Monday, March 30, 2009

Just Yell Fire!

Just Yell Fire is a 46 minute instructional film, created for girls 11 to 19, which demonstrates 10 street fighting techniques to get away from attack and date rape situations, shares a Dating Bill of Rights, and includes stay-safe strategies from law enforcement agencies. The film was created by volunteers to keep girls safe and to teach them to fight back against assault or abduction. It is Free online and was one of the most downloaded production-length films of 2007. Schools, law enforcement agencies, shelters, and other groups are using it to keep their girls safe in 44 countries.

Hundreds of thousands of teen girls have seen the film Just Yell Fire, since it went online for free. Over 325,000 free DVDs have been given out, mailed, or downloaded. From 20 to hundreds of emails and letters arrive daily applauding the effort and telling us that parents, police, teachers, coaches, doctors, group leaders of all sorts, and others are using the film to make sure their girls won’t become a statistic.

Watch it at

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Academic Earth

Academic Earth es una organización fundada con el objetivo de proporcionar a todo el mundo acceso a una educación de primera categoría. Academic Earth proporciona tanto cursos completos como clases magistrales de materias tan diversas como economía o ingeniería de sistemas. Eso sí, en inglés.

¿No es así como debería ser la Universidad?

Monday, March 23, 2009

"What is Aiki" by Yoshimine Yasuo

The following was published on Budo Free Talk on June 2002 (issue #26). It's author is Yoshimine Yasuo, a student of Sagawa Sensei.

There aren't many words which are misunderstood to the extent of the world Aiki. It is quite unfortunate that many dubious martial artist use this term purely for their promotional purpose. As of current state, as far as magazine or books are concered, thre are very few which provide correct information about aiki. If there are ten articles about aiki, probably at least eight of them are incorrect.

The reason why the matter has fallen to such sorry state is because aiki is very difficult to master. So only external forms have been transmitted and it is very rare to encounter genuine aiki techniques. Accordingly, even among people who call themselves Shinan (instructor), unfortunately, only few know it. When someone asks "what is aiki?", often, answers are like "This is beyond the description by words" or even "It's transcendent ability". (You may not believe me but true). Hopefully, I think more open and modern/enlightened attitude will slowly change this and make aiki easier to learn.

Then, what is aiki? I will write technical or methodological detail in my book so pardon me if I'm brief. But anyway, stuff like magazine tend to describe aiki as something mysterious but in reality, aiki is very scientific. To cut the long story short, if you seek the origin of the word aiki, answer will reveal itself.

I wrote this few time in the magazine "Hiden" but aiki is originally kenjutu (Japanese sword arts) term and it describe a state where you and your opponentís seichu (central) line is face to face. (This word is used even in modern kendo as in original meaning). Easiest way to see it is to just pick up swords with your partner, hold it in the middle until the tip of the sword face each other. Obviously, this situation is stalemate. So you have to diver your opponent's tip of the sword. To do this is called "Divert Aiki". It's not even incorrect to state that entire koryu kenjutu techniques are based on methodology of diverting aiki. For example, in case of Shinkage ryu (shin=true kage=shadow ryu=style), they often use technique to enter diagonally to divert aiki. In case of Onoha Ittoryu (Ono branch of one blade style.), it's characteristic is in how to divert tip of the sword by central breakthrough. Aiki of Daitoryu is application of this principle of central breakthrough of Onoha Ittoryu into taijutu. That is, you deliberately force the state of aiki as in sword fight then proceed to break this state through penetrating into centreline of your opponent. Accordingly, the basic stance use the same one as Onoha Ittoryu. And in aiki, attack target are neck and hip (and occasionally chest) and this is, in fact, same as the thrust targets of Onoha Ittoryu.

Therefore, there are broader definition and narrower definition of the term aiki. The broader definition of aiki is the entire methodology of crushing opponent's attack stance through central penetration. This includes atemi (strike) into upper part of the body. Narrower aiki means techniques of neutralising attack from the contact, exemplified in technique, aiki age (aiki lift).

