Mar
28

In Japan for the first time! “Koichi Tohei in the Heyday of the Aikikai” by Stanley Pranin

My efforts to gather materials on the Founder met with little success. I was able to buy a few books and several back issues of the Aikido Shimbun published by the dojo, but my requests through the office to obtain copies of photographs or films led to no concrete results. Finally near the end of my stay I asked Iwao Tamura, one of Tohei Sensei’s deshi who was fluent in English, if it would be possible to ask Tohei Sensei again about helping me. As a result, I was called to a room on the second floor of the dojo late in August. Present were Tohei Sensei, Mr. Tamura and myself. I was told clearly that I was considered to be a student of Tohei student and as such was mistaken to have trained with other teachers during my stay in Japan…

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Mar
28

Let’s get technical! “An Irrefutable Photo Record of Morihei’s Prewar Aiki Budo”

Morihei Ueshiba’s 1938 “Budo” is one of the most important historical documents on the evolution of aikido technique and is very relevant to contemporary students of aikido. We are indebted to the Founder and to Morihiro Saito Sensei for having created these wonderful resources. Here is a video trailer that will give you a good look at Morihiro Saito Sensei’s approach to an analysis of O-Sensei’s old training manual…

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Mar
27

Jam the kicker’s hip! Aikido versus outside low kick

One example of Aikido defense against outside low (leg) kick using application of “extend ki” and adaptation of the “unbendable arm” principle to become “unbendable leg.” Demonstration by Enso Aikido Dojo…

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Mar
27

Ukemi guide: Excellent video demonstrating aikido falling skills by Luc Sanselme

This is a well-organized and innovative video presenting various falls used in aikido, and different exercises that can be practiced to master these ukemi. These exercises are designed to prepare the body to fall skillfully and safely…

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Mar
27

Historical photos: Morihei Ueshiba O-Sensei and Morihiro Saito at Self-Defense Force demonstration c. 1955

Here are three rare photos from the personal collection of Morihiro Saito taken c. 1955. Morihei is aged 71 years and Saito Sensei is about 27 years old. Also of note is the fact Morihei is demonstrating with the bokken with Saito Sensei as his partner. Well before the advent of the war, Morihei was keenly interested in both the ken and jo and would practice these weapons regularly in Iwama in addition to taijutsu training in the dojo…

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Mar
27

Bridging Heaven and Earth… “Exploring the Founder’s Aikido,” by Stanley Pranin

One of the realizations I came to fairly early in my career of researching the origins of aikido is the fact that few teachers of aikido today are aware of the specifics of the Founder’s art. More so than Morihei Ueshiba, aikido pioneers in the postwar era such as Kenji Tomiki, Gozo Shioda, Kisshomaru Ueshiba, Koichi Tohei, Morihiro Saito, Seigo Yamaguchi, Michio Hikitsuchi and others are the key figures that have left the strongest imprint on the way the art is practiced today…

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Mar
27

Hidden before our eyes: “Decoding Morihei Ueshiba’s Technical Evolution,” by Stanley Pranin

Anyone attending a seminar conducted by Morihiro Saito Sensei during his active years will have noted him frequently referring to a small illustrated manual. In fact, Saito Sensei would often open this booklet to the page illustrative of his teaching point and walk from student to student showing the technique in question for a brief moment. He would repeat over and over, “O-Sensei! O-Sensei!,” as if to validate his technical explanation with the stamp of approval of the ultimate authority—Morihei Ueshiba, the Founder of aikido. What is this modest technical compendium that Saito Sensei consulted constantly and held in such high regard?

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Mar
25

Exquisite action! Samural video: “Ame Agaru” Fight in the Forest

An incredibly well choreographed fight in the forest from the film “Ame Agaru” (After the Rain). The setting is Japan, during the Kyoho Era (1716-1735). Following torrential rains, a group of travelers are stuck in a country inn by flooding. Among them is a certain Ihei Misawa, a ronin, a masterless samurai with outstanding fighting skills. After he intervenes to prevent a duel between two young samurai, Ihei is noticed by Lord Shigeaki, who invites him to become the master of arms of his fief…

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Mar
25

The epitome of elegance! Frank Doran, 7th dan: “Poetry in Motion”

This is a wonderful video of Frank Doran Sensei of Aikido West in Redwood City, California containing numerous snippets of his elegant aikido. Of special note is his excellent posture at all times during the execution of techniques. Frank Doran is a aikido teacher in the United States, chief instructor of Aikido West in Redwood…

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Mar
25

Hear O-Sensei’s actual voice! Excerpts from a 1962 radio interview with Morihei Ueshiba

This video clip contains portions of a fascinating interview of the Founder conducted about 1962 during which he is questioned about aikido. As was his custom, many of the Founder’s comments reflect his spiritual views and mention Japanese kami. This recording, which includes full subtitles, affords a rare chance to gain an intimate glimpse of the Founder’s charm and personality…

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Mar
25

Dynamic Action Star: “Clip 5 from Steven Seagal’s 1990 Seminar”

We are pleased to present the fifth of a series of video clips featuring movie action star Steven Seagal taken at a seminar in San Jose, California in 1990. This seminar took place just at the time of the ascent of his movie career, and as such is a rare event. Seagal Sensei is in fine form, his teaching style dynamic, and technical explanations direct and to the point. For the period, the video quality of the seminar is excellent with clear audio. As such, viewers will gain insight into the reasons why so many people were captured by his skills and charisma both on the mat and on the movie screen which contributed greatly to his rise to fame..

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Mar
24

Inimitable! Seigo Yamaguchi, 8th dan, in private demonstration at Meiji University (1990)

This is beautiful clip of Seigo Yamaguchi Sensei giving a private demonstration at Meiji University. The essence of Yamaguchi Sensei’s inimitable style of aikido is readily evident as he spontaneously reels off one technique after another…

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