Jun
16

New DVD on O-Sensei’s Process by Robert Nadeau

O-Sensei Morihei Ueshiba, Founder of Aikido, represents the highest level of achievement in the art. His martial skills and spiritual attainment are a source of inspiration and example to everyone who practices the art.

His amazing skills are well documented in the many available films of his classes and demonstrations.

This DVD provides an outline of O-Sensei’s approach to training in a step-by-step process. It is a 40-minute compilation of a workshop given in Jan. 2011 by Robert Nadeau, 7th dan Aikido Shihan, a direct student of O-Sensei. Nadeau Sensei has worked over the past 50 years to present what he learned from O-Sensei in a clear and practical form.

This DVD outlines a process of orderly spiritual and daily life development using techniques practiced by O-Sensei himself.
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Jun
16

“Lessons from running and going barefoot with Vibram Five Fingers,” by The Martial Arts Guru

One of my aikido students, Brandon, has been wearing these shoes for two years. He has raved about them. I keep asking him to show me the bottom of his shoes to see how much they have worn. After two years, almost no wear! I’m just about ready to buy a pair myself!

“It only seems like yesterday that I was talking with a Yoga instructor about the strange looking shoes he was wearing. These shoes just so happen to be the increasingly popular Vibram Five Fingers! He was telling me about the benefits that he noticed by wearing them while teaching yoga, and I became intrigued to find out more information. I started doing research on Vibram, learning about their history in the sole making industry and just how these strange shoes came to be. The philosophy behind the idea of barefoot running made so much intuitive sense to me; why change something that nature has already proved to us over time? Think about it, why do we add extra stuff to our feet that will change our posture over time due to the un-natural interaction between us and the ground? This simply is not necessary!”

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Jun
12

“Aikido and Knees,” by Bartłomiej Gajowiec

Knee joints are the biggest joints of the human body. With several axes of mechanical load meeting, there they are one of the most mechanically complicated complexes of the body. Every day they bear tons of load, making thousands of movements that are not just flexing and extending.

Knees are strictly “ligamentous” joints. That means that their stability and basic functions are governed by ligaments and ligaments only. Muscles are only for precise and fluent joint play. Healthy muscles only – to our surprise – decelerate those joints, but also influence their range of movement if they are not elastic enough to let them work in their natural range of movements.

To any aikidoka in the world, suwari techniques are also historical connection with tradition of Japan. It is a part of inherent integrity of AIKIDO.

Since aikido techniques do not involve mechanically fully flexed or extended joints they work in semi-flexed and semi-extended positions. For knees, this means we are in an unstable situation that deserves more attention than locking in maximal extension or flexion. And here is the moment where we need good muscle action.
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Jun
10

An Interview with Steven R. Cunningham: “The Dynamic Nature of Judo Kata,” by Linda Yiannakis

Jigoro Kano executing hiki-otoshi technique

This excellent interview is relevant to aikidoka since it was Kenji Tomiki Sensei–also a high-ranking judo instructor–that devised the Kodokan Goshin Jutsu kata. Tomiki attempted to apply a similar philosophy to aikido, providing a theoretical and practical basis for a form of competitive aikido.

“The idea is also that the basic syllabus of the Kodokan—the Go Kyo, and the Nage, Katame, and Ju no Kata—all give you the foundation to understand Kime and Koshiki, but these operate at a higher level. They have more advanced principles and they are designed to teach you things like strategy, ma-ai, riai, all these other kinds of higher concepts. They are designed to elevate you even more beyond these basics. So to do Kime or Koshiki without first having a good grounding in the Go Kyo and the Randori no Kata and so on, would just be meaningless. You’re totally unprepared to take the lessons that these kata are going to provide you.”

Click here to read “The Dynamic Nature of Judo Kata”

Jun
02

“Aikido and hips,” by Bartłomiej Gajowiec

“Hips are the very centre of aikido. Almost all the stability of a human body is based upon those joints. The way they are, the way they live and how elastic they are and what range of movement they have, are the main factors of fluent and harmonic movement and general fitness.

