Aug
12

Witness amazing talent! “Aikido legends of the past return to inspire us in the present!”

It may have been raining outside, but those inside had their minds on things other than the weather. They were witness to an extremely rare display of Aikido talent and what amounted to a profound statement about the possibilities of cooperation among Aikidoists of different persuasions. The six senseis who performed were, in order of their appearance: Yasuo Kobayashi Sensei, Mitsugi Saotome Sensei, Kanshu Sunadomari Sensei, Yoshio Kuroiwa Sensei, Shoji Nishio Sensei, and Morihito Saito Sensei…

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Aug
11

Note sword footwork! Seigo Yamaguchi Seminar Highlights from 1983

This is a color 8mm film of Seigo Yamaguchi, 8th dan, shot in 1993 at a seminar in Buenos Aires. Yamaguchi Sensei is seen demonstrating shomenuchi techniques which he relates to sword footwork and linear entries. Very interesting! Yamaguchi Sensei was one of the most important of the first generation of aikido instructors of the postwar era. He taught at the Aikikai Hombu Dojo in Tokyo for several decades until his passing in 1996…

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Aug
11

Screencast: Focus on History — “Morihei Ueshiba’s Ill-starred Mongolian Expedition,” by Stanley Pranin

There is something very odd about the photo. This picture was taken somewhere in the middle of Mongolia. But the party had a photographer along with them despite the fact that they traveled through wilderness and a lot of rough terrain. Onisaburo was very conscious of the promotional potential of this grand adventure and took steps to document aspects of the trip. I have personally seen 20 or so photos taken on this expedition, and Morihei appears in several of them…

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Aug
11

Iwama Aikido: Morihiro Saito: “Taijutsu, Aiki Ken, and Aiki Jo combined into a single curriculum!”

Morihiro Saito, 9th dan, was one of aikido’s most respected teachers. Saito Sensei was one of O-Sensei’s closest students and achieved worldwide recognition due to his numerous international seminars and the publication of many authoritative technical books. He gave one of five unforgettable lecture demonstrations at the 1986 Aiki News Friendship Demonstration in Tokyo that also included: Minoru Mochizuki, Gozo Shioda, Yoshio Sugino, and Kenji Shimizu. These experts bring you the benefits of their decades of training to provide insights that will stimulate your own practice and deepen your understanding of martial essentials. Here are some highlights…

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Aug
08

Encyclopedic memory! Morihiro Saito Sensei performs Ushirowaza

Morihiro Saito Sensei performs numerous ushirowaza (rear techniques) in this amazing video. He provides the name and then proceeds to demonstrate each technique in term in an incredible display of technical mastery. This video will give you an understanding of what is meant when it is said that Morihiro Saito Sensei had an encyclopedic memory!…

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Aug
08

The origins of Hombu Dojo techniques… Kisshomaru Ueshiba: Early Aikikai techniques (1957)

This is an extremely important video. It features Second Doshu Kisshomaru Ueshiba and Nobuyoshi Tamura Sensei performing techniques from the core aikido curriculum in 1957. If people are interested in understanding how aikido evolved in the postwar period, this is an excellent resource. It was Kisshomaru Ueshiba Sensei and Koichi Tohei Sensei who were the most influential instructors in the development of aikido in the Aikikai system…

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Aug
08

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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Aug
07

High-level training… high-level people: A Consideration of Aikido Practice within the Context of Internal Training (Revised) by Ellis Amdur

I am of the opinion that no martial art is better than another, but not for the reasons some might think. Some martial arts are clearly, undeniably, better for fighting, at least in certain contexts, and some martial arts are far more adaptable when moved to a different context. Each martial art is good for what its good for, and whatever it is good for is what it is made for. Consider this: in prewar Japan, professional sumo players were, on average, probably the toughest, most fearsome empty-handed fighters around. During the Second World War, they were primarily used as draft animals, like donkeys or other beasts, to haul heavy objects up hills…

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Aug
07

Strong martial spirit! Hayato Osawa demonstrates his powerful style of aikido

In this video, Hayato Osawa, son of the late 9th dan Kisaburo Osawa, displays his style of strong, precise aikido. His techniques are characterized by a strong martial spirit and physicality even though he is of a small stature. He demonstrates suwariwaza, hanmi handachi, and standing techniques on this occasion. Osawa Sensei is one of the senior instructors at the Aikikai Hombu Dojo in Tokyo…

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Aug
07

Your body forms a cross with your partner: Morihiro Saito presents koshinage in excruciating detail

One of the ebooks comprising the collection of technical manuals by Morihiro Saito, 9th dan, is a rare treatise of aikido’s koshinage techniques. Originally published in 1981, it contains a total of 26 koshinage–hip-throw techniques–arranged in sequential photos accompanied by both English and Japanese explanations. This Koshinage manual is the most complete compendium available on this portion of the aikido curriculum…

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Aug
06

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

That Aikido does not work in a fight is a myth propagated by some incompetent practitioners. Some of the best security personnel on the planet utilize Aikido daily with immense success in both harm reduction and successful arrests…

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Aug
06

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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