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

Oct
10

See for yourself! “What was Koichi Tohei, 10th dan, teaching after the Aikikai?”

This video is the first part of several hours of rare video footage taken during a seminar taught by Koichi Tohei Sensei in Osaka in July, 1983. It provides an answer to the question of what Koichi Tohei was teaching after his departure from the Aikikai. In fine physical condition, Tohei Sensei demonstrates and explains the essential principles and techniques of his Ki system. Start with this introduction, and watch for the rest of the seminar clips to come shortly…

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Oct
10

Splendid Aikido! Hirokazu Kobayashi Sensei demonstrates kosadori techniques

This video of Hirokazu Kobayashi Sensei is a splendid example of high-level aikido. He focuses on kosadori — cross hand-grab techniques — showing a bewildering number of variations. You will notice that uke is unbalanced instantly at the moment of contact and the Kobayashi Sensei is in control and relaxed at all times. Really beautiful aikido!…

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Oct
10

Erased from history… or so they thought! “Noriaki Inoue, Aikido’s Forgotten Pioneer,” by Stanley Pranin

I could no longer stand knowing that perhaps the most important person after the Founder himself was still alive and living only a few miles away from me. I decided to act. My solution would be a diabolical scheme that only a “henna gaijin” could concoct. I took the transcription of the conversation recorded five years earlier supplemented by a polite letter and headed out to Kunitachi, a few miles west, where he lived. I rang the doorbell, and a diminutive woman, perhaps in her 70s, opened the door…

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Oct
09

Rare footage: Demonstration of Nobuyoshi Tamura from April 1976

A rare 8mm film of scenes of a seminar taught by the late Nobuyoshi Tamura Sensei in April 1976. At this point, Tamura Sensei had already been in France for 12 years. His style is reminiscent of the taijutsu practiced at the Aikikai in the 1960s and 70s. The latter part of this film consists of a public demonstration containing sword kata and knife-taking techniques in which Tamura Sensei is partnered by Tiki Shewan Sensei. Tamura Sensei would gradually refine his aikido over time, and in his final years, he exhibited amazing skills in a style that was alternately soft and explosive…

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Oct
09

Aikido’s first 10th dan! “Interview with Koichi Tohei,” by Stanley Pranin

“I began studying aikido because I saw that Ueshiba Sensei had truly mastered the art of relaxing. It was because he was relaxed, in fact, that he could generate so much power. I became his student with the intention of learning that from him. To be honest, I never really listened to most of the other things he said”…

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Oct
09

Passing of Don Angier Sensei… “My Career in Yanagi-ryu Aiki Jujutsu”

We are sad to learn of the passing of Don Angier Sensei early this morning, October 9, 2014. I had an opportunity to meet Don on several occasions where we were able to talk at length about his extraordinary martial arts career and many improbable life experiences. He was also kind enough to participate in Aiki Expo 2002, and left an indelible impression on the attendees. This remarkable article was written by Don and covers the highlights of his life and martial arts career in his own words…

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Oct
08

Instructors should get back into training! “Realizing Aikido’s Potential,” by Stanley Pranin

The root of the problem as I see it lies in the weak attacks that are commonplace in aikido dojos nowadays. Students are seldom given training in how to execute an effective attack, be it in striking, grabbing or the occasional choking or kicking techniques. The situation is further exacerbated by a lack of committed intent or focus during attacks. This absence of firm intent on the part of the attacker affects his mental state and that of the person executing the technique. Both sides are aware—at least subconsciously—of the minimal risk of injury in training under these circumstances. Accordingly, the focused mind-set needed to develop realistic self-defense skills is absent from training…

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Oct
08

Rafter-rattling Gansekiotoshi! Hiroshi Isoyama, 8th dan, at 2004 All-Japan Aikido Demo

This is a video clip of Hiroshi Isoyama, 8th dan, from the 2004 All-Japan Aikido Demonstration held at the Nippon Budokan in Tokyo. Isoyama Sensei started aikido as a boy in Iwama and learned directly under Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba. Hiroshi Isoyama is known for his dynamic demonstrations that combine technique with physical power. Audiences always respond enthusiastically to his performances due to his obvious use of strength and the daredevil-type falls taken by his uke. Isoyama maintains close ties to Hollywood movie actor Steven Seagal, the two having established their friendship more than 30 years ago when Seagal was residing and teaching aikido in Japan…

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