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Morihei O-Sensei Intro Set ($79.95)

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Practically every practitioner of aikido who trains for a few months is familiar with the name of Morihei Ueshiba O-Sensei. Although it is generally known that Morihei is the founder of aikido, few are aware of his practice and teaching methods or the major events of his life.

Fortunately for us today, quite a few film documents of the founder in action have been preserved. We offer several films featuring Morihei O-Sensei in our DVD catalog that we encourage you to consider. To make it easier for everyone to familiarize themselves with this great martial arts genius and to study his techniques and movements, we are offering the following four DVDs as a set at a greatly discounted price of more than 30% off the retail price. Detailed descriptions of these wonderful film documents on DVD appear below.

Aikido Classics 1: Postwar Greats

This DVD is a collection of precious historical films featuring aikido’s most famous figures. These are the teachers most responsible for the broad success of aikido following World War II. Beginning with the unbelievable art of Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba, each of these teachers developed his own unique approach and technical style and inspired legions of enthusiasts. The footage contained in this wonderful DVD represents some of the highest levels of aikido yet seen.

See some of the action in the first and second promotional videos.

DVD Contents:

  • Morihei Ueshiba: Brief film clip of the Founder O-Sensei from c. 1954 displaying his incredibly dynamic technique. Appearing taking falls are Gozo Shioda, Koichi Tohei and Morihiro Saito. Technical mastery beyond description!

  • Morihei Ueshiba: Demonstration of O-Sensei at a Commemorative Demonstration of the Johoku Branch dojo in 1962. Also features Nobuyoshi Tamura, Seiichi Sugano, Mitsunari Kanai, and Terry Dobson.

  • Gozo Shioda: The founder of Yoshinkan Aikido gives an unforgettable demonstration for a film documentary shot in 1958. The top names of the early years of the Yoshinkan also appear including Kiyoyuki Terada, Shigeho Tanaka, Tadataka Matsuo, Kyoichi Inoue and Takashi Kushida. Full of fast-paced action!

  • Koichi Tohei: A class and demonstration by the then Chief Instructor of the Aikikai Hombu Dojo for a team of American filmmakers in 1962. Tohei Sensei leads the class in “ki” exercises followed by an outstanding exhibition of free-style and randori techniques. He later went on to found his own style of aikido emphasizing his ki concepts. This is Koichi Tohei at his best!

  • Kisshomaru Ueshiba: The late Doshu’s technique is noted for its soft, circular movements, and numerous Aikikai shihan have been influenced by his approach. He is seen here conducting a class and also demonstrates graceful free-style and multiple-attack techniques. This 1962 film offers a rare inside look at the Aikikai Hombu Dojo of the early 1960s. Lots of memorable action!

  • Morihiro Saito: This is the famous NHK film documentary shot on location in Iwama in 1973. Saito Sensei was the Chief Instructor of the Iwama Dojo and Guardian of the Aiki Shrine from 1969 until his passing in 2002. The power and precision of the art of Saito Sensei is captured on film in vivid detail. His mastery of empty-handed and weapon techniques is legendary. The final action scene is classic!

Morihei Ueshiba: Aiki Budo

The first installment in a six-part series on the founder of Aikido, Morihei Ueshiba. This is an in-depth look at the prewar art of Morihei Ueshiba featuring the rare 1935 Asahi News Film!

Documentary: Morihei Ueshiba, 1883-1942

This exciting DVD showcases the prewar Aiki Budo of Morihei Ueshiba, Founder of Aikido. The program begins with a documentary written and produced by Aikido Journal Editor-in-chief Stanley Pranin that traces the life of the Founder from his boyhood in Tanabe through his retirement to Iwama in 1942. Morihei’s early martial arts training, his study of Daito-ryu aikijujutsu under the famous Sokaku Takeda, his involvement with the Omoto religious sect led by Onisaburo Deguchi, and a history of Ueshiba’s Kobukan Dojo are presented.

This documentary also includes video and audio recordings of several prewar Aikido figures commenting on their remembrances of the Aikido Founder. Among those who appear are Kisshomaru Ueshiba, Gozo Shioda, Rinjiro Shirata, Takako Kunigoshi, and Kiyoshi Nakakura.

1935 Asahi News Film

Of the surviving documents of the prewar era, perhaps the most important is the 1935 film of Morihei shot in Osaka at the Asahi News Dojo. We present this amazing treasure in its entirety for the first time on DVD. One is struck by the modernity of many of the techniques and the “ki no nagare” like style of execution.

