Oct
03

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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Oct
03

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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Oct
02

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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Oct
02

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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Oct
02

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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Oct
01

Patrick Augé Sensei’s Dojo! Yoseikan Practice: What Can Be Expected

This is an excellent video tour of the Yoseikan Budo dojo of Patrick Augé Sensei in Palos Verdes, California. Dojo etiquette and community spirit are strongly emphasized.

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Oct
01

Always experimenting! Masatoshi Yasuno, 8th dan, at 2013 All-Japan Aikido Demonstration

This is a video clip of Masatoshi Yasuno Sensei’s performance at the 51st All-Japan Aikido Demonstration at the Nippon Budokan in Tokyo. Yasuno Sensei was one of the late Seigo Yamaguchi Sensei’s senior students and drew much from his training under the latter. Yasuno Sensei’s demonstrations in recent years have shown an individualization of his style amid much experimentation. In this video he uses very soft, blending movements, and subtle balance-breaking to set up techniques. There is a feeling of free form and spontaneity in his presentation…

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Oct
01

New video from Stanley Pranin! How the Founder O-Sensei would set up techniques to execute throws

Despite the fact that Morihei Ueshiba O-Sensei is revered as the Founder of Aikido, few practitioners today understand his philosophy or the specifics of his techniques. As we are several generations removed from the source of our art, it might be a useful exercise to go back and analyze how the Founder would approach the set up of aikido techniques. Stanley Pranin presents his thoughts on the matter. Some surprises await you!

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Sep
30

Dojo enforcers: “The Pitbulls of Aikido,” by Autrelle Holland

When pit bulls are given status as an instructor, or even a high dan ranking, they often serve the role of the enforcer. These enforcers pit bulls do just that – enforce. Often, these pit bulls are used as a rook, in some sort of a chess game. The rook is a powerful piece, but it is not the most important piece. I have seen pit bulls in schools that have weak aikido. The school, overall, lacks martial effectiveness, but somehow, one of the members is a pit bull, a capable martial artist…

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Sep
30

Kisshomaru Ueshiba, John Stevens, and Kodansha: “Shapers of the Image of Morihei Ueshiba O-Sensei,” by Stanley Pranin

The main sources of information on Morihei Ueshiba in the English language are books written by his son, Kisshomaru Ueshiba, and American author John Stevens. Both have written a series of books dealing with Morihei and his writings that have been widely distributed in English and translated into several European languages. A large percentage of these books have been published through the Kodansha Limited Company, Japan’s largest book publisher. Parenthetically, there is a historical relationship between Morihei Ueshiba and Seiji Noma, the founder of Kodansha…

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Sep
30

Interview with Takako Kunigoshi: “The dainty lady who lit up Morihei Ueshiba’s Kobukan Dojo”

Morihei Ueshiba’s Kobukan Dojo was the base for O-Sensei’s professional teaching career. In the 1930s, it was bustling with activity and many youngsters and oldsters trained side by side. The dojo attracted primarily well-to-do persons from the elite of Japanese society. But there were exceptions too…

One of these was a young lady who attending art school who developed a passion for Aiki Budo. For several years, she trained regularly alongside the young, strong uchideshi being groomed by Morihei as instructors. Takako Kunigoshi made a tremendous contribution during this time frame that provides first-hand evidence of the techniques being taught by the Founder at this stage of his career. Read all about it in this interview.

“I drew the pictures for Budo Renshu (1934). I had Mr. Yonekawa or Mr. Tomiki pose for them. Everyday right after practice I would sketch them. Just as someone was about to go flying I would say, “Stop!” and they would go no further. At the instant of a throw I would say, “Hold it just a second there,” and get down most of what was happening. Then later, at my home, I would finish up the details…

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Sep
29

High-energy action! Christian Tissier’s Dynamic Iriminage!

High-energy action! Christian Tissier’s Dynamic Iriminage! — This video is an excellent compilation of iriminage techniques performance by Christian Tissier Sensei, 7th dan, culled from many different demonstrations. Tissier Sensei’s exuberance and precision are apparent throughout…

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