Oct
20

Preserving O-Sensei’s aikido… “Interview with André Cognard (2),” by Stanley Pranin

Kobayashi Sensei’s work focused on that. He also insisted on many points, for example, he would say, “When you’re grabbed, you do nothing without adopting the other’s point of view. He’s here and looking over there, so you must look over there. If you look in the opposite direction, you’ll never know what he sees and what’s motivating his actions, so whatever you have to do, even if it’s omote, the first thing to do is to take his point of view…

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Oct
17

The pitfalls of history by omission! “Morihei in Tanabe,” by Stanley Pranin

Unlike other periods in the life of Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba, his early years in Tanabe and family circumstances are not well documented. Our principal sources of information on this period of Morihei’s life are the biography of Morihei Ueshiba published by his son Kisshomaru in 1977, later interviews and conversations with the author, and a few pages from the first biography of the Founder written by Kanemoto Sunadomari in 1969. To this can be added the recollections of members and relatives of the Ueshiba and Inoue families…

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Oct
17

Radical change in brain chemistry! “Responding to Aggression — Part 2,” by Tom Collings

In less than a second the heart can race from a resting rate of about 80 to double or even triple its normal function reaching over 200 beats per minute. Respiration becomes faster and shallow further increasing heart rate. Most fine motor coordination (manipulating things with our fingers) and hand-eye coordination is significantly impaired. Complex motor coordination (tasks requiring a series of movements) become more difficult. Only gross motor skills – individual large body movement is enhanced under stress

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Oct
17

Genial paired weapons practice! Morihiro Saito demonstrates ken tai jo

This is an excellent video clip of Morihiro Saito Sensei, 9th dan, demonstrating three ken tai jo exercise: choku barai, kaeshi barai, and kaiten barai. These are excellent practices for developing a better understanding of distance and timing with weapons. This video was shot at a San Diego seminar in the early 1990s…

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Oct
16

Surprise kaeshiwaza… When you lose control of uke in shihonage, here’s what can happen!

Dojo practice is often seen as a pleasant activity among friends. The problem is that we also believe that we are learning a martial art. There is something akin to cognitive dissonance at play in the sense that we are casual in our practice when we need to be alert for what should be construed as a life-or-death scenario. This enlightening video prepared by the Kikentai-Berlin Dojo shows the kind of unfavorable outcome that can occur when nage loses control of uke while performing shihonage. A number of well-executed kaeshiwaza, or counter-techniques are demonstrated…

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Oct
16

Happy among friends… Stanley Pranin at Aywaille Seminar in Belgium 2014

This is an artistically edited clip of highlights of Stanley Pranin conducting an aikido seminar in Aywaille, Belgium in March 2014. The seminar’s videographer is Carlo Van Parys whose deft editing skills add a magical touch evoking the atmosphere of friendship prevalent at the event…

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Oct
15

“Words of advice for the starving yoga teacher,” by Stanley Pranin

starving-yoga-how-do-i-eat

“Everything mentioned here could be readily applied to the starving Aikido teacher!”

This is a slightly modified version of an article I wrote some months ago for one of my yoga teachers who was lamenting the fact that she couldn’t make a living doing yoga alone. Everything mentioned here could be readily applied to the starving Aikido teacher as well.

I’ve been thinking a bit more about one interesting way a yoga teacher might apply various Internet marketing techniques to enhance her reach and income.

Here is a hypothetical example. A yoga instructor goes to a park with her mat on a day with good weather. She finds a shady area under a large tree. By choosing such a location you don’t have to worry about harsh shadows. A friend comes with a video camera and tripod. If two friends are available, so much the better, as the yoga poses can be shot from two different angles.

She proceeds to perform a yoga routine at a slow to moderate speed that consists of about 25 (or whatever number) of asanas. There is no talking in the video, she just concentrates on performing the routine as expertly and gracefully as possible.

