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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Aug
06

Gamblers scattered with a wet towel! “Sokaku Takeda: Bodyguard in Hokkaido,” by Tokimune Takeda

Under cover of darkness, Sokaku, carrying his cherished sword, went directly to the house of Tsunekichi Morita, the head of the Mo group, instead of the headquarters of the mobsters set up at the inn, for a fight to the finish. There are said to have been three people at the front door when he arrived. When one of them saw Sokaku’s face, he said: “You must be Takeda Sensei…

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Aug
05

Powerful technique… Shoji Seki, 7th dan, demonstrates ikkyo at the 10th International Aikido Congress (2008)

In this video, Shoji Seki Sensei demonstrates a very powerful form of ikkyo. A snapping movement backed by a hip twist is applied to the elbow to destabilize uke. This is a well-studied movement that should be practiced very carefully to mitigate possible harm to uke’s elbow…

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Aug
05

Blueprint for change… Expanding and Refining the Notion of Self-defense by Stanley Pranin

Self-defense can be defined as the protection of one’s life and/or property against an attack. In cases where people take active steps to safeguard themselves and their possessions, fear is often the strongest motivating factor. Take the example of a young man who decides to join a martial arts school or self-defense course. Most likely he is driven by apprehension due to some perceived vulnerability such as small physical size or weakness. Perhaps he has recently been the victim of an attack at the hands of a bully that has left him injured and humiliated in the eyes of his friends. As a teenager, I personally witnessed one such violent incident…

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Aug
05

Rare treatise on hip throws! Morihiro Saito: “The Upside Down World of Koshinage”

One of the ebooks comprising the collection of technical manuals written 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…

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Aug
04

The harder your attack, the harder your fall!… “Cooperation During Demonstrations,” by Stanley Pranin

Your teacher, too, is likely to be stimulated under the circumstances and may be putting a little more “ki” into his throws than usual. In short, you have a special situation in which some extraordinary demands are going to be placed on your body. You are going to be required to absorb the application of numerous, painful techniques which, lest we forget, were originally intended for maiming and killing. Not exactly a Sunday afternoon picnic!…

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