Dec
10

In the shadow of World War II… Morihei the powerhouse!

During the Kobukan period, Morihei Ueshiba rubbed shoulders with the elite of Japanese society associating with luminaries from military, political, business and religious circles. Though not politically motivated himself, Morihei taught and interacted with many of the leading figures of the times, men who had deep respect for his incredible martial skills and who would shape Japan’s destiny as it hurtled toward war on the continent and in the Pacific…

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Dec
09

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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Dec
09

Colorizing history! Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba

One of the interesting aspects of my work is the abundance of technology I must use to produce the materials we publish. Since we deal with a lot of historical material, most of the images and videos we have preserved are black and white. To give an example, look at the inset photo from this image of Morihei Ueshiba. The portrait was taken around 1957, naturally in black and white. I have always been fascinated by the process of colorization and recently for the first time asked a professional graphic artist to work on this photo to see what could be achieved…

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Dec
09

Massaging of history… Six giants who were axed!

A futile attempt is being made at this very moment to erase my personal teacher, Morihiro Saito Sensei, from the annals of the Iwama Dojo since his passing in 2002. These attempts to rewrite history have motivated me to devote a great deal of attention to these historical figures. Except for Sokaku Takeda, I personally knew and interviewed all of the names I mentioned…

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Dec
08

“The World of O-Sensei in Color” by Stanley Pranin

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“This photo is part of The Aikido Legacy Package”

One of the interesting aspects of my work is the abundance of technology I must use to produce the materials we publish. Since we deal with a lot of historical material, most of the images and videos we have preserved are black and white.

To give an example, look at the inset photo from this image of Morihei Ueshiba. The portrait was taken around 1957, naturally in black and white. I have always been fascinated by the process of colorization and recently for the first time asked a professional graphic artist to work on this photo to see what could be achieved.

The cropped version you see here gives you a good idea of these results that can be obtained. The artist who did this work is Nikos Gazetas, an aikidoka from Greece. I think the results are marvelous!

The Aikido Legacy Package we are offering now will include this colorized photo as well as the black and white original that you may download to your computer and take to a printing service to have a poster-size copy made.

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Download, read and study the vast selection of expert information on nearly every imaginable aikido subject!!

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Dec
08

Early aikido on display! “Hiroshi Tada demonstration from 1957″

This is a fascinating clip consisting of a short demonstration given by Hiroshi Tada, 9th dan, in 1957. This video and several others were shot by André Nocquet, an early French practitioner, at the Ichigaya rooftop dojo of the Self-Defense Agency in Tokyo. Notable points are: Tada Sensei is 27 years old in this film; all of the techniques are executed in response to the attack (go no sen); the ukemi performed from the kotegaeshi throw are back falls, unlike the high falls that one would see in demonstrations today; Tada Sensei is partnered by the late Nobuyoshi Tamura…

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Dec
08

Postwar Aikido Giant! “Who is Koichi Tohei?” by Stanley Pranin

In February 1953, at the invitation of the Hawaii branch of the Nishikai health system, Tohei visited the islands for an extended stay to introduce the then unknown art of aikido. Despite many challenges and hardships, Tohei established himself as top-tier martial artist and built up a network of Aikikai-affiliated dojos all over Hawaii. During this time, he provided financial support to the struggling Aikikai from donations he collected from his students and patrons in Hawaii…

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Dec
08

You… A Walking Encyclopedia of Aikido! The Aikido Legacy Package

“I would like to offer you the best of my life’s research in the hope you’ll derive benefit in your personal pursuit of aikido.” – Stanley Pranin. The material offered and its potential for your future in aikido is extraordinary…

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Dec
05

The only required real win is when life is at stake: “Absorbing Attack by Nev Sagiba

Going through what it takes to learn from injuries how to absorb attacks flexibly with Aikido Body-Mind, will reveal how serious you are in your attitudes about just about anything in life. It will also transform your body, mind and spirit to understand the nature of the universe and its magic potentials to overcome what to the average person are considered limitations…

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Dec
05

Morihei and Sokaku… “Vague financial arrangements and strong personalities led to problems between these two martial arts geniuses”

Ueshiba eventually established himself as a well-known teacher of jujutsu in Tokyo while Takeda continued to travel extensively all over Japan, giving seminars primarily to prominent persons such as judges, police officials, military officers and the like. Although Ueshiba and Takeda had little direct contact from that point on, they did maintain a correspondence. Further, Ueshiba, now an accredited teacher of Daito-ryu, awarded scrolls of proficiency to his direct students until quite probably as late as 1937. Among the recipients of Daito-ryu diplomas from Ueshiba are Kenji Tomiki, Minoru Mochizuki, Rinjiro Shirata, and Gozo Shioda…

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Dec
04

O-Sensei’s “Cupped Hand” — The Secret to Ura Movements by Stanley Pranin

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“O-Sensei can easily perform a variety of techniques where uke is powerless to resist because he has lost his balance.”

Many dojos practice aikido’s tai no henko exercise regularly or even religiously during every session. Some teachers will explain that this is a blending movement that allows one to set up for certain aikido throws. But what is really happening? Let’s take a closer look.

First, consider this wonderful image of Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba at the point of completion of tai no henko.

Notice that his hand is in a “cupped” position. What is the purpose of this rather strange hand form? Looking closer we see that this tai no henko blend has brought uke’s torso forward and down. Expressed otherwise, uke has been unbalanced.

How has this been accomplished? Uke first grabbed nage’s wrist from the side. O-Sensei’s pivoting motion and cupped hand have conveyed mechanical energy through uke’s arm that has caused him to loose balance forward and down as is readily evident in the photo. From here, O-Sensei can easily perform a variety of techniques where uke is powerless to resist because he has lost his balance.

Here we see the entire process masterly performed by Morihiro Saito Sensei.

tai-no-henko-sequenceLastly, I demonstrate an adaptation of this same “cupped” hand movement as a setup to unbalance uke before moving to his flank. From here, ikkyo through yonkyo omote techniques can be very effectively applied. This approach is part of my “Zone Theory of Aikido” research.

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In my next article, I would like to talk about the mechanics of the kokyuho movement and its function in aikido techniques.

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Dec
04

Of special interest to aikidoka! Okinawa Karate and Chinese Kung-Fu exchange demonstration featuring Tamotsu Miyahira Sensei (2006)

This fascinating video presents highlights of a joint Okinawa Karate and Chinese Kung-Fu demonstration held in Japan on December 4, 2006 at the Uehara Karate Dojo. Featured are various Okinawan karate instructors and practitioners of Chinese Kung-fu in Japan, the latter led by Tamotsu Miyahira Sensei. At the 3:10 mark, Miyahira Sensei’s excellent demonstration that will be of special interest to aikido practitioners begins…

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