Tag Archives: morihei ueshiba

Finding Something Wet and Sticky in Self Defense

Closing Ceremonies and True Self Defense Concepts

Guest blog by Alaric Dailey

During the closing ceremony of class, Sensei would often read stories from some of the martial arts books.  Tales of the masters of Myamoto Musashi, Mas Oyama, Jigaro Kano, Morihei Ueshiba and Gichin Funakoshi were common.  Other times it was simple wisdom such as the following.  He gave this recitation many times, varying it each time.

one year black belt

Self-defense, most of you started karate to learn to defend yourself.  If you are here at our little hole-in-the-wall dojo, you doubtless looked at other schools.  It isn’t like this place is easy to find. What you found here is not sport karate, we do not compete in the popular tournaments with pads and touch-and-stop.  By now you know that when we compete, we compete in full-contact tournaments.  However, karate-do is much more than simply punching and kicking, it is a way of life.

Self-defense is more than karate though as well.  You can learn to punch and kick, but what if the bad guy is in a car? More than that, what if your health is bad?  You can’t very well defend yourself, if you are out of shape.  What about your eyes, it is much harder to defend yourself if you can’t see.

Truly, self-defense is less about defense, and more about taking care of yourself and others.  Making sure you stay fit, means you will be able to fight and endure should the need arise.

Never eating until you are “FULL” means your body will be able to react at any time without sluggishness.  You will find that simply slowing your eating, and eating only until you are two-thirds to three-quarters full, you will even out your weight, and be able to respond in any situation.  You should eat according to the needs of energy throughout the day, thus breakfast should be your largest meal, lunch medium, and a small dinner.  These simple rules will help your body regulate and you will have better energy all day.

Self-defense is even more than simply thinking as a healthy fighter.  You should also be aware of your surroundings, and avoid putting yourself in dangerous situations.  Don’t go to bars, and you will avoid bar-fights.  Avoiding a dangerous situation is far superior to having to fight.
To this wonderful and insightful narrative, I’d like to add a few statements. In our modern world, blood-borne disease is a reality.  If you must fight, you aren’t likely to be wearing a hazmat suit, so you may want to look at your techniques, and adjust to avoid making your opponent bleed. Avoid any techniques that may open you both up.   This is something to keep in mind especially when thinking about rape defense. Making the bad-guy bleed is always preferable to letting yourself get opened up.  Pretty much, the EMS rule applies to every facet of life these days “If it is wet, sticky and not yours, don’t touch it”.

About the author: Alaric Daily began practicing the martial arts in 1992. Martial Art she has studied include Pangainoon, Karate, Kenpo, Wing Chun, Krav Maga, Judo, Jujitsu, Aikido, Bagua Zhang, and Tai Chi Chuan.

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The Plan Behind Matrix Aikido

The Truth Behind Aikido

I love Aikido.
I have been dwelling on it since 1975.
I have made a practice of figuring out
how to translate any art into Aikido.
Somebody can attack me
and I can use most any art to defend,
and then change the last movement into an aikido throw.
Thus,
whether I use ‘empty hands,’
or ‘skill attained over time,’
or anything else,
I can translate those concepts and actions
into spiritual harmony.

I remember being in class
I had been there a couple of weeks,
and they had realized that I was already a black belt in Karate
and they asked me to step into the multiman freeestyle.
So I did,
and it ruined the exercise.
Simply,
I locked my punch and stance and whole body,
the flow stopped,
and Aikido became unworkable.
So they asked me ‘out’ of the multiman freestyle.
Ah, well.
I had been so excited, and…
and suddenly this upper black belt came up to me.

The others had gone on with their freestyle,
but Paul had opted out.
He was interested in why they hadn’t been able to throw me.
So i described Karate,
and we tried a few things,
and we nodded in agreement
and saw that it would take a VERY advanced aikidoist to throw me
without my cooperation.
Then I had a thought.
‘Have you ever done Sticky Hands?’
Paul said no.

