Not sure if I am more enamored with this quiet earnest pursuit of perfection or the fabulous production quality…

Jokingly we were discussing the connection between Aikido and the movies as I pointed out Obata Sensei played the villain in the Ninja Turtle Movies.

Well in life he’s very much the real deal.  This is a beautifully shot and edited video of his school in Oakland.  He studied originally under Gozo Shioda the founder of Yoshinkai Aikido and then branched off into traditional kenjutsu.

Click Here for the Video

The Doshinkan Aikido International annual event was held within the dojo this year. Spacing was definitely compressed but spirits were high.  In the past we have performed highly tactical and practical techniques so this year we focused aiki waza.

Vinesett Sensei and Fitts Sensei demonstrated basic kumitachi and then free style from grabs.

Tenrokan Demo at DAI 2013  

This amazing fight choreography is indeed rare – free fighting with bokkens.  The movie – Gohatto was controversial, indeed the name means taboo.  But this scene required tremendous skills to produce.

This summer we were sad to report the death of Amos Parker. We met briefly in Japan in 1984 and I was very impressed with his quiet demeanor and dignified bearing.  This was the highest ranking non Japanese in the aikido world with perhaps the exception of a few ‘self proclaimed’ super grand masters…

Amos Lee Parker (Born December 12, 1936. Died August, 20 2013) was an American aikido teacher. He is ranked 9th dan in Yoshinkan Aikido.

Amos Parker first came into contact with aikido in 1958 while a member of the US Navy on board the USS Bradford (DD-545). Another member of the crew, Signalman Hill, was demonstrating techniques and Amos was shocked at how easily Hill was able control him and others.

In 1962, Amos Parker received his orders to Japan and was deployed to the Yokosuka Naval Base. The Monday after his arrival he found an aikido dojo on base that was under the direction of Yukio Noguchi, 7th dan Yoshinkan Aikido. His training with Noguchi only lasted a couple of months as the latter accepted an invitation to teach aikido in Hawaii. Aikido classes were taken over by Kiyoyuki Terada, 10th dan. Amos Parker would spend the next 35 years training and teaching in Japan.

Amos Parker received his Shihan in 1986, making him tParkerSenseiAtSeimeikanhe first non-Japanese instructor to receive such an honor. In 1995, he received the rank of hachidan (8th dan) and in January 2010 he was awarded the rank of 9th dan by the Aikido Yoshinkai Foundation making him the highest ranking non-Japanese Yoshinkan Aikido instructor in the world. Amos Parker is senior to many of the Japanese shihans and served as a presiding judge at several yearly embutaikai’s (demonstrations)

In Late March we took a group from our Tenrokan dojo to visit the International Headquarters, the Doshinkan in Philadelphia.  Our facilities in Durham are so modest that it’s important to have students know they belong to an art that’s widely accepted and internationally acclaimed.

doshinkan class shot = 2







From left to right – Ryan, Jesse, Rob, Chris, Kancho, Richard, Eric and Sensei.

jpg of 2013 Seminar Flyer

We are pleased to host a Summer Seminar with Aikido Shihan Yukio Utada.  Thanks to our friends at Triangle Aikido we will use their dojo on Hillsborough Road, June 8th and 9th.  There are more details on the flyer but this is open to all styles and levels of experience.

Within our international group Yukio Utada is referred to as Kancho meaning head of the school or organization.  He is the quiet master, encyclopedic technician and a genuine embodiment of Aikido principles.

Please help us share the word and pass the info about this great opportunity to learn more about Aikido and how it applies to martial arts and life.

Download the Flyer Here – Aikido Flyer 2013

Today is Morihei Ueshiba’s birthday. He was born December 14th,1883.

Mr. Ueshiba, known as O-Sensei (great teacher) is one of the world’s most famous and influential martial artists. He developed aikido, a revolutionary martial art based on harmonious conflict resolution.

Aikido has has become far more than a self-defense system. It’s a way of life dedicated to personal growth and harmony. It’s now practiced by a global community of martial artists in over 150 countries across the globe.

“Rely on peace to activate your manifold powers. Pacify your environment and create a beautiful world.”

-Morihei Ueshiba

Ikazuchi - O'Sensei

This was part of Doshinkan Aikido presentation at Drew University in 2009. I wish our entire group had been shown but obviously the editor enjoyed the knife work.

Benjamin Cliver is one of the young guns and keepers of the flame at the Doshinkan, our headquarters in Philadelphia. Here is a great essay written about his perspectives on Budo.

Budo and Cleaning the Cold Box

by Benjamin Cliver on Wednesday, October 3, 2012 at 7:25pm ·

So, today at Yards, I had an interesting experience.  A fellow I worked with was mocking me for having to been assigned an obnoxious task.  This chap, is one of those people that, while seemingly having a preternatural aversion to hardwork, delights in seeing others working very hard.  Anyway, he mocked me for having to do a hard task.  I walked away with a serious desire to traumatically redesign his face with my hands.  Instead of the hard task he had implied that would be mine to do, I volunteered for an even harder one.  I asked to clean the cold box.

The cold box is dirty.  We run a fork lift in and out of there all day and the pallets we stock items on shed bits of wood constantly.  At first, I was just in the cold box to avoid the chap who had mocked me.  As I worked, I decided to CLEAN the cold box rather than just MOP the cold box.  After more than an hour and five buckets of fresh water I had become elated.  I worked hard and loved it… It was a very Budo moment for me.

Essentially, Budo says that we should examine ever task we undertake as way to make ourselves better.  Focus on that which we are doing and complete that task.  Every time I thought to half ass this task and “get done” another side of me said, “No, do it right this time.”  I find it really interesting that the most menial task has brought me so much joy.  Something my aikido instructor, Sensei Utada has been telling me for a dozen years, “Do the job you want to do the least!  That is your training.  You learn nothing by doing the thing you want to do”.  Awesome day for me.