensei is the man who taught calligraphy to O-Sensei, Ueshiba Moroihei. And wow, he showed his calligraphy and I was really very impressed, I’m still impressed. I remember Abe Sensei doing calligraphy with his right hand, and with the other hand, someone was grabbing him and he did Aikido at the same time. I didn’t get it then, but now I understand. Now I understand, and now I have many questions for him. I want to see him again.

Yeah, wow. So this is an old picture, this is, what is it maybe 1978?

 Steven Seagal Sensei c. 1981


Steven Seagal Sensei c. 1981

This is right before I came to this country. I believe it was 1981 or ’82. There is Craig Dunn.

With a white belt.

White belt, yes.

Was this photo taken at the dojo?

Oh no, this is the branch Dojo. We actually tried to expand to the center of Osaka. This was one of the branches. In this picture, this was not our dojo yet. So this is kind of a seminar. The first time I saw Seagal Sensei teach children.

Josh: What was that like?

It was a good opportunity for him to cultivate patience. They didn’t listen to him. It was chaotic, very chaotic. But when it came to the demonstration, they all sat down and watched.

So this event was all for kids?

Yes, that’s right.

steven-seagal-teaching2

Same. His demonstration was the same. No half speed. It didn’t matter if it was children or adults. Boom!

So you started under Seagal Sensei in 1976, and in ’78 you took your shodan test, is that right?

Yes, that’s right.

What was your shodan test like? Do you have any memories of that?

The only thing I remember was his voice, “hajime!” (begin!) and “yame!” (finish). I forgot everything else. I don’t remember from hajime to yame. What did I do?

How would you compare how our shodan tests are now with the shodan test that you took?

Well I can’t compare easily because my time, my impressions at that time were different. I’m sure everybody here can share the same kind of experience I had.

Was the test format the same as we do now? Same randori?

Yes, same.

Sensei, a lot of the hand movements and throws we’ve practiced over the years – I’d not really seen them anywhere else, so were they developed around this time?

To Be Continued: In part three of the interview, Sensei talks about his nidan test and the emergence of an aikido style that had the impact to captivate hundreds of millions on the big screen.

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

Apr
01

Get Un-Stuck! David Shaner presents principles of Ki Aikido at TED x Greenville

One of the finest presentations of the philosophy and art of Ki Aikido applied to challenging our thinking patterns by one of the leading students of Koichi Tohei, 10th dan. Dr. David Shaner is a 7th Degree Black Belt in the Japanese art of Ki-Aikido. He is the Chief Instructor of the Eastern (USA) Ki Federation and Japan Headquarters Advisor to the Eastern Europe/Russia Ki-Aikido Federation where he teaches each year…

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Apr
01

Screencast: Focus on History: “Morihei Ueshiba’s Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu Teaching Certification,” by Stanley Pranin

This is the first of a series of screencasts titled “Focus on History” by Aikido Journal Editor Stanley Pranin. This video provides detailed information on the kyoju dairi, or teaching certification, awarded to Morihei Ueshiba by Sokaku Takeda in Ayabe in 1922. This award was made during a six-month long visit of Sokaku to Morihei’s “Ueshiba Juku” located near the headquarters of the Omoto religion…

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Apr
01

Why go to Japan? “Is ‘Stealing’ Really the Best Policy?” by Stanley Pranin

Morihiro Saito was an exception to this rule. That was one of the main reasons I choose to move to Iwama and study with him. He would clearly explain what he was doing and demonstrate the correct execution of techniques so that students could make quick progress. Moreover, he wrote many books and left a wealth of videos where he introduces his technical system in very clear terms…

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Mar
31

Continuous connection! Seishiro Endo, 8th dan, at the 48th All-Japan Aikido Demonstration (2010)

This video features a demonstration by 8th dan Seishiro Endo Sensei of the Aikikai Hombu Dojo. Here he displays his soft approach to aikido and extreme sensitivity. This video clip offers a good opportunity to study his advanced approach to the art based on nearly 50 years of experience…

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Mar
31

Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu Takumakai… “Techniques a Wonder of Human Ingenuity!”

An excellent documentary in Japanese on Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu Takumakai, the largest branch of the various descendants of Sokaku Takeda’s art, studied by Morihei Ueshiba beginning in 1915. The complex old-style jujutsu techniques comprising the curriculum are a wonder of human ingenuity!…

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Mar
31

Don’t become a victim! “Killer Shihonage: “Escaping serious injury or even death!” by Stanley Pranin

Practitioners who are less advanced may be overwhelmed by the pain caused and lack the skills to escape injury to the wrist, elbow or shoulder. In some cases, promising aikido careers have been ended as the victims have been left with chronic pain and loss of function in the injured areas…

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Mar
30

Why did O-Sensei go to Shingu so often? Who is Michio Hikitsuchi, 10th dan?

“In those days, O-Sensei had an amazing body. He looked like an old style Japanese partition screen, wider than it is tall. He was 53 years old, weighed about 200 pounds, about five feet tall, and very broadly built. His body had strong joints and bones, and he was full of vigor. His gaze was very kind, but his eyes also had a fierce light in them, as though they were glowing. It could be intimidating! If he looked at you suddenly, you were frozen — unable to move…”

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