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Takemusu Aikido A Martial Artist’s Journey of Discovery In

Aikido

A Personal Account and Technical Explanation

Tony Sargeant 6th Dan Aikikai


Takemusu Aikido A Martial Artist’s Journey of Discovery in Aikido

A Personal Account and Technical Explanation Tony Sargeant – 6th Dan Aikikai

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Table of Contents Dedication ............................................................................................................................................... iii Acknowledgements ............................................................................................................................... iii About the author ..................................................................................................................................... iv About the book ........................................................................................................................................ iv Table of Contents ..................................................................................................................................... v Glossary ................................................................................................................................................. viii Foreword ................................................................................................................................................... ix Preface ....................................................................................................................................................... xi Section One - Why I chose Aikido and to follow the path of O-Sensei Morihei Ueshiba ......... 1 My early life and a visit by fate ............................................................................................................... 1 Intervention by fate ................................................................................................................................... 2 A miracle was about to happen to change my life forever .................................................................. 2 The day came to train ............................................................................................................................... 4 Searching out a new Master..................................................................................................................... 6 Thinking back on being the student ..................................................................................................... 11 Stories from around the world .............................................................................................................. 13 Remembering my Sensei ........................................................................................................................ 16 Some experiences while teaching.......................................................................................................... 19 Training with Doshu Moriteru Ueshiba in the USA .......................................................................... 22 Training with the best ............................................................................................................................. 23 Talking on the mat .................................................................................................................................. 25 Section Two - Aikido mind and spirit philosophical aspects........................................................ 27 What Aikido concept do you think originated with O-Sensei? ........................................................ 27 So who has got it right? .......................................................................................................................... 28 Even my own Master changed .............................................................................................................. 31 Does it all have to work? ........................................................................................................................ 32 An understanding of contradictions is a must .................................................................................... 32 Just like in the world of politics............................................................................................................. 34 We are not so different whatever nationality we are ......................................................................... 35 Can we ever get to the enlightened stage? .......................................................................................... 36 Thinking poorly of others ...................................................................................................................... 39 Just how much are you a master of yourself? ..................................................................................... 40 A wiser person ......................................................................................................................................... 41 All too heavy? .......................................................................................................................................... 42 Aikido styles around the world and how they differ ........................................................................ 42 The 16 “Forms” of Aikido attack as still taught in some UK schools .............................................. 43 Saito Sensei had a very special start under the watchful eye of O-Sensei ....................................... 49 Weapons – more than most can handle ............................................................................................... 49 Why train with weapons anyway – are they really necessary? ........................................................ 53 A major principle in Aikido is defence against multiple attackers .................................................. 54

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My views on how to train O-Sensei’s true Aikido .............................................................................. 55 The new student arrives ......................................................................................................................... 57 A test ......................................................................................................................................................... 58 Training with the same partners ........................................................................................................... 62 Follow the original path as best you can – you do have a choice ..................................................... 63 Testing yourself as a teacher .................................................................................................................. 63 Aikido in the world today ...................................................................................................................... 65 Western influences can change aspirations and values. .................................................................... 67 Hard and soft styles ................................................................................................................................ 68 Of Hombu and Iwama ............................................................................................................................ 68 O-Sensei’s Iwama teaching philosophy – as I personally understand it.............................................. 70 Aikikai Hombu dojo teaching philosophy – as I personally understand it ......................................... 70 Who or what do we really follow? ........................................................................................................ 71 Using anyone as Uke is a real test ......................................................................................................... 73 Out of all those who I have asked one person alone gave me peace of mind................................. 74 Finding the power not the strength ...................................................................................................... 76 The technique is strong so you don’t have to be ................................................................................. 76 Taking a spiritual path ............................................................................................................................ 78 Why I now believe in spirit .................................................................................................................... 81 A story from Greece but it could have been anywhere ...................................................................... 82 O-Sensei and Iwama ............................................................................................................................... 83 Wanting to change or not ....................................................................................................................... 85 Polish the changes ................................................................................................................................... 86 What is my purpose in life? ................................................................................................................... 86 O-Sensei’s Dojo and House in Iwama Village ..................................................................................... 88 So how do you improve? ....................................................................................................................... 89 Section Three - Technical detail as taught through O-Sensei’s Iwama Aikido .......................... 93 For those who just wish to improve their technical Aikido............................................................... 93 The hard part............................................................................................................................................ 95 Is the true answer found more in exercises rather than movements? .............................................. 95 Technique, movement, form .................................................................................................................. 96 On gripping .............................................................................................................................................. 98 Tai no henko ........................................................................................................................................... 101 Morotedori – a learning process .......................................................................................................... 108 Tai no henko – foot movement of Morotedori .................................................................................. 114 Ikkyo - O-Sensei’s basic vs others ....................................................................................................... 116 Turning Ikkyo into Nikyo Omote Waza ............................................................................................ 118 Ura Nikyo ............................................................................................................................................... 120 Ikkyo To Sankyo .................................................................................................................................... 122 Yonkyo .................................................................................................................................................... 125 Shihonage ............................................................................................................................................... 127 Kotegaeshi .............................................................................................................................................. 130 Some useful points on pinning ............................................................................................................ 135 Kaitenage ................................................................................................................................................ 138

