Aug
13

Strikes win the day! Yasuo Kobayashi, 8th dan, demonstrates aikido atemi and pressure points

In this video, Yasuo Kobayashi, 8th dan, demonstrates aikido atemi and pressure points. During his demonstration, he shows a variety of atemi (combative strikes) and pressure points whose application increases the level of effectiveness of aikido techniques. Kobayashi Sensei entered the Aikikai Hombu Dojo in 1954 and became an uchideshi. He is a graduate of Meiji University where he was instrumental in setting up an aikido club. Kobayashi opened a private dojo in Kodaira in 1969 and, little by little, expanded his network of dojos known as “Kobayashi Dojos.” For several decades, he has traveled all over the world conducting aikido seminars…

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Aug
13

Do you know the story? “O-Sensei’s Adopted Son and Heir Apparent”

“I was really impressed when I saw O-Sensei in the film. He had young students attack him for that long a time and he threw them all. He would never lose his balance even if he practiced for one hour. It is really amazing. I doubt that you can do the same in Kendo. I think that his techniques are those of a kami…

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Aug
13

The diminutive magician! “Kanshu Sunadomari’s mind-blowing performance at the 1st Friendship Demonstration”

Kanshu Sunadomari Sensei seemed like an excellent candidate for the 1st Friendship Demonstration and Fukiko was keen on the idea that we invite him. There were a couple of problems, one being that he had separated himself from the Aikikai shortly after Morihei’s passing in 1969. There was consequently a tension between him and his organization and the Aikikai. This made some of the other teachers somewhat nervous about Kanshu Sensei and how the Aikikai might react to his participation…

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Aug
12

Applying sword principles… Morihiro Saito demonstrates yokomenuchi shihonage and kotegaeshi in London (1988)

This is a fine demonstration of correct positioning for executing shihonage and kotegaeshi techniques from a yokomenuchi attack. Saito Sensei uses sword principles to illustrate proper positioning and throwing direction. Aikido Journal Editor Stanley Pranin is the interpreter…

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Aug
12

Watch where you put your hands! “Shihonage Revisited,” by Stanley Pranin

There is a subtle but important difference on the part of the major teachers concerning the way to grip uke’s wrist when executing shihonage. This difference can be clearly seen by examining Morihei Ueshiba’s description in the 1938 “Budo” manual, and in the way of execution of Kenji Tomiki and Gozo Shioda, both prewar students of the Founder. This approach to shihonage stands in contrast with the methods Morihei’s son Kisshomaru and Koichi Tohei who were the main instructors at the Aikikai Hombu Dojo in the postwar years…

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Aug
12

Witness amazing talent! “Aikido legends of the past return to inspire us in the present!”

It may have been raining outside, but those inside had their minds on things other than the weather. They were witness to an extremely rare display of Aikido talent and what amounted to a profound statement about the possibilities of cooperation among Aikidoists of different persuasions. The six senseis who performed were, in order of their appearance: Yasuo Kobayashi Sensei, Mitsugi Saotome Sensei, Kanshu Sunadomari Sensei, Yoshio Kuroiwa Sensei, Shoji Nishio Sensei, and Morihito Saito Sensei…

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Aug
11

Note sword footwork! Seigo Yamaguchi Seminar Highlights from 1983

This is a color 8mm film of Seigo Yamaguchi, 8th dan, shot in 1993 at a seminar in Buenos Aires. Yamaguchi Sensei is seen demonstrating shomenuchi techniques which he relates to sword footwork and linear entries. Very interesting! Yamaguchi Sensei was one of the most important of the first generation of aikido instructors of the postwar era. He taught at the Aikikai Hombu Dojo in Tokyo for several decades until his passing in 1996…

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Aug
11

Screencast: Focus on History — “Morihei Ueshiba’s Ill-starred Mongolian Expedition,” by Stanley Pranin

There is something very odd about the photo. This picture was taken somewhere in the middle of Mongolia. But the party had a photographer along with them despite the fact that they traveled through wilderness and a lot of rough terrain. Onisaburo was very conscious of the promotional potential of this grand adventure and took steps to document aspects of the trip. I have personally seen 20 or so photos taken on this expedition, and Morihei appears in several of them…

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Aug
11

Iwama Aikido: Morihiro Saito: “Taijutsu, Aiki Ken, and Aiki Jo combined into a single curriculum!”

Morihiro Saito, 9th dan, was one of aikido’s most respected teachers. Saito Sensei was one of O-Sensei’s closest students and achieved worldwide recognition due to his numerous international seminars and the publication of many authoritative technical books. He gave one of five unforgettable lecture demonstrations at the 1986 Aiki News Friendship Demonstration in Tokyo that also included: Minoru Mochizuki, Gozo Shioda, Yoshio Sugino, and Kenji Shimizu. These experts bring you the benefits of their decades of training to provide insights that will stimulate your own practice and deepen your understanding of martial essentials. Here are some highlights…

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Aug
08

Encyclopedic memory! Morihiro Saito Sensei performs Ushirowaza

Morihiro Saito Sensei performs numerous ushirowaza (rear techniques) in this amazing video. He provides the name and then proceeds to demonstrate each technique in term in an incredible display of technical mastery. This video will give you an understanding of what is meant when it is said that Morihiro Saito Sensei had an encyclopedic memory!…

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Aug
08

The origins of Hombu Dojo techniques… Kisshomaru Ueshiba: Early Aikikai techniques (1957)

This is an extremely important video. It features Second Doshu Kisshomaru Ueshiba and Nobuyoshi Tamura Sensei performing techniques from the core aikido curriculum in 1957. If people are interested in understanding how aikido evolved in the postwar period, this is an excellent resource. It was Kisshomaru Ueshiba Sensei and Koichi Tohei Sensei who were the most influential instructors in the development of aikido in the Aikikai system…

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Aug
08

Unforgettable event! How to assemble six martial arts masters on one stage… and not lose your mind!

The First Aikido Friendship Demonstration drew over 900 people and was a resounding success. We went on to sponsor three more events in subsequent years, the last taking place in 1988. The Aikido Friendship Demonstrations were among my most unforgettable experiences in Japan. Thankfully, the video record of these events remains as a testimony to the skills and willingness of the participating instructors to share the stage in a spirit of harmony. I think the Founder, Morihei O-Sensei, would have been pleased…

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