Mar
12

Breaking eggs… “The Body is the Temple of the Spirit,” by Stanley Pranin

I will tell you plainly what I see and feel every year at this aikido spectacle of spectacles. Every person who steps onto the mat to demonstrate is at the same time making an emphatic statement about who they are and what kind of training they have undergone. You can see it in their posture, their movements, their centering and timing. In the same way that writers lay bare their innermost thoughts and motives when committing words to the page, aikidoka reveal the sum total of their training with every technique they execute…

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Mar
12

Size and strength are meaningless… “O-Sensei toys with the awkward foreigner!”

One of the most famous of the surviving films of Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba was the documentary made in 1958 by an American tv production crew. It is appropriately titled “Rendez-vous with Adventure”. Among the numerous highlights of the film are spectacular action scenes of the Founder including empty-handed and weapons techniques, O-Sensei demonstrating a piercing Kotodama chant, Koichi Tohei wrestling a doubting crew member, Kisshomaru Ueshiba teaching an awkward American beginner. Great action and great fun!…

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Mar
11

What art is the strongest? “Real nature of martial arts and their benefits,” by Stanley Pranin

In deliberating the relevancy of martial arts in modern society, it seems that the discussion eventually comes around to a debate on the superiority of one martial art over another. Martial arts magazines and Internet forums are filled with articles and discussions about what martial art would come out on top in a hypothetical match-up. I submit that such comparisons are an exercise in futility since all scenarios dreamed up to test whether one martial art will best another are highly artificial and usually take the form of competitive matches…

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Mar
11

Preserving O-Sensei’s aikido… “Interview with André Cognard (2),” by Stanley Pranin

Kobayashi Sensei’s work focused on that. He also insisted on many points, for example, he would say, “When you’re grabbed, you do nothing without adopting the other’s point of view. He’s here and looking over there, so you must look over there. If you look in the opposite direction, you’ll never know what he sees and what’s motivating his actions, so whatever you have to do, even if it’s omote, the first thing to do is to take his point of view…

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Mar
11

For Aikido Instructors… “How to create a superb lesson plan in record time”

Think how it would be especially helpful when preparing to teach aikido classes. It’s always nice to refresh your memory on the fine points of techniques when working out a lesson plan, but looking at a bunch of videos and books just takes too much time. In this fast-paced world we live in, we seldom have the leisure to go to this much trouble. Stanley Pranin takes you on a tour of the “Complete Guide to Aikido” to learn how to use this amazing tool!…

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Mar
10

Improved stamina and strength… Competitive martial arts training: “What you get, what it costs,” by Robert

Sparring is a form of training like any other form of training. Even the most brutal MMA matches are not fights. They are sparring. As with any form of training, the questions are: What does it get you? What does it cost you? Every kind of sparring, from light to no contact “tag” to MMA matches serves a purpose…

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Mar
10

He sang me a song… “Takuma Hisa, the bridge between Daito-ryu and Aiki Budo,” by Stanley Pranin

I was able to piece together that he had been a student of Morihei Ueshiba first, and then Sokaku Takeda, at the Asahi News dojo in Osaka. Having learned this, I began to sense that perhaps this man might have played some important role in the early evolution of aikido. Toward the end of our conversation, he began to sing me a song. I remember the introductory words very well: “You came, you came, you really came…” He really liked me, but I don’t exactly know why because I wasn’t knowledgeable enough to ask very many intelligent questions at this early stage of my research…

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Mar
10

The Master in action… Morihiro Saito Sensei teaching shihonage and kotegaeshi at UK seminar in 1988

This is a rare clip from a video of Morihiro Saito Sensei instructing a seminar in London in 1998. Here he is explaining important points of shihonage, aikido’s four-corner throw, also demonstrating how shihonage corresponds to the use of the Aiki Ken. Aikido Journal Editor Stanley Pranin is interpreting…

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Mar
09

Save a ton of time! “How to find anything you want on Aikido Journal in seconds!” by Stanley Pranin

I have faced this exact dilemma constantly when attempting to locate some specific bit of information for a particular task. The problem is that you need to search more than one Aikido Journal website — admittedly cumbersome — if you want to be sure you haven’t missed something of importance. Think how much time you could save if you could search all of our websites in one go! Let me show you how to do just that…

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Mar
09

Self-deception is your worst enemy! “Cover Up,” by Nev Sagiba

Reality has different plans to that of theories, opinions, hypothesis’s and fairy tales. Violence is harsh, even for the trained “expert.” You seldom survive unscathed. It has nothing to do with “winning” or “losing,” as in points or other fictions. Rather, staying alive. That’s the distinction…

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Mar
09

Discover what has been lost! “Decoding Morihei Ueshiba’s Technical Evolution,” by Stanley Pranin

Anyone attending a seminar conducted by Morihiro Saito Sensei during his active years will have noted him frequently referring to a small illustrated manual. In fact, Saito Sensei would often open this booklet to the page illustrative of his teaching point and walk from student to student showing the technique in question for a brief moment. He would repeat over and over, “O-Sensei! O-Sensei!,” as if to validate his technical explanation with the stamp of approval of the ultimate authority–Morihei Ueshiba, the Founder of aikido…

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Mar
06

Hiroshi Tada, 9th dan: “Geriatric Genius in motion”

This is a remarkable video of Hiroshi Tada, one of the last of the postwar generation of Aikikai instructors. Tada Sensei, now aged 84, reveals his highly developed sensitivity, ability to blend, and incredible stamina. What a model for all aikido teachers to emulate! Tada Sensei has always led a moderate lifestyle avoiding the excesses to which many of his generation succumbed. The obvious result is his longevity and vigorous health forged through aikido training as can be seen in this video…”

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