How To Train For A Million Years, Part 1

No matter how diligently or how long you train in your chosen martial art, you face one unavoidable fact: the total amount of progress you can make, the absolute amount that you can possibly learn is finite and limited to one lifetime. Barring injury and opportunity, the best any of us can hope for us […]

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 […]

The Two Types of “Ki”

“There are two type of ki: ordinary ki and true ki. Ordinary ki is coarse and heavy; true ki is light and versatile. In order to perform well, you have to liberate yourself from ordinary ki and permeate your organs with true ki. That is the basis of powerful technique.” – O Sensei Morihei Ueshiba […]

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 […]

The Symbolism of the Chuseikan Waterwheel

The kamon (crest, logo) for the Aikido Chuseikan of Tampa Bay dojo represents a waterwheel, which we feel is a symbol that embodies some very important ideals in Aikido philosophy.  During an airplane flight with Saotome Sensei in August of 2016, I had the opportunity to discuss the many layers of meaning that Sensei thinks is symbolized by the waterwheel. […]

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 […]

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 […]