Column] The Aikido experience in other schools was too good to be true.

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Hello, I am Sugawara, your instructor.


In a change from my previous columns, I am going to talk about aikido in a geeky way.


Recently, I was fortunate enough to take aikido from another school.


Aikido MUGENJYUKU belongs to a school called YOSHINKAN. It is characterized by its practicality, so much so that riot police and policewomen study it, and by its soft movements that embody the martial art of Wago.


The schools we practiced with this time were from a mainstream aikido school called Aikikai. It is characterized by soft and flowing movements, inherited from the late founder of Aikido, Morihei Ueshiba.


What I wanted to learn from Aikikai

  • Anyway, the practice feels good. I am aware of the flow of my body and do it without strain. I can visualize a streamlined shape in my mind. I feel that there are many techniques that make us relax and not stiffen each other's body.
  • Focus on the other person and his/her ki. At MUGEN JUKU KAMAKURA, the focus is relatively self-focused, as the participants are mainly beginners.
  • The students can practice twice as many techniques and work on them mindlessly because they do not return to their original positions to practice the techniques, but continue to perform them left and right.
  • It was like yudansha training, focusing on connection and use of the hips.
  • I practiced Ichikyo, which is much more effective than the Yoshinkan's kuji method. The feeling of being controlled is much better here.

Points that reaffirmed the value of the Yoshinkan


  • The systematically organized system from stance to bodywork and techniques allows anyone to learn techniques that can be used by anyone in the shortest possible time.
  • The process of the technique is broken down and correct answers are provided, and any instructor can teach the same thing to some extent.
  • It assumes an opponent who resists and is established as a technique to protect your loved ones.
Students of all ages and nationalities gathered from around Kamakura to practice together.



As I have mentioned, Aikikai aikido probably had elements as communication that we do not have.


It makes me think that if this aikido spread, there would be less conflict. I could understand why it is so popular internationally.


In our dojo, we want people to learn from aikido in order to live with initiative in life,

  1. Courage to face difficult situations
  2. Concrete means of reconciliation with others

The company has set forth the following


For the former, the current method seems to be more suitable. For the latter, I have learned a great deal from the Aikikai method and would like to incorporate it into my training as soon as possible.


The more you progress, the more you learn, the more you need to learn beyond the boundaries of the schools, I think we all absolutely need to learn beyond the boundaries of the schools lol. I strongly felt that what Aikikai does not have and what Yoshinkan does not have, we both have solutions.


We felt that we would like to have regular opportunities to interact with them in the future.

Column] How to learn a technique

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Hello, I am Sugawara, your instructor.

Before,Four steps to speed up your progressI have touched on the following topics, but I would like to deepen our understanding of similar themes from different perspectives.

main point

  • The ability to learn a technique can be divided into comprehension and expression.
  • Expression varies most among individuals, but is difficult to train.
  • Expression can be compensated for by packaging movements through repetitive practice.

If we try to verbalize the ability to learn a skill...

If you do aikido with adults and children, you will notice that there are differences in the way they learn techniques. Also, among adults, there are those who learn quickly and those who do not. What are the differences between them?

There are two abilities required to learn a technique. One is "comprehension," the ability to systematically grasp and memorize techniques, and the other is "expression," the ability to execute what you have learned with your body.

I will explain a little more about each of these forces.

The "power of understanding" required in Aikido is the ability to systematically understand how to move one's body by looking at a model of how to move.

With comprehension, you can translate the steps "first hands and feet diagonally forward at the same time, then - " into your own words and replay them in your brain.

In my experience, adults have better comprehension skills than children. At about upper elementary school age, they seem to come closer to adult ability.

Expression" is the ability to accurately express with one's body what one has seen and understood. For example, when a person moves his/her arms and legs diagonally forward at the same time, his/her arms and legs inevitably move apart. There is no great difference in expressive ability between adults and children.

Expression" determines how fast you learn.

We talked about comprehension and expression, but it is expression that determines how fast you learn.

Before the screening, in particular, we hear many problems such as, "I know it in my head, but I just can't do it," or "I always make mistakes in the same places.

So there is a difference between the head and the body.

People often refer to those who learn quickly in sports as having "good sense" or "athleticism," but it is more appropriate to say that there is "little gap between the head and the body" rather than that the body is superior.

It is more important to "supplement" expressive ability than to train it.

So how can we develop our ability to express ourselves?

There is no clear answer to this. It should not be easy to train.

Do we have to give up?

