What's this Challenge about?
The advancement of science and technology is helping the march of human progress.
Aikido is in harmony with the great nature, also taking the evolutive process.
Inherited by the will of the founder, Iwama Aikido Soke is also showing fast-evolving progress.
Soke has further refined the theories and techniques for less burden to human bodies.
Soke also has explored and taught the world view of "The body subordinate to the soul" that the founder originally preached.
Regularly, in the world of traditional martial arts, its techniques and secrets are never allowed to be taken out of the house.
The teachings will be conveyed only to the subordinate members and a limited number of the participants to the training workshops.
You must first address and overcome various hardships to learn the techniques and theories.
This Challenge allows anyone to learn the latest techniques and theories of Iwama Aikido through the latest online video clips on the Internet.
With the cooperation from the Soke, the contents of precious workshops, that were previously not allowed, will be captured as video clips and will be distributed only to those who support this Challenge.
With video clips from the Soke workshops scheduled this year in Portugal in late May, California in late July and Slovakia in late November, the Challenge Supporters will be able to see them through their smartphones, PCs, or tablets anytime and anywhere no matter how many times within the streaming period.
Greetings from the Challenger
Director of the NPO Iwama Shinshin Aiki Shurenkai and General Manager of Tokyo Branch
After retired from Japan's largest credit bureau in 2015, he became a leader of Aikido (currently 6dan).
As a director, he has taken charge of various activities of the headquarters to date, including the operation of the name attack ceremony of the second generation Morihiro Saito and the management of the 10th-anniversary international demonstration tournament held at Meiji Jingu Shrine.
In addition to instructing the activities at the Tokyo and South Korea Branches, he also holds teaching classes for children and beginners in Ota-ku, Tokyo.
The Aikido Ideal
The ideal of Aikido is to foster humanity that is in harmony with all things, without competing with people.
We approach the ideal through training such as Taijutsu (body arts), Kenjutsu (sword arts), and Jojutsu (staff arts).
Morihei Ueshiba, the founder of Aikido, devoted himself to his studies of Shinto methods in Iwama (now Kasama City, Ibaraki Prefecture) after World War II.
The late Morihiro Saito was a person who served the founder with his hard-working. Through his contribution, the founder trusted him to inherit the management of Aiki Shrine and his dojo.
Hitohira Saito Soke, the son of Morihiro-sensei, has inherited the founder's will. The NPO Iwama Shinshin Aiki Shurenkai has the role of linking the teachings to the next generation by further improving the techniques by following the founder's philosophy.
The Soke continues refining the lean and rational techniques to reach the state that the founder made it ideal. Also, the Soke has recreated the methods of the Shinto ceremonies Chinkon (the repose of souls) and Misogi (purification ceremony) that the founder practiced in the early days.
The tenets inherited are progressing day by day, and Aikido is approaching closer to the ideal state.
To keep up with the progress, trainees have to receive guidance and training from Soke regularly.
But you have a big hurdle to overcome.
Aikido, a traditional martial art, is conveyed through direct instruction from a master.
Therefore, the only way to learn Aikido is to go to Iwama Headquarters or take part in Soke's training workshops at home and abroad.
There are various hurdles there.
You have to secure your schedule and provide transportation and accommodation with your expenses. You may also need to obtain consent and cooperation from your family and your employers.
It requires a different level of determination than learning at a local culture school. You must have a strong will to overcome that barrier.
Opportunity to progress
On the other hand, the course running side of traditional martial arts also has a dilemma.
In traditional martial art training, as is based on direct guidance by body contacts, the number of people trained is limited. Even if the Soke training team travels around to meet the needs of the world, there is not enough time to provide sufficient guidance.
This type of trouble will never go away just by sitting by and watching.
Will anyone come up with any revolutionary solutions while you wait?
No, of course not.
You need to face the difficulties and find new solutions proactively.
Your progress will be the result of your action.
The same goes for the Aikido techniques.
Improvement of the skills will be the result of the continuous effort to generate techniques usable to reverse the situation. Such a repetition of training is the only way to build your robust mentality that withstands and overturns adversity.
Our dilemma can be an evolutionary opportunity, depending on the ingenuity.
Utilizing new IT technologies and economic infrastructure is an opportunity to go one step further.
Soke accepted the proposal and agreed to record workshops that were previously not allowed.
We are now able to distribute Aikido workshop video clips to those who support this Challenge.
It is a significant event in the history of Iwama Aikido.
We plan to capture the video clips from the three Soke workshops scheduled this year in late May in Portugal, in California late July and in Slovakia late November.
The streaming video will start distribution to the world in the following month of each workshop. You will be able to watch those precious video clips of Soke training sessions through your smartphones, PCs, or tablets anytime and anywhere as many times as you want.
Contents of Soke Workshops
Luckily, I got several chances to accompany Soke at workshops held outside Japan.
At the workshops, Soke provides a wide range of contents in-depth, from explanations of basics to introductions of applied skills.
