Nov
11

Don’t allow your partner to reset! Bruce Bookman Sensei explains “connection” using katatedori ikkyo as an example

This video features a beautiful demonstration by Seishiro Endo, 8th dan, at the 2004 All-Japan Aikido Demonstration. Endo Sensei moves with grace while remaining centered and eschews the use of any physical strength while executing techniques. Seishiro Endo was one of the last generation of Aikikai instructors to have received training from Morihei Ueshiba and the senior instructors of the headquarters dojo in Tokyo beginning in the 1960s…

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Nov
11

Operating from Uke’s zone… More from the “Zone Theory of Aikido” Course

I would like to discuss the topic of operating from Uke’s zone. What can you do if you are not able to enter into your partner’s blind spot? What if you have to move in front where he can easily see and attack you In this case, you need to employ different tools in order to seize the initiative from your partner.

Among the most effective are atemi — strike to a vital point — and kiai — the combative shout. Using such methods as these, it is possible to induce a “flinch reflex” and regain the initiative from your partner. From there, it becomes possible to apply an effective technique because your partner’s attack is neutralized…

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Nov
11

Unusual hip throw! Christian Tissier Sensei at the Cercle Tissier in Paris in 2000

This video presents highlights of a class conducted by Christian Tissier Sensei at his Cercle Tissier in Paris in November 2000. This is a very interesting sequence of a modified hip throws as well as katatedori shihonage and iriminage…

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Nov
10

Inhabiting the circle… “Aikido Koan,” by Nick Lowry

The way to work with a koan is to be all the parts of it-to inhabit each nook and cranny and find out how you inform it and it informs you… much like learning aikido. Understanding the physical principles, the rules of play and etiquette, the arcane verbiage, the techniques, the kihon, the kata, the henka , on and on-all the bits and pieces of the activity of learning the art are not themselves the art. AIkido is not only learned it must be realized…

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Nov
10

Morihei Ueshiba: “When an enemy tries to fight, he is already defeated!”

This colorized image of the Founder of Aikido, Morihei Ueshiba, is presented together with one of his most famous aphorisms from the Memoir of the Master. The photo was colorized by talented graphic designer and aikidoka Nikos Gazetas. Please share it freely.Gracias a todos quienes que nos han ayudado con la traducción al español de estas palabras del fundador Morihei Ueshiba…

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Nov
09

“Applying modern training methodologies to Aikido practice” by Peter Kelly

peter-kelly-throw

“Their movements lacked the integrity and focus that are precursors to understanding the physical space control necessary to dissipate or dissolve physical conflict.”

Peter Kelly submitted this message as a response to our recent article The Martial Artist’s Dilemma: “Traditionalism vs. Innovation,” by Charles Humphrey . We found Peter’s thoughts especially interesting and are posting it as a separate blog.

When I started Aikido I came directly from my last season playing sport as a professional athlete in Europe. I had had enough of life on the road and realised that my body was taking a beating that meant I may not walk well when I turned 50. I got off the plane and within a week was in my first Aikido class.

As a now former professional athlete, I threw myself into training, easily able to complete the 12 classes a week that my chosen dojo offered. (Professional athletes train 6 hours a day, 5 days a week, and also 4 weight sessions a week, plus recovery swimming sessions on Sundays).

You could say quite rightly that my entire life has been spent learning, interpreting and processing complex body movement, assimilating changes to those movements as fast as possible and also applying those movements in a dynamic and intense environment, where the cost of failure could ultimately affect your livelihood. Pressure to succeed was very real, and adaptability was the key to longevity.

The competition that I had been exposed to and the discipline that such competition gave me created a unique training etiquette that had previously not been seen in the dojo I was training in. I created a personal training program based around previously learnt physical movements and repetitive simple drills to assimilate a new set of body movements and create muscle memory, which in turn freed me to create relaxed dynamic movements.

While I respected my seniors, I was a little perplexed that these instructors struggled to relay to me what seemed on the surface to be quite simple body mechanics. Often questions were answered with obscure references to spiritual philosophy, not much help to a keen learner attempting to internalise simple movements to create muscle memory and body mechanics.
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Nov
07

How about in the dojo? Movement Practice – Just Playing Around featuring Ryan Hurst

This is a video featuring Ryan Hurst of Gold Medal Bodies (GMB) demonstrating some free form exercises in the park. I think it’s obvious that this combination of stretching and gymnastic exercises could play a useful role in keeping the body supple and agile. All one needs is the will and a free space with a soft surface. What better place than a dojo! It should be very easy to incorporate aikido stretching and rolling movements to put together a creative routine for enjoyment and better health…

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Nov
07

Free hi-res download: “Morihei Ueshiba wielding the Nuboko”

We are pleased to offer readers an extraordinary action image of Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba for your collection. This unusual photo shows O-Sensei performing a type of misogi purification practice that reflects his Omoto-inspired Shinto beliefs, the lens through which the Founder viewed the world, and his mission in creating and spreading aikido…

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Nov
07

Building blocks of the art… Quotable quotes from Morihiro Saito’s “Takemusu Aikido: Background & Basics”

“If you look at your partner even slightly, his body will separate from you and there will be too much space between you.”

“In ura techniques, parry the strike from the gyaku hanmi position. In this way, you will be able to execute a rapid and effective technique.”

“You must use an escape to free one of your hands in order to do the technique. One way to free your hand naturally is to open your fingers and turn your body strongly inward to unbalance your partner”…

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Nov
06

Yokomenuchi techniques… Seiichi Sugano Sensei teaching class at New York Aikikai in 2008

A short clip in which the late Seiichi Sugano Sensei demonstrates techniques against a yokomenuchi attack at the New York Aikikai in February 2008. Sugano Sensei was one of the last generation of uchideshi at the Aikikai Hombu Dojo starting in the late 1950s. His contemporaries include Yoshimitsu Yamada Sensei, Mitsunari Kanai Sensei, Kazuo Chiba Sensei, among others…

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Nov
06

Responding to aggression… “Conversations with The Undertaker” by Tom Collings

The next day I asked the first student who walked in, “Have you ever heard of a wrestler called The Undertaker?” I quickly learned just who this guy was. What was most fascinating to me was his martial arts knowledge, and his depth of understanding. He had a unique point of view on so many things. When he watched the old films of O-Sensei, Mark Calaway did not see an old man with magical power tossing around helpless attackers, as most aikido students do. Neither did he not see a phony, choreographed performance with make believe attacks and guys just falling down – as some do…

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Nov
06

4 different versions published! The amazing chameleon photo of O-Sensei from 1922

Four versions? Yes, the Daito-ryu placard first disappears altogether in the first publication of the photo. Then it reappears with the “Daito-ryu” characters missing, leaving only the “Aikijujutsu” characters. What’s a poor aikido historian to do? Then, the original photo you see here appears for the first time. Next, some of the characters are again omitted, but not in the same way as the first altered photo. Finally and miraculously, the unretouched photo again resurfaces, hopefully to remain intact. Strange workings of the kamisama?…

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