It is not. The ability to express oneself can be compensated. The best way to compensate is through repetitive practice. Do the same movements over and over again, and let your body soak up the movements.

Repetitive practice is anyway repeated and packaged.

Rarely, there are those who, once they succeed, say, "Yes, yes, you do it this way, I get it," and stop practicing repetitively. For such people, when it comes time to judge, their minds are empty and they do the same motions they did before they succeeded.

The important thing is to practice many repetitions so that you can do it even when your mind is empty. By doing so, you can package the movements into a single movement that moves multiple parts simultaneously, which is particularly common in Aikido. This is especially effective when done when you are tired.

The packaged version uses less brain resources, so you can express yourself without problems even if your mind is empty during the judging. Also, when learning another movement, if it is packaged, you do not have to learn it from scratch, and the speed at which you learn aikido increases.


We have discussed learning the techniques of Aikido, but the point is,

  • The ability to learn a technique can be divided into comprehension and expression.
  • Expression varies most among individuals, but is difficult to train.
  • Expression can be compensated for by packaging movements through repetitive practice.

It can be said that

You can speed up your progress in aikido by practicing repetitively with an empty head, which is why you practice with your friends, because you can't do it alone.

Column] Does Martial Arts Strengthen the Mind?

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Hello, I am Sugawara, your instructor.
In the previous issue, we discussed the thoughts that went into the design of the training content.
In this issue, I would like to discuss the "strength of mind" gained through practice.


Can martial arts really strengthen the mind?

You have probably seen the ads that say, "Let's strengthen your mind and body through martial arts."
(Actually, I often use this copy when I make ads for my dojo.)


Martial arts will play a role in making your body stronger.

So, does it also strengthen the heart?


My thought is "it makes you stronger but you need the knack" (sorry for the simpering answer).


What is strength of mind to begin with?

Psychotherapist Amy Morin describes the "power of the mental" in her book


Mental strength is the ability to hold the reins of one's emotions and thoughts in any situation and to take positive action according to one's values."


From now on, I will consider whether the mind can be strengthened by martial arts, taking strength of mind = mental power, as she says.


Having "guts" does not make the heart stronger.

The reason why people say that martial arts can strengthen the mind is because they think "guts" = "strength of mind.


But Amy's thoughts show that this "guts" cannot capture all of the strength of the heart.


In particular, "taking positive action according to one's values" cannot be acquired simply by learning martial arts.


Important #1: Create values with the help of martial arts

In the process of martial arts becoming budo, each martial art has developed its own spirituality. Aikido, for example, has a "spirit of harmony," a spirituality of building a better relationship with one's partner without repelling each other.


This can be very useful material for the formation of one's sense of values. The key is how to utilize this material in the formation of values.


And it is even better if you verbalize those values and keep them in mind at all times.


Importance #2: Train your daily behavior according to your values.

Once the values are verbalized, it is important to know how to act in accordance with the values.


It is not easy, but it is easier to make progress if you take a system that does not rely on instantaneous action, such as setting weekly goals for actions that reflect your values.


I will discuss this in another column.



From these,


Martial arts can also strengthen the mind. However, it is necessary to make an effort to accumulate what you have learned as a set of values and train to embody them in your daily life.


This is the summary.

Column】Fluidity and Evolution of Practice

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Hello, I am Sugawara, your instructor.
In the previous and previous issues, we have discussed how to improve aikido from the perspective of preparation and review.

In this issue, I would like to change the topic completely and talk about how we design our aikido training.


I want them to improve twice as fast as I do.

I put a lot of thought into designing my aikido training, but what I place particular importance on is that my students understand aikido twice as fast as I understand it.


I have been taught Aikido by wonderful teachers. Malick Sensei from England, Chris Sensei from the U.S., and Payet Sensei from France have taught me the essence of the world wide world with great care.


What would I tell someone who is about to start aikido? It is really difficult, but I would like to systematize the essence of what I was taught in my own way and compile it so that what took me a year to learn can be understood in six months.


I'd like you to hit the wall as much as I did.

I am often tempted to say to my aikido students and juniors, "Try to do the same thing I did. When I see someone who has felt the same problems as I have in the past, I want to put on a senior air and say, "You hit a wall, I used to, too.


It is a very good feeling when you have the air of seniority. It is easy to feel superior and all-powerful. It's easy to justify that "this obstacle was necessary for him.

But I don't think this feeling is sincere for aikido.


Don't let aikido stagnate on your turn.

If your students have the same problems as you, you are stagnating the teachings that your predecessors have evolved in your place after all.