So I taught him sticky hands.
He was VERY accomplished with concepts of flow,
and he took to it like a duck to water.
Force,
he had trouble with.
flow,
he enjoyed.

And,
the most interesting thing,
he found he could now apply his Aikido
and throw me.

Of course!
I wasn’t locking down as much,
there was more flow for him to absorb.
An advanced exercise
became the connector
between karate and aikido.

And,
I have to stay,
it was the most intense Aikido lesson I ever had.
He would throw me,
or lock me,
or whatever,
and then,
being not just an advanced Aikidoka,
but a heck of an instructor,
he would turn around and have me do the throw.
Man,
it was tough,
but I’m a quick study,
and I managed to keep up with him.

When you think about it,
I received advanced instruction in three arts.
Man, the things I figured out!
Totally mind boggling.

That all said,
let me ask a question.
Just how pure is Aikido?
Actually,
not very pure.
The same thing that infects other arts
infects Aikido.
It is a put together of systems.
It is tied together with the notion of spiritual harmony,
of agreeing with the motion of an attack,
and that elevates it,
but,
while the ends are pure in a spiritual sense,
the method of getting there is not.
The method is flawed.

The proof that the method is flawed
is that the art is not very workable in combat.
The proof is that it takes too long.

So,
what is the alternative?
Well,
when you learn Matrix Aikido
there is a central concept that is not usually mentioned in classical studies,
and if it is,
then only briefly.
This central concept is illustrated in the arrangement of techniques.
Thus,
the techniques are arranged in logical order,
making it VERY fast for the mind to absorb.
All of the techniques,
especially when the central concept is held in place,
makes the art work.
And,
as I said,
work off any other art.

Now,
if you have experience in any other art,
you will be able to apply matrix aikido
IMMEDIATELY
after watching the video and reading the instruction manual.

If you don’t have experience,
but you have a bunch of friends
and are willing to go through the book
exactly as it is written,
maybe six months to black belt.
Maybe 2 years to complete mastery.
Might be shorter.
I’m giving you the long estimate.
Might be shorter.

That said,
I DO NOT advocate
getting rid of the old style.
As I said,
Morihei was genius.
The system he devised goes a long way.

Simply,
there are things you are going to learn
far beyond the logical concept of Matrix Aikido.
But,
if you do Matrix Aikido first,
if you make the art work,
and work well,
and work with any other art,
any weapon,
any…anything!
The doors to another universe open.

You see,
I don’t argue with Aikido,
I merely want people to learn it faster.

Now,
if what I am saying here makes sense,
here’s the URL

http://www.monstermartialarts.com/Matrix_Aikido.html

Now,
got to go,
but check out Matrix Aikido
and have a funtastic work out!

Al

BTW,
if you are reading this on on the blog,
you should sign up for the newsletter.
Twice a week we go into absolutely fun things,
and we make the martial arts better.
Sign up for the newsletter by clicking on the box
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zen martial arts

Aikido and Standing In the Midst of the Great Void

Aikido Quote by Morihei Ueshiba

The practice Aikido works well, but it works better if one understands the various quotations made by O Sensei, Morihei Ueshiba.

free martial arts

You ARE the Center of the Universe!

O Sensei was a mystic. He followed certain shinto based religious practices, and he put this religion and philosophy to work in Aikido.

One quote of his that I love goes like this:

Cast off limiting thoughts and return to true emptiness. Stand in the midst of the Great Void. This is the secret of the Way of a Warrior.

On the surface, this is mystical, oooh, how neat. But if you take it apart, there is solid physics behind it. Of course, it is more the physics behind the physics, what I call Neutronics.

A human being is awareness with a body. If you stop thinking about the limits having a body imposes on you, then you begin to understand the nature of your awareness.

To Awareness, the universe is empty. It is nothing. After all, you are aware in a body, and that means you can be aware in and through other material. You could be aware through that sword you are holding, or through a gun, or through absolutely any inanimate object.

Really, there is no limit to how far your awareness goes.

To understand your nature is to be the center of the universe. After all, if you are the light which illuminates the universe, then there is no other center.

