Apr
02

Don’t dance around in a circle! Yoshimitsu Yamada explains kosadori iriminage at Montreal seminar (2010)

Yoshimitsu Yamada Sensei, 8th dan, of the New York Aikikai, demonstrates kosadori iriminage at a seminar held in Montreal, Canada in 2010. During his demonstration, he explains the alignment of nage with uke’s body in iriminage, and also mimicks jokingly this technique performed where nage dances around in a circle, a commonly seen but ineffective way of executing iriminage…

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Apr
02

Stanley Pranin Video Blog: “Iriminage — O-Sensei Style”

Aikido Journal Editor Stanley Pranin describes the origin and execution of Aikido’s iriminage technique as conceived by Founder Morihei Ueshiba. He explains how this essential technique has its origins in prewar Japan and was further refined in Iwama after World War II. Iriminage today is practiced in many different ways, but O-Sensei’s method, though well documented, is not widely known…

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Apr
02

“Aikido and the Taming of the Reptilian Brain” by Stanley Pranin

t-rex_vintage

“Our reptilian brains kick in triggering the use of force,
and mucking up our techniques in the process!”

There is something that has long mystified me about practitioners of aikido. It is a phenomenon that I have witnessed across all styles of the art. Few aikidoka transcend this fundament limitation. What am I talking about? The default use of physical strength when applying a technique.

During my career in aikido, I can’t count the number of times I have heard an instructor admonish students to “relax” when executing techniques. Most students translate this as “use less power.” So they don’t use as much strength in their quixotic effort to make a technique work. Occasionally, a student will really try to relax by totally draining out the power from his body. This results in a “limp” state which, of course, does nothing to improve the student’s ability to succeed in the execution of a technique.

What’s going on here? As a layman, I have a simple theory about this. It has to do with the “flight or fight” instinct that we all are born with. Some would regard this adrenalin-charged state as a manifestation of our ancient reptilian brains. Scientists tell us that we share this anatomical structure and its functions with our more primitive ancestors. It is a type of instinctual behavior encoded in our DNA that seems impossible to overcome.

So how does this play out on the aikido mat? Let’s say you are grabbed by a strong person. It doesn’t matter whether you are practicing a basic or ki no nagare technique. Your attempt to move your partner meets with physical resistence. What do you do? Almost everyone will try to muscle their way through the technique. They may be successful depending on their technical level, degree of strength, and the amount of cooperation of one’s uke. This notwithstanding, their use of physical force is obvious to both parties.
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Apr
01

Henkawaza… Patrick Augé Sensei demonstrates an application of shihonage as a follow up to someone escaping tenbinnage

This is a video prepared in response to Stanley Pranin’s article on injuries in the practice of Aikido in which Patrick Augé Sensei demonstrates an application of shihonage as a follow up to someone escaping tenbinnage…

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Apr
01

Free pdf download: Aikido Journal #108, 1996 — “In Memoriam Seigo Yamaguchi (1924-1996)”

Contents
● Editorial – Aikido & Weapons: The Last Word?, by Stanley Pranin
● Journal News, by Diane Skoss
● Letters to the Editor
● Seigo Yamaguchi: In Memoriam
● On Writing Zen Combat, by Jay Gluck
● Interview with Fumio Toyoda, by Mark Binder
● Improvisations, by Ellis Amdur
● In My Own Way, by David Lynch
● Takemusu Aikido — Yokomenuchi Iriminage Kihon, by Morihiro Saito
● The Omoto Religion and Aikido, by Yasuaki Deguchi
● Kicks & Aikido, by Roger D’Onofrio & Hans Goto
● Famous Swordsmen of Japan: Toru Shirai, by Takefumi Hiiragi
● Heard in the Dojo
● Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu: Kubi Hineri, by Takeshi Kawabe as transmitted by the Takumakai
● Events & Announcements
● The Book Page
● Our Contributors

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Apr
01

What exactly is going on here? “Morihei meets Sokaku — The Untold Story” by Stanley Pranin

The story of the association between Morihei Ueshiba and Sokaku Takeda as retold by Kisshomaru Ueshiba in various of his publications is seriously deficient in terms of historical accuracy.

