Dec
15

Real and compassionate regard: “Ethics, an Aiki perspective,” by Francis Takahashi

Although the Founder of Aikido was wont to expound on Aiki theory in mostly esoteric language and terms, using metaphors and almost mythical allusions to established Shinto doctrine in his teachings, it may be safe to extract certain references to the presence of and connections to the need for ethical considerations and activities in our practice. Chief amongst the many to be cited, would be the Founder’s admonition that Aikido is True Budo, with the obligation to protect all of life, and to be in harmonious co-existence with our environment and all its elements…

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Dec
15

Forcible application of strength… “My List of Problem Areas in Today’s Aikido,” by Stanley Pranin

In the last several years, I have becomed focused on a number of areas that I have identified as commonly lacking in training and deserving of the attention of aikido instructors. I regard these problem areas as widespread across styles and detrimental to the development of the art. Among my observations — voiced here and elsewhere — are the following…

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Dec
15

4,300 pages to absorb! “Leaving a Legacy for Future Generations of Aikidoka”

Today is the last day of our Aikido Legacy Package offer, and I wanted to show you something special.

Here in front of you are all of the back issues of Aiki News and Aikido Journal that I published during the early part of my career, for 26 years to be exact.

All 119 issues are included in the Legacy Package. They contains some 4,300 pages of materials including hundreds of articles, interviews, techniques, news, events, etc. I want you to have them in your personal library to guarantee that future generations of aikidoka continue to have access to this wealth of information.

All of this is yours…

A 1-year subscription to the Aikido Journal Members Site with over 6,000 pages, hundreds of articles, and thousands of photos!
Stanley Pranin’s three pdf books… “Aikido Pioneers – Prewar Era,” “Conversations with Daito-ryu Masters,” and the “Encyclopedia of Aikido”
Chronological chart featuring all of the principal prewar and postwar students of Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba
Complete set of 119 back issues of all Aiki News / Aikido Journal magazines published over 26 years!
These are high-resolution pdf files containing hundreds of great interviews, articles, technical advice, photos, news, and more!

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Dec
12

Confusion abounds! What really happened with Koichi Tohei’s 10th dan promotion?

The unclear point has to do with the fact that an “Inauguration Party” for Tohei Sensei’s 10th dan was held on October 16, 1970, fully 18 months after the passing of Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba. What was the reason for the delay and did Morihei Ueshiba actually authorize Tohei Sensei’s 10th dan promotion?…

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Dec
12

A way out of an apparent contradiction… “Morihei Ueshiba’s Aikido to the rescue!” by Stanley Pranin

So, if we wait to be sure that we are being attacked before defending ourselves to be legally in the right, we are likely to become victims and be injured or killed. If, on the other hand, we launch a preemptive attack to better the odds of our prevailing, but in the process injure our presumed attacker, we end up in hot water with the law. What to do? Enter Morihei Ueshiba’s aikido…

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Dec
12

Aikido’s Greatest Figures! “In-depth testimonies of Morihei Ueshiba’s most talented students” by Stanley Pranin

In 2010, I published a book titled “Aikido Pioneers — Prewar Era” that contains 20 interviews with most of the important students of Morihei Ueshiba O-Sensei from the period when aikido was gradually separating from Sokaku Takeda’s Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu.

I think this is one of the most important historical works on aikido published thus far. You will gain a depth of understanding of the roots of aikido and the trials and tribulations of Morihei Ueshiba experienced in creating aikido.

“Aikido Pioneers” is also included in the THE AIKIDO LEGACY PACKAGE. We are certain that “Legacy Package” will become your go-to resource for all things related to aikido. Please click the link below and prepare to be blown away by the amount and quality of materials that await you! …

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Dec
11

Katsuyuki Kondo… to do or not to do: “I worried about revealing the secret teachings of the art”

In truth, when first approached about publishing a technical volume on Daito-ryu, I had quite a few reservations…. Given the traditionally closed, secretive nature of Daito-ryu, I worried to what degree it would be appropriate for me to disclose the oral and inner teachings of the art with which I have been entrusted to those outside the school. On the other hand, given the growing proliferation of technical manuals, videos and the like, not to mention the unprecedented availability of all kinds of information made possible today by the Internet–much of it incorrect and of dubious origin, I might add — I decided that it would be in the best interest of Daito-ryu to publish a written and pictorial record of the most fundamental points of at least the first portion the school’s technical curriculum, so that these do not become lost to posterity…

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Dec
11

Former Aikikai Employees… by Stanley Pranin

former-aikikai-employees

“PARDON! JUST TRYING TO MAKE A FEW SALES!”

Stanley Pranin’s comments in reply to a posting on Facebook regarding the “Expunged” figures mentioned in his video blog.

