Jun
04

Birth of the Ikazuchi Dojo… Haruo Matsuoka Sensei’s Aikido Journey: Part 7

When I determined to part ways with Seagal Sensei, my approach was to basically say “thank you very much Sensei, please let me go home.” But through everyone’s encouragement and my own determination, I resolved to come back independent, without my previous connection to Seagal Sensei. Abe Sensei really supported me. He promoted me to 5th dan right before I left. That really encouraged me as an aikido instructor. Abe Sensei also gave me the privilege of being able to promote people to shodan (black belt) through him…

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Jun
04

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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Jun
04

Haruo Matsuoka Sensei’s Aikido Journey: Part 7

Haruo-Matsuoka-700x350

“Through everyone’s encouragement and my own determination, I resolved to come back independent, without my previous connection to Seagal Sensei”

Josh Gold: Sensei, you mentioned you brought Abe Sensei from Japan for a seminar in 1991, but you had a number of opportunities to learn from Abe Sensei when you were back in Japan. Can you tell us a bit about these photos of you with Abe Sensei?

 Seiseki Abe at about age 70 with Haruo Matsuoka


Seiseki Abe at about age 70
with Haruo Matsuoka

These were from 1984. It was actually the first time I took his ukemi, but I didn’t really have the opportunity to introduce myself or learn directly from him until the 1991 trip.

How old is he here, around 70?

70, I believe. Yes.

Nutritionally, didn’t he follow the macrobiotic way?

Oh yes, all the time. His diet was brown rice, vegetables, and fish. He never ate meat and consumed very few animal products because he followed O Sensei’s diet.

He’s pretty ripped, he’s got a lot of muscle definition for a 70 year old?

He developed himself not through weight training but through misogi (a practice involving dousing oneself with ice cold water and focusing on breathing). Because of this, his muscle development is different. His muscles are trained to connect all parts of the body together. From misogi he gained tremendous power.

seiseki-abe-haruo-matsuoka-about-02I remember practicing misogi when we went to Japan in 1992. Abe Sensei had a special room in the dojo with a ceramic tile floor and a huge basin full of ice cold water. We’d wake up very early in the morning, go down there wearing just a small cloth, and we’d fill these buckets with cold water from the basin and just douse ourselves. I remember it was really challenging to control your breathing. It was a very intense experience.

So this period from 1991-1998 is really when you were able to raise a number of high quality senior students as Chief instructor of Ten Shin Dojo.
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Jun
03

Doesn’t work in a fight? “Will Aikido Survive?” by Nev Sagiba

For many years I have heard “war stories” come back. Some ranging from minor scuffles all the way to serious physical combat, but the more interesting ones have been of skilful deployment of ai-ki, loving intention in TURNING TIDES FOR BETTER OUTCOMES by the sheer courage of the Aikido practitioner involved knowing he or she had the backup of their Aikido training and thence feared not making the stand that made the difference…

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Jun
03

Gamblers scattered with a wet towel! “Sokaku Takeda: Bodyguard in Hokkaido,” by Tokimune Takeda

Under cover of darkness, Sokaku, carrying his cherished sword, went directly to the house of Tsunekichi Morita, the head of the Mo group, instead of the headquarters of the mobsters set up at the inn, for a fight to the finish. There are said to have been three people at the front door when he arrived. When one of them saw Sokaku’s face, he said: “You must be Takeda Sensei…

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Jun
03

Aikido 7th dan: “Pat Hendrick’s Incredible Aikido Odyssey,” by Stanley Pranin

Back in 1975, an attractive young blond woman joined my aikido class in Monterey, California. From the very start, she attended class religiously and displayed an uncommon enthusiasm toward training. I immediately noticed she was very athletic and quick to pick up techniques and falling skills. She insisted on being treated on a par with male students, was afraid of nothing, and approached practice with a laser determination. I wondered how far she would go along the aikido path. I had seen enthusiastic students before, some who continued training for years, only to slowly drift away from the art. I needn’t have worried, for this was Pat Hendricks…