If you know from your own experience where you are going to get pinched beforehand, you can help future aikidoists to go further.


For example, (this may sound geeky, but) if you have trouble keeping your center of gravity low when performing a throwing technique, it is actually quite easy to solve this problem by simply stretching your groin before practice, rather than repeatedly practicing the technique.


The concept of "fad" is a concept that is "not easily changed.

Aikido has a 100-year history and is nicely systematized. It contains important messages, especially in spirituality, that have been forgotten in the modern world. However, I do not believe that everything from the past is the one and only correct answer.


The important thing is to keep the old-fashioned ideas and elements while updating them to modern methodologies. I was taught this concept later."Untouchable."They say.




  • The important thing in an aikido class is to have the students improve twice as fast as you do.
  • This attitude expresses respect for those who have gone before us in Aikido and stems from our responsibility to advance Aikido.
  • I want to reconstruct aikido with a modern approach while respecting the traditional way of thinking, in accordance with the idea of "timelessness and fluidity.

Column] How to review practice using the KPT method

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Hello, I am Sugawara, your instructor.

In the last issue, I wrote about how to improve in Aikido from a preparatory perspective.

In this issue, I would like to share with you an efficient way to improve your aikido in terms of review.


three steps forward, three steps back

You're practicing and you get the same point wrong as you did last time, or you can't do something you could do, and you wonder, "Why am I so bad at remembering?" Have you ever wondered "Why am I so bad at remembering?


The feeling is like "three steps forward, three steps back. Many people do not feel that they are moving forward, and I think that many people are driven to think that they are not suited for aikido. So, how can we let aikido soak into our bodies without forgetting to practice one practice at a time?

KPT method as a review of training

Before concluding, I would like to tell you that there is a fun way to review the KPT method, which is to simply list three items to look back on.


The KPT method, originally used in the engineering domain, can be used not only in Aikido, but also in sports in general and business in general.


In the KPT method, the following three items are written in a notebook at the end of the practice.
  1. Keep = Do it well and want to be able to continue doing it next time
  2. Problem = something that is not done well and needs improvement
  3. Try = Specific action plan for improvement


The end! It is very simple. 

By the way, my summary is attached at the bottom.




What you could have done is just as important as what you couldn't have done.

When it comes to "review," many people focus on the question of what they could not do. Perhaps this is due in part to the fact that the Japanese educational process uses a method that focuses on what was not done.


 Therefore, the KPT method may appear to be a method of reflection that is different from the Japanese intuition. This is because it also focuses on "Keep=what was done.

Improvements are considered down to a concrete action plan.

The KPT method even considers "Try = concrete action plan for improvement. Make a small promise to yourself to do this next time. Before the training starts, you check the Try and try to execute it. If you continue to fail to do well, you promise yourself a new Try, do it again, and repeat.

The "Way" of Martial Arts

By constantly repeating the process of improvement, the path will eventually become the way. Martial arts, which were born to defeat people, have become a way of life, a way to train the body and mind, called Budo.



Column] Four steps to speed up your progress

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Hello, I am Sugawara, your instructor.

In this issue, I will write about how to improve your aikido.

Yoshinkan Aikido is said to have over 200 techniques.Many of these movements are not intuitive and require a lot of practice because they use muscles that are not used in everyday life.


For beginners, it is hard work just to learn the procedures first. However, it is after learning the techniques that aikido becomes fun. It is when you are able to co-create with the receiver of the technique accurately and effectively. So, how should we strive to learn the techniques?

Four Steps to Improve Your Aikido

To improve your aikido practice, you need to make the following four kinds of efforts, rather than just working hard at your practice.

  1. Watching and learning techniques = Mimikiri Training
  2. Drawing your movements in your mind = Imetrain
  3. Reproduce the movement alone = independent practice
  4. Practice with a partner = Practice at the dojo
Generally, many people only work hard at 4, "training in the dojo," but the head and bodyIt requires a high memory and is a bit difficult.

Improve the accuracy of your own reproduction of what you see.

For just five minutes a day, replay the techniques you have learned in your mind and try to see if you can reproduce them as you wish. Just by doing this preparation, you will improve your Aikido by far faster.

Know your own interpersonal tendencies by partnering with others

However, when moving alone and in the presence of a partner, you will not be able to move as you expect (even if you are not resisted). You will notice that you become tense and shaky. This is your own interpersonal tendency that you can learn from Aikido practice.This is why Aikido is said to be close to yoga and meditation.