Courier Price Craziness

I’m comming back to Spain. Yes, finally we are moving back to good old Zaragoza after a long stay in Surabaya, Indonesia. If we can afford it, if you know what I mean.

This morning we (my wife, me and 130kg of goods) knocked at the door of DHL in Surabaya. A very helpful guy, weighted our parcels and informed me of the price… well… it was USD8500!! How in the name of the Lord cand they expect me to pay that huge ammount of money?!

You may say “you know, you are sending 130kg, and that’s a big deal.” Well, first of all let me tell you that it’s not that a big deal. I mean, this is mostly clothes and some souvenirs. Yes, a lot of clothes maybe, but I’ve been here for a long time. Anyway, you can imagine that 8500 bucks is biiiig money for me, a European guy, what they call a “bule”. But… can you imagine how big an ammount is that for a local Indonesian?!

Anyway, the rate for 5kg is… 450 american dollars!! Oh, Geez! Even that is too much!

This is simply ridiculous.

Shu Ha Ri

“Shu-ha-ri” significa, literalmente, aceptar el Kata, diferenciarse del Kata y descartar el Kata. El propósito del entrenamiento en un ambiente Japonés clásico casi siempre sigue este proceso educativo. Esta aproximación única al aprendizaje ha existido durante siglos en Japón y ha sido clave en la supervivencia de muchas de las más antiguas tradiciones Japonesas.

Estas incluyen ámbitos tan diversos como puedan ser las artes marciales, la composición floral, él teatro, las marionetas, pintura, escultura y poesía. Si bien el Shu-ha-ri ha funcionado bien hasta la era actual, nuevas aproximaciones sobre el aprendizaje y la enseñanza están alterando este método tradicional Japonés de transmisión de conocimientos.

El artículo completo, traducido por Óscar Recio, en
Original version, by Yukiyoshi Takamura, at

Por cierto, que O’Sensei ya hablaba de esto cuando decía eso de “Entra por la forma y sal de la forma”. Algunos se quedan únicamente con el “sal de la forma”, sin comprender el proceso, sin crear una base sólida. Creo que es un mal muy extendido en el Aikido de hoy día. ¿Por qué no escuchamos a los Maestros como Takamura Sensei?

A Unified Field Theory: Aiki and Weapons

Ellis Amdur published during last year, from March to October, a series of articles related to the origins of weapons training in Aikido. The following are the links to the original articles, eight in total, in the Aikido Journal website.

Ellis Amdur is the author of “Dueling with Osensei”, “Old School” and the Instructional DVD “Ukemi from the Ground Up”. You can reach him at his website at

Publicado en aikido, budo. 2 Comments »

Tantodori in Aikido

“We are learning how to apply Aikido techniques when uke uses a dagger.” I used to think that also. These days I’m not so sure. In most dojo that I have seen, tantodori takes shape tsuki kotegaeshi, tsuki rokkyo, tsuki gokyo, yokomenuchi gokyo, and ushiro kotegaeshi. Of course you see a few kansetsuwaza thrown in as well. That was fine for me in the beginning. But I realize now that there are two basic flaws in the way that tantodori is usually taught: they don’t take into account the way a person committed to cutting you would attack you, and they don’t take into account the way a person committed to not being cut would defend themselves. In Aikido, most tantodori is conducted with uke performing tsuki, shomengiri, yokomen or kesagiri while holding a wooden tanto. While these are common vectors that any attack may come from, they do not represent a sincere attack given the nature of the knife. An attack with the knife is all over the place. Slashing and thrusting in rapid succession is perhaps the most basic handling of the knife. Training to fight someone when armed with a knife is a most serious business, much more than an all-or-nothing, vector-based, yokomen or tsuki. The person with a knife knows that if their attack fails, that they will most likely be justifiably killed.

Read the complete article at

Publicado en aikido, budo. 4 Comments »

Algorithm March!

Ok, yes. I know the following is stupid, but I just could not resist posting it in here. Meet the “Algorithm March (with the Ninja)”

Publicado en funny. Leave a Comment »

Aikiken and Kashima Shinto Ryu

Kashima Shinto Ryu’s keppan from May 1937, showing the names of Ueshiba and Akazawa.
I have always being intrigued about this. Where did Ueshiba O’Sensei learn the sword techniques that were to be called Aikiken? Until now, the official history establishes that all Aikido was the genial creation of O’Sensei, that he created everything. It’s often denied even that the hand arts, the taijutsu, is based on Daito Ryu Aikijujutsu. As always, there is one “official history” and one “real history”.

The following is an extract from, written by Meik Skoss:

Shortly after I first raised these questions, in 1978 or ’79, I visited the dojo of the late Koichiro Yoshikawa, 64th headmaster of the Kashima Shinto-ryu. He very graciously answered many questions about the history and techniques of the ryu. Moreover, he showed me a registry of the people who had entered the Kashima Shinto-ryu and performed keppan (lit., “blood seal,” signing the enrollment register and sealing it with one’s own blood as an earnest of one’s sincerity and serious intent) dating from before World War II. Guess what, sports fans? One of the names in the register was that of Morihei Ueshiba, along with that of Zenzaburo Akazawa, his deshi. I was told that a number of people at the Kobukan, including Ueshiba, studied for a period of several years. Once again, when I brought up the subject of Kashima Shinto-ryu and its influence on aikido, several aikido people, including one of the most senior instructors at the Aikikai, assured me I was mistaken.

There is, thus, evidence that Ueshiba O’Sensei studied Kashima Shinto Ryu, and the trained eye can see similarities in Kashima Shinto Ryu waza with Aikiken waza. For example, Kashima Shinto Ryu’s “ichi no tachi” is virtually identical to Aikiken’s “ichi no kumitachi” as taught by the late Morihiro Saito Sensei.

Of course, Ueshiba, being the genius he was, was no content with just preserving what he learnt from the school, but modified it to adapt to the concept of Aiki. The following video from a Kashima Shinto Ryu exhibition is an ilustration of this point.

While one can see similar techniques here and there, it is obvious that the kata are not only not identical to those of the Aikiken, but also the intention is different.

More to come on this subject… maybe tomorrow.

The real secrets of Jujutsu

During the practice of ‘ran o toru’, a free style method of practice used in the Kito Ryu Jujutsu system, Iikubo would repeatedly throw Kano, even though he was thirty years older than the young man. Kano began to analyze the process of throwing, to see what makes it effective. During this analyzation, Kano came upon three discoveries. Once he implemented them, he was capable of defeating nearly anyone. Upon relating these concepts to master Tsunetoshi Iikubo, he was admitted into the Okuden, inner traditions, of the Kito Ryu, and allowed to view the scrolls and books of the system.

Read the whole article at