Feb
06

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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Feb
06

Stable base, powerful extension, total focus! Historical photo from 1974: Morihiro Saito brings Iwama Aikido to America!

There was a particular episode from this trip that I will never forget. Sensei was teaching a class at Aikido of San Francisco and was demonstrating a kokyunage technique, if I remember correctly. His uke was David Alexander. Sensei threw David horizontally but misjudged the amount of space he had free. Right in the middle of the throw when it had become apparent that David would crash into the people who had crowded in close to better observe, Sensei stuck out his left arm and caught David in mid-air thus preventing a collision…

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Feb
06

O-Sensei ensconced in Iwama… Is O-Sensei Really the Father of Modern Aikido?, by Stanley Pranin

What does all of this mean? It means that the common view of the spread of aikido following the war taking place under the direct tutelage of the Founder is fundamentally in error. Tohei and the present Doshu deserve the lion’s share of the credit, not the Founder. It means further that O-Sensei Morihei Ueshiba was not seriously involved in the instruction or administration of aikido in the postwar years…

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Feb
05

Feather touch! Hiroshi Ikeda’s “Crazy Good” Aikido!

This is a promotional video clip with scenes taken from Hiroshi Ikeda Sensei’s Summer Camp in the Rockies in 2007. He demonstrates a very high level of aikido that practitioners would find extremely beneficial to study carefully. Notice Ikeda Sensei’s rock solid posture, the immediate unbalancing of uke, and the “feather touch” he uses through his techniques…

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Feb
05

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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Feb
05

Surviving training with seniors! “Morihiro Saito reels off one technique after another in a mind- boggling display of technical virtuosity!”

Among the handful of uchideshi during those poverty-stricken years were Kisshomaru Ueshiba, Koichi Tohei, and Tadashi Abe. The young Saito was given little encouragement initially and had to endure the intensive, often painful training silently. Saito Sensei recalls the early days when suwariwaza practice on the dojo’s hardwood floor would continue endlessly and leave his knees bloodied and festering. To make matters worse, as a junior member of the dojo he was on the receiving end of countless vigorous techniques from seniors such as Tohei and Abe…

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Feb
04

The World of Apollo Robbins: “Merging magic and self-defense,” by Stanley Pranin

Since most of our readers are martial artists, I’m sure they will immediately see parallels in their training with much of what Apollo is explaining during his show. After we learn basic aikido techniques and they become second nature, we see that there are additional, more advanced tools available to apply in a self-defense scenario to improve the odds of a favorable outcome…

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Feb
04

Aikido’s first 10th dan! Highlights of “Koichi Tohei: Aikido with Ki”

This widely-viewed video features highlights from a film documentary on Koichi Tohei Sensei, one of the most important figures of postwar aikido. Scenes from a 1974 California seminar, warmups and exercises from the 1960s, and excerpts from a biography of the famous 10th dan are included. Koichi Tohei Sensei needs no introduction. He is one of the most important figures in the postwar development of aikido, and was the first and only person to be officially promoted to 10th dan by Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba…

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Feb
04

Morihei Ueshiba with Gozo Shioda! “Atemi and pressure point attacks that make your technique work!” by Stanley Pranin

In this obviously posed photo against a fan attack from shomenuchi, Morihei has entered to Shioda’s flank, executing atemi to the latter’s ribs, and attacked a pressure point under uke’s elbow. This movement is a classic defense against a knife attack…

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Feb
03

Wrist twisting! Christian Tissier Sensei demonstrates kotegaeshi

The well-known French Aikido Master Christian Tissier demonstrates kotegaeshi, the aikido wrist twist, one of the art’s basic techniques. Uke: Bruno Gonzalez…

