History, culture, and practice in the world of Aikido. Interviews with Aikidoists, beginning and advanced, from around the country and the world; calendars of events, announcements, reviews of books, training tapes, and other products.
Conari Press (1993), Random Acts of Kindness. Conari Press. A wonderful collection of entoku, "good done in secret." Notice how often accounts appear of kindnesses done in traffic, how important and remarkable these small kindnesses were to the recipients. If nothing else, read the foreword by D. R. Kingma — then go and do likewise.
Covey, Stephen R. (1989), The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People— Restoring the Character Ethic. Simon & Schuster, Inc.
Ki instructors talk about "living positively." Here's the laboratory manual or user guide on how to do it. Audiotapes narrated by the author are available excerpting this best-selling book. The subtitle refers to Covey's survey of 200 years of American "success literature." That written during the first hundred years of this country was based upon character and ethics — integrity, honesty, and reliability. He found success literature written during the past 50 years to be quite different. Also available on audiotape.
Crum, Thomas F. (1987), The Magic of Conflict Simon & Schuster, Inc.
Conflict from a most unusual point of view — not as a negative to be overcome, but as a positive and active opportunity for creation.
Dobson, Terry, and Miller, Victor (1987), Aikido in Everyday Life — Giving in to Get Your Way: North Atlantic Books.
Could easily be subtitled: "Suzette Elgin Meets Morihei Ueshiba." Aikido off the mat and dealing with conflict and harmony in, yes, the most everyday events of everyday life, from breakfast to boardroom to PTA and bedtime for the kids. Translates aggression and defense into the visible realm through the imagery of triangle, circle, square. A Hard Truth: because most attacks and assaults are non-physical, physical responses (throws and blows to the overbearing boss or annoying co-worker) are in the realm of fantasy Here's how to deal with real life. See Elgin, Suzette for superb treatment of "verbal assault." See the movie Grand Canyon for an outstanding example of triangle, circle, square defense.
The first edition of this book was published in 1977 when Winning Through Intimidation and Taking Care of Number One topped the bestseller lists. "The art of Aikido was virtually unknown outside of Japan," noted Dobson, "and the idea that precepts deriving from a martial art (much less a martial art devoted to peace) could illuminate the conduct of one's daily affairs was too radical a notion for most publishers to consider seriously Add to that Aikido's insistence on responsibility for the protection of one's adversary and it seems an absolute miracle the book got published when it did." Invaluable. For insights on the late great Terry Dobson himself, see Heckler (1985).
Ebert, Roger (1994), Ebert's Little Movie Glossary—A Compendium of Movie Clichés, Stereotypes, Obligatory Scenes, Hackneyed Formulas, Shopworn Conventions, and Outdated Archetypes: Andrews and McMeel Do you or your children believe what you see on TV or in the movies? Here's the hilarious antidote.
Elgin, Suzette Haden (1989), Success with the Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense Prentice Hall.
_(1987), The Last Word on the Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense: Prentice
_(1980), The Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense: Prentice Hall.
On the mat we learn to recognize a physical attack for what it is and respond appropriately. Here is Aikido applied to verbal and emotional attacks which are far more common than mere physical attack and far more difficult to deal with as training is so rare. The phrase "on the street" as commonly heard and interpreted in martial arts classes is usually nonsense — the real battlegrounds are in the shop, the office, the boaidroom, the kitchen, the bedroom, the bar, the beltway The weapons aie words and their underlying attitudes, against which physical techniques are wildly inappropriate or impossible.
Elgin provides raie and valuable training in the tools and the ethics of their use. Compare the linguistic concept of "matching Satir modes" with the Aikido concept of matching speed and direction, blending with the partner or attacker before actual execution of a technique. There are more books in this series, all excellent and uniquely valuable. She talks Virginia Satir and family relationships but you may hear Lady Jessica and the Bene
Gessent training from Frank Herbert's Dune See also Dobson, 1987.
Fazzioli, E. (1986), Chinese Calligraphy. Abbeville Press. A delightful and informative text for anyone wishing to understand more about Chinese ideograms (the source of Japanese kanji such as the ki, qi, or chi symbol), their history and development.
Frankl, Viktor (1984/ Man's Search for Meaning—An Introduction to Logoth-erapy. Simon & Schuster, Inc.
The definitive treatise on changing one's point of view. The idea of changing one's point of view from fear to "Thank you for the opportunity to practice my Aikido" is extremely frightening to some "That's impossible!" cried one student — and left. It is quite possible Psychologist Viktor Frankl did it in a Nazi concentration camp
We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken away from a man but one thing' the last of the human freedoms — to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way.
Franklin, Eric (1996) Dynamic Alignment Through Imagery. Human Kinetics
— (1996) Dance Imagery for Technique and Performance Human Kinetics The imagery and imagination involved in ki exercises strikes many as strange ("unreal!") Yet it is an increasingly critical part of dance and professional sports wheie new ideas, research and innovation tend to be more welcome than in the traditional martial arts. Franklin reviews the body-mind connection, anatomy, and a wealth of imagery exercises Website, www humankinetics.com
Friday, Karl F (1997), Legacies of the Sword—the Kashima-Shinryu and Martial Culture: University of Hawai'l Press.
Besides a superb review of Japanese sword tradition, contains an excellent description of breath control and the tradition and training of kiai. See page 86 for the story of Seki Humitake, the current Kashima-Shinryu shihan and his encounter with a black bear while armed only with his voice.
Fritz, Robert (1989), The Path of Least Resistance• Fawcett Columbine. On becoming the creative force in your own life. Why tackling a problem with grim determination and willpower may not be the best solution There is a newer edition; this one is more terse.
Fulghum, Robert (1988), All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten. Villard Books.