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Tenchinage ............................................................................................................................................. 140 Koshinage ............................................................................................................................................... 141 Jujinage – The Japanese character for 10 ............................................................................................ 143 Sensing our mistakes ............................................................................................................................ 144 Kokyu Dosa ............................................................................................................................................ 149 Why we should train in O-Sensei’s weapons system as well as Taijutsu...................................... 152 Weapons training or body training?................................................................................................... 156 Keep it simple ........................................................................................................................................ 159 Tachidori ................................................................................................................................................ 160 How the Jo can help you think with a Budo mind ........................................................................... 170 Section Four : In Conclusion .............................................................................................................. 174 The perfect world of Aikido ................................................................................................................ 174

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Foreword I first met and trained with Tony Sargeant on my second visit to his dojo in Cambridge in 1986. At that time I was a 2nd Dan Aikikai and thought I knew most of what there was to know to teach and progress in my Aikido. How wrong can one be! On my first visit Tony was away (possibly training somewhere in the world under Saito Sensei) but from that first visit, training with his students, I sensed immediately that their teacher was someone cast from a different mould to those I had been following since returning to the UK in 1977 after 3 years in Tokyo, where I trained regularly at the Hombu dojo. Training under Tony means getting the basics right no matter what your style. We always started with Tai no henko and I soon realised that my understanding of this exercise was not complete; I couldn’t move once he held my wrist and when we changed to Kokyu techniques I was generally swatted away like a fly. I had more success with the ken and jo but here, too, there was still lots I could learn. Tony and I had been trained in the same weapons katas but by different masters, both of whom had been disciples of O-Sensei. Attending the Cambridge dojo I found a genuine desire and need to reinvigorate my own passion for Aikido. What Tony had to offer would help me achieve that end and I attended his classes twice a week over the next year after which work took me back to Oxfordshire. Tony then became a regular guest instructor at my dojo in Witney. During that year, and in the years that followed, I learned so much about Tony the man, as well as Tony the dedicated Aikido practitioner. Those who know him – and those who read this book – will be aware that he speaks candidly from the heart and his words have in the past lost him students and friends. I can tell you with all sincerity that it is not Tony who has been the loser but those who have walked away from him. I have found that Tony has endless patience with those he recognises as genuine in their pursuit of knowledge and wish to understand this martial art. I wasn’t ‘Iwama’ trained and I’m sure Tony knew I never would be; but he still believed he could make me a better Aikidoka to fit whatever style I eventually chose to follow. That was Tony ‘the man’ – someone who would give you his friendship and pass on all his Aikido wisdom and experience even though you may not be giving back to him in like measure. It is also what this book does – it imparts Tony’s unquestioned belief in the merits of Takemusu Aikido, questions your own understanding in the art, but makes no specific demands upon you in return.

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Don’t get me wrong; it was hard work training under Tony Sargeant and I got my fair share of “dames” (it’s wrong/rubbish!) thrown at me. It was worth it though because I am where I am today in the world of Aikido thanks in part to his friendship, understanding and dedication to Aikido. I believe I am a better man for it and I commend this book to you; to read with an open mind, without prejudice to your own style. Vincent Sumpter, 6th Dan Chairman, British Aikido Board (The National Governing Body for Aikido in the UK) March 2014

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past, students in the UK did go to other organisation’s seminars but in recent years this has almost ceased and they mainly attend their own style seminars. Is it the same where you train?

