Aug
28

Bequeathed by the Founder: Morihiro Saito’s “Aiki Ken and Aiki Jo” Online Course in 20 modules!

These are the aikido sword and staff forms taught by Morihiro Saito, 9th dan. Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba spent many years studying these weapons — called the Aiki Ken and Jo — at his country retreat in Iwama during and after World War II.

Morihiro Saito was one of the Founder’s most talented students. Saito lived in Iwama and devoted himself to aikido training at the side of Ueshiba Sensei for over 20 years. Due to the severe conditions existing after the war, the Founder had few students during this period. As fate would have it, the responsibility for preserving, systematizing, and disseminating Morihei Ueshiba’s weapons practices fell to Saito Sensei.

Added to the hundreds of empty-handed techniques of aikido, these ken and jo practices combine to form a cohesive, content-rich curriculum.

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The “Aiki Ken and Aiki Jo Course” consists of 20 video modules available for online viewing and downloading. The first section of the course includes Saito Sensei’s instructional videos that cover all of the fundamental weapons exercises and forms.

The second section consists of instructional and demonstration footage that record the evolution of Saito Sensei’s ken and jo practices over a 30-year period. You will see many clips such as these spanning the years from 1964 through 1993.

It’s fascinating to watch the evolution of these beautiful weapons forms as revealed in this rare footage of Morihiro Saito.

We have a great deal more video of Saito Sensei from this course to share with you in coming days.

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Aug
27

O-Sensei’s weapons legacy: Morihiro Saito’s “Aiki Ken and Aiki Jo” Online Course in 20 modules!

I’m Stanley Pranin and it is my pleasure to announce the launch of our latest online course. This content-rich curriculum presented by Morihiro Saito, 9th dan, covers all of the fundamentals of the aiki ken and aiki jo as practiced in Iwama for decades.

The world of aikido is divided on the subject of whether or not weapons practice belongs in the aikido curriculum. The official position of the Aikikai Hombu Dojo in Tokyo is that taijutsu or empty-handed techniques alone constitute the core of the art. This notwithstanding, aikido schools across many different styles have gradually adopted weapons training in some form or another in their training.

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Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba spent many years studying and practicing weapons, mainly the aiki ken and aiki jo. Morihei studied the aiki ken and jo intensively during and after the war at his country residence in Iwama. Due to a series of historical circumstances, Morihiro Saito was the Founder’s main training partner during this period.

It was Saito Sensei who preserved, systematized, and disseminated these weapon forms that the Founder bequeathed. Saito Sensei’s rich curriculum consisting of a cohesive whole of empty-handed and ken and jo techniques attracted a worldwide audience due to his ground-breaking technical books and extensive international travels.

The “Aiki Ken and Aiki Jo Course” consists of 20 video modules available for online viewing and downloading. The first section of the course includes Saito Sensei’s subtitled instructional videos that cover the following material:

  • 7 Ken Suburi
  • Ki Musubi no Tachi
  • 5 Kumitachi – Henka no Tachi
  • 31 Jo Kata
  • 20 Jo Suburi
  • 31 Jo Kumijo
  • 10 Kumijo
  • 13 Jo Awase

The second section comprised of instructional and demonstration footage traces the evolution of Saito Sensei’s ken and jo forms over a 30-year period. You will see rare clips of weapons instruction and demonstrations beginning in 1964 through 1993…

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Aug
26

Yoga, pilates and dance! Garuda Standing Matwork Introduction

This is a wonderful promotional video of the Garuda system that combines elements of yoga, pilates and dance. It should be of particular interest to martial artists as an efficient means of thoroughly warming up the body while promoting flexibility and conditioning…

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Aug
26

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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Aug
26

Sokaku Takeda’s art! Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu Takumakai: “Techniques a Wonder of Human Ingenuity!”

An excellent documentary in Japanese on the 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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Aug
25

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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Aug
25

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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Aug
25

Feather touch! Yoshimitsu Yamada Sensei demonstrates unusual 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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Aug
22

Jo kata, jo nage! Hiroshi Tada, 9th dan, demonstrates his dynamic jo forms

In this video shot in Italy, Hiroshi Tada Sensei, 9th dan, demonstrates jonage, and jo kata that include paired forms. Tada Sensei’s use of the jo is unique and complements his dynamic taijutsu techniques. Hiroshi Tada is one of the last remaining of the postwar generation of instructors developed at the Aikikai Hombu Dojo in Tokyo…

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Aug
22

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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Aug
22

Popular! “Yamaguchi Sensei had never had a foreign student and it seemed he didn’t particularly want one!” by William Gleason

One evening, I presented myself at the front door of the Ikenoue dojo with my letter of recommendation. Sensei was not at all pleased. He had never had a foreign student and it seemed he didn’t particularly want one. This dojo was for his chosen few. It had an atmosphere of secrecy, as though the essence of the art was to be found here alone. In addition, although Sensei could speak English, he refused to do so. He would talk to me using one of his students as an interpreter. To add to his chagrin, my own arrogance was completely obvious…

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Aug
21

Student of both Morihei and Sokaku! “Takuma Hisa, the bridge between Daito-ryu and Aiki Budo,” by Stanley Pranin

Back in April 1979, I met a slight old man who had suffered a stroke and spoke in a halting, somewhat slurred voice. I am embarrassed to say that I can’t remember the circumstances of my introduction to old gentleman. I think I was told that he was an important person in the early history of aikido. I didn’t know anything about him really when I went to visit him at his home in Nakano Ward in Tokyo. The man’s name was Hisa Takuma…

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