Light, void, the center of the universe, it all seems gobbledegook, until one takes a good hard look and is willing to be responsible for oneself.

Politicians? Doomsayers? Bad people? They are nothing when you assume the center of the universe; they are mere characters in a play to be ignored while you go on about your business.

And, the good news is that this viewpoint is not limited to, or espoused only by, Aikido. Practice any good martial art, cleanse yourself of the need and desire to fight, and you will shortly become the center of the universe.

The process is, of course, sped up through the practice of Matrixing. Matrixing reduces the multitude of confusing techniques into a simple logic, and makes the martial arts quick and easy to understand.

You can find out about Matrixing at MonsterMartialArts.com.

aikido ki power

Shodokan Aikido is street workable

Shodokan Aikido for Street Self Defense!

A lot of people hold that aikido is not a real martial art. Shodokan Aikido is the martial art that proves them wrong.

shodokan aikido

Still the mind and expose the soul!

To begin, one should know that while Aikido is focused on spiritual development, it was born in one of the toughest war eras in history, the warlord wars of Japan a thousand years ago.

The art first took form as Daito Ryu Aiki Jujitsu, and it consists of over 3,000 techniques. And these techniques were the most brutal martial techniques the samurais of a thousand years ago could come up with. These are the techniques that enabled these iron men to survive the fiercest battles in the world.

Morihei Ueshiba, O Sensei, refined this art into a more spiritual way. Indeed, it is renowned as a spiritual way.

What Shodokan Aikido has done has introduced competition to the art. While some hold this makes it a sport (in a sport one has an opponent, in an art the opponent is oneself), it really just sharpens the beast.

Students have to solve more intense problems, make the art work in the face of resistance, and this makes the art street workable.

The techniques are harder, sharper, and they are able to be used against the real punch or knife, and not the stylized attack that classical aikido offers.

The good news is that there appears to be negligible effect on the spirituality of the art. One still trains techniques in the Ueshiba method, they just have to make them work no matter what.

While there was a lot of controversy when Shodokan Aikido first appeared, the conflict has died down. The art survives, and one has no doubt that O Sensei would be proud. O Sensei, Morihei Ueshiba, was, after all, an innovator par excellence. His teachings are being passed down, and the idea that Aikido is a workable art is being upheld.

Yes, Shodokan Aikido is a good martial art for self defense.

The Sword Catcher Martial Arts Technique

I have previously said that the Eight Catchers are the pinnacle of Martial Arts training. And, I have said that you should study extensive fighting disciplines, Karate, Jujitsu, Kung Fu, whatever, before you begin your minimum of two years of practice on just the Catchers. That said, here is a quick write up of the Sword Catcher, it is an Aikido technique, and illustrations can be found in Monster Martial Arts newsletter X-5.

There are two halves to the sword catcher, though, to be sure, you must do them with perfect Coordinated Body Motion and make them into one. The first half is a simple two step into the attacker. The second half is an easy wrist twist technique.

When somebody comes at you with a sword they have the advantage of distance, and you must make up for that advantage. The best way to make up for it is to take two steps. The first step is straightforward, and the second step you turn and let the rear leg move behind you, so you are looking in the same direction of the attacker.

When I first learned this is was described as a ‘mirroring’ technique. Simply, as you stepped you duplicated your attacker’s body, and so that, sometime during the technique, his foot was next to yours, the limbs of your body matched his, as if looking in a mirror. Of course, his image had a sword, and all you had was a picture of him in your mind.

As you conducted this two step towards him, closing the distance and eventually mirroring him, you did the second piece of the technique, a wrist twist. Specifically, your hand looped over his forearm, you hooked his arm with your palm, and you matched his movement. The intent was to go with him, and then take over it, and thus swing him around into a lock.

Timing is, of course, the whole thing. As he attacks, you step, as he swings his arm, you match the swing, as his body follows through, you help it. And you take over it and swing him into a disarming sort of a wrist lock.

