Apr
29

Both spectacular and funny! “Guillaume Erard: The Amazing World of Aikido Ukemi”

This is a delightful video containing scores of spectacular, funny and unusual falls taken by publisher and aikidoka Guillaume Erard during seminars and demonstrations. This film is a tribute by Erard to a number of his aikido teachers, starting with Christian Tissier Sensei, who have guided him during his aikido career…

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Apr
29

Hint… O-Sensei didn’t decide! Minoru Hirai: “How Aikido got its name!”

The Ueshiba family house was attached to the dojo, and Morihei himself quite often, although irregularly, appeared on the mat. O’Sensei represented the ultimate authority for all of the uchideshi. Through his demeanor, he personified all of the qualities a young Japanese used to strive for at the time…

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Apr
29

Seigo Okamoto’s Daito-ryu Roppokai… “Techniques which can deal with any situation from any direction”

I usually compare roppo to gaming dice to describe techniques which can deal with any situation from any direction, top or bottom, front or back, right or left, like the faces of dice. But these techniques do not have square angles like dice but are round, forming six (roku) infinite circles. I am eager to get as many meanings as I can out of the term…

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Apr
28

Gentle politeness of maintaining proper maai… “Is Aikido a traditional martial art,” by Francis Takahashi

One need not prepare to be a parachutist when one is on solid ground. One need not prepare for space flight if not an astronaut. One need not prepare for Phd exams, if one is not going for a degree. One need not prepare for a fight, if one resolves never to be near one or can walk away from one…

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Apr
28

Epic sweep of history at a glance! Free download: “Aikido Chronological Chart”

Stanley Pranin’s beautiful “Aikido Chronological Chart” may be downloaded by all members of the Aikido Journal Members Site — both free and paid — as a pdf file. This carefully researched chart contains photographs and capsule biographies of some 70 of the best-known disciples of Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba. The kanji characters for all names are also included, and each period is color-coded for easy reference…

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Apr
28

Morihei’s base in Osaka… “Historical photo: Time-machine back to 1935″ by Stanley Pranin

This is a rare photo of unusually high quality depicting Morihei Ueshiba in Osaka with the leading figures of his Asahi News dojo. The photo is almost certainly from 1935 judging by Morihei’s visage, and the fact that it was taken at a time prior to Sokaku Takeda’s arrival in Osaka in June 1936. The people who appear in the photo reflect aspects of Morihei’s activities that extend beyond his martial arts teaching into family areas and the political realm…

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Apr
27

Minimum movement Aikido! Hiroshi Ikeda demonstrates katatedori balance-breaking techniques

Hiroshi Ikeda Sensei, 7th dan, of the Boulder Aikikai, demonstrates a series of sophisticated, minimum movement balance-breaking techniques from katatedori grabs. Ikeda Sensei’s performance is a study of efficient movement and relaxed, explosive power. One well-known kobudo teacher once described Ikeda Sensei’s aikido as “crazy good.” He maintains perfect balance and impeccable timing to control uke. Ikeda Sensei’s aikido is exemplary in all respects…

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Apr
27

Real and compassionate regard! “Ethics, an Aiki perspective,” by Francis Takahashi

Although the Founder of Aikido was wont to expound on Aiki theory in mostly esoteric language and terms, using metaphors and almost mythical allusions to established Shinto doctrine in his teachings, it may be safe to extract certain references to the presence of and connections to the need for ethical considerations and activities in our practice. Chief amongst the many to be cited, would be the Founder’s admonition that Aikido is True Budo, with the obligation to protect all of life, and to be in harmonious co-existence with our environment and all its elements…

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Apr
27

Forcible application of strength… “My List of Problem Areas in Today’s Aikido” by Stanley Pranin

In the last several years, I have becomed focused on a number of areas that I have identified as commonly lacking in training and deserving of the attention of aikido instructors. I regard these problem areas as widespread across styles and detrimental to the development of the art. Among my observations — voiced here and elsewhere — are the following…

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Apr
24

Power and precision combined! Hayato Osawa demonstrates suwariwaza, hanmi handachi, and standing techniques

This video showcases the incomparable aikido of Hayato Osawa Sensei in a demonstration of suwariwaza (seated techniques), hanmi handachi (seated vs standing), and standing techniques. Osawa Sensei’s aikido is power-based and very precise. His movements are very quick and explosive. This is a go no sen aikido…

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Apr
24

Tons of comments “The problem with Nikyo and Kote Gaeshi” by Phil Davison

When I first started doing martial arts I trained in a Hapkido dojo (dojang) where the sparring was reasonably intense. We had a lot of injuries. I don’t agree with this sort of training and nowadays my students very rarely injure themselves. But in training like that I learned a few valuable lessons, and these have got me thinking about Kote Gaeshi and Nikyo…

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Apr
24

Sokaku polishes his art! “Traveling the length and breadth of Japan to test his mettle”

Sokaku Sensei traveled all over, from Hokkaido in the north all the way to Okinawa in the south. It is also remarkable that he taught not only in police departments of one particular region, but throughout the entire country. I believe that if his technique was fake or ineffective, he would have been considered useless because police departments could easily exchange such information. The case would have been the same with the military. He also taught at many military establishments. It is sometimes said that Sokaku Sensei’s relationship with the military was limited and only through the Omoto religion and the connection with Morihei Ueshiba Sensei. In fact, however, Sokaku Takeda Sensei had direct connections to the military. This is clear from the enrollment books he kept…

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