Jul
03

Simple and straightforward… Daniel Toutain Sensei on Kotegaeshi

This is an excellent video in which Daniel Toutain Sensei of France demonstrates and explains kotegaeshi, one of aikido’s wrist twisting throws. Toutain Sensei was a student of Morihiro Saito Sensei and his presentation follows in this tradition. Notice how he first unbalances uke by moving to the side in an ura movement. From there, the kotegaeshi throw is executed by moving uke’s arm to the rear to complete the throw…

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Jul
03

“Ukemi waza: Beyond Falling” by Charles Warren

morotedori-kokyuho-dvd29

“From nage’s point of view, a grab is the gift of an arm
and hand which might otherwise be striking.”

charleswarrenUkemi is vital to aikido. Falling is only part of it. Yes, it’s important. Do it badly and it will hurt. But if your attack isn’t serious, why should anybody take the trouble to throw you? Right. In my mind I remember Bob Nadeau, “I’ll tank for you. You tank for me. We’ll call it harmony.” There was a touch of disgust in his voice and he’s possibly the most tolerant of the Northern California “founders”.

Atemi have been dealt with on a number of occasions. From a dojo ukemi point of view it shouldn’t be too hard to learn to do tsuki. I encourage you to learn how to put power in the last few inches of your moves. Without power, speed will only allow you to tap your target. From the point of view of nage, that may be sufficient. I recommend the makiwara for developing power. Heavy bag is also fine, especially for learning the difference between a tap and a punch. Shomen and yokomen uchi owe a lot to sword. Funny thing about that. Heavy bag might be the best training tool. As for other strikes and kicks, have fun. They’re all good exercise. And never know when some might come in handy. Also good to know your limitations. I should never try to kick for effect above waist level. I’m not built for it. There’s a lot of power in leg muscles. You can trash your joints. Kicking air is probably more physically sustainable than anything more solid, especially if you’re over 30.

What I really wanted to talk about is grabs. Atemi are pretty obviously aggressive. Grabs, like most joint manipulation techniques are more subtle, at least if done well. From nage’s point of view, a grab is the gift of an arm and hand which might otherwise be striking. We do so many techniques from grabs. A person might be inclined to wonder why anybody would be so dumb. Well, a lot depends on how dumb their grab is. The dumbest grab is the “You can’t move me or do the technique. Nyah-nyah-nyah.” Almost invariably a fancy technique is unnecessary for those. Outside a dojo such an uke can hang on as long as they can take the abuse of nage’s atemi. When they loosen up, techniques become available. There are other options for dealing with rigidity, depending on how much attention it actually requires.

So, let’s move on to smarter grabs. How about morote dori? Done astutely morote dori is a species of old style ikkyo; sword grip, elbow joint locked straight, shoulder thereby controlled. Fine, the shoulder is immobilized. So what? Well, pretty obviously a move is to pin the shoulder down. Game over. There are lots of other possibilities. I recently came up with transition to a pretty conventional transport technique involving a hammer lock and a strangle. Interestingly that came from a real encounter which started with a kotegaeshi. Long story.

The theme I would like to propose is, “Give up no hand and arm without gaining an advantage thereby.” Morote dori gives a rapid and decisive advantage. How? Joint lock. So, consider how to grab with one hand to achieve that. Katate dori is pretty easy, one handed sword locking the elbow and affecting the shoulder. Hiji dori is harder. Surprisingly, kata dori is harder yet. Ushiro kata dori is a bit easier, placing the hand just behind the armpit and taking control of the shoulder blade with your tegatana. Self protection is an important element in any of these. Mostly I keep the person grabbed at a distance from which it’s inconvenient to strike. Now, aikido has no monopoly on ways to struggle out of a grab. Except for morote dori which has the possibility of instant success, I like to think of grabs as “place holders” which give you time to do something which will be decisive. Gyakute tori, for instance, is a convenient transition to a wide variety of ushiro grabs, or, more decisively, strangles. As nage I think of atemi as place holders too.

http://www.charlesbwarren.com/

Jul
02

A look into his character’s head… Hiroyuki Sanada: Interview with star of “Tasogare Seibei” and “The Last Samurai”

This video consists of an interview in English with Hiroyuki Sanada, star of “Tasogare Seibei” (The Twilight Samurai) about his impressions and experiences of filming this classic samurai film. Sanada also had a prominent role in “The Last Samurai” starring Tom Cruise as the latter’s rival in swordsmanship…

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Jul
02

Shoji Nishio interviewed: Morihei Ueshiba’s philosophy served as a beacon for Shoji Nishio’s thinking in developing his unique aikido.”