Training with Doshu Moriteru Ueshiba in the USA One particular destination I loved was California, USA. Each year a summer camp of top teachers from the Bay area got together and occasionally invited other top teachers. This, with over one hundred and seventy students in an amazing large old wooden hall, was one of the highlights of my year. The Doshu, Moriteru Ueshiba (then Waka Sensei) was guest teacher and he was 37 and I was 38 and keen as ever to meet and train with him. He was not the head master at the time so I just looked upon him and his Aikido as another teacher and what I could gain from his teaching. When everyone else on the mat was in awe I simply enjoyed watching. . . until he made a gesture and I was up as his Uke. There was an amazing smoothness and flow to his Aikido and I found it strange to be engaged in a style that felt right but was different from previous practices. Earlier training had been coarse and even brutal hard training which came from our own power, then later, with Saito Sensei, training was precise and it was the technique that was powerful. It all fitted together, a strange understanding of basic and flowing (Kinonagare) tied together at last. This was the day I realised the connection and the need for both methods. His was a really flowing style, fast but truly the way we should all seek. I don’t know if power was present as the Ukes all blended and flowed, but I do think that whichever way around one trains we should all try the other and see where it takes us. Perhaps you will discover a connection for yourself. The technique he performed on me was from my attack of Ushiro Ryotedori (two hands grabbing from behind, you start at the front and go around the back of Nage) and this is used a lot in films I have seen and is one of the ‘non basic techniques’. To my mind it’s not particularly ‘martial’ as Uke can let go at any time – please test this for yourself. For the demonstration though, it is a wonderful blend of being connected with each other. You could possibly look at it as a forging technique. Even before the meeting I had heard that the main Hombu training was a very flowing style which was obvious in his teaching. A new experience at that time for me and looking back to those days I can now see how if you are lucky enough to put pride and stubbornness to one side and spend years training both ‘systems’ but separately and not at the same time you can get to the technical understanding of O-Sensei’s Aikido. I can say it was not only beautiful to see but to be part of that training was a privilege, as many around the world will know who have been so lucky to be used as his Uke. After me he used more senior grades as Uke and it was spectacular.

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As most who know me, the size and heavy body I carry is not the best for a demonstration. In the evenings we would get together and ask him questions, one asked what was O-Sensei like to him and I loved his answer, “He was like a Grandfather to me, I suppose like most grandfathers.” A splendid answer, I thought, as Aikido could not come into such a young child’s relationship. Moriteru Ueshiba stood before us and I remember, as if it was today, saying to others, “O-Sensei’s Aikido will be safe in his hands.” Even with all the opinions I offer on what works and does not, the Aikido of the Hombu dojo is a very sound workable art and all the Hombu dojo students I have trained with have all been likable and had good attitudes, which must be a main factor in any good dojo and organisation. We sometimes criticise others’ styles but in the end we all train and enjoy the art; there is no place for xenophobia or rivalry in whose style is best. If we can all follow such a man as the Doshu we will never go far wrong in how we should go into the world with our art. Whilst none of us will ever be O-Sensei, the Doshu’s Aikido and understanding of running such a huge worldwide organisation has and will need everyone’s help, and with this unity then, who knows, he could well be that person.

Training with the best To list the great Masters that I have trained with would seem pointless other than to polish my ego, so unless the name is important to convey a meaningful message to yourselves I will not name them and instead keep the list happily tucked away in my mind and remember those times when I think back later in life. In my early days with Sensei, travelling around the world, I would get the unique chance to physically train on the mat and meet with students who were directly trained by O-Sensei, some for a short time, months or a few years. Looking back I wish I had taken more time enjoying such an honour. Some are, like me, now too old to train constantly and some sadly have since passed away, but they all had something to give that you could take away to better your own Aikido. As the student in seiza, it always seems strange to look up at the teacher, they seem bigger, taller than off the mat plus they take on an air that fills the room and the thought in one’s head is that you would need a tank to beat them. Then, on a seminar, before you know who they are you might find you are training with them, just a normal Aikidoka. In my case I met and trained with a few top names without realising it; they looked different in street clothes. Many times in the changing room someone would ask me what it was like training with some named teacher, it was only then that I realised who I’d trained with. They always seemed to move on too quickly, they were trying to give; not like me, being greedy and wanting to continue the pairing.

