Morihei Ueshiba: Takemusu Aiki ($29.95)
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This is the second installment in a six-part series on the founder of Aikido, Morihei Ueshiba. “Takemusu Aiki” includes five rare films of the Aikido Founder shot on location in Wakayama Prefecture, Osaka and Tokyo. Morihei Ueshiba is seen here in film clips spanning the years from 1952-1958 plus a fascinating historical documentary. O-Sensei demonstrates hundreds of seated and standing techniques, as well as the jo and ken, the staff and sword of aikido.
Morihei cuts a vigorous figure in this DVD, being in his late 60s through mid-70s in the footage presented here. You will see some of the finest action scenes of the Founder that have survived to this day. A particular highlight of this program is the footage shot at the Self-Defense Agency in the dojo outdoors on the rooftop. The visual quality is stunning and you’ll see many close-up views of the Founder.
The final part of this program is a documentary titled “Iwama: Birthplace of Aikido.” Iwama, located to the northwest of Tokyo in Ibaragi Prefecture, is famous as the site of Morihei’s country home and dojo, and the Aiki Shrine.
It is also considered by many to be the birthplace of Morihei’s martial art since it was here that he lived in seclusion for many years beginning in 1942, developing and refining aikido into its modern form. You will come to understand the circumstances of O-Sensei retiring to Iwama and see many rare, unpublished photographs from this period of the Founder’s life. It was during the Iwama years that Morihei coined the term “Takemusu Aiki” to refer to the highest level of aikido where one becomes capable of executing spontaneous techniques, perfectly suited to the nature and circumstances of the attack.
A detailed list of the contents of this essential DVD follows below:
Wakayama Prefecture, 1952
This first film clip consists of a special demonstration given by Morihei and some of his most famous students in Wakayama Prefecture in 1952. A copy of the film was given to Koichi Tohei Sensei who took it with him to Hawaii in February 1953. This was the first film of Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba shown abroad.
Osaka Aikido, 1955
The scenes in this film were shot in 1955 at the Osaka Aikikai operated by Bansen Tanaka Sensei. Morihei conducts several classes and demonstrates numerous seated and standing techniques as well as ken and jo movements. There is also a section of the film where the Founder shows some unusual warmup exercises that are no longer used today.
Self-Defense Agency, 1957
The footage contained in this film is some of the finest that has survived of the Founder. It was shot in 16mm format and is of excellent quality. There are many beautiful close-ups of Morihei and his ukes Hiroshi Tada and Nobuyoshi Tamura. Since the action takes place outdoors in the rooftop dojo of the Self-Defense Agency the lighting is excellent. You will also see clearly in the background the Diet Building, the site of the Japanese Parliament.
Self-Defense Agency, 1958
This film clip was also taken at the Self-Defence Agency dojo and includes scenes of O-Sensei throwing a group of US military policemen who were interested in testing the Founder and experiencing aikido. There are some classic, slow motion techniques that are beautiful to watch.
Aikikai Hombu Dojo, 1958
The final segment is one of the most precious technical documents of Morihei as it features scores of empty-handed and weapon techniques. O-Sensei is conducting a demonstration in front of a group of dignitaries at the old Aikikai Hombu Dojo c. 1958. Nobuyoshi Tamura and Yasuo Kobayashi are his main uke. This film also includes a rare iaido demonstration by the famous Jun’ichi Haga Sensei, a long-time friend and admirer of the Founder. Fabulous action sequences!
Bonus documentary: “Iwama: Birthplace of Aikido
Stanley Pranin has written and narrates this 15-minute documentary titled, “Iwama: Birthplace of Aikido.” This presentation covers the years around the commencement of World War II through the mid-1950s during which time Morihei lived mainly in Iwama. These years are important because it was during this timeframe that the Founder refined his art into the modern form of aikido. This documentary is accompanied by some 70 rare historical photographs, many of which have never been published.
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