Here at the frontier, the leaves fall like rain. Although my neighbors are all barbarians, there are still two cups at my table.

Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn, a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter. If your mind isn't clouded by unnecessary things, this is the best season of your life.

~ Wu-men ~

Friday, April 16, 2021

Yoshinkan Aikido on Discovery Channel

Some time ago, Discovery Channel paid a visit to the Yoshinkan Aikido Hombu and met with Kyoichi Inoue. 

Inoue Sensei and my own teacher, Takashi Kushida began their training under Gozo Shioda on the same day, those many decades ago. It was Inoue and Kushida who organized the training system that we recognize today as Yoshinkan. 

In the 80's, there was a movement to create an international organization, the International Yoshinkan Aikido Federation (IYAF). Kushida chose not to bring his own Aikido Yoshinkai Association of North America (AYANA) into the IYAF and became a persona non grata in Yoshinkan. His name has been all bust erased from the official history of Yoshinkan Aikido. 

Kushida Sensei's AYANA lives on as the the Aikido Yoshokai of North America, under the leadership of his son Akira, since Takashi Kushida's death a few years ago.

Anyway, the Discovery Channel episode was split into three segments for YouTube, which you'll find below. Enjoy.

Saturday, April 10, 2021

Taijiquan and Wrestling

At the age of 60 Master Huang Sheng-Shyan, a student of Cheng Man Ching, demonstrated his abilities in Taijiquan by defeating Liao Kuang-Cheng, the Asian champion wrestler, 26 throws to 0, in a fund raising event in Kuching Malaysia.

Sunday, April 04, 2021

Thursday, April 01, 2021

The Life of Judo Founder Jigoro Kano

Below is a video about the life of the founder of Judo, Jigoro Kano. It's not so much about the man as a martial artist, so much as about him as an educator. Enjoy.

Monday, March 29, 2021

Small Circle Jujutsu

Wally Jay was highly ranked in both Danzan Ryu Jujutsu and Judo before founding his own Small Circle Jujutsu. Below is a video of him demonstrating his art. Enjoy.

Friday, March 26, 2021

Xing Yi Quan Dragon

Below is an excerpt from a post that appeared at The Tai Chi Notebook, which explains the importance of the Dragon in the study and practice of XingYiQuan. The full post may be read here.

The Dragon is unique amongst Xing Yi animals because it is the only mythical one. Yes, I’m aware that some lineages of Xing Yi include a Phoenix as one of their 12 animals, but I think this is simply a mistranslation of Tai, a kind of flycatcher bird native to China. You sometimes also see it mistranslated as Ostrich, which is even stranger. You occasionally see Tuo translated as “water lizard”, or “water strider”, but it’s clearly a crocodile, another animal that is (or effectively was) native to China.

The question of why Xing Yi, whose animal methods are based on real, observable native animals, should include a Dragon we’ll leave until the end of this post, but for now, let’s look at its characteristics.

Dragon in San Ti Shi

The Dragon is one of the important animals in Xing Yi Quan because, together with Bear Shoulders, Eagle Claw, Chicken Leg, Tiger Embrace and Thunder sound, Dragon Body forms the famous San Ti Shi posture, (different lineages have slight variations on those, but they’re fundamentally the same).

Dragons in Chinese mythology have very flexible spines – they fall and rise through clouds with a long, flexible body that coils and rotates, twists and turns. You often seem them decorating Asian temple roofs, or spiraling around a pillar.

It’s the flexible nature of the spine that is the characteristic we seek to emulate in Xing Yi Quan. In Xing Yi the spine is characterised by a coiling action, a counter-rotation between hips and shoulders, that means the practitioner can easily generate power, or, always has the potential for generating power from all positions.

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Ritual Archery in Japan

Below is an excerpt from a Japanese based website about the use of archery in important Japanese Shinto rituals. The full post may be read here.


 Bows and Popular Shinto Rituals

 Bows are not just associated with samurai, but are also more broadly seen as a part of Japan’s culture. Bows and arrows make appearances in Japanese myths, and as a result, many Shinto shrines feature rituals related to them.
One of the most well-known is horseback archery, Yabusame. However, stationary archery, Obisha, is also performed as a Shinto ritual in many areas throughout Japan. The Obisha festivals are held either to pray for a good harvest or to divine how crops will grow that year. In the Shinto ritual called Omato shinji held at Kifune-jinja Shrine in January in Togane, Chiba Prefecture, an archer shoots 12 arrows to divine the harvest for the year. Also, in a festival called Musayumisai, held at Samukawa-jinja Shrine on January 8 in Sagami, Kanagwa Prefecture, arrows are shot at a target marked with the word Oni (ogre) in order to tell fortunes for the year.

  Are both of these styles held as Shinto rituals? If so, I suggest revising to say: Both stationary archery, Obisha, and horseback archery, Yabusame, are held as Shinto rituals in many areas throughout Japan.
 Words relating to archery also appear in every day language. The phrase Te no uchi wo akasu (“to show one’s hand”, reveal one’s thinking, plans, or skills) comes from the positioning of the hand on the bow (te no uchi). Since one’s technique in holding the bow influences the accuracy of the shot, precise techniques were a carefully kept secret. Another common phrase, Kakegae ga nai, refers to something irreplaceable or very precious, is said to refer to Yugake, an archer’s leather glove for the right hand used to draw the bowstring. There are other words, such as Yaomote ni tatsu (to stand in the line of fire, that is, to take blame or criticism), Mato wo hazusu (to miss the mark, to be off target), and Zuboshi (to be on target, to hit the bullseye), that were derived from archery.
  The bows and arrows seen in archery training halls all over Japan have a long tradition associated with them, and the practice of archery has been a significant part of Japanese culture, contributing to everyday language, religious rituals, and even divination.