All aikido techniques are based upon hips… The ability to use it in a correct way is one of the secrets of aiki. To apply them well, to use them in an ergonomic way – conscious control over the pelvic region is required.”

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Jun
01

GlimmerScape: “Hitoemi: single layer,” by Jeff Dooley

Hitoemi posture

“As we extend into the thrust it is important to rotate the back hip behind as the back foot establishes hanmi. In this posture the entire body lines up into a single plane, such that the opponent can only see the front edge. The rest of the body is obscured. The Japanese name for this posture is ‘Hitoemi.’”

“In the picture O-Sensei shows how Hitoemi is both an offensive and a defensive posture. It is offensive because it is adopted in the process of making a strike. it is defensive insofar as there is very little body surface for the opponent to target. It is like you are slicing straight through to the center of the opponent, while at the same time flattening out off line so that the opponent’s attack misses. Pretty sneaky, but that’s how it’s done.”

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May
22

“On the Passing of My Teacher — Soshu, Koichi Tohei Sensei,” by David Shaner

David Shaner with Tohei Sensei in 1979

Two days ago (May 19 at 9:14am [Japan time]) the Founder of Shinshin Toitsu Aikido and Ki no Kenkyukai (Ki Society) passed away at the age of 91. Tohei Sensei was the first to bring the Art of Aikido out of Japan in 1953. I do not have words to describe Tohei Sensei’s influence on my life. His positive impact upon so many around the world is due to his genius at helping people to think and perform to the best of their ability. The learning process is experiential (not mystical); it requires patience, discipline and a commitment tantamount to true spiritual development.

One of the most important teachings of Tohei Sensei is simply to “Be Positive and Grateful”. It is a simple universal principle. If you can learn to choose your mindset and become both positive (in your outlook each day) and grateful in your heart (for simply being blessed with the opportunity to live another day), then you can experience your original connection to the universe itself.

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Apr
13

“Close Quarter Combat Lesson from a Sniper,” by Jeff Anderson

“For anyone familiar with the objective of a sniper, you know that it all comes down to basically one thing…

…one shot — one kill!

And of all the considerations that go into this one objective, the single most important factor, even more than calibre of the projectile, is TARGETING!”

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Apr
12

“Survival Training,” by John Will

“Working defense is a great way to BE on the mat. It’s easy to do, as most opponents are more than happy to attack you if given the opportunity. It’s also a less-competitive way of rolling and therefore a good alternative if you have an injury or for some reason or other want to back off a little on the ‘pace’.”

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Apr
11

“When it’s time to move on,” by David Shevitz

“The phone call was a welcome one, and not unexpected. An old friend of mine, a fellow aikido instructor, was on the other end of the phone. I had been trying to reach him to see if he was able to come to a seminar I was hosting, and if I could provide any assistance to ensure he had a comfortable (read: economical) trip. The voice that greeted me on the other end of the line was filled with that calm resignation that comes only from someone who has made a difficult decision, and now must share the results of that decision.”

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Apr
10

“(Martial) Art Imitating Life,” by Felicia H.

“Whenever a person who is brand-spanking new to martial arts comes into the dojo and we start with the basic hand and foot positions, I am the first one to encourage them to scream – loud, often and like a banshee – because their lives could someday depend on it. Especially with children, I let them know that an evil-doer trying to get them to go ‘away’ by force wants them to remain as quiet as possible. Never let them stun you into silence because using your voice is a way of fighting back.”

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Apr
09

“Padwork And Movement Drills Against Multiple Attackers,” by John Law

“One very safe method for getting a handle on fighting multiple opponents is windsucking. This is a drill they use over at DKK, something that Gavin Mullholland came up with I believe. In simple terms it involves one person striking the kick shields and/or thai pads of 2 to 4 others, while they move and jostle/barge the striker. It’s simple but puts a lot of pressure on the striker particularly when tired and it doesn‘t take very long to get tired!”

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