I always say that if a teacher of Aikido takes up the ken, he can re-apply his knowledge to the ken. And the same is the case for the jo. (When I was a beginner) I asked how they applied the body techniques to the ken, but no one showed me. Since there was nothing to be done about the situation, I began practicing the ken in 1955 soon after I began Aikido training. What else could I do? Nobody taught me!…

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Jul
02

Morihiro Saito Shihan: “The Undiscovered World of Atemi”

This is an early film published in conjunction with Morihiro Saito Sensei’s “Traditional Aikido” books in the mid-1970s. It is a fascinating compilation that shows a rich variety of atemi, many of which are seldom seen in aikido practice today. The addition of these tools to one’s training would raise one’s technical level considerably. They are extremely useful in unbalancing uke which makes the subsequent application of techniques quite easy. This video is worthy of study over and over…

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Jul
01

Kotegaeshi revived! Video in response to “The Biggest Mistake in Kotegaeshi” by Patrick Augé

On July 24, 2013, Stanley Pranin published a video describing what in his opinion is a major error commonly seen in the application of aikido’s kotegaeshi, a wrist turn throw. Patrick Augé Sensei of Yoseikan Budo based in Torrance, California prepared this video response titled “Aikido Kotegaeshi Theory” in which he explains different approaches to kotegaeshi from the Yoseikan Budo perspective…

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Jul
01

Testing O-Sensei… “Interview with Nobuyoshi Tamura (1)” by Stanley Pranin and Didier Boyet

I am sure that there are people who remember that the former Hombu Dojo was a large, old wooden building attached to Ueshiba Sensei’s residence. In the front alcove there was a hanging scroll of a dragon which had been painted using O-Sensei as a model. To the right of the scroll, bokken, jo, wooden rifles (Juken) and training sticks were displayed in a row. There were strips of wood bearing the names of persons holding black belt ranks hanging proudly together one against the other on the right upper wall. On the left wall there was a large sheet of paper on which the dojo rules were skillfully brushed as if fiercely glaring at us…

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Jul
01

Harmonizing with the Universe: “Memoir of the Master,” by Morihei Ueshiba with commentary by Stanley Pranin

One of the first aikido books published in English appeared in 1963. It was authored by Morihei Ueshiba’s son, Kisshomaru Ueshiba, who later became the Second Doshu. This book contained a short section titled “Memoir of the Master.” It is a collection of aphorisms attributed to Morihei that encapsulates the essence and principles of Aikido…

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Jun
30

What does this mean? “Aikido: Property of the Ueshiba Family,” by Stanley Pranin

First of all, I think it would be safe to say that Morihei Ueshiba’s statements imply that it was his intention that aikido continue to develop according to his vision. It further implies that he trusted his son Kisshomaru – aikido’s Second Doshu – to carry on in his stead. By extension, the Aikikai Hombu Dojo may be regarded as the physical “home” of aikido, and the administrative and technical center of the art…

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Jun
30

Emphasis on economy of movement… Stanley Pranin demonstrates a setup for ikkyo through yonkyo techniques from katatedori

In this video, Stanley Pranin demonstrates morotedori kokyuho at seminar in San Miguel de Allende June 14-15, 2014. Morotedori kokyuho is one of three exercises that Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba always practiced in the classes he taught. Here Stanley Pranin demonstrates a set up of uke where nage takes a short step backward while uke is grabbing. This maneuver weakens uke’s posture making it much easier for nage to execute the throw. Paying attention to such details can have a dramatic affect on the effectiveness of one’s aikido…

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Jun
30

Words of the Master: Interview with Morihei Ueshiba and Kisshomaru Ueshiba

[Aikido] can be said to be the true martial art. The reason for this is that it is a martial art based on universal truth. This Universe is composed of many different parts, and yet the Universe as a whole is united as a family and symbolizes the ultimate state of peace. Holding such a view of the Universe, aikido cannot be anything but a martial art of love. It cannot be a martial art of violence…

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Jun
27

7th dan from New York: “Harvey Konigsberg talks about the importance of using your center while executing aikido techniques”

This video of Harvey Konigsberg Sensei was filmed during a seminar he conducted in October, 2011 at Aikido of Central New York. Konigsberg Shihan focuses on the importance of using your center while demonstrating techniques…

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