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Feb
03

Free PDF download! Magazine — Aiki News # 88, Summer 1991

Contents
● Editorial – The Winds of Change, by Stanley Pranin
● Letters to the Editor
● Interview with Morihiro Saito, by Stanley Pranin
● Morihiro Saito Technical Notebook — Shomenuchi kotegaeshi, by Morihiro Saito
● Open Forum
● Daito-ryu Aiki Budo , by Takuma Hisa
● Aiki News Video Catalog
● Aiki Forum – Shindo Muso-ryu Jojutsu, Kenji Matsui
● Interview with Tokimune Takeda, by Stanley Pranin
● Yoshinkan Aikido Techniques: Iriminage applications, by Gozo Shioda
● Heard in the Dojo…

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Feb
03

Aikido and Daito-ryu in Osaka: The Unknown Connection between Takuma Hisa and Hirokazu Kobayashi

Hirokazu Kobayashi (1929–1998), little known Aikido master active in Osaka and Europe


Hirokazu Kobayashi (1929–1998), little known Aikido master active in Osaka and Europe

“It was easy to say that Hirokazu Kobayashi was doing Daito-ryu rather
than aikido, and delete him from the list of students of Morihei Ueshiba.”

The following is excerpted from a recent email I received from André Cognard Sensei of the Kokusai Aikido Kensukai Kobayashi Hirokazu Ryuha. It contains very interesting information about the close historical connection following the war between aikido and Daito-ryu in the Osaka region. After reading Cognard Sensei’s comments, it will become clearer why the name of Hirokazu Kobayashi, one of the truly outstanding aikido masters, is so poorly known. — Stanley Pranin

André Cognard


André Cognard

Dear Stanley,

During our meeting, I spoke to you about the fact that my teacher, Hirokazu Kobayashi Sensei, had been a Daito-ryu shihan active in the Kansai area.

You asked me if there were any links between him and the Takumakai. I was not able to clearly answer at that time, but I checked into the matter. I found the answer in an interview with Kiyohiro Kobayashi, Director of the Takumakai, conduced by Olivier Gaurin.

This is Kiyohiro Kobayashi Sensei’s comment:

The reason I was practicing Daito-ryu and aikido is that when I was a student I began a university club. It was in fact a group of clubs with branches in several universities in Osaka. These Kansai universities contacted us for a meeting because they wanted us to arrange for a permanent instructor. Hirokazu Kobayashi was chosen. He was a student of Morihei Ueshiba in the postwar period.

Our instructor, Takuma Hisa Sensei, had been a sumo wrestler and his knees were in bad condition, and he couldn’t take responsibility for the club. I thought that after I graduated the club might cease to exist, and therefore it might be better to join Ueshiba Sensei since he already had an aikido federation. So I proposed that we affiliate the club with the aikido federation, and Hisa Sensei accepted. Kisshomaru [Ueshiba] Sensei was in change of technical matters in the Kansai area while the club still remained under the supervision of Takuma Hisa as a matter of courtesy. Takuma Sensei asked Hirokazu Kobayashi to oversee the club since he had once been a close student of Takuma Sensei. So although the club was originally a Daito-ryu club, it became an aikido club under Kobayashi Sensei. Takuma told him he had done well and everything was arranged.

Takuma Hisa (1895-1980)


Takuma Hisa (1895-1980)

I was really surprised! Kobayashi Sensei had never talked to me about that even though he didn’t hide his affection for Daito-ryu. I think the Aikikai made every effort to erase Hirokazu Kobayashi from the history of aikido. Because the Aikikai officially recognized Kobayashi Sensei’s links to Takuma Hisa, it was easy to say that he was doing Daito-ryu rather than aikido, and delete him from the list of students of Morihei Ueshiba. This is why, after the death of Morihei Ueshiba, Kobayashi Sensei maintained that he had only studied with the Founder.

Recently, I gave classes at a seminar in which various schools participated including Takumakai students and the shihan of Daito-ryu in Europe. At the end of the seminar, they asked me how long I had practiced Daito-ryu since they saw their techniques in mine.

One day I would like to be able to talk to you about this again. I appreciate your courageous work to reveal the truth about aikido history.

André Cognard
Kokusai Aikido Kensukai Kobayashi Hirokazu Ryuha
Dai Nippon Butokukai

Translated by Stanley Pranin