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from life. This is mainly through the Western influence; education and funding has changed how the world spends its time now. People like me are a dying breed. I cannot understand why people are blind to the value of practicing such arts as ours. Can they not see that the time spent on the mat will forge them as a person to handle anything that the world can throw at them? These are transferable life skills of immense quality and value. It is not just learning a martial art, even if the art is Aikido and of any style, as it develops qualities to make you live a more truthful life and become a pillar in the community, wherever you live and work. The hard training is worth doing; it forges a person to deal with whatever comes in life. Martial arts can offer you many opportunities in life to develop useful qualities such as: perception, awareness, confidence, patience, friendship, communication, adaptability, resilience, loyalty, reflection, humility, perspective, compassion, honesty, empathy, discipline, (external and self), humour, co-ordination (of mind and body), flexibility, intuition.

The Aiki Jinja (shrine) is located near to the Iwama dojo. It holds many powerful spirits; they will speak ‘if you are ready to listen’ - June 2002. Once, on a visit to Iwama, I trained with some young Japanese students just out of university. I asked why they were there and not in a job as this was the normal western path (to go to university then straight into a good job). The answer appears to be that many top Japanese business people, who run large conglomerates and may even own the company, would send their children to Iwama to forge them in the many ways that only a Master of a martial school can do; a preparation to take 66


take on a Uke, attacking with single-minded force that comes from an original OSensei training school, in many instances they find they cannot move nor give a smooth demonstration. Normally this will be evident to the on-looking class and Nage will usually drop that Uke for one of their own very quickly. If you have ever seen this you will know what I mean; if you have not, you will if you keep training. We all have good and bad days but at all levels performing Aikido on an unfamiliar Uke will soon show if the style is worthy of the path of Budo.

Finding the power not the strength Of course we want to defend our style. This is human nature. However, evidence will sometimes present itself that makes us more deeply question our beliefs. I watched a disabled Aikidoka of 2nd Dan ranking in Iwama style Aikido gripping senior teachers in basic Tai no Henko and they couldn’t move. This leads me to believe that we need the understanding of both hard and soft Aikido. We don’t need face-saving excuses or simply avoiding training with ‘problem’ people. It is so easily thought of as the Uke having an aggressive attitude. In this case I know the student holding and he just holds; he has mastered the deeper understanding of meditation, allowing him to hold with depth of mind and body without wanting to win. Nage should escape from ‘what is’ and not from what Nage would like it to be. Nage should be able to accomplish success without struggle or loss of selfrespect/ego being challenged. Ask yourself if you think that O-Sensei took on all comers or just selected those he thought he could master? I’m sure your answer is the same as mine; O-Sensei’s Aikido was so powerful that once he became one with the universal energy of understanding, power and harmony, no one could block him. The key to the full Aikido path and power is in finding and understanding the best elements of hard and soft training. Do not seek only flow and do not seek only power as neither will be the completion.

The technique is strong so you don’t have to be I cannot remember how many times I heard Sensei say this to me and other students. Each time I heard it I listened and took it that he was talking of our using strength while doing Aikido because most attacks we encountered required a lot of effort. Many were difficult to find a way through the whole technique without being blocked in some way. Even with Sensei’s words in your head it still does not help when you are struggling and all you have is raw power, so you simply revert to using it. Many years on, while seeing my high-ranked teachers/students struggling with the immovable grip of the 2nd Dan student, I suddenly understood Sensei’s words. I stopped the class and tried to explain; as many teachers will well know, the

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answers that came to me made me the student yet again. I was grabbed and removed my wrist with ease as if a child was holding and not the same person who just held and stopped a few of my top-ranked teachers/students. I removed my wrist again and again with ease every time. This baffled me as it has done for many years. This power that allowed me to move with ease even with two or more attackers gripping was beyond me to explain. I put it down to doing forty years of basics, of clean techniques and development of Kokyu. Imagine having this confident power, never concerned that you would need to struggle out of a grip. I must have settled for that answer in the past and gave it to those who looked on with amazement year after year, but now I finally had the answer to the question that had eluded me for so long. The answer came to me so clearly: “The technique is strong Tony. You do not have to be.” There was no visible change in me to observers; the change was within me, in my mind. If the technique is un-touched by thought and only performed in a technical way it will work. I then understood that being strong meant in my mind and not where I previously thought, in the body. Over the years, without consciously realising, I had been slowly changing my attitude to how I approached my attackers whilst they prepared for or made the attack itself. On this teaching day I realised I did not think of being Nage, the ‘winner’, but more the joy of the timing of us both in harmony. I had over time removed the want to win, with the result that I had become more powerful. I thought it was Kokyu but perhaps I still have that to find. If you send out a thought that you have the need to overcome your attacker they will sense this and find strength. You will see and feel this as them resisting your flow and may make it impossible to achieve without using a great deal of strength and determination. The final answers to all long-term questions appear to have something in common. They are all simple! We know the answer all along but we just never understood it. Despite trying harder all your life and yet discovering that you would have succeeded more if you hadn’t, seems another paradox, a contradiction, but still the journey may have been necessary. To fully understand not wanting conflict with others. . . at last the answer is found and learned. Now we are free and closer to O-Sensei than ever before.

