Jan
02

Morihiro Saito explains… “Secrets of an effective nikyo”

In this video taken from “Morihiro Saito: Lost Seminars, Volume 4,” Saito Sensei explains in detail the fine points of Aikido’s nikyo. This wrist pressure application is one of the most effective techniques in aikido, but takes great skill to be able to apply effectively. This video clip gives an excellent insight into how to successfully apply this difficult technique…

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Jan
01

Patrick Augé’s New Year’s Message for 2015

Last training session of 2014 at Budo Yoseikan dojo in Torrance, California


Last training session of 2014 at Budo Yoseikan dojo in Torrance, California

“The Black Belt is the modern equivalent of knighthood…”

This is a must-read article by long-time friend and collaborator, Patrick Augé Sensei. Please be sure to have your students read this! — Ed.

Dear Parents, Students, and Friends,

As 2015 approaches, I wish to take this opportunity to share some of my experiences and thoughts with those of us who have made Budō – The Martial Path – the way to travel this life’s journey. Please be aware that I expect students to use the teachings as material to think for themselves and draw their own conclusions. As long as we consider the principles of Budō, Sei Ryoku Zen Yō (Maximum Efficiency, Best Use of Energy, etc.) and Jita Kyō Ei (Mutual Welfare and Prosperity) in daily situations, we will stay on the right path and correct our mistakes – not because we act out of guilt but because we know the right thing to do.

We will know what to do if we understand our motivations for traveling this martial path. What do we want from our practice? Here is a story full of teachings that may help us think about why we practice budo:

A young man visits a master and asks, “Sensei, I would like to study with you. I heard that it takes a long time to get a black belt under you. But see, I already have a black belt in x-dō, one in y-dō and one in z-dō. How long will it take to get a black belt from you if I train five times a week?”

“Eight to ten years, maybe” replies the master.

“But Sensei, if I train seven times a week, how long will it take?”

“Maybe fifteen to twenty years.”

“Then if I train every day with every class,” the young man persisted, “if I live at the dōjō, how long will it take?”

“Maybe thirty years!”

“But Sensei, I don’t get it: if I am willing to do more, how come it will take longer?”

“Because if your two eyes are on the goal, you have nothing left to observe the Path! You are seeking entitlement, not enlightenment.”

I frequently get that same question from prospective students, “How long will it take to get my black belt?” It is a red flag that indicates a person’s true motivation.

But what is the significance of the black belt? Let’s examine its origin and meaning.
[Read more...]

Dec
30

Spirit of honest attack! “Aikido Ukemi: its Pathology & Treatment,” by Chetan Prakash

In budo practice there is a transformation of ukemi, based on skill at the kihon level, into a much more sophisticated function. Yet this transformation comes from a very simple idea: uke attacks in all sincerity and with deadly intent, but upon having the attack rendered ineffective, enters survival and/or reversal mode, while maintaining connection with nage, with the greatest alacrity…

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Dec
30

Power and Precision: “Morihiro Saito at Melbourne Takemusu Aikido Seminar (1985)”

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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Dec
30

An anachronism? “Why has Morihei Ueshiba O-Sensei had so little impact on the development of Aikido?” by Stanley Pranin

By the time aikido began to spread in the postwar era in Japan and abroad, the Founder was already an anachronism. He was elderly, selfish, cantankerous, spoke at times incomprehensibly, and moved in ways that only the most astute observer could follow. He was too much trouble to deal with, and he was consequently marginalized in the dojo he had built…

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Dec
29

Vladimir Vasiliev on Systema: Fundamentals of Knife Disarming

A wonderful demonstration by Vladimir Vasiliev of the soft and effective techniques of Systema against various knife attacks. Notice the use of strikes to disrupt the structural integrity of the opponent…

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Dec
29

Why is uke still balanced? “One change you can make to dramatically improve your aikido!” by Stanley Pranin

When watching videos across the spectrum, I am constantly amazed at how many practitioners and teachers alike attempt to apply techniques on a “balanced” uke. Another way of expressing this is that nage has failed to disrupt uke’s posture before attempting a throw. This is especially obvious when uke takes a spectacular fall. An uke whose body structure has been broken will not have the chance to perform an acrobatic fall. Add your comments to the discussion!…

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Dec
29

Raise your arm like a sword! Michio Hikitsuchi Sensei demonstrates Katatedori Kokyunage and Morotedori Kokyunage

In this video, Michio Hikitsuchi Sensei, recipient of a 10th dan from Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba, demonstrates Katatedori Kokyunage and Morotedori Kokyunage. Michio Hikitsuchi (1923-2004) operated the Kumano Juku dojo in Shingu, Wakayama-ken, for over 50 years. Beginning in the 1970s, he made frequent trips abroad to the USA and Europe conducting seminars…

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Dec
26

Magical! An artistic look at the Aikido of Christian Tissier by Mattheiu Lemaire

This is an incredibly well edited clip featuring professional footage of Christian Tissier Sensei of France and Bruno Gonzalez Sensei. The work of videographer Matthieu Lemaire in editing this clip is every bit as impressive as the spectacular technique of Christian Tissier…

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Dec
26

Intense crosstraining: “Shoji Nishio — Reaching outside the Aikikai Hombu Dojo for answers”

Being unable to get satisfactory answers to his questions, and absent weapons training, Nishio Sensei set out to crosstrain in other martial arts to fill the gaps. He already had a background in judo and karate. Nishio Sensei expanded his training by studying the use of the jo and ken, and also took up iaido training…

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Dec
26

We who have forgotten!. “An Overview of Koichi Tohei’s Early Aikido Career”

Who is Koichi Tohei and why is he so important to an understanding of the development of aikido? Should he be unceremoniously deleted from aikido history due to past grievances or should he be given due credit for his role in the shaping of the art of aikido?…

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Dec
24

From Stanley Pranin and Aikido Journal… Merry Christmas!

The Aikido Journal staff and I would like to take this opportunity to wish all of you who celebrate Christmas a wonderful holiday! We hope that you will be able to spend quality time with your family and loved ones. We wish you, also, a very Happy New Year, and wonderful things for 2014! – Stanley Pranin…

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