Thank you, Sir, for your observations which motivate me to express a few views of my own on this fascinating subject. With any luck, I’ll be able to peddle a few more subscriptions due to the controversy in progress to which you have graciously added fuel. I’ll place my comments after yours in quotes so readers will be able to more easily follow.

“It’s fun to spin conspiracy theories and may help the Aikido Journal sell more subscriptions as well as other products. However, I don’t know of a single company that makes any efforts to extol the virtues of former employees that were either fired or left on their own to set up competing organizations.”

SP: It’s no secret that the Aikikai has a long standing policy not to recognize certain historical figures who have fallen out of their good graces, regardless of how important, in print or otherwise. One merely has to look at Kisshomaru Ueshiba Sensei’s biography of O-Sensei, “A Life in Aikido”. If I have alleged a conspiracy on the part of the Aikikai and implied that they have acted in secret, perhaps you could tell me what has led you to believe that I have done so.

To develop my “Expunged” hypothesis, I have mentioned six historical figures: Sokaku Takeda, Noriaki Inoue, Kenji Tomiki, Kiyoshi Nakakura, Koichi Tohei and Morihiro Saito. As an aikido history buff, amateurish as I may be, I’m having difficulty understanding who among them you might consider an Aikikai employee.

Sokaku Takeda, Morihei’s teacher, was actually quite well-to-do and predated the Aikikai. Cross him off the list.

Noriaki Inoue was the son of an extremely rich man who happened to marry Morihei’s elder sister. Inoue’s father, Zenzo, and uncle Koshiro helped finance Morihei at an early stage of his life and made donations to the Kobukan Dojo at least through the 1930s. Since the Inoues were filthy rich, donated money to Morihei, and predated the Aikikai, it can’t be Inoue to whom you refer either.

Next is Kenji Tomiki. He was a school teacher, then a martial arts instructor in Manchuria, perhaps paid a salary by the Kwantung Army (I don’t know for sure. Remember I am only an amateur historian) and Shinkoku University where he taught. After the war, Tomiki was a professor at the elite Waseda University. Perhaps the Aikikai gave him some travel money from time to time when he taught there, but I doubt that he could be considered an employee either before or after the war. I will take the liberty of scratching him off the list too.

Next is Kiyoshi Nakakura who married Morihei’s daughter and lived at the Kobukan Dojo from 1932-37. He was given the name of Morihiro Ueshiba. He was a star in the kendo world and was being groomed to be Morihei’s successor.

Maybe you mean him? But somehow I don’t think so. In any event, he predated the Aikikai, so this is a moot point.

Then we have Koichi Tohei. Perhaps we’re zeroing in on your target, no? His ranking was of course the first 10th dan issued by the Aikikai. He filled the position of Shihan Bucho — chief instructor — of the Aikikai for many years. He was the leading light of the Aikikai, a charismatic teacher, an author, the pioneer of aikido in Hawaii and USA. But… I’m sure he DID receive money from the Aikikai. That must be the Aikikai employee you mean! Well, he wasn’t fired, he actually resigned. And I suppose you could say he set up a competing organization. We have finally found an employee among the list.
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Dec
11

Just for fun! “Adventures and misadventures of the intrepid Ninja!”

This is a well-done spoof on the hilarious adventures and misadventures of two Japanese tv ninja. Must viewing for every martial artist!…

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Dec
11

Encounter of two giants… Morihei Ueshiba meets Sokaku Takeda in Ayabe

One of the things I most enjoy is taking random bits of historical data and organizing them together, hopefully to come to a deeper understanding of a particular subject. One of the most logical ways of doing this is to line up events in chronological order. One day, I did this with an assortment of happenings in Morihei Ueshiba’s life for the year 1922. Here’s what I found…

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Dec
10

Power and precision combined! Hayato Osawa demonstrates suwariwaza, hanmi handachi, and standing techniques

This video showcases the incomparable aikido of Hayato Osawa Sensei in a demonstration of suwariwaza (seated techniques), hanmi handachi (seated vs standing), and standing techniques. Osawa Sensei’s aikido is power-based and very precise. His movements are very quick and explosive. This is a go no sen aikido…

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Dec
10

Sokaku polishes his art! “Traveling the length and breadth of Japan to test his mettle”

Sokaku Sensei traveled all over, from Hokkaido in the north all the way to Okinawa in the south. It is also remarkable that he taught not only in police departments of one particular region, but throughout the entire country. I believe that if his technique was fake or ineffective, he would have been considered useless because police departments could easily exchange such information. The case would have been the same with the military. He also taught at many military establishments. It is sometimes said that Sokaku Sensei’s relationship with the military was limited and only through the Omoto religion and the connection with Morihei Ueshiba Sensei. In fact, however, Sokaku Takeda Sensei had direct connections to the military. This is clear from the enrollment books he kept…

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