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So how do you improve? From a low Kyu grade to the most advanced Aikidoka in the world if you sit and watch any class it is possible to see major faults, you can see from an early stage how the whole class seems to be doing differing techniques to what the Sensei shows. It is obvious to you but not to them. At the higher levels one may even lean over the mat edge to the nearest pair and give them pointers but it rarely works and though kindness wants to help and prevail it is frustrated. What can we do when we cannot see into our own selves to improve? I suggest you consider filming yourself for a class at least once or twice a year, whether you are a Kyu or Dan grade as it does not matter. It will put you in the same observation position as when sitting off the mat and being a spectator. Take this and work on it to improve your quality in body posture and technical improvement. Be aware this may take months or even years to finally go deep into the body and make it second nature. Each time you film you will see if your Aikido has improved or not as we often think we have fixed it but that’s all it is . . . in the mind. If you are devoted to your Aikido as part of your life this will be the best teaching aid you can have because you are the very best teacher. You will accept criticism from yourself if not from others; except of course, your own teacher’s criticism. You should be grateful as they are trying to correct a weakness.

We all need a teacher if we are to remain humble students. Saito Sensei was the Dojocho of the Iwama dojo after the founder had passed. O-Sensei left him to continue his teachings which are now our undertaking. Photograph courtesy of Sensei Richard Thomson 89


Ikkyo – O-Sensei’s Vs Others

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 Here we see an example of this immobilisation commonly demonstrated by many styles. This will only work on Ukes who train compliantly with Nage. Uke is carrying out 50% of Nage’s work towards the perfect harmony. It remains a very weak technique unless using the upper part of the forward leg to trap the wrist. O-Sensei's basic form consisted of taking control all the way from first connection to the final floor pin; more connected and more Martial. If at any time Nage has no grip or hold in any way on Uke's body then it is neither basic nor martial.



Incorrect



Even with Nage taking a firm grip, Uke at times will place their free hand firmly down on the tatami to prevent Nage from continuing. Nage should firmly thrust the arm towards Uke’s shoulder as if thrusting with a Jo and so break Uke’s balance sideways. An atemi with Nage’s knee is also available to the kidney or floating ribs area and where necessary, completes the unbalancing. Note: O-Sensei’s Basic form will always require Nage to have at least one hand holding. This fusion between Nage in a determined but non-aggressive manner is the only sure way of ensuring the connection remains throughout.





For Ikkyo (hand controlling Uke’s fingers and thumb) the fingers stay on this alignment. If Nage moves the fingers towards Uke’s head then – whatever the intention – it has become Nikyo.

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Turning Ikkyo Into Nikyo Omote Waza



This is the crucial point as Nage steps into Uke’s body, as the arm/shoulder goes towards the head in both immobilisations it is the hand/fingers direction that distinguishes Nikyo from Ikkyo.

 

If the technique changes to this stance showing the hand/fingers direction, then Nage has switched to Nikyo, though many styles will think of this move as standard Ikkyo. A common mistake occurs when Nage takes Uke’s balance to the side and it becomes even easier to unbalance Uke by pressuring the wrist and pointing Uke’s fingers towards the head.



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Shihonage – Overcoming Points Of Weakness Saito Sensei said, “Take what you need with strength until it turns to Kokyu”. This part of Shihonage is one of those cases when it may be required.

 A good way to develop useful body memory for an effective shihonage is to look at your hands throughout the whole technique. By training this way, the all too common weakness as Uke’s arm passes over Nage’s head will become obvious. Observing your own hands throughout the move creates a positive and powerful effect. Nage should raise the hands high and stretch Uke; Uke has to do the work and Nage has to keep control. Many Aikidoka lower their body during this move to accommodate Uke’s body, this is wrong, Uke should fit Nage, not the other way around. If the person you train with is small then you may have to adjust your height a bit by lowering your hips but in real life – you would not do Shihonage as it would not show itself as Takemusu. Never adjust too much, ask yourself, “Who is in control?”