This technique can be done against just about any strike, and all manners of weapons. However, it is perfect for a sword because of the exact way it handles distance. And, it is the Catcher of choice because it requires an evolution of the student if he is too make it work. Simply, while there may be other techniques that are quicker and more practical, this one forces the student to evolve in the best manner possible.

Can you read his mind and anticipate his motion? Can you merge with that motion so that he is not jiggled by your touch? Believe me, working on the Sword Catcher Martial Arts technique for a couple of years will evolve you so that you can.

Head on over Over to Monster Martial Arts for more Data on Aikido Techniques.

The Contradictions Of Morihei Ueshiba, Or The Making Sense Of O Sensei

To understand Morihei Ueshiba, the man known as O Sensei, one needs to examine contradictions in his life. This is something that most people, enraptured in reverie, do not do, and this is sad. For it is contradiction that we isolate the crucibles of existence, and the truth of what makes a man.

The man who founded Aikido was sick and weakly as a youngster, and lived a privileged existence. His father sought to make him stronger by telling tales tales of his Samurai grandfather. Did the manly tales cause him to grow stronger…or encourage him to regard dreams as inspiration?

O Sensei studied briefly with many before he adhered to the teachings of Takeda Sokaku. Was he a flake waiting for a boulder to roll over him and pick him up? Or was there sufficient substance in his soul that he was a seeker par excellence?

Early martial arts training included much attention on Atemi, or Striking points. Linear approaches to techniques varied from linear to circular to linear, at certain points of the founders life. Eventually techniques became more focused on kokyu-nage, or Breath Throws, and this is often considered the pure aikido.

The third most important man in Morihei’s life was Onisaburo Degushi, the leader of the omoto-kyu religion. Interestingly, this religion, considered a woman’s religion, was sometimes involved in political upheaval. One can sincerely ask the question whether the techniques of Aikido are female in nature.

Spiritual awareness can be considered to be at the core of Aikido. One can easily make the point that the art evolved over the years in response to the growing spirituality of Ueshiba. Often held up as the pivotal experience of his life, the founder’s firm conviction that the universe is love obviously effected his technical interpretation of martial techniques.

Though sickly as a youth, O Sensei became known for his immense strength. Eventually, age deprived him of all strength but that which he had accrued in the spirit. Once again, we have a firm clue to the changing technique in the Master’s Art.

Having made the above points, having compared and contrasted the man behind one of the world’s most significant martial arts, one is left with certain conclusions. Straight line or curved, muscles vs harmony, even male to female, there is a significance of evolution which should be studied, and can aid any student’s understanding of this most mystical art. In conclusion, to understand Morihei Ueshiba, the man known as O Sensei, one must analyze beyond the white washed accounts of his life, and know that he was earthy, real, and possessed of immortal character.

To learn Aikido in an entirely unorthodox manner, head over to Matrix Aikido at Monster Martial Arts.

Here’s a snippet of this radical method for learning Aikido

A Weird Mix of Aikido Versus Karate Proves Pretty Sane

You know, one of the weirdest thing I ever did was this Aikido versus Karate thing.

I know, the two arts don’t fit together, but I had studied both, and I was looking pretty hard, and I came up with the idea of doing a forward roll (or a backward roll) into and out of each position of every form in Karate.

So instead of stepping to the side and doing a low block, which is the first movement of Pinan One (Heian One), I dove into a shoulder roll and came up to the low block. And, I quickly found out that doing a back roll was much better.

But, then what is the situation you’re preparing for? Do you want to charge in, or back off? So I had to practice both ways.

Then, do a shoulder roll into the next movement. And I began doing all my forms, rolling forward and back, in into and out of, each position.

Man, it was a work out and a half. I was drenched, my shoulders were bruised as I was a beginner and hadn’t found that perfect circle that is necessary for the perfect roll.

So give it a try. Any art or any style can be adapted to to this weird Aikido versus Karate training drill. Guaranteed, you’re going to have a ball, or at least be one.

Check out Matrix Aikido. It’s an incredibly fast way of learning some real functional and combat ready Aikido. It’s at Monster Martial Arts.