Apr
08

Accept the attack of the opponent! Shoji Nishio: “We practice aikido because we have fallen in love with something none of the other martial arts offer”

“In Aikido there is no preemptive strike. But in budo training, a proper shomenuchi and proper tsuki are basic. In my dojo I teach how to grab, how to stand up, how to swing the sword and the tsuki and oblique stance (hanmen) and yokomen. Proper grabbing, proper swinging and proper striking are transformed into atemi instantly. The reason I have students use the ken is to have them recognize these movements. In budo, you are inferior and the opponent is superior to you. Your opponent has more power than you. That’s very important. Techniques are for freely handling stronger people. Your power shouldn’t lessen even a little. You have to display 100% power through your body… “

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Apr
07

Pat Hendricks, 7th dan: “A close-up look at the rigorously precise Iwama Aikido curriculum”

This video presents highlights from a seminar Pat Hendricks conducted in New Zealand and will give viewers a feel for her clear and precise teaching style. This clip shows an interesting teaching progression that many instructors will find useful in planning their classes. She was one of the most skilled students of Morihiro Saito Sensei, 9th dan. This is Iwama Aikido at its best!…

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Apr
07

Hirokazu Kobayashi’s Successor: “Interview with André Cognard (1),” by Stanley Pranin

I had never heard the name Kobayashi. Eighth dan was a very high rank at the time. Tamura Sensei and Noro Sensei were not 8th dan; they were 6th dan. And we were constantly being told Tamura Sensei was the only one. O-Sensei has only one disciple, his spiritual son, you go through him or you don’t get anywhere in aikido. We heard it all the time, and so I thought it was strange. I thought, there are two options, either Kobayashi is an impostor, or I’ve been lied to for years…

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Apr
07

Early Morihei in action… Wow! “Channeling the Power of the Gods,” by Stanley Pranin

I began collecting films of the Founder Morihei Ueshiba at a young age, probably about 18 or 19, when my first teacher Isao Takahashi lent me a copy of the 1953 film taken in Wakayama Preference. It was very enjoyable watching this powerful, old man throw around much younger students with ease.

More than anything else, it was a curiosity, an item of interest to be shown on special occasions. Our model at that time was Koichi Tohei Sensei, and our teachers modeled themselves after him

Over the years, I collected a few more films, and began translating articles about the Founder’s life from the Japanese. Then later, I moved to Japan and started interviewing O-Sensei’s students one by one. Little by little, I got a clearer picture of how the Founder’s aikido was, and what made it so special.

Many of the old-timers spoke of some kind of extraordinary power that O-Sensei possessed beyond the dimension of physical strength. Some said that it seemed as though the Founder were enveloped by some kind of impenetrable energy barrier. They said his body was as hard as steel, and that they were defeated before they could physically attack…

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Apr
04

Flexibility of a young man! Hung Kuen Master Leung Daiyau at 90 years of age, performs the rare Snake guiding the Crane set!

The late Nobuyoshi Tamura, 8th dan, gives an outstanding display of technical virtuosity, performing both empty-handed and sword techniques, on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the FFAB…

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Apr
04

Morihei Ueshiba’s heir apparent! Interview with Swordmaster Kiyoshi Nakakura (1) by Hideo Yamanaka and Stanley Pranin

“I had the feeling that no one could beat me. I had rarely lost a match before, and I absolutely did not want to be defeated especially by people in Tokyo.” A product of old-style pre-war Kendo training, top student of Swordmaster Hakudo Nakayama and former adopted son of Morihei Ueshiba, 78-year old Kiyoshi Nakakura Sensei is one of Japan’s top swordsmen…

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Apr
04

First and only time: “Mochizuki, Shioda, Saito, Sugino, Shimizu pool their collective expertise!”

One of the highlights of the 3rd Aikido Friendship Demo held back in 1987 was the Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu demonstration given by Katsuyuki Kondo Sensei and members of his Tokyo-based Shimbukan Dojo. This demonstration was particularly significant because the aikido public was not very aware of the connection between aikido and Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu at this stage. Thus, there were a lot of curious onlookers wanting to find out exactly what this old art that supposedly influenced aikido was really about…

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Apr
03

O-Sensei’s uke from the 1950s and early 60s! Nobuyoshi Tamura, 8th dan, demonstrates on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the FFAB

The late Nobuyoshi Tamura, 8th dan, gives an outstanding display of technical virtuosity, performing both empty-handed and sword techniques, on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the FFAB…

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Apr
03

Aikido watered down… “Going to the source to find Aikido’s essence,” by Luke

I think that one should begin their method by looking at what Morihei did, or perhaps even what the extant Daito Ryu schools are doing, given our common heritage. From there, of course we evolve and create our own aikido. However, without that groundwork upon which to create one’s own aikido, that aikido is bound to be fraught with problems insofar as martial efficacy is concerned. And also potentially the safety of one’s uke if one attempts to go into all of this fast nagare waza without that solid foundation…

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Apr
03

Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu: “Lifting the veil of mystery surrounding Aikido’s roots”

One of the highlights of the 3rd Aikido Friendship Demo held back in 1987 was the Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu demonstration given by Katsuyuki Kondo Sensei and members of his Tokyo-based Shimbukan Dojo. This demonstration was particularly significant because the aikido public was not very aware of the connection between aikido and Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu at this stage. Thus, there were a lot of curious onlookers wanting to find out exactly what this old art that supposedly influenced aikido was really about…

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Apr
03

“Why Brute Force is Self-Defeating,” by Stanley Pranin

“A unified mind-body is capable of complex, cascading
movements that remain concealed from your opponent.”

stan-pranin-closeupIf resorting to brute force produced effective technique, we could all hit the weight room, build powerful bodies, and become aikido masters! How simple it would be! Helas, it doesn’t work that way… but inquiring minds want to know why.

Why is it that we can’t just make up for poor aikido skills by adding a dash of muscle power to our techniques? What are the mechanisms at play that render this approach self-defeating? Put simply, tell me why using physical strength doesn’t work!

I have a theory about this. Let me explain. Imagine you are on the receiving end of a powerful attack. You get off the line of attack, and now it is your turn to seize the initiative. You grab hold of your non-cooperative opponent with the full intention of letting him know who’s in charge! You inhale quickly, and on your out-breath, let him feel your full power… You’re stopped dead in your tracks!

Here’s what I think has happened. For you to apply a technique on someone, you must have a physical connection. If follows that there are a number of points where your body touches your opponent’s. At each of these points of contact, there are body sensors that receive impulses from the brain that control our nerves and muscle structures. But the interesting thing is that your opponent, who is also in contact with your body, can pick up on these same brain signals that precede your action. In other words, your opponent is “intercepting” information about your plan of action before the fact.
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Apr
02

3.8 million views! Real Samurai Sword – Cutting BB Gun pellet by Isao Machii

Japanese sword expert Isao Machii cuts a white BB shot at him with a slice of his katana. Is this a trick or an amazing demonstration of skill? You be the judge…

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