Morihei demonstrates numerous suwariwaza, hanza handachi (hanmi handachi), tachiwaza, multiple attacks, and sword and bayonet techniques. His partners are Shigemi Yonekawa and Tsutomu Yukawa. There are also brief appearances by Takuma Hisa and Rinjiro Shirata. Most of the techniques are advanced and performed in a flowing style building up to a spectacular multiple attack finale!

Click here for a detailed analysis of all aspects of this film treasure written by Phil Davison.

Morihei Ueshiba: Way of Harmony

The fourth installment in a six-part series on the founder of Aikido, Morihei Ueshiba. This exciting DVD showcases rare films of the Founder taken between the years of 1958 and 1962. In addition, a never-before-heard audio interview of O-Sensei is presented in its entirety for the first time. Here is a full list of the contents of this wonderful new DVD of Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba:

Aikikai Hombu, 1958

Highlights of a class and demonstration given at the World Aikido Headquarters in Tokyo. The Founder demonstrates a variety of seated and standing techniques in this clip. (3:07)

TV Documentary, 1958

This film was shot contemporaneously with the American tv documentary “Rendez-vous with Adventure” by an amateur cameraman. A number of scenes from the Founder’s remarkable demonstration edited out of the televised program are preserved in this exciting footage. (2:08)

Aikikai Hombu, 1959

The footage contained in this film preserves some of the finest action scenes ever of the Founder. His superb skills are displayed in numerous seated, standing, ken and jo techniques. Features beautiful slow-motions sequences. (9:18)

Aikikai Hombu, 1960

A rare film with outstanding action featuring Kazuo Chiba as the Founder’s partner. Many dynamic sequences of free-style and weapons techniques are captured in this film. (4:14)

Honolulu, Hawaii, 1961

This film was shot on the occasion of the Grand Opening of the Honolulu Aikikai in February 1961. This was the Founder’s only trip to the United States. This footage contains crystal-clear shots of the founder’s misogi jo kata and swordwork as well as scenes from the dojo festivities. Koichi Tohei and Nobuyoshi Tamura also appear. (8:07)

Aikikai Hombu, 1962

This footage shot in 1962 by an American couple for a tv documentary that was never completed and lay in storage for 23 years. It was shot in beautiful 16mm film and is some of the highest-quality footage of the Founder known to exist. The Founder is shown teaching a class at the Aikikai Hombu Dojo with American Terry Dobson serving as his training partner. (3:03)

Bonus Feature

O-Sensei radio interview. This DVD contains a fascinating interview of the Founder conducted about 1962 during which he is questioned about aikido. As was his custom, many of the Founder’s comments reflect his spiritual views and mention Japanese kami. This recording affords a rare chance to gain an intimate glimpse of the Founder’s warmth and personality. English subtitles provided. A series of beautiful close-up photos of the Founder serve as the backdrop for the interview. (12:30)

Aikido Journal editor-in-chief Stanley Pranin also appears to introduce and explain the programs.

Morihei Ueshiba: The Founder of Aikido

This DVD is the final installment of a six-part series on the Founder of Aikido, Morihei Ueshiba.

The first section is the uncut version of a Japanese tv documentary titled “Aikido” produced in 1961. This film focuses on the life and techniques of Morihei Ueshiba, and was shot on location in Iwama and Tokyo. It contains beautiful footage of the Founder in his daily life and during training. There are many marvelous action scenes, including an incredible display of empty-handed techniques, defenses against multiple attacks and a live sword!

Both the late Doshu Kisshomaru Ueshiba and Morihiro Saito figure prominently as O-Sensei’s training partners. Watch for O-Sensei’s incredible ability to perceive his partner’s intent before the attack even starts! You’ll also hear the Founder’s actual voice in several scenes of him in prayer that highlight his great spirituality. This film will bring the figure of O-Sensei alive, and you are sure to be captivated by his energy and charisma! Complete English subtitles of the Japanese narration are provided.

Part two of this DVD presents a fascinating 15-minute radio interview with the Founder. Great care was taken in inserting over 200 subtitles to allow you to follow along with each and every word spoken by the Founder. You will appreciate the Founder’s humor, warmth and spiritual insight as he invites you into his world. In parts of the interview O-Sensei mentions the names of Japanese deities or “kami” and alludes to such ancient texts as the Kojiki. You will come to understand first-hand how O-Sensei expressed himself as you listen to this crystal clear recording of his voice.

All throughout the interview a series of rare photos of O-Sensei from the famous von Krenner collection taken around 1967 are displayed. This perfect combination of image and sound will give you a long, intimate glimpse of the geniality of the Founder.

Aikido Journal editor-in-chief Stanley Pranin also appears to introduce and explain the programs.

Watch video trailer below.

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