Oct
31

Get Un-Stuck! David Shaner presents principles of Ki Aikido at TED x Greenville

One of the finest presentations of the philosophy and art of Ki Aikido applied to challenging our thinking patterns by one of the leading students of Koichi Tohei, 10th dan. Dr. David Shaner is a 7th Degree Black Belt in the Japanese art of Ki-Aikido. He is the Chief Instructor of the Eastern (USA) Ki Federation and Japan Headquarters Advisor to the Eastern Europe/Russia Ki-Aikido Federation where he teaches each year…

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Oct
31

“Competition and Budo… Oil and Vinegar?” by Ken Teshima

judo-competition

“I believe the antidote to the “virus” of competition is to make sure one has a strong foundation in the philosophy of the true path of Budo. “

ken-teshimaAs I sit here writing my paper, I am contemplating the Judo tournament I competed in recently. I was eliminated early in a pool of talented Judoka, and what is the usual post-tournament ritual, I ponder all the things that worked, and things that didn’t. There is, of course, disappointment in losing, but there is also much positive energy to get back into the dojo and continue the ongoing process of polishing these things that need improvement, and adding to my base of knowledge and experience. There is no doubt that participation in tournaments has been a key ingredient in the advancement of my skills in Judo. All body parts are intact and functional, and I will be able to continue practice without missing a beat. The advice given me by my Aikido Sensei (himself an accomplished Judoka) was “don’t get hurt”. He is a man of few words, but when he speaks you best listen. Since then, I have developed a philosophy of competition (and training) of “live today to fight again tomorrow”. Through this paper, I hope to lend food for thought to my fellow Budoka who study all forms of martial arts, but especially to my comrades in the Aikido world.

At a very young age, I was dragged into the dojo by my father in order to teach me discipline and keep me on the straight path. He was an Aikido teacher who had many mishaps as a youth which ended taking his life in a negative direction; one that he did not want me to follow, and felt that the teachings of Aikido would help me to build the internal fortitude and character necessary to live a more positive life than he.

Aikido came to the US through Hawaii, and it was during my youth of the 60’s and 70’s that Aikido in Hawaii was at its peak. Senseis then were recruited from other disciplines like Kendo, Karate and Judo. We trained so hard in those days, and I was many times in tears from being thrown, punched, kicked, or just being exhausted. Sensei would have no pity for anyone, and would get mad if you gave up. In spite of what many people today would judge to be abusive, this was how Budo was taught back then. I knew that he had a genuine concern for my wellbeing, however, and that he was being tough because it was going to make me stronger and a better person.
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Oct
31

Why go to Japan? “Is ‘Stealing’ Really the Best Policy?” by Stanley Pranin

Morihiro Saito was an exception to this rule. That was one of the main reasons I choose to move to Iwama and study with him. He would clearly explain what he was doing and demonstrate the correct execution of techniques so that students could make quick progress. Moreover, he wrote many books and left a wealth of videos where he introduces his technical system in very clear terms…

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Oct
31

PDF download: Rare! January 1964 issue of Aikikai Hombu Dojo Newspaper

While going through some old boxes of documents, we recently came upon a collection of old English-language newspapers published by the Aikido Headquarters Dojo in Tokyo. They contain a lot of good historical information that most of today’s practitioners have not seen. In the interests of better informing our readers and insuring that these rare documents survive into the next generation, we are offering a free PDF download of scans of the very first issue published in January 1964. Here are the contents of the first issue of the 4-page newspaper…

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Oct
30

Genuine and firm attacks… “Aikido and Karate: A Love-Love Relationship,” by Nathan Ray

The lessening of atemi in the training hall was for the purpose of strengthening the other major aspects of the art. All of this is true and documented. Knowing atemi and not using it puts one in a much better place, than not knowing atemi and needing it. I have found that the use of atemi and the knowledge of the striking and kicking of Karate has strengthened my understanding and research of Aikido…

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Oct
30

Christian Tissier’s Sensei! Seigo Yamaguchi, 8th dan, explores the intricacies of ikkyo (1986)

In this rare video, Seigo Yamaguchi Sensei, explores the in and outs of ikkyo techniques in his easygoing, genial manner. Yamaguchi Sensei’s aikido was totally unique among the major teachers of the postwar era. He enjoyed great popularity among foreign students at the Aikikai Hombu Dojo in the 1970s through the mid-1990s. He had an especially large contingent of devoted French practitioners, chief among them, Christian Tissier Sensei…

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Oct
30

O-Sensei had no wrists! “Morihei Ueshiba’s remarkable physical development,” by Stanley Pranin

This is quite an interesting photo taken in the early 1960s at the Aikikai Hombu Dojo which would put the Founder in his late 70s. O-Sensei’s body development was quite remarkable, and the Founder took pride in his physical conditioning. I once remember Sadateru Arikawa Sensei saying, “The Founder had no wrists!” By that he meant that the thickness of his forearms extended right into his hands so that it appeared he had no wrists! This photo demonstrates what Arikawa Sensei was talking about…

