Jun
09

Morihei Ueshiba with Gozo Shioda! “Atemi and pressure point attacks that make your technique work!” by Stanley Pranin

In this obviously posed photo against a fan attack from shomenuchi, Morihei has entered to Shioda’s flank, executing atemi to the latter’s ribs, and attacked a pressure point under uke’s elbow. This movement is a classic defense against a knife attack…

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Jun
08

Do you know the story? “O-Sensei’s Adopted Son and Heir Apparent”

“I was really impressed when I saw O-Sensei in the film. He had young students attack him for that long a time and he threw them all. He would never lose his balance even if he practiced for one hour. It is really amazing. I doubt that you can do the same in Kendo. I think that his techniques are those of a kami…

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Jun
08

The diminutive magician! “Kanshu Sunadomari’s mind-blowing performance at the 1st Friendship Demonstration”

Kanshu Sunadomari Sensei seemed like an excellent candidate for the 1st Friendship Demonstration and Fukiko was keen on the idea that we invite him. There were a couple of problems, one being that he had separated himself from the Aikikai shortly after Morihei’s passing in 1969. There was consequently a tension between him and his organization and the Aikikai. This made some of the other teachers somewhat nervous about Kanshu Sensei and how the Aikikai might react to his participation…

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Jun
08

Stop that stupid training! “Sunao — Being honest in training,” by Stanley Pranin

Let’s assume that we are practicing tai no henko. I know that uke will be pivoting to the outside while extending his arms in front of his center. Instead of merely grabbing his hand firmly, I lift it up forcibly to prevent him from turning and executing the technique. What I have done is simply to take advantage of the prearranged nature of practice to thwart uke’s attempt to perform the technique. I am not being “sunao” or honest in my training…

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Jun
05

How competition in aikido started: “The Dawn of Tomiki Aikido,” by Seiji Tanaka

I would like to explain how, where and why Tomiki Aikido started. It goes back to the month of April, 1958 when Waseda University approved our Aikido Club as an officially sanctioned sport club (called “Undo Bu” in Japanese), while no other universities recognized any Aikido clubs as such. Instead, all other Aikido clubs were called “Doko-Kai”, meaning a loosely organized club made up with people of the same interest. These unsanctioned sport clubs had neither the prestige nor the status of other sanctioned clubs such as Judo, Kendo, Karate, baseball, soccer, and other major sport clubs…

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Jun
05

Six masters on one stage! “A Gaijin in Japan Ruffles a Few Feathers!”

The first step was to draw up a list of invitees, and assess the likelihood that each person might accept our proposal. Another consideration was how comfortable a given individual might feel in the presence of certain others. It was like a jigsaw puzzle. I can’t remember everyone’s name, but I can assure you the list read like a “Who’s Who” of top teachers in the aikido world. Naturally, at the head of the list was Second Doshu Kisshomaru Ueshiba. If he would agree to participate, then others might be more inclined to do so…

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Jun
05

A bewildering variety of precise techniques! “Morihiro Saito executes multiple 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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Jun
04

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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Jun
04

Birth of the Ikazuchi Dojo… Haruo Matsuoka Sensei’s Aikido Journey: Part 7

When I determined to part ways with Seagal Sensei, my approach was to basically say “thank you very much Sensei, please let me go home.” But through everyone’s encouragement and my own determination, I resolved to come back independent, without my previous connection to Seagal Sensei. Abe Sensei really supported me. He promoted me to 5th dan right before I left. That really encouraged me as an aikido instructor. Abe Sensei also gave me the privilege of being able to promote people to shodan (black belt) through him…

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Jun
04

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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Jun
04

Haruo Matsuoka Sensei’s Aikido Journey: Part 7

Haruo-Matsuoka-700x350

“Through everyone’s encouragement and my own determination, I resolved to come back independent, without my previous connection to Seagal Sensei”

Josh Gold: Sensei, you mentioned you brought Abe Sensei from Japan for a seminar in 1991, but you had a number of opportunities to learn from Abe Sensei when you were back in Japan. Can you tell us a bit about these photos of you with Abe Sensei?

 Seiseki Abe at about age 70 with Haruo Matsuoka


Seiseki Abe at about age 70
with Haruo Matsuoka

These were from 1984. It was actually the first time I took his ukemi, but I didn’t really have the opportunity to introduce myself or learn directly from him until the 1991 trip.

How old is he here, around 70?

70, I believe. Yes.

Nutritionally, didn’t he follow the macrobiotic way?

Oh yes, all the time. His diet was brown rice, vegetables, and fish. He never ate meat and consumed very few animal products because he followed O Sensei’s diet.

He’s pretty ripped, he’s got a lot of muscle definition for a 70 year old?

He developed himself not through weight training but through misogi (a practice involving dousing oneself with ice cold water and focusing on breathing). Because of this, his muscle development is different. His muscles are trained to connect all parts of the body together. From misogi he gained tremendous power.

seiseki-abe-haruo-matsuoka-about-02I remember practicing misogi when we went to Japan in 1992. Abe Sensei had a special room in the dojo with a ceramic tile floor and a huge basin full of ice cold water. We’d wake up very early in the morning, go down there wearing just a small cloth, and we’d fill these buckets with cold water from the basin and just douse ourselves. I remember it was really challenging to control your breathing. It was a very intense experience.

So this period from 1991-1998 is really when you were able to raise a number of high quality senior students as Chief instructor of Ten Shin Dojo.
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Jun
03

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

For many years I have heard “war stories” come back. Some ranging from minor scuffles all the way to serious physical combat, but the more interesting ones have been of skilful deployment of ai-ki, loving intention in TURNING TIDES FOR BETTER OUTCOMES by the sheer courage of the Aikido practitioner involved knowing he or she had the backup of their Aikido training and thence feared not making the stand that made the difference…

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