Elegance in Aikido

David Alexander Sensei was my sempai when I trained at Iwama in 1980. He had the rare experience of spending over 10 years training under Saito Sensei, in Iwama while Saito Sensei was in his prime. He also gave me my “sayonara nikkyo”, when I returned home. He explains his idea of elegance in Aikido […]

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Relax when you Throw

Some years ago, when struggling to gain insight into how to powerfully perform morote dori kokyu nage (the basic form practised at the start of every keiko) I cam across an article by Koichi Tohei in Aikido Journal (Vol. 24, No. 2 1997). Tohei Sensei 10th dan, the previous dojo-cho of the Aikikai Honbu Dojo and founder

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Why sweat the small stuff

Students often say, “why is it important to do the technique ‘precisely’ surely everyone is different – we can do it in our own way”,  or particularly for westerens “near-enough is good enough”. Saito Sensei commented in his “Dos and Don’ts while training” (Volume 5 – Training Works Wonders page 41): Perform Exercises Accurately There

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On Aikido Training

An excerpt from the 1938 Training Manual, “Budo”, by the Founder of Aikido, Morihei Ueshiba. Translated by Mark L. Larson 5th dan. 1. Aikido can determine life or death with a single blow; therefore, when training, observe the directions of the instructor and do not engage in contests of strength. 2. Aikido is a Way

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We start with tai-no-henko

Learning to turn the body, or tai-no-henko is an important practice from the Iwama Dojo. In Morihei Ueshiba’s 1938 training manual “Budo” it is stated that “daily practice begins with tai no henko“ (see point 5 of the section entitled “How to Practice”). According to Saito Sensei, performing tai-no-henko from katate-dori (one hand gripped) was the way

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Learning to Walk

I had trained in karate for over 9 years and thought as a black belt I had reached a senior level of understanding. But after just 6 months of practising Shindo Musu-ryu Jodo, my teacher said to me: “You do not know how to walk properly – you are walking on your heels!”. “So”  I

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