Now, as of aiki age, presently, even this technique are often misunderstood. Many people confuse this with Kokyuho in aikido. They looks alike but their purpose is completely different. That is Kokyuhou or Tenchinage in akido originally meant atemi into jaw with palm. In Daitoryu, there are no concept to push someone down with charge like in sumo. The correct concept is to uplift your opponent or smash opponent directly below and the techniques which exemplify this fundamental principle are aiki age (aiki lift) and aiki sage (aiki takedown). These two use entire body and are not mere hand techniques. Hence by looking at even one photo, one could tell whether someone has managed to do it or not. Extremely bad example is when one push someone down just by using body weight . If one do aiki age from kneeling position, if someone standing losing balance on top of you even if your back is straight and your haven't broken your keeling, then it is the real deal. And if you have opportunity to experience aiki age, pay close attention to the feeling when you grab this person's arm. With someone who can really do this, there are rarely any sensation of grip because there is no collision of power. Accordingly, anyone who push back with force are out of question. And the biggest difference between correct aiki age and the incorrect one are whether one can make the movement smaller and smaller through training. If one try to push back with force or using body weight, one will never be able to do it. That is, true purpose of aiki is to utilise aiki in every taijutu technique by making it smaller and shaper through polishing your technique. That is why I mentioned in other place that if you got wrong teacher, you never make it.

As of side note, it is often said that the secret of aiki age is to "Open palms as in Asagao (morning face, common Japanese flower)" but this is often transmitted incorrectly. "Open palms as in Asagao" in fact point to the entire arm movement in aiki age and not pointing to how one open palm. The reason this theory has spread is probably due either to do with teacher intentionally hid it or someone who hasn't learned it properly spread it. Once you get used to aikiage, you can do it with your hands closed and the reason one have to open palm is only because it is easier to learn. An important point when you open palm is not to put too much force into your finger. This is bit difficult to get unless demonstrated in practice but in beginner's level, you open your palm like when you do paper in stone/paper/scissors. When expert do Aikiage, especially little fingers are very relaxed. And often this technique are split between Aiki of Kote, when someone grab your writs, and Aiki of Mune (chest) or Aiki of Karada (Body), when someone grab your collar or other such places but these two are the same. This is also easier to understand in demonstration but if you know the gist of it, the latter one is much easier one to do it.

Daturiki (Relaxlation) is another equally misunderstood word like aiki, and this world is also uttered in sort of aspiration as in the word aiki so I mention about it here just in case. Daturiki doesn't mean you don't use muscle. Even in aiki, one is of course using muscle. "To relax" simply means "use only necessarily muscle". The phrase "To issue ki" is same with this principle.

To add further, when he was alive, Sagawa Sohan swung steel training staff every days and someone said "That is just muscle work". This is like making speech with your pants down without understanding the fact that aiki as well as koryu kenjutu use entire body movement. In fact, it is natural to arrive at this kind of training if one think about what is needed in Daitoryu. (However, unless one learned proper way to swing sword, one could damage oneís body so I wonít recommend it.)

As stated, aiki is in practice, very scientific. It is true it is based on rather sophisticated principle but it has nothing to do with mysterious transcendantalism. Therefore, to describe aiki mesteriously or even religiously is self evident sign that one hasn't got proper transmission. It is like someone wondering in amazement at magician's work because he doesn't know that magic is a trick. For magician, trick is easy to perform. And the fact that aiki is scientific mean that everyone, as long as they practice seriously can master it. To add further, in some part of Daitoryu, it is said that one can master aiki even if you can't lift anything heavier than chopsticks as long as you receive oral transmission but that is nonsense. This is because the effect of aiki differs according to individuals. Once you got the gist of movement, then you have to reduce the margin of error by applying aiki many many times to various different persons. That is to aim perfection through repetition of movements based on logic. This is the same in any martial arts.

That is it. This time it was rather metaphysical but as I said, I clarify more practical description of technique or theory in detail in my book. So pardon me for that. The next topic will be "utilisation and paradox in form".

