Jul
21

Direct 10th dan from Founder! Michio Hikitsuchi’s “Essential Teachings of Aikido” Online Course in 38 lessons!

Hi, I’m Stanley Pranin here to tell you about our newest online video course, the “Essential Teachings of Aikido” by Michio Hikitsuchi, 10th dan

We are able to republish this beautifully filmed video footage of a great aikido master in the form of an online study course through an arrangement with Laurin Herr of Pacific Interface, Inc., the architect of the original project.

Michio Hikitsuchi (1923 – 2004) was one of the closest disciples of Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba. Hikitsuchi Sensei hailed from Shingu in Wakayama Prefecture near the birthplace of the Founder in Tanabe. He started his training under Ueshiba before the war as a teenager, and later built the Shingu Kumano Juku Dojo at the Founder’s behest in 1953. Hikitsuchi Sensei continued as the chief instructor of the Shingu Dojo for 50 years until his passing in 2004..

Hikitsuchi Sensei became a controversial figure as the recipient of an unofficial 10th dan awarded verbally in 1969 by Morihei Ueshiba. There were those who doubted its authenticity since the ranking was not processed through normal organizational channels. However, no one doubted his status as one of the leading aikido masters of the postwar era.

Hikitsuchi Sensei is a very important historical figure because of his extensive contact and training with Morihei Ueshiba during the latter’s frequent visits to Shingu. He was also an ordained Shinto priest and had the ability to comprehend Ueshiba’s often arcane manner of speaking. A devoted follower of the Founder, Hikitsuchi was capable of faithfully reproducing the speeches and technical explanations of Ueshiba with uncanny accuracy during his long teaching career in Shingu.

You will see many examples of this in the video lessons presented in the “Essential Teachings of Aikido” course. Hikitsuchi Sensei emphasizes important concepts like perceiving the opponent’s ki and seizing the initiative when executing aikido techniques. The precious content he imparts in these videos accurately reflects the ideas and technical methods used by Morihei Ueshiba. We sincerely hope that this information receives much wider recognition in the aikido community as a result of the availability of this course!

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Jul
18

Body flexibility a must! “Progressive approach to aikido ukemi”

A progressive demonstration of aikido ukemi by Maung Thant of Myanmar Aikido performed inside the Iwama Dojo. Several of the ukemi shown are done in unusual ways not common in aikido dojos. Some of the ukemi would not be practical from aikido techniques but the flexibility and agility acquired from such falling exercises would certainly be beneficial to training…

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Jul
18

Artistically filmed… Aikido with Hitohiro Saito and Stephanie Yap at Tsukubasan Jinja Budo Enbu 2013

This video features highlights of demonstrations by Hitohiro Saito Sensei and Stephanie Yap Sensei among others that took place at the 2013 Martial Arts Demonstration at the Tsukubasan Shrine near Tsukuba, Japan…

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Jul
18

Part 2 uploaded! Rare seminar taught by action star Steven Seagal at 1990 aikido seminar

We are pleased to present the first two of a series of video clips featuring movie action star Steven Seagal taken at a seminar in San Jose, California in 1990. This seminar took place just at the time of the ascent of his movie career, and as such is a rare event…

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Jul
17

8th dan Aikikai Shihan… The Aikido of Mitsunari Kanai

O-Sensei would throw the uchideshi, (live-in disciples), with very little in the way of explanation and we would grasp what we could of the feeling of the technique while we were flying through the air. We were budo people, so I think that’s the way it should be. Without trying to keep everything very rigid in our minds, like “1 plus 1 is 2”, we learned and progressed on our own by being thrown by the master and feeling his technique…

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Jul
17

Don’t miss out on the benefits of atemi! Kyusho Jitsu, strikes to vital points, demonstrated by Evan Pantazi

This excellent clip by Evan Pantazi show examples of strikes to kyusho, or vital points, and their powerful effect on the human body. Atemi strikes in aikido are little emphasized despite the fact that Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba used them extensively in his techniques. This video should be viewed by aikido practitioners to whom the huge benefits that the judicious use of atemi offer should be obvious…

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Jul
17

Centered on Kisshomaru and Tohei… “The spread of aikido abroad in a nutshell,” by Stanley Pranin

What is perhaps less understood is the importance of these influential figures in the early growth of aikido beyond the shores of Japan. With the exception of Minoru Mochizuki who was the first to teach aikido in France starting in 1951, the dispatch of Aikikai instructors to foreign lands was also overseen by Kisshomaru — first and foremost — and Tohei whose focus was Hawaii and the continental USA…

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Jul
16

A forgotten era: “Morihei’s Ueshiba Juku, Launchpad of a Martial Arts Career,” by Stanley Pranin

Early in my career as a researcher into the life of Morihei Ueshiba, I was misled by two prevailing myths concerning the history of aikido. The first was that Daito-ryu jujutsu was merely one of a number of older martial arts that influenced the technical development of aikido. This proved to be a misrepresentation of historical fact in that Daito-ryu was, technically speaking, by far the predominant influence on aikido. The second myth was that Morihei Ueshiba had something akin to a “star” status within the Omoto religion that placed him almost on a par with Onisaburo Deguchi, and that he was somehow a “non-member” member of the sect…

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Jul
16

Relaxation is the secret… “What I most wanted to learn from O-Sensei…”

In any case, I began studying aikido because I saw that Ueshiba Sensei had truly mastered the art of relaxing. It was because he was relaxed, in fact, that he could generate so much power. I became his student with the intention of learning that from him. To be honest, I never really listened to most of the other things he said…

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Jul
16

Ken to the end! Morihei Ueshiba demonstrating Aiki Ken at Aikikai Hombu Dojo in 1968 — Part 2

This film is a fascinating document in that it includes scenes of Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba teaching at the Hombu Dojo in Tokyo toward the end of his life. Lo and behold, there are several clips that show O-Sensei demonstrating paired movements of the Aiki Ken right inside the headquarters dojo…

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Jul
15

Son and successor of the Founder: Doshu Kisshomaru Ueshiba demonstrates morotedori techniques at Aikikai Hombu Dojo in 1980

This is an early film clip of a class taught by Second Doshu Kisshomaru Ueshiba at the Aikikai Hombu Dojo in Tokyo in 1980. These scenes will give the viewer a good feel for the atmosphere and practice at the Hombu Dojo during this time frame Kisshomaru Ueshiba (1921-1999) was the son of Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba…

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Jul
15

Do we really get it? We think we know Morihei’s true philosophy…

I feel it incumbent upon anyone who publishes a work attributed to Founder Morihei Ueshiba to clarify the source of the original Japanese, and any modifications to these texts and the reasoning behind such editorial determinations. I believe this holds true for translated texts as well, particularly given the difficult subject matter…

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