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Oct
29

Aikido pioneer in Hawaii… Koichi Tohei, 10th dan, escapes from bear hug of huge American soldier

This is a rare photo of Koichi Tohei Sensei, 10th dan, teaching a group of military personnel in Hawaii. Here he seems perfectly at ease even while a large American applies a powerful bear hug from behind. Tohei Sensei had an uncanny ability to easily escape from such holds by maintaining his center and a perfectly relaxed state. No doubt he won over a number of converts among the military through his convincing demonstrations…

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Oct
29

More on “Go no Sen” – The Path to Defeat by Luciano Estivill


“It is almost irrelevant who performs the technique first, the only thing that
really counts is you making the aggressor do what you want him to do”

The other day “Aikido en Línea” published a Spanish translation of my article titled “Go no Sen — The Path to Defeat”. This was shared by Takemusu Aiki on Facebook which brought it to my attention. One of commentators, Luciano Estivill, added several observations that expanded upon the themes I touched on. He is very articulate and I think readers will enjoy his comments.

luciano-estivillI subscribe 100% to what you said (which is in fact the same concept O-Sensei Ueshiba talked about all the time, and some aikidoka forget easily). No matter the aggressor or his attack, the point is controlling the combat from the very beginning. I understand “control” as Nage “leading” the encounter. It is almost irrelevant who performs the technique first, the only thing that really counts is you making the aggressor do what you want him to do.

So maybe Nage has to “invite” Uke somehow to attack first and neutralize him or counterattack him, or maybe Nage has to go for it. I always remeber Chiba Sensei explaining that he read O-Sensei’s diary or something like that, and O-Sensei’s words were: “I have to get him before he gets me”. It’s too clear to me he’s talking about controlling the aggressor BEFORE the aggressor tries to attack him, or further: even before the aggressor does something. And controlling the combat from the beginning probably means simply, pronounce the exact word at the exact moment, and maybe the aggressor throws in the towel, turns back, and retires.

The main problem, Stanley Sensei is, in my humble opinion, that some aikidoka think that doing the first move (or even applying a technique on the aggressor before he does something) is an “attack”. But martially speaking, it’s nonsense. The aggressor “attacks” (that’s why he’s the aggressor), so if you realise the other guy is about to do something, or about to get you, even if he still doesn’t move (but you know he’s about to do it), you as the “defender” will probably be forced to move before him, or do something before he can make a try on you, which can be a sankyo, a kubishime, some yubidori, a kick, a punch, a word, a warning, or whatever you need to do. Just standing still waiting for the aggressor to attack and do what he wants (when you are sure he’ll do something), is absolutely ridiculous!. From a martial point of view, is not only nonsense but dangerous (for both you and even the aggressor!).

Oct
29

“The venerable Aikido Journal Bibliography has risen from the ashes!” by Clark Bateman

bibliography

“THE MOST COMPLETE BIBLIOGRAPHIC
REFERENCE ON AIKIDO EVER COMPILED!”

clark-bateman-150pxHello, fellow aikidoka! We are happy to announce that the venerable Aikido Journal Bibliography has risen from the ashes!

We have reformatted and updated the entire database, and set it up to work with all our current web software. There are now more than 400 entries, covering all aikido or aiki-related books we are aware of that were ever published in English or multilingual formats. All entries have at least a short summary, and as much publisher’s info as we can find. We have also identified a few obscure “white elephants” that don’t really exist, but persist in giving the impression that they do, due to erroneous information on the web.

We have tried to provide cover photos for all available editions of each title. We have also updated the records to show Kindle and Nook editions, and have provided listings for those titles only published in those non-print formats. The records are tagged and searchable several ways, so you should be able to quickly get where you need to go. Just follow the nav tips on the front page.

This Bibliography is YOUR resource, and we have even ported in all the comments and reviews from the previous incarnation. We have provided the means for users to continue to augment the content by posting their own comments and reviews. Your comments will be appreciated, and will only serve to make this an even more valuable resource, not just to the bibliophiles among us, but for the “normal” folks, as well! We’ll update and add titles as quickly as we find out about them, so we’ll always try to be as current as possible. We’d also love it if those among you who have authored books in the database to chime in with some thoughts from your unique perspective.

This is a free resource, accessible from links on both Aikido Journal websites, as well as other AJ social media. It can also be entered directly at bibliography.aikidojournal.com. Give it a look… We hope that you’ll find it useful, and add it to your favorites and bookmarks. Enjoy!

Oct
28

Do you do it this way? How to tie your belt!

A clear, step-by-step video of one approach to tying your martial arts belt so that it hangs even. This is something that beginners will find useful…

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Oct
28

Where you need to go… “Learning and Aikido—Your Mileage May Vary,” by Kara L. Stewart

All the throwing and being thrown in Aikido also has led to other changes. Getting up off the mat a zillion times during class may sound like a horrible way to choose to spend time. On the contrary, I’ve found it freeing and motivating unlike anything else I’ve ever done. There’s something to that notion of “I just have to get up one time more than I’m thrown” that is seeping into the other corners of my life, which leads to what Aikido is helping me learn on the emotional end of things…

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