Ki Kubari – External Mindfulness and Martial Awareness

Recently – and most notably at this year’s Cherry Blossom seminar at the Shobukan Dojo in D.C., Saotome Sensei has been using the term “kikubari.”  Over a private visit with Sensei, I and a few others (Don Ellingsworth, and Gary and Ania Small) had the opportunity to visit with Sensei about the term, and why […]

Balance From Destruction: Secret Teachings of O Sensei

The term koppojutsu (“bone technique”) is most frequently used in traditional Japanese martial arts to refer to “breaking” techniques.  They are the joint-breaking techniques of koryu Jujitsu and Ninjutsu, and the kicks and strikes of old form Karate designed to break bones and ribs.  For the purposes of this article, koppo specifically implies the intentional study and practice of the ability to harm and destroy, in […]

Shihan Mitsugi Saotome and the Healing Breath

In 2013, I was visiting with Saotome Sensei at his Aiki Ranch in Sarasota over lunch. We took our conversation into a stroll through the acres of beautifully landscaped property surrounding the Aiki Shrine and the home he shares with Patty Saotome Sensei.  As we walked, he pointed out how his “garden” has changed since […]

Saotome Sensei and the Meaning of Ikkyo

At this year’s Winter Intensive training seminar in Florida, Saotome Sensei spoke a lot about the meaning of “ikkyo”. Ito illustrate, he shared a story about a time from when he was training with the Founder, O-Sensei Morihei Ueshiba: O-Sensei would frequently say, ‘ikkyo whole life.’ Once, I responded, ‘Sensei – I already know ikkyo!’ […]

Mitsugi Saotome Shihan: the Teacher as Designer

After this weekend’s Instructor Seminar in DC, I was sitting in the house with Saotome Sensei, and senseis Patty, Chetan, John, Thurston and Nina. Sensei elaborated more on his discussion of what he means by “designing” that I thought was really valuable. He said that it would be unthinkable for a surgeon to make the […]