Feb
12

Over 5 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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Feb
12

Adding a dash of muscle power: “Why Brute Force is Self-Defeating,” by Stanley Pranin

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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Feb
11

Stanley Pranin demonstrates Morotedori kokyuho in Mexico — Concealing your intention!

“A strong partner can block your movement if you use strength!”

Stanley Pranin talks about fine points of aikido’s morotedori kokyuho technique. He explains why we must avoid the use of physical power and conceal our intention so as to prevent our partner from sensing and blocking our movements. This clip is excerpted from a seminar given in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico in June 2014. (In Spanish)

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Watch these videos for insights into solving the
technical problems that hold back your progress!

Click here for information on Stanley Pranin's “Zone Theory of Aikido” Course

Feb
11

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

An extraordinary video featuring Master Leung Daiyau, a 90 year old Hung Kuen master. Here he performs the rare Snake guiding the Crane set. Even at this advanced age, he has the energy, spring, and flexibility of an athletically toned young man!…

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Feb
11

Don’t dance around in a circle! Yoshimitsu Yamada explains kosadori iriminage at Montreal seminar (2010)

Yoshimitsu Yamada Sensei, 8th dan, of the New York Aikikai, demonstrates kosadori iriminage at a seminar held in Montreal, Canada in 2010. During his demonstration, he explains the alignment of nage with uke’s body in iriminage, and also mimicks jokingly this technique performed where nage dances around in a circle, a commonly seen but ineffective way of executing iriminage…

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Feb
11

Stanley Pranin Video Blog: “Iriminage — O-Sensei Style”

Aikido Journal Editor Stanley Pranin describes the origin and execution of Aikido’s iriminage technique as conceived by Founder Morihei Ueshiba. He explains how this essential technique has its origins in prewar Japan and was further refined in Iwama after World War II. Iriminage today is practiced in many different ways, but O-Sensei’s method, though well documented, is not widely known…

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Feb
10

Well executed, unusual techniques! Women’s Self-Defense (1947): “Keep Your Hands Off Me, Mister!”

This rare video shot in 1947 presents Mary Parker and Lon Leonard in a demonstration of women’s self-defense that is obviously mostly jujutsu. There are a lot of unusual techniques that are well executed. Great fun to watch!…

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Feb
10

Aikido began here… “Iwama: Birthplace of Aikido,” by Stanley Pranin

If asked, many aikido practitioners could not explain how aikido came into being. At best they would mutter words to the effect that Morihei Ueshiba was the founder of aikido, and that he created the art either before or after the war, depending on whatever story they have heard.

Of course, from a historical standpoint, aikido evolved over a period of many years. The more well-known organizations describe the process differently, usually in terms of their own creation.

A very strong argument — also espoused by Morihei’s son Kisshomaru Ueshiba — can be developed that aikido was created during and immediately following World War II in Iwama. It was here that the Founder had time to concentrate fully on his personal endeavors that included farming, meditation, and aikido practice.

This article goes into the subject of how Morihei ended up in the country town of Iwama and the daily life and activities of Morihei Ueshiba with emphasis on the period of 1942-1955. This time frame was crucial to the development of modern aikido.

Be sure to read through this article as it is well documented, and will almost certainly contain new information for those wishing to better understand the fascinating process of how aikido was born!

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Feb
10

O-Sensei’s Shomenuchi Ikkyo: The old way… or the right way? by Stanley Pranin

This photo has enormous significance as a technical reference. Taken in 1938, it shows a much younger Morihei Ueshiba beginning to execute what we would today call shomenuchi ikkyo omotewaza. What will appear odd to many present-day aikidoka is the fact that the Founder is initiating the technique.

For most practitioners, common sense dictates that uke will initiate the encounter, with tori (= nage) responding. Yet if we consult O-Sensei’s 1938 Budo manual, we find the following description of the commencement of this technique…

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Feb
09

Spectacular Ukemi performances! Doshu Kisshomaru Ueshiba in Paris (1980) featuring Moriteru Ueshiba, Hayato Osawa, and Christian Tissier

The demonstration of Second Aikido Doshu Kisshomaru Ueshiba during the 3rd Congress of the International Aikido Federation in Paris, 1980. Ukes are Moriteru Ueshiba Waka Sensei, Hayato Osawa Sensei, and Christian Tissier Sensei…

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Feb
09

Historical photos: Morihei Ueshiba O-Sensei and Morihiro Saito at Self-Defense Force demonstration c. 1955

Here are three rare photos from the personal collection of Morihiro Saito taken c. 1955. Morihei is aged 71 years and Saito Sensei is about 27 years old. Also of note is the fact Morihei is demonstrating with the bokken with Saito Sensei as his partner. Well before the advent of the war, Morihei was keenly interested in both the ken and jo and would practice these weapons regularly in Iwama in addition to taijutsu training in the dojo…

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Feb
09

Stealing the Founder’s secrets: “Katatedori balance-breaking at the moment of contact” by Stanley Pranin

morihei-ueshiba-unbalancing

“This stops the information feed to uke because there is no
longer tension in nage’s hand. Uke is left out of the loop…”

Aikido’s katatedori grab presents a thorny problem. I refer to the fact that uke grabs nage. As a result of this contact — uke’s hand and fingers holding nage’s wrist — an energy connection between nage and uke is created. Uke’s fingers enclose nage’s wrist and uke can feel nage’s movements through the tactile sensations he receives. This is especially the case if nage tenses in opposition to uke’s grab.

When you employ physical strength, you isolate the body parts where the muscular effort is being directed. Uke senses this through the feedback transmitted by your hand and arm, and can easily oppose you because he feels your intent. It is much more effective to conceal your intent by letting your hips power your movements. This stops the information feed to uke because there is no longer tension in nage’s hand. Uke is left out of the loop, and can no longer mount a strong opposition.

I believe the above photo of Morihei Ueshiba O-Sensei from his 1938 training manual “Budo” clearly illustrates these points. Please take a close look at what is happening.

This image along with a great deal of experimentation allowed me to resolve a recurring problem I was having in executing techniques against a powerful grab. My efforts to resort to power were futile against a strong opponent. By learning to disturb uke’s balance at the moment of first contact by letting my hips, not my arm, do the work, I gradually became able to overcome this limitation in my training.

Aikido practitioners today can look in many places to find technical inspiration. Although the surviving documentation is sparse, many surprising discoveries await those who scrutinize the details of the Founder’s techniques for the tremendous insights they offer.

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Watch these videos for insights into solving the
technical problems that hold back your progress!

Click here for information on Stanley Pranin's “Zone Theory of Aikido” Course