Monday, December 10, 2007

Saito on Ukemi

"There are often those who fancy themselves great by virtually knocking their partners downflat on the mat. Their concept of hard training is utterly wrong. The essence of real training lies in the throwing process. When let loose mercilessly, Aikido techniques do not allow Ukemi. It therefore behoovesyou to throw your partner in such a manner that he can respond with Ukemi without fear of injury. The purpose of Aikido training is to build up strength, not to inflict injury".

- Saito Morihiro , Traditional Aikido, Vol. 5

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

How beautiful this is

Zanshin means "the remaining mind" and also "the mind with no remainder". This is the mind of complete action. It is the moment in kyudo after releasing the arrow. This is "Om makurasai sowaka" in oryoki practice and drinking the rinse water. In shodo, it is finishing the brush stroke and the hand and brush moving smoothly off the paper. In taking a step, it is the weight rolling smoothly and the next step arising. In breathing in completely, it is this breath. In breathing out completely, it is this breath. In life, it is this life. Zanshin means complete follow through, leaving no trace. It means each thing, completely, as it is.

Read the whole thing in Without Hesitation

Friday, November 09, 2007

KOKYU-HO: when your wrists are held with full force

Slide around to the side of your partner and control his joints as if folding them up. Then twist your hips, feigning a blow to his face with your right (left) hand, and throw him down. This is a KOKYU-HO turning throw technique.

- Saito Morihiro , Traditional Aikido, Vol. 3

Friday, October 26, 2007

Shiho Nage

old skool...

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Self defense

Defense is not mentioned in training. Blending, moving on the intent, "Yamabiko no michi". But not defense.

As to "self", most of Aikido training seems to emphasize the distance between the practitioner and his "self".

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Hard, Soft and Fierce

It has occurred to me that the distinction between soft and hard Aikido is superficial and confusing. Fierceness is much more interesting and revealing property.

While difficult or impossible to quantify, it is very obvious when it is there and when it is not.

Saturday, August 11, 2007


Picture this:
You and the uke stand facing each other. Both of you hold a shinken, a proper razor sharp steel sword in front of you, tips barely touching. The uke, raises his sword, steps forward an cuts strongly with the intent of slicing you in two, head to stomach. You step to the right while raising the sword above the head and cutting down to slice through the uke's hands, stopping just short of that. This is migi awase, we use bokken and not live steel, but the feeling should be the same.

The ability to perform smoothly and in sync with the attack, is the core harmony of Aikido.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Iwama 1964

Morihiro Saito in slow motion, Iwama 1964. I wonder who the uke is.
Things that look diferent to me:
  • 6:35 Uke initiates on shomenuchi ikkyo.
  • 5:00 Sankyo ura looks different.
  • 5:45 Very deep entry on shomenuchi nikkyo ura.
  • 4:45 Seated pins on yonkyo (omote and ura).
  • 1:50 A bokkken suburi (shomenuchi-kaitan-shomenuchi).
  • 1:50 The 3rd bokken suburi as we know it today is missing.
  • 1:18 Bits of 31 kata look different
    • 0:49 The 17th movment (strike to the knee) is high.
    • 0:28 The 30th movment includes a hasso element and consequently 31 becomes a right yokomen.
  • 0:24 Haven't seen this nice flowing kata before

Friday, May 18, 2007

A short one

Everything is simple, nothing is easy.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Saturday, March 17, 2007


Saito Morihiro applying a sankyo Saito Morihiro applying a sankyo. The uke's hand should be attached to the sternum (breast bone), otherwise the technique is "easily" reversible.
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