There you can truly learn the whole picture of Aikido.
The following is the menu of the Soke workshop held in France in November 2019.
November 8 (Fri)
・ Ken suburi, Sword swing
・ Taijutsu, Body arts (Shomen-uchi strike, a frontal downward head strike)
November 9 (Sat)
・ Tanken-dori, Knife taking
・ Kumi-Jo, Staff against staff
・ Kumi-Tachi, Sword against sword
・ Chinkon, Calming tranquility of the soul
・ Taijutsu, Body arts (Ryokata-dori, both shoulders hold)
・ Taijutsu, Body arts (Ushiro-waza, behind techniques)
November 10 (Sun)
・ Ken tai Jo, Staff against sword
・ Jo-dori, Staff taking
・ Kumi-Jo, Staff against staff
75 minutes for each class (20 minutes for Chinkon-Ho)
As shown above, contrary to our expectation of Aikido, the Soke workshop starts with Suburi (solo sward swing) and continues with many armed art classes.
One unique theory of Iwama Aikido is that all the movements of Kenjutsu (sword arts) and Jojutsu (staff arts) are coming from Taijutsu (unarmed body arts). It was coming from the founder's Aikido philosophy.
When the founder explained to the trainees, he used to start the class with a sword in hand.
Regardless of the armed or unarmed arts, the purpose of Aikido is to manage your opponent without difficulty.
In Soke workshops, they often talk about unarmed skills in armed art classes or in another way around.
It is also a unique aspect of the Soke workshops for you to learn the comprehensive Aikido philosophy.
The following is a menu of the techniques taught in the Taijutsu class on the first day.
・ Tai-no-henko, circular-pivoting footwork
・ Tai-no-henko (blending)
・ Morote-dori-kokyunage, Throw against both hands grabbing one hand (blending)
・ Shomen-uchi-Irimi-nage, an entering throw aginst shomen-uchi strike
・ Shomen-uchi-Kote-gaeshi, a wrist turn out throw aginst shomen-uchi strike
・ Shomen-uchi-Shiho-nage-Omote-waza, the four direction throw aginst shomen-uchi strike
・ Shomen-uchi-Shiho-nage-Omote-waza (when parried)
・ Shomen-uchi-Shiho-nage-Omote-waza (when pushed)
・ Shomen-uchi-Ganseki-otoshi, a shoulder throw aginst shomen-uchi strike
Trainers explained the basics using the latest technical theory, referring to the founder's oral instructions.
They explained the skills required after grabbed by the opponent and also introduced the techniques using the flow of Ki (energy) applied by sensing the opponent's move to grab.
Also, they explained the Chinkon method for spiritual discipline and the concept of Kotodama (spiritual power of the word) using the example of Misogi (ritual purification). Through the classes, you will be able to understand the relationship between Shinto and Aikido.
Even for Japanese, it is not easy to master all the workshop contents by participating only once or twice. I think it is far more difficult for non-Japanese participants with their different languages and cultures behind.
If you once participate in the Soke workshop, you will understand how important to repeat the technique training.
Progress at your fingertips
Suppose a young guy wants to be a good restaurant chef.
Do you think he can learn the techniques from a famous chef in a high-class restaurant overnight?
I know your answer is "No."
He will be in need to work patiently for years under the chef to gradually improve his techniques.
The same applies to the learning process of traditional martial arts.
You will have to either go to Iwama Dojo or to attend the training workshops.
In case you participate in all three Soke seminars held in 2020, the total training hours will be almost equivalent to the hours for a three-week training at Iwama Headquarters Dojo.
In either case, you have to secure your schedule and book transportation and accommodation with the expenses on yourself. You may also need to obtain consent from your family and employers.
This Challenge will provide you with a chance to get relieved from such hectics and the burden of expenses.
Video clips recorded from each of the three Soke workshops will start distribution in the following month to those who support this Challenge. Supporters will be able to watch workshop videos anytime, anywhere on their device.
It will assist you not only to learn the movements and techniques but also to study Japanese and English languages. How to use the video clips will be depending on your ideas.
This Challenge is the first step in opening a door for positive learners to the world of traditional martial arts.
Our progress never stops.
"My training will never end until I die." It was the founder's common phrase.
His strong statement is still alive and driving the Iwama activities today.
Your support on this Challenge means not only for you to learn Aikido skills but also for you to be a part of the historical Aikido progress.
We look forward to your strong support on this Challenge.
The Use of Funds
Video Shooting Cost and Expenses
- Shooting Equipment Cost (Cameras, Microphones, Tripods, Recording media, Batteries, etc.)
- Shooting Expenses (Transportation, Staff cost, Travels)
Video Streaming Distribution Fee (for one year)
NPO Iwama Shinshin Aiki Shurenkai Official Homepage
NPO Iwama Shinshin Aiki Shurenkai Tokyo branch Official Homepage
Aikido classroom of Makoto Otaka in Ota-ku, Tokyo
Makoto Otaka facebook