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Ueshiba Morihei - Divine Techniques

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Ueshiba Morihei - Divine Techniques  

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This is the fifth DVD of Aikido Journal’s definitive DVD series on the Founder of Aikido, Morihei Ueshiba. “Divine Techniques” is comprised of a collection of 12 films of O-Sensei—several of them in color—from the period of 1962 to shortly before his death in 1969. It also includes a heretofore unpublished audio recording of the Founder’s voice.

Contents include:

Iwama Dojo and Aiki Shrine, 1962
The Founder performs several demonstrations both in the Iwama Dojo and inside the Aiki Shrine. American aikidoka Terry Dobson is featured prominently. This film was shot in 1962 by Mr. & Mrs. William Nye for a tv documentary that was never completed. This clip contains some of the best footage of O-Sensei that has been preserved! (20:03)

All-Japan Aikido Demonstration, 1964
This footage consists of the highlights of O-Sensei’s demonstration at the 1964 Aikido Demonstration held at Hibiya Kokkaido hall. Of special note is the fascinating misogi kata performed by the Founder using the “nuboko,” a sharpened staff, representing the “heavenly-jeweled spear” from the Kojiki creation story and used frequently in demonstrations by O-Sensei during his final years. Morihiro Saito, Mitsugi Saotome, Terry Dobson and Kazuo Chiba are among his uke.(2:00)

Aikikai Hombu Dojo class, 1964
This clip captures O-Sensei during a class he taught at the old Aikikai Hombu Dojo in Tokyo in 1964. This is the same dojo used by the Founder during the prewar era when it was known as the “Kobukan Dojo.” The camera is positioned close to the action to afford an excellent view of O-Sensei’s instruction. The Founder is ably assisted by Seiichi Sugano. (1:57)

4th Kanto Student Aikido Demonstration, 1966
This clip features the Founder’s performance at the 1966 Student Aikido Demonstration. O-Sensei demonstrates a misogi kata using a fan. Also, he humorously stands on one leg while being pushed at one point during his performance. Among the identifiable ukes are Shizuo Imaizumi and Kenji Shimizu. (4:23)

All-Japan University Aikido Demonstration, 1966
This is footage from the 1966 All-Japan University Aikido Demonstration that features an animated O-Sensei repeatedly mowing down a row of students including Norihiko Ichihashi, Shizuo Imaizumi and Iwao Tamura. It also contains a series of kata using the fan vs. bokken. (4:25)

All-Japan Aikido Demonstration, 1966
This clip consists of nice close-up footage from the All-Japan Demonstration of 1966 held at the Hibiya Kokkaido, the most frequent venue for these annual events during the 1960s. If you look carefully you can see the following deshi assisting the Founder: Mitsugi Saotome, Shizuo Imaizumi, and Nobuyuki Watanabe. (1:25)

Kumano Hongu Shrine Demonstration, 1967
This is a most unusual film that captures O-Sensei’s demonstration at the Kumano Hongu Shrine located deep in the mountains near Tanabe, Wakayama Prefecture in 1967. The Founder performs a beautiful misogi bo kata for the occasion and demonstrates with Michio Hikutsuchi as his assistant. (6:15)

Self-Defense Force Demonstration, 1967
This footage is one of the few surviving color films of the Founder demonstrating at the Self-Defense Force Aikido Demonstration in 1967. O-Sensei’s strokes his famous wispy white beard as he expertly throws his young students among whom can be seen Seishiro Endo and Minoru Kurita. (2:39)

Opening of the New Aikikai Hombu Dojo, 1968
This film marks the historic opening of the New Aikikai Hombu Dojo on January 12, 1968. On this auspicious occasion the visibly pleased Founder dispatches one young deshi after another with effortless grace. Among his assistants are Shizuo Imaizumi, Mitsugi Saotome, Kenji Shimizu. O-Sensei also defends against a sword-wielding Michio Hikitsuchi while holding a fan. (2:37)

Aikikai Hombu Dojo Special Demonstration, 1968
This movie preserves a special demonstration held in 1968 at the newly-built Aikikai Hombu Dojo in Tokyo. O-Sensei gives a spirited demonstration in front of the “Aiki Okami” hanging scroll to a crowded room of observers. There are many excellent action sequences that clearly reveal the Founder’s extraordinary abilities even in advanced age. Noticeable among O-Sensei’s deshi are Kenji Shimizu, Shizuo Imaizumi, and Seishiro Endo (2:06)

All-Japan Aikido Demonstration, 1968
The footage in this beautiful color clip captures O-Sensei’s presentation at the 1968 All-Japan Aikido Demonstration held on October 5, 1968 at the Hibiya Kokkaido. This marked the last time the Founder appeared at this annual event. Clad in an elegant, flowing white kimono, O-Sensei cuts a graceful figure as he demonstrates his art with total mastery. (2:12)

Aikikai Hombu Dojo Kagami Biraki, 1968
This color film records O-Sensei’s demonstration during the Kagami Biraki New Year ceremony at the Aikikai Hombu Dojo on January 15, 1969. This is quite probably the Founder’s last public demonstration as he fell ill a few weeks later and was bedridden until his passing on April 26. At the advanced age of 85, O-Sensei is remarkably agile and gives a wonderful performance. The camera angle is excellent and many beautiful throws are captured. Mitsugi Saotome, Minoru Kurita, Mamoru Suganuma, Ikuo Iimura, and Seishiro Endo are among O-Sensei’s assistants on this occasion. (2:01)

Bonus Feature: O-Sensei audio interview
The final segment of this DVD program consists of excerpts from an unpublished taped interview of the Founder made c. 1965 wherein he talks about the unusual circumstances of his birth and his spiritual possesion by a martial deity that determined the course of his long career. There are only a few surviving voice recordings of O-Sensei and hearing his actual voice will add a further dimension to the viewer’s appreciation of his charismatic personality. (11:12)

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

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64 mn
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