 It is a common occurrence that the hands will disappear from Nage’s sight at the top of the movement, just as Nage is about to turn. Nage will not normally notice this if they are too interested in reaching the end point. Note: If, like many, you make a fast turn it will be at this time that you will lose sight of your hands. Train slowly until the movement is mastered. Shihonage has many problems but this losing sight of the hands means you have lost extension and handed the technique over to Uke. Perfect alignment means that at this juncture of the move, by just opening your hands Uke should fall to the floor. However, connection is retained with hands on wrist and blending with their fall to the ground adding the ground control at the end.

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Kotegaeshi Whether from Uke’s basic strong grip, strikes, punch or grabs, Nage should power themselves with Kokyu and Ki as they open their body, arriving at a strong base and keeping this energised feeling.

 Note the height of Uke’s wrist which is in line with the Obi.

  Maintain a firm grip so that Uke moves around that centre. This is a principle inherent throughout Aikido training. If Nage moves outside the centre of the technique then an advantage is handed to Uke. Note: Nage must blend early with Uke’s oncoming arm/hand so redirection to this shown point can be obtained.



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Incorrect

 You will often see this lowered hand position from all levels of Aikidoka, students and teachers alike. It will be more apparent the faster the attack. Perhaps it is body memory from earlier stages of training or caused by panic! Over the years with no correction it will become a body memory that creates a weakness in the technique. To avoid this ask your Uke to slow down the attack until you can repeat and control the action correctly so it never drops below the Obi point.


How The Jo Can Help You Think With A Budo Mind  Sensei would say, “try to hide behind your Jo�. Of course this is not possible but the thought will help you understand Hitoemi (the narrow or smallest posture that Nage shows to Uke). Your hand needs to have all fingers around your Jo, or any weakness in holding may be advantageous to an attacker if they strike out your Jo from under you. Note: Your hand is the same height as in Tai no henko or with the basic Ken/Jo final cut position. This is also where in kata or suburi you start and finish; looking forward you can start again without any change in your martial attitude.

 

The posture is mostly correct but dropping the head is not. It can take a very long time to break this none martial habit. Ask a student/friend to watch you occasionally to see if it is a habit you have without being aware.



Incorrect

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So many students and teachers look down after they have completed a Kata or set of Suburi. This is losing all Zanshin and is un-professional. Note: Watch others and you will see.

 From the Hitoemi stance  do not reach forward with your shoulder to grip your Jo or you will later have to move over old ground, losing time and giving an advantage to the attacker. Learn to reach the Jo from the beginning stance. If you feel that the stretch is impossible without some pain at first you are doing it correctly; everything has to be worked on.  170


Takemusu Aikido – A Martial Artist’s Journey of Discovery in Aikido distils the thoughts, discoveries and advice from one man’s search for enlightenment through O-Sensei’s Aikido. Tony Sargeant, 6th Dan Aikikai, shares some of his life stories, training enjoyment and reasons for following OSensei. He covers philosophical aspects of the Aikido mind and spirit and goes on to cover technical aspects of the art with explanations and photographic descriptions. These are designed to stimulate your thoughts as well as offer some answers which, he believes, are in keeping with the universal law; an adherence to which is essential in understanding O-Sensei’s Aikido. His words are offered to you for your consideration in the hope that you will be encouraged to examine your own practices and will wish to apply such considerations in your future training. This is a remarkably open and honest account about a man’s life through 40 years of training and teaching in Aikido, and his never ending search for what it is that makes O-Sensei’s Takemusu Aikido so definitive and special. It is a book that all Aikidoka are encouraged to read. It will certainly test and question your own values about Aikido today and since its worldwide introduction. You may disagree with some of Tony’s thoughts, discussions and arguments regarding what he perceives as the ‘good’ and ‘not so good’ in the differing styles of Aikido but you will be left in no doubt about the author’s sincerity in stating the case for not diluting the purity of the Founder’s original legacy. The in-depth technical section has over 160 clear detailed photographs which explain how to overcome the common technical weaknesses in most styles of Aikido which are taught in the world today. These explicit photographs offer guidance and feature illustrations which will improve the technical aspect of one’s Aikido. Look not for the controversy but for truth in Tony Sargeant’s words. No matter what your style of Aikido or your level of interest there will be something here to take you that next step closer to O-Sensei’s dream.

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Takemusu Aikido: A Martial Artist's Journey of Discovery in Aikido