Dec
24

Harmonizing with the Universe: “Memoir of the Master,” by Morihei Ueshiba with commentary by Stanley Pranin

One of the first aikido books published in English appeared in 1963. It was authored by Morihei Ueshiba’s son, Kisshomaru Ueshiba, who later became the Second Doshu. This book contained a short section titled “Memoir of the Master.” It is a collection of aphorisms attributed to Morihei that encapsulates the essence and principles of Aikido…

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Dec
23

Can you handle kicks? Jose Andrade Sensei demonstrates Aikido defenses against kicks and groundwork

This is an interesting video in which Jose Andrade Sensei of the Aikido Tenshinkai of Florida presents a number of approached to defenses against kicks and groundwork, topics seldom covered in dojo training…

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Dec
23

It’s not rocket science! Morihiro Saito: “Steps to make kotegaeshi work”

In this video taken from “Morihiro Saito: Lost Seminars, Volume 7,” Saito Sensei explains in detail the fine points of Aikido’s kotegaeshi or “wrist twist” techniques. It’s easy to see why he is regarded as such a gifted teacher because of his ability to focus on essential concepts and explain them in an easily intelligible manner…

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Dec
23

Take the opponent’s mind! “Shoji Nishio’s dilemma… and his solution!”

Shoji Nishio began his aikido training at the end of 1951 when there was little activity at the Aikikai Hombu Dojo. Kisshomaru Ueshiba and Koichi Tohei, and a small cadre of relatively inexperienced instructors conducted classes. Although Nishio Sensei was captivated by aikido and the art of Founder Morihei Ueshiba, he felt disillusioned at the lack of martiality and weapons training at the central dojo. Being unable to get satisfactory answers to his questions, and absent weapons training, Nishio Sensei set out to crosstrain in other martial arts to fill the gaps…

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Dec
22

NY Aikikai Chief Instructor… Yoshimitsu Yamada Sensei’s Life Story trailer

This video is the trailer for a film documentary telling the life story of the New York Aikikai’s Yoshimitsu Yamada Sensei, 8th dan. His life in aikido is a fascinating tale and this video promises to document his story in a beautifully artistic manner…

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Dec
22

I only knew about him by hearsay… “O-Sensei often had me draw a circle, triangle and a square.”

He rarely came down from Iwama. It was half a year after I joined the dojo that I saw his face for the first time. Until then, I only knew about him by hearsay. There weren’t any pictures of him like we have now. When he smiled, his eyes disappeared. But when you just caught a glance of him, the impression was really strong. When he looked at something for a second, his face disappeared into his eyes. (Laughter) O-Sensei used to tell us a story. We were really cheeky. For the most part, people did not approach O-Sensei… Whenever I had a question I went up to O-Sensei and asked, “O-Sensei, there was something I didn’t understand of what you said a little while ago.” Sensei would say, “Oh, good you noticed that.” O-Sensei often had me draw a circle, triangle and a square and would say, “Keep it with you and bring it to me when I need it…

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Dec
22

Simple and straightforward… Daniel Toutain Sensei on Kotegaeshi

This is an excellent video in which Daniel Toutain Sensei of France demonstrates and explains kotegaeshi, one of aikido’s wrist twisting throws. Toutain Sensei was a student of Morihiro Saito Sensei and his presentation follows in this tradition. Notice how he first unbalances uke by moving to the side in an ura movement. From there, the kotegaeshi throw is executed by moving uke’s arm to the rear to complete the throw…

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Dec
19

Making violent situations less violent! Follow-up to “An End To Collusion,” by Tom Collings

I love the art of aikido and when lax, casual practice passes for harmony, and when training with effort and intensity is considered “violent” then we have surely lost the Founder’s Way. We have trivialized what is profound, and made superficial that which should have depth, the Founder’s earnest struggle to learn and understand, and find new possibilities in conflict. Our modern culture attempts to make everything light and easy, even O’Sensei’s work of a lifetime…

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Dec
19

I became Saito Sensei’s otomo… “Interview with Pat Hendricks” by Ikuko Kimura

I went back to America for nearly eight years then returned to Iwama for a number of months, and I continued going back frequently as a short-term uchideshi until 1988 when I decided to become a long-term uchideshi again, for the last time. I have made fifteen or sixteen visits to Iwama all together, but that was my fifth or sixth. I had already started my own dojo back in 1984, and I deliberately decided to leave it, turned it over to a friend and went back to Japan, where I stayed for about 18 months…

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Dec
19

The art of forgiveness… Shoji Nishio: “Stand naturally and enter immediately when your opponent is about to move!”

Shoji Nishio Sensei chose the sometimes controversial path of not imitating the founder’s technique, but rather absorbing aikido’s essential principles and adapting them to the current cultural context. In this regard, his technique was constantly evolving as his technical understanding and skills improved. For this reason, Nishio’s aikido bore little resemblance to orthodox aikido exemplified by the Hombu approach that tended to be conservative in nature. “Budo must always reflect its surroundings. If it isn’t newer and stronger, it isn’t valid…

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Dec
18

7th dan from New York: “Harvey Konigsberg talks about the importance of using your center while executing aikido techniques”

This video of Harvey Konigsberg Sensei was filmed during a seminar he conducted in October, 2011 at Aikido of Central New York. Konigsberg Shihan focuses on the importance of using your center while demonstrating techniques…

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Dec
18

First seen in 1935 film: “Kyoichi Inoue, 9th dan Yoshinkan Aikido, demonstrates ‘mysterious’ throw”

Kyoichi Inoue Sensei, 9th dan, demonstrates a spectacular technique first seen in the 1935 film of Morihei Ueshiba. Gozo Shioda Sensei of Yoshinkan Aikido would show it often in his demonstrations. Inoue Sensei here explains the fine points of making this technique work effectively…

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