Apr
09

The never ending battle… Self-Defense Aikido in the street!

A very well choreographed short film featuring aikido techniques used in a “live street” situation. Very nice production values with a “twist” at the end!…

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Apr
09

New discoveries of clues! “Sleuthing in Search of O-Sensei!” by Stanley Pranin

From an old 3-minute reel that I received way back in 1965, to the several hours of footage professionally offered as DVDs, I have watched O-Sensei move on the screen thousands of times. Sometimes in slow motion, sometimes even frame-by-frame. For me, these films hold the secrets to O-Sensei’s genius and provide constant inspiration. I can play one of Morihei’s movies after a long hiatus, and make new discoveries of clues that have always been there, but have eluded me until that moment…

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Apr
09

See all 6 clips! “Dynamic Action Star Steven Seagal teaches at rare 1990 Seminar”

We are pleased to present the first six of a series of video clips featuring movie action star Steven Seagal taken at a seminar in San Jose, California in 1990. This seminar took place just at the time of the ascent of his movie career, and as such is a rare event…

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Apr
08

Misinformation becomes cited fact! “Common Misconceptions about Aikido History,” by Stanley Pranin

Many of the common mistakes made by historians have been perpetuated in print for decades. Unfortunately, they are here to stay. This is especially true for works written in Western languages which, in almost all cases, draw on secondary sources. Although Aikido Journal has a broad readership built up over 37 years of publication, we do not represent the mainstream of thought in the aikido world on historical matters…

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Apr
08

Koichi Tohei was an idol! “An Insider’s look at the Aikikai Hombu Dojo in the late 1950s” by Yoshimitsu Yamada

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 uchi-deshi. Through his demeanor, he personified all of the qualities a young Japanese used to strive for at the time…

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Apr
08

Accept the attack of the opponent! Shoji Nishio: “We practice aikido because we have fallen in love with something none of the other martial arts offer”

“In Aikido there is no preemptive strike. But in budo training, a proper shomenuchi and proper tsuki are basic. In my dojo I teach how to grab, how to stand up, how to swing the sword and the tsuki and oblique stance (hanmen) and yokomen. Proper grabbing, proper swinging and proper striking are transformed into atemi instantly. The reason I have students use the ken is to have them recognize these movements. In budo, you are inferior and the opponent is superior to you. Your opponent has more power than you. That’s very important. Techniques are for freely handling stronger people. Your power shouldn’t lessen even a little. You have to display 100% power through your body… “

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Apr
07

Pat Hendricks, 7th dan: “A close-up look at the rigorously precise Iwama Aikido curriculum”

This video presents highlights from a seminar Pat Hendricks conducted in New Zealand and will give viewers a feel for her clear and precise teaching style. This clip shows an interesting teaching progression that many instructors will find useful in planning their classes. She was one of the most skilled students of Morihiro Saito Sensei, 9th dan. This is Iwama Aikido at its best!…

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Apr
07

Hirokazu Kobayashi’s Successor: “Interview with André Cognard (1),” by Stanley Pranin

I had never heard the name Kobayashi. Eighth dan was a very high rank at the time. Tamura Sensei and Noro Sensei were not 8th dan; they were 6th dan. And we were constantly being told Tamura Sensei was the only one. O-Sensei has only one disciple, his spiritual son, you go through him or you don’t get anywhere in aikido. We heard it all the time, and so I thought it was strange. I thought, there are two options, either Kobayashi is an impostor, or I’ve been lied to for years…

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Apr
07

Early Morihei in action… Wow! “Channeling the Power of the Gods,” by Stanley Pranin

I began collecting films of the Founder Morihei Ueshiba at a young age, probably about 18 or 19, when my first teacher Isao Takahashi lent me a copy of the 1953 film taken in Wakayama Preference. It was very enjoyable watching this powerful, old man throw around much younger students with ease.

More than anything else, it was a curiosity, an item of interest to be shown on special occasions. Our model at that time was Koichi Tohei Sensei, and our teachers modeled themselves after him

Over the years, I collected a few more films, and began translating articles about the Founder’s life from the Japanese. Then later, I moved to Japan and started interviewing O-Sensei’s students one by one. Little by little, I got a clearer picture of how the Founder’s aikido was, and what made it so special.

Many of the old-timers spoke of some kind of extraordinary power that O-Sensei possessed beyond the dimension of physical strength. Some said that it seemed as though the Founder were enveloped by some kind of impenetrable energy barrier. They said his body was as hard as steel, and that they were defeated before they could physically attack…

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Apr
04

Flexibility of a young man! Hung Kuen Master Leung Daiyau at 90 years of age, performs the rare Snake guiding the Crane set!

The late Nobuyoshi Tamura, 8th dan, gives an outstanding display of technical virtuosity, performing both empty-handed and sword techniques, on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the FFAB…

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Apr
04

Morihei Ueshiba’s heir apparent! Interview with Swordmaster Kiyoshi Nakakura (1) by Hideo Yamanaka and Stanley Pranin

“I had the feeling that no one could beat me. I had rarely lost a match before, and I absolutely did not want to be defeated especially by people in Tokyo.” A product of old-style pre-war Kendo training, top student of Swordmaster Hakudo Nakayama and former adopted son of Morihei Ueshiba, 78-year old Kiyoshi Nakakura Sensei is one of Japan’s top swordsmen…

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Apr
04

First and only time: “Mochizuki, Shioda, Saito, Sugino, Shimizu pool their collective expertise!”

One of the highlights of the 3rd Aikido Friendship Demo held back in 1987 was the Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu demonstration given by Katsuyuki Kondo Sensei and members of his Tokyo-based Shimbukan Dojo. This demonstration was particularly significant because the aikido public was not very aware of the connection between aikido and Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu at this stage. Thus, there were a lot of curious onlookers wanting to find out exactly what this old art that supposedly influenced aikido was really about…

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