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Members Only Section - June 2008
Masando Sasaki Sensei Aikido Demo

This is a demo Masando Sasaki Shihan did in 1986 at the All Japan Aikido Demonstration. If you watch closely, note Sasaki Sensei's emphasis on extension of his hara, his ki, or his aura. His extension envelopes and overwhelms any attacker. Furthermore, he has amazing connection throughout the entire technique. 

It is my understanding that his uke in this video is Suma Shihan from Osaka.  Suma Shihan was known for his ukemi, and at Wakayama University set the record for taking ukemi the longest. Called "endless ukemi," partners would throw you for as long as you could stand. There was no time limit, it was completely up to you and your mental endurance to determine how long you would go. It was Iio Shihan, my instructor and mentor from our days in Nagasaki, who threw Suma Shihan for that event. Iio Shihan told me that Suma Shihan took ukemi for an hour and forty five minutes straight. 

When you watch two pros like Sasaki and Suma Shihan perform technique you see the ultimate connection and control. When I trained with Sasaki Sensei, he literally pinned me numerous times with just one finger. This is only possible through the constant practice of completely taking uke's center before an attack ever gets to you. 

As we watch Sasaki Sensei extend his ki in this video, we can see how he first is in total control of himself and subsequently, of his entire environment which, of course, includes uke. Perhaps, a better word than "controlling" his environment might be the cliche, "He has become one with his universe". He does it by accepting everything as it is. Sasaki Sensei doesn't "wish" or "hope" that the environment is any different than it is. Neither, does he judge the uke's shomen uchi as an attack.  Rather he accepts the arm as a part of himself and his environment. And, that is what create his power.
Aikido - Shihan Kenji Kumagai

This is a demo of Kenji Kumagai Shihan who was responsible for bringing Saotome Sensei to Wakayama University, and when he chose to move to the U.S. also recruited Sasaki Sensei as Wakayama University's Shihan. Kumagai Shihan is employed by Komatsu (caterpillar like land movers) and was sent to the middle east in his early career. He spent 7 years between Cairo, Egpyt and Istanbul, Turkey. At both locations he started aikido dojo. You can see that he was extremely good at peaking people's interest in aikido by the sheer number of students at his seminars.

Kumagai Shihan has definitely influenced my aikido and I am glad to show this video as he demonstrates his amazingly powerful entries against a Yokomen Uchi attack.  I distinctly remember how he had told me to attack him full force, and he would be able to enter and stop my Yokomen before it had generated any momentum. 

As you can see, his Irimi is deep and powerful using the power of the hips to generate rotation of his entire torso. Notice his use of both hands, one receiving and one attacking simultaneously. The technique he uses after such an entry is almost a moot point, because he so effectively takes uke's balance.

Aikido Doshu Moriteru Ueshiba - Aikido Video Clip

This is a video of the 3rd Doshu of Aikido, Moriteru Ueshiba. His technique is crisp and clean. He demonstrates the standard of fundamental techniques as taught at Hombu Dojo in Tokyo, Japan.  

The relationship between uke and nage is dynamic and ever changing.  The technique is smooth and beautiful and you can see the influence of both his grandfather
(Osensei) and his father (Ueshiba Kishomaru Doshu).  If you watch uke carefully, you will see his ‘METSUKE’ or eyes being locked upon nage.  It doesn’t matter if it is in the middle of the attack or if it’s during his ukemi, Uke is extremely aware of everything in his environment. 

You can clearly see how Doshu has complete control over himself, his uke, and his entire environment. He has poise, certainty, and appears to have all the time in the world to deal with each of his oncoming attackers.  This is how all Aikido techniques should be executed.