Apr
28

Gentle politeness of maintaining proper maai… “Is Aikido a traditional martial art,” by Francis Takahashi

One need not prepare to be a parachutist when one is on solid ground. One need not prepare for space flight if not an astronaut. One need not prepare for Phd exams, if one is not going for a degree. One need not prepare for a fight, if one resolves never to be near one or can walk away from one…

Click here to watch video

Apr
28

Epic sweep of history at a glance! Free download: “Aikido Chronological Chart”

Stanley Pranin’s beautiful “Aikido Chronological Chart” may be downloaded by all members of the Aikido Journal Members Site — both free and paid — as a pdf file. This carefully researched chart contains photographs and capsule biographies of some 70 of the best-known disciples of Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba. The kanji characters for all names are also included, and each period is color-coded for easy reference…

Click here to watch video

Apr
28

Morihei’s base in Osaka… “Historical photo: Time-machine back to 1935″ by Stanley Pranin

This is a rare photo of unusually high quality depicting Morihei Ueshiba in Osaka with the leading figures of his Asahi News dojo. The photo is almost certainly from 1935 judging by Morihei’s visage, and the fact that it was taken at a time prior to Sokaku Takeda’s arrival in Osaka in June 1936. The people who appear in the photo reflect aspects of Morihei’s activities that extend beyond his martial arts teaching into family areas and the political realm…

Click here to watch video

Apr
27

Minimum movement Aikido! Hiroshi Ikeda demonstrates katatedori balance-breaking techniques

Hiroshi Ikeda Sensei, 7th dan, of the Boulder Aikikai, demonstrates a series of sophisticated, minimum movement balance-breaking techniques from katatedori grabs. Ikeda Sensei’s performance is a study of efficient movement and relaxed, explosive power. One well-known kobudo teacher once described Ikeda Sensei’s aikido as “crazy good.” He maintains perfect balance and impeccable timing to control uke. Ikeda Sensei’s aikido is exemplary in all respects…

Click here to watch video

Apr
27

Real and compassionate regard! “Ethics, an Aiki perspective,” by Francis Takahashi

Although the Founder of Aikido was wont to expound on Aiki theory in mostly esoteric language and terms, using metaphors and almost mythical allusions to established Shinto doctrine in his teachings, it may be safe to extract certain references to the presence of and connections to the need for ethical considerations and activities in our practice. Chief amongst the many to be cited, would be the Founder’s admonition that Aikido is True Budo, with the obligation to protect all of life, and to be in harmonious co-existence with our environment and all its elements…

Click here to read more

Apr
27

Forcible application of strength… “My List of Problem Areas in Today’s Aikido” by Stanley Pranin

In the last several years, I have becomed focused on a number of areas that I have identified as commonly lacking in training and deserving of the attention of aikido instructors. I regard these problem areas as widespread across styles and detrimental to the development of the art. Among my observations — voiced here and elsewhere — are the following…

Click here to watch video

Apr
24

Power and precision combined! Hayato Osawa demonstrates suwariwaza, hanmi handachi, and standing techniques

This video showcases the incomparable aikido of Hayato Osawa Sensei in a demonstration of suwariwaza (seated techniques), hanmi handachi (seated vs standing), and standing techniques. Osawa Sensei’s aikido is power-based and very precise. His movements are very quick and explosive. This is a go no sen aikido…

Click here to watch video

Apr
24

Tons of comments “The problem with Nikyo and Kote Gaeshi” by Phil Davison

When I first started doing martial arts I trained in a Hapkido dojo (dojang) where the sparring was reasonably intense. We had a lot of injuries. I don’t agree with this sort of training and nowadays my students very rarely injure themselves. But in training like that I learned a few valuable lessons, and these have got me thinking about Kote Gaeshi and Nikyo…

Click here to watch video

Apr
24

Sokaku polishes his art! “Traveling the length and breadth of Japan to test his mettle”

Sokaku Sensei traveled all over, from Hokkaido in the north all the way to Okinawa in the south. It is also remarkable that he taught not only in police departments of one particular region, but throughout the entire country. I believe that if his technique was fake or ineffective, he would have been considered useless because police departments could easily exchange such information. The case would have been the same with the military. He also taught at many military establishments. It is sometimes said that Sokaku Sensei’s relationship with the military was limited and only through the Omoto religion and the connection with Morihei Ueshiba Sensei. In fact, however, Sokaku Takeda Sensei had direct connections to the military. This is clear from the enrollment books he kept…

Click here to watch video

Apr
23

Early aikido on display! “Hiroshi Tada demonstration from 1957″

This is a fascinating clip consisting of a short demonstration given by Hiroshi Tada, 9th dan, in 1957. This video and several others were shot by André Nocquet, an early French practitioner, at the Ichigaya rooftop dojo of the Self-Defense Agency in Tokyo. Notable points are: Tada Sensei is 27 years old in this film; all of the techniques are executed in response to the attack (go no sen); the ukemi performed from the kotegaeshi throw are back falls, unlike the high falls that one would see in demonstrations today; Tada Sensei is partnered by the late Nobuyoshi Tamura…

Click here to watch video

Apr
23

Colorizing history! Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba

One of the interesting aspects of my work is the abundance of technology I must use to produce the materials we publish. Since we deal with a lot of historical material, most of the images and videos we have preserved are black and white. To give an example, look at the inset photo from this image of Morihei Ueshiba. The portrait was taken around 1957, naturally in black and white. I have always been fascinated by the process of colorization and recently for the first time asked a professional graphic artist to work on this photo to see what could be achieved…

Click here to watch video

Apr
23

Steven Seagal’s uke… The founding of Ten Shin Dojo in Los Angeles and Matsuoka Sensei’s first experiences in America

Seagal Sensei found a good location, but there were several walls in the space we had to break and destroy. When we were done, there was this big area but with two poles in the middle. Ha ha ha! Too late! We had to stay for four months. And then of course we didn’t have many students. He was expecting 100 students immediately, and there were no students, so we ran out of money. But James Coburn and others really helped support the dojo at that time…

Click here to watch video