She goes home and takes the memory card(s) from the camera and fires up her laptop and inserts the card. She uses an inexpensive video editor like Sony Vegas Movie Studio to edit the video.

The video is cut up into 27 parts. The first part is an intro 1-2 minutes in length, then the 25 poses, and finally, an “outro” with contact information, link and whatever other relevant information that serves as a “call to action” for the viewer at the end of each segment. In other words, you want the viewer to take some specific action like provide an email address, go to a website or page.

The first edited video consists of the intro and the first pose with its title in Sanskrit and English. The instructor sets up her microphone and, while viewing the video footage, records a soundtrack which would be similar to her speech during a yoga class. An additional soundtrack consisting of royalty-free meditative type music may optionally be added.

If she wants to go into further detail, the footage at normal speed can be repeated and attached as a slow motion section thus tripling the length of the first installment. The overall length of the video clips should be no more than 3-4 minutes. Even 2 minutes is fine because people are in a hurry and want to consume the information in convenient, bite-size portions.

After the soundtracks are added to the video and all editing is complete, the video clip is uploaded to youtube. (If you don’t already have a youtube account, you need to set one up.) In the description section on youtube below the video, all relevant contact information and explanations with a clickable link are provided.
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Oct
15

Eye-popping action! “Katori Shinto Ryu featuring members of the Viet Nam Dojo”

Excellent video on Katori Shinto-ryu featuring members of the Viet Nam Dojo. The Katori school is one of Japan’s oldest classical martial arts traditions. The breath of the technical repertoire and instructional level are extremely high. The production values exhibited in this clip are top-notch. Exciting fare!…

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Oct
15

Implicated in a killing! “Sokaku Takeda and Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu, by Stanley Pranin”

Sokaku Takeda is well-known as the principal martial arts instructor of Morihei Ueshiba, the founder of aikido. As I have pointed out on several occasions, the revival of interest in Takeda’s art, Daito-ryu aikijujutsu, is largely due to the popularization of aikido in Japan and abroad after World War II. It seems inevitable that with hundreds of thousands of people having now studied aikido, there would be a certain interest in the “roots” of the art. In the first two articles of this series we have tried to place Daito-ryu in historical context and trace Sokaku’s formative years…

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Oct
14

At the NY Aikikai! Nuns learn Aikido and Karate as self-defense

This is a quite extraordinary video clip of a group of nuns at the New York Aikikai about 1978. It is quite spectacular to see these well-trained ladies in religious garb executing aikido and karate maneuvers. This video has nearly 600,000 views!…

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Oct
14

Free PDF download: Aiki News Number 82, October 1989

Excerpted from interview with Yukiyoshi Sagawa Sensei from Aiki News #82: Yukiyoshi Sagawa Sensei was born in Yubetsu, Hokkaido in 1902. He began formal study of Daito-ryu under Sokaku Takeda at age 11. He received an instructor’s license from Takeda in 1932. After that he traveled with his teacher to various locations as his assistant. One of the most prominent deshi of Sokaku Takeda, he is 85 years old this year. Sagawa Sensei’s unbelievable technique is the product of his long training experience. Presently his teaching at a dojo attached to his home in Kodaira City, a suburb of Tokyo. On February 20, 1987, the AIKI NEWS staff observed a class conducted by Yukiyoshi Sagawa Sensei of Daito-ryu Aiki Jujutsu for about two and a half hours. The following is an interview conducted after the class…

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Oct
14

Some teachers permit this deplorable state of affairs! “Aikido and Injuries,” by Stanley Pranin

Given the reality of everyday practice where one of the training partners is dominant having demonstrated physical and/or technical superiority, and the indisputable fact that human beings are naturally competitive, we have, not surprisingly, a scenario where injuries will occur with greater or lesser frequency. Naturally, where certain individuals are involved, the incidence of injury occurs with “greater frequency.” It seems that most dojos have at least one resident “macho cruncher.” He is usually a “he” and either a senior student, or sadly, the teacher…

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