Early on, Sokaku Takeda, the disseminator of Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu, the main technical influence on aikido, was portrayed as an evil, money-hungry martial artist who had actually killed people in sword fights! Also, the extent of Morihei’s study under Sokaku was greatly distorted and described as “only a couple of months,” or even less in certain instances.

Kisshomaru Ueshiba went to great lengths to minimize the influence of Daito-ryu on Morihei stating boldly the this art was only one of several studied by the Founder, and implying that the Daito-ryu’s role on modern aikido should not be overemphasized.

I have amply demonstrated through extensive research that this is certainly not the case. However, those interested in this fascinating topic should draw their own conclusions based on available materials.

This article is one of many I have published to advance my thesis that Morihei Ueshiba studied Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu in great depth, was one of its most outstanding exponents, and that, in technical terms, modern aikido consists largely of modified Daito-ryu techniques.

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Apr
01

Stanley Pranin at Seminar in Aywaille, Belgium by Carlo Van Parys

Highlights of a seminar conducted by Stanley Pranin in Belgium. Other featured instructors were Paolo Corallin Shihan and Daniel Toutain Sensei.

Contact Fundamental Aikido Association

Mar
31

Accurate perception of Self… “Aikido and Mind-Body Integration,” by Curtis L.V. Adams, M.D.

In addition to being an extremely effective form of self-defense, Aikido became a basis for the pursuit of the true self. This pursuit is done by the constant reevaluation in the learning and application of the techniques of Aikido. In order to do Aikido effectively, one has to cultivate an awareness of the body, the location of the body in space and the force of his movements. This constant reevaluation ideally caused a shift from the concept of opponents, as in self-defense, to partners, who would help in rediscovering the true self…

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Mar
31

Pain due to compression… “Hanging Out With Back Pain-Old School Style,” by Mark Hauer

I feel a little intimidated adding my 2 cents worth when it comes to the subject of pain abatement for aching backs. Especially given Stan Pranin’s contributions on the subject. Most of the back pain I’ve suffered over the years was due to compression. And while Yoga’s downward facing dog pose gives some relief (either that, or the sensation of relief was confused with the euphoria from nearly blacking out from the “head rush” of standing up too quickly), the discomfort was always there in the background: muted, but still present…

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Mar
31

Street gymnastics… Can you roll safely on concrete? This guy can!

A demonstration of a variety of methods for rolling safely on a concrete surface that will be of particular interest to aikidoka from the world of “parkour”…

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Mar
31

O-Sensei’s Shomenuchi Ikkyo: The old way… or the right way? by Stanley Pranin

This photo has enormous significance as a technical anchor reference. Taken in 1938, it shows a much younger Morihei Ueshiba beginning to execute what we would today call shomenuchi ikkyo omotewaza. What will appear odd to many present-day aikidoka is the fact that the Founder is initiating the technique.

For most practitioners, common sense dictates that uke will initiate the encounter, with tori (= nage) responding. Yet if we consult O-Sensei’s 1938 Budo manual, we find the following description of the commencement of this technique…

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Mar
30

O-Sensei’s Shomenuchi Ikkyo: The old way… or the right way? by Stanley Pranin

shomenuchi-ikkajo-captions

“Overlooked minutiae illuminate the Founder’s genius!”

This photo has enormous significance as a technical anchor reference. Taken in 1938, it shows a much younger Morihei Ueshiba beginning to execute what we would today call shomenuchi ikkyo omotewaza. What will appear odd to many present-day aikidoka is the fact that the Founder is initiating the technique.

For most practitioners, common sense dictates that uke will initiate the encounter, with tori (= nage) responding. Yet if we consult O-Sensei’s 1938 Budo manual, we find the following description of the commencement of this technique:

Tori: Step forward with your right foot and strike directly at your opponent’s face with your right tegatana and punch his ribs with your left fist…

Uke: Receive your opponent’s right tegatana with your right arm.

One might be tempted to point out that this was the prewar version of the technique that was superseded in the modern era. This is certainly true. However, Morihei continued to teach shomenuchi ikkyo in this manner during the Iwama era following the war. It was the Aikikai — headed by Kisshomaru Ueshiba and Koichi Tohei — that altered the practice of this core basic technique. In contrast, Gozo Shioda’s Yoshinkan Aikido continued to follow O-Sensei’s original teaching after the war.
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