Friday, March 20, 2009

Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation (XII)

Ya está disponible el capítulo 12 de Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation de Peter Goldsbury Sensei.

¡A disfrutarla!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

¡Viva el top manta!

Mi buzón de entrada me esperaba esta mañana con la siguiente nota:

Dada la mierda que nos escupe diariamente la tele, radio, prensa y demás medios de comunicación, un grupo de disidentes hemos elaborado este manifiesto a favor (sí, A FAVOR) de la piratería. Si te mola, pásalo. Si prefieres creerte las mentiras de la industria, haz con él lo que te salga del arco del triunfo.

De: El currante medio, aplastado por la hipoteca, la precariedad laboral, los horarios DE MIERDA y otros abusos sociales, como la caña de cerveza a 2 putos Euros.

A: Ese músico mediático que se duele detrás de unas gafas de sol en la Moncloa, forrado de pasta hasta los pendientes. Tiene cojones ir de rebelde por la vida y terminar en las escaleras del centro del Estado (por si no captáis las sutilezas, el ejemplo se refiere a Alejandro Sanz, aunque es extensible a todos los membrillos/impresentables que le acompañaban).

Mira, chavalote, en la gira que te vas a marcar este verano vas a ganar más pasta —haciendo algo que te gusta y que en teoría te llena— de lo que ganaré yo en toda mi puta vida de currito, cargando, además, con una actividad que no me aporta nada personalmente y con la que, si no fuera por el sueldo adicional de mi pareja, ni siquiera me daría para pagar el piso donde vivo.

"La música está muy mal" —gimes. Tú, chavalote, no sabes lo que es estar mal. ¿Qué sabes tú de hipotecas, de rebotar de un contrato a otro, de currar a turnos o de 7 a 7? ¿Qué sabes tú de llegar a fin de mes, o de lo que me cuesta a mí plantearme tener hijos con lo que piden en una guardería? Porque te recuerdo que aquí, en el mundo real, curramos dos para pagarnos 70 metros cuadrados.

"La gente que compra en el top manta no ama la música" —escupe otro. ¿Con qué validez moral exigís vosotros, que vivís a todo trapo de camino entre Madrid y Miami, sin saber ni el dinero que tenéis, al currante que os pague los vicios y haga multimillonaria a la multinacional de turno ¿Cómo se puede tener la cara de plantarse en plan víctima sobre una vida de lujo?

La industria ha abusado y abusa con los precios y las calidades.

Sólo ahora que se ve con el rabo en el culo ofrece lo que no pueden dar los piratas: DVD's con vídeos, extras y demás. Todo, curiosamente, al mismo precio que antes. ¿No llorabais que no se podían bajar los precios? Cómo vale ahora un álbum que lleva 12 canciones en el CD y 16 en un DVD (verídico) lo mismo que antes el mismo álbum con el CD a pelo? ¿Cómo puede valer un mismo álbum en España 18 euros y en Alemania 20 (contrastado) cuando los alemanes ganan más del doble que un español?

Ahora que las mafias e Internet os revientan, ahora, que ya no tenéis la sartén por el mango, pasáis de la posición dominante y abusiva a la apelación más rastrera de sentimientos. Pues yo, y muchos como yo respondemos: AHORA, QUE OS DEN POR CULO.

NADIE puede pedirme que le pague la colección de coches de lujo, el yate y las cuatro casonas en Miami, la Sierra o Marbella.

NADIE puede pedir moral desde la inmoralidad.

Ejemplo: Bustamante se acaba de comprar una casa de 500 kilos de las antiguas pesetas en solo CUATRO AÑOS DE CARRERA MUSICAL, claro ejemplo de lo mal que está el panorama musical.

Firma: Cualquier anónimo hasta los güevos de sandeces.

PD: Cópialo, pégalo y pásalo. Si haces Reenvío se llena de molestos ">".

PD 2: Si alguien sabe el correo de Ramoncín que haga el favor de pasárselo.