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Jun
02

How to stop the fakes! “Dan Rankings” by Stanley Pranin

What is fascinating is the seemingly universal need to justify one’s present standing even by going to the extreme of weaving a false past. At least a half dozen names immediately spring to mind, several of them with successful dojos and scores of students, the latter training in blissful ignorance of the fact that the individuals in whom they have placed their trust and confidence have been untruthful to them…

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Jun
02

Inspirational inscription! Free download: Beautiful Morihei Ueshiba Portrait Wallpaper

It is our pleasure to offer you a a beautiful and inspiring wallpaper of Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba. This image is from one of the most famous photo portraits of Morihei Ueshiba. It was shot c. 1957 when the Founder was approximately 73 years of age. Morihei is seated facing forward, his gaze directly into the camera. His countenance reveals a man of great spiritual depth and worldly experience tinged with kindness. Included on the wallpaper is an inspirational saying of O-Sensei which reads as follows: “Aiki is not a technique to fight with or defeat the enemy. It is the way to reconcile the world and make human beings one family”…

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Jun
02

Taijutsu, ken, jo all the same… Morihiro Saito: “I saw nothing but the real thing for 23 years!”

“Many shihan create new techniques and I think this is a wonderful thing, but after analyzing these techniques I am still convinced no one can surpass O-Sensei. I think it is best to follow the forms he left us.These days people are inclined to go their own way, but as long as I am involved, I will continue to do the techniques and forms O-Sensei left us…”

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May
31

Koichi Tohei, 10th dan, stresses a key principle of the “Zone Theory of Aikido” by Stanley Pranin

Going forward in time, just this morning I was looking at an old technical volume by Koichi Tohei Sensei, the former chief instructor of the Aikikai Hombu Dojo. On pages 174-75, Tohei Sensei offers the following descriptive text concerning the arrest technique being presented:

You are now facing a man whom you want to arrest. If you move directly toward him, in an attempt to seize him, he could easily make use of whatever weapon he has concealed on his person. You should, instead, stand in the left hanmi and, swinging your left hand upward to a point in front of his face, stop his motion with your flow of ki. You need not actually strike his face.

Although, since your left hand comes straight toward him, he will think you are going to attack him from the front, you must actually move to the left as you advance in order to get your body out of his line of attack. In the next instant, move rapidly to his left rear and, following the procedure in Arrest Technique 2, seize his elbow and apply a sankyo hold…

The reason for the upward movement of the left hand stems from the principle that the spirit controls the body. By suddenly thrusting your hand in front of your partner’s face you instantaneously stop his spiritual current and, as a result, his physical action.

This coincides perfectly with several of the central points I stress in the “Zone Theory of Aikido”. With regard this particular point, I feel I am in good company with Morihiro Saito, Morihei Ueshiba, and Koichi Tohei emphasizing these same principles. I discuss and demonstrate this principle using shomenuchi shihonage in this video.

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Watch these videos for insights into solving the
technical problems that hold back your progress!

Click here for information on Stanley Pranin's “Zone Theory of Aikido” Course

May
29

The losers inherited the earth… “Ai-Ki, The Balance of Nature,” by Nev Sagiba

The basis of the universe is one pure essence differentiating into opposites, followed by friction and then the reconciliation of opposites returning to the source. This externally and internally. Winning and losing are relative concepts not founded in actuality but illusion. They “winners” of history are now dust. Aggressors in the end burn themselves out. The so called “losers” inherited the earth…

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May
29

The Kobukan Prodigy… A Biography of Rinjiro Shirata – Part 1, by Kozo Kaku

the same time, Morihei attracted young men from all over the country who came to the Kobukan in an effort to meet him. But Morihei wasn’t trying to spread his personal budo across the world. Instead, his efforts were directed toward further progress and the refinement of his personal technique. He didn’t say it was a nuisance; he just did not have much interest in having many students, especially uchideshi, or throwing his doors wide open. It could be said that, for this reason, he never admitted an aspiring student who asked to join without a proper introduction from a sponsor, and this reinforced a mystique that covered the private confines of the Kobukan like a veil…

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