Sep
17

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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Sep
16

Well executed, unusual techniques! Women’s Self-Defense (1947): “Keep Your Hands Off Me, Mister!”

This rare video shot in 1947 presents Mary Parker and Lon Leonard in a demonstration of women’s self-defense that is obviously mostly jujutsu. There are a lot of unusual techniques that are well executed. Great fun to watch!…

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Sep
16

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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Sep
16

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Morihei Ueshiba’s 1938 “Budo” is one of the most important historical documents on the evolution of aikido technique and is very relevant to contemporary students of aikido.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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Sep
15

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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Sep
15

Keep your flexibility! Historical photos: Morihei Ueshiba O-Sensei warmups, February 1969

These six images show Morihei in the midst of leading the class in warmup exercises. There is anecdotal evidence that suggests that Morihei adapted some of these warmup exercises from the Makko-ho system popularlized by Haruka Nagai. The Founder took great pains to maintain his physical conditioning all of his life. This is an excellent example for both students and instructors to follow throughout their aikido careers…

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Sep
12

Must watch… Rumiko Hayes — “More Martial Magic of the Diminutive Ninja Lady!”

This video presents another inspiring display of this incredible martial artist. Rumiko Hayes’ perfectly timed soft-style manuevers take advantage of positional and anatomical weaknesses to control her opponent. These movements are beyond style and much martial wisdom awaits the careful observer!…

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Sep
12

Free download Aiki News #62: “O-Sensei was at his best in the later years of his life… after the Iwama years”

Contents of Aiki News No. 62, 1984

● Editorial – Shirata and Mochizuki Senseis, by Stanley Pranin
● Interview with Rinjiro Shirata, by Stanley Pranin
● Heard in the Dojo
● Morihiro Saito Technical Notebook — Eridori kokyunage oyowaza, by Morihiro Saito
● O-Sensei Biography — “The Budo Enhancement Association and Takeda Dojo,” by
Kisshomaru Ueshiba
● Minoru Mochizuki Pictorial, by Stanley Pranin
● Letters to the Editor…

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Sep
12

Morihei encounters Sokaku: “An eager apprentice to a formidable martial arts master!”

Takeda Sokaku is recorded in modern budo history as the transmitter of Daito-ryu Jujutsu. He was an awe-inspiring person with a formidable appearance and, although he was about 2 inches shorter than O-Sensei, he always seemed to stare down at things with a mysteriously piercing gaze, made all the more so by a tight-lipped frown due to his lack of front teeth. It is said that Onisaburo Deguchi, who had a reputation for being able to tell people’s fortunes, once told Takeda that even though he had mastered one “Way,” he was a man with the smell of blood and a hapless or evil fate. Master Deguchi often wondered why Ueshiba was so humble towards Takeda, and this attitude was a point of irritation to the religious leader…

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Sep
11

Clear explanation! William Gleason demonstrates kokyunage with a focus on internal power

An interesting video clip featuring William Gleason demonstrating kokyunage techniques with a focus on internal power. His explanations are very detailed and easily understood. This footage was shot during a seminar held at Aikido Eastside of Seattle, Washington…

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Sep
11

Sanitized for your consumption! “O-Sensei’s Spiritual Writings: Where did they really come from?” by Stanley Pranin

The published books containing quotations attributed to Morihei Ueshiba available in various Western languages are based on “sanitized” Japanese versions of Morihei’s words. They have been edited and simplified with an eye to presenting text accesible to modern readers, but are devoid of many of those terms and metaphors actually used by the founder of aikido which failed to match the tenor of the times…

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Sep
11

A Flood of Comments… Listen to the opinions of Aikido Journal readers on Aikido and weapons!

No matter how many times we revisit this subject, we find that readers have strong views on whether aikido training should include weapons practice, especially the Aiki Ken and Aiki Jo. The world’s largest aikido body, the Aikikai Hombu Dojo organization based in Tokyo, holds steadfastly to the position that the art consists only of empty-handed (taijutsu) techniques. Use of the ken, jo, and tanto is only occasional, for example, for testing and demonstrations. No structured weapons curriculum exists within the Aikikai system…

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