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Shomen Uchi por Morihiro Saito

Initiating Shomen Uchi:

Explaining Shomen Uchi Ikkyo Omote, Ura and in Between:

Shomen Uchi variations by Morihiro Saito Sensei.
Part 1: Ikkyo - Shiho Nage
Part 2: Koshi Nage

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Got pwned by boxer

A vueltas con el tema acostumbrado por aikidokas inseguros y/o inexpertos, una nueva discusión en Aikiweb en la que el iniciador del hilo plantea sus dudas sobre la efectividad del Aikido tras haber sido zurrado por su amigo boxeador...

Afortunadamente, la voz voz de la experiencia se hace notar como en el siguiente post de Kevin Leavitt:

"Aikido" will work with whatever attack is presented. (I actually hate to say "aikido will work" as it really doesn't DO anything as people do and aikido is only a methodology)

Anyway, it does "work" in the sense that if we are skilled at what we do we learn to recognize effective attacks and ineffective ones.

A big part of the study of aikido is learning the concept of Mushin and Ma'ai.

Ma'ai is the timing/space/distance in the situation. WIth the right amount of experience it is hoped that we can appropriately move and respond to attacks that are presented.

What I see alot, (and did, and still do!) is that we want so bad to "do aikido" that we reach out, grab, pull, push, and any number of things. Everything but affect the core, center of the person while most likely upsetting our own. You see this alot in beginners for sure!

The instructor showed them how to do a technique, now they will do becomes something that our perceptions tells us we must DO, vice walking the fine line between doing, guiding, suggestion, leading or whatever languaging you want to call it.

Yes, in a sense it requires a committed attack. It does not have to be over comitted, which I think is the perception alot in aikido.

UFC style punches are VERY comitted. It is just that the guy throwing it has enough skill to comitt just enough resources necessary to do what he wants to do. Sucks to be you if you don't have an appropriate response!

Same concepts apply, it is just that your window is very narrow for being able to do much. Hence why we slow down greatly in aikido to allow for practice to happen.

Unfortunately it gets all screwed up when someone studying at that speed for months (or even years) suddenly decides to take the training paradigm he/she adopted and go full on with someone that has never studied aikido and/or does not really care that you have!

The speed/timing/distance is all messed up and you simply probably have not developed ways to appropriately deal with it.

Clinching is about as aiki as anything you do. It is irimi nage just applied at a different range. Clinching can be strong or it can be leading, guiding, blending as well.

Clinching is necessary, as you now, cause space is taking away from you and it is a protective position/posture.

Anyway, for some reason, we ignore this concept in aikido, not sure why it seems to be a bad word...probably because people equate it with fighting or MMA.

Anyway, I am saying this not to promote clinching, but only to point out that it is a response that simply accounts for the level of speed, timing, distance, and comittment of uke. Once you achieve it, you can off balance (irimi) and then throw, takedown, or strike uke as the case may be.

It does not requrie your opponent to be OVER Committed. He can stay on his center while you take his center.

It is also within the parameters of aikido to disengage and simply avoid or back up as well hoping that your opponent will indeed over committ. I do this especially with inexperienced is a better strategy alot of times other than clinching.

Anyway, there are two extremes...close in (engaging) and far way (disengaging). Both are good and within our parameters and abilities. Both do not require us to respond in a disconnected way and "catch" punches, nikkyos, or sankyos.

I have converted a few boxers over to BJJ. I do it by clinching they hate it, they stay there waiting for the ref to break up, so they don't know how to get out of it. AND they can't hit you well that close. I ride them down, knee on them and strike and disengage....rinse, wash, repeat!

Hopefully I never get caught cold with a punch!

Friday, March 06, 2009

Takeji Tomita Sensei - Exhibición en Glasgow en 1990

Una bonita demostración de Aikido por parte de Takeji Tomita Sensei, 7º dan del Aikikai y creador de la Takemusi Aiki Tomita Academy. Fue alumno de Morihiro Saito en Iwama, quien lo envío a Suecia a difundir el Aikido de O'Sensei, y maestro de aikidokas consagrados como Ulf Evenås Sensei.