If you are having trouble making your list of things "good, or true, or beautiful," they're all here, from universal spirit and doing good in secret, to the 145th reincarnation of the Haiho Lama into the body of shoemaker
Elias Schwartz through an error in the cosmic switching yards. Excerpted on audio tape.
_(1989), It Was On Fire When I Lay Down On It Villard Books.
More of the above but even better The story of Alexander Papaderos, the man with a mirror and an answer to the eternal question "What is the Meaning of Life?" is especially wise and beautiful.
Gluck, Jay (1996), Zen Combat—and the Secret Power Called Kr. Personally Oriented
The late Jay Gluck was the author of "Masters of the Bare Hand Kill," the 1957 True magazine article that introduced karate to America. The article was expanded to become the karate chapter of the original (1962) edition of Zen Combat. He was invited to photograph Ueshiba for a similar article on Aikido, but when True editors saw the resulting photos of American military police, karate blackbelts, and sword-wielding kendoka, all "looking everywhere but at the little old target," they rejected the photos as "posed" or "rigged" See his account of writing Zen Combat in Aikido Journal #\09 (vol 23, no. 4, 1996). "Modern Zen Fools" is the encounter between Morihei Ueshiba and cartoonist/engineer Rube Goldberg Priceless for charm, wit, and an early account of 20th-century martial arts.
Heckler, Richard Strozzi (Ed.) (1985), Aikido and the New Warrior. Frog Ltd. A treasury of essays on Aikido, including the late Terry Dobson's wrenching short story about "real Aikido." In "A Kind Word Turneth Away Wrath" he tells of leaving the train feeling ashamed and humbled. I felt ashamed and humbled just reading the story Terry describes his then-self as an "arrogant jock." Those who studied with him later report that the constant refrain of this immensely strong, powerful man was "Gently' Softly!" See also Dobson (1987).
— (1984), The Anatomy of Change — East/West Approaches to Body/Mind Therapy. Shambhala Publications.
Essays on Aikido applied to all facets of daily life. Practice on the mat is only one small part.
Hyams, Joe (1982), Zen in the Martial Arts. Bantam Books, Inc.
Essays on fundamentals of the martial arts and budo — a Lessons-Learned Report by a student of the late Bruce Lee. Ueshiba was rooted in Shinto which shares common threads with Buddhism, Christianity, and the teachings of the old yogis. The Great Truths are universal.
Heyerdahl, Thor (1989) Easter Island— The Mystery Solved. Random House An illustrated summary of Heyerdahl's investigations on Easter Island including the 1986 demonstration of a 30-ton statue "walking" thanks to basic physics — and One-Point
Internet Addresses and Resources for Aikido The Official Ki Society Website for the United States strives for updated
Ki Society dojo addresses and information.
Jun Akiyama's Aikiweb includes such gems as Japanese language glossary with audio files for proper pronunciation, dojo finder, reviews of books, materials, training tips You will also find instructions for subscribing to Aikido-L, a world-wide cyberdojo of Aikido enthusiasts See http://www.aikiweb.com
Kjartan Clausen's Aikido FAQ website is at http://aikidofaq.com
The Virginia Ki Society offers training notes, books, and other materials: http//vakisociety org
For a very different point of view on internal martial arts, a conservative warning site is at:
Lewis, C. S. (1982), The Screwtape Letters Macmillan Publishing Co, Inc. Advice from a Senior Devil to a Junior Temptor on capturing human souls. This classic gem provides a different premise and point of view (about 180 degrees) off the norm. Here, the usually garrulous C. S. Lewis is relatively terse and to-the-point. In Aikido, beginners typically spend about six months or so huddling together over after-class beers debating whether or not ki is "real." If you're having this problem, see letters I and XXX for a pungent review of the peculiar human concept of "reality."
Millman, Dan (1984), The Way of the Peaceful Warrior. H. J Kramer. Whether it is fact or fiction is irrelevant; it has insights
Peck, M. Scott (1983), People of the Lie — The Hope for Heeding Human Evit. Simon and Schuster.
A best-seller that many bought but few have read. I know of many people and groups who set out to read it but "couldn't get through it" because it was "too disturbing " It is indeed disturbing, a treatise on the existence, nature, and properties of Evil. A current popular notion is that Evil does not exist, in part, a problem of terminology. Peck provides an invaluable working psychological definition- Evil is "that which seeks to kill life or liveliness." It is the opposite of Good, "that which promotes life and liveliness."
— (1978), The Road Less Traveled—A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values, and Spiritual Growth Simon and Schuster.
Love and pacifism have both suffered strange perversions of meaning in our society. For a discussion of true kindness and love, Dr. Peck's chapters on what love is and what love is not are unequaled. These alone are worth the price of the book which has been on a best-seller list at some time during every year since it was first published. Read this, then see Saotome
(1993). These two books are the antidote to the parallel delusions of love as "warm fuzzy feeling" or "doormat," and to pacifism as "doormat" or "dead."
Reed, William (1986), Ki— A Practical Guide for Westerners. Japan Publications, Inc.
Ki is a foieign concept to many Americans. Reed uses familiar terms and a wealth of example and commentary to explain Japanese traditions including ki principles and exercises, the tea ceremony, calligraphy, and Noh drama, and their relationship to Aikido and the martial arts
_(1992), Ki—A Road That Anyone Can Walk. Japan Publications, Inc.
From the history of Koichi Tohei and Ki Society International, to ki in business and daily life. Includes commentary on philosophy, healing, and daily disciplines.
There is also a delightful selection of Japanese- and Chinese-style poetry (some intended to be chanted to folk tunes while training with a staff), and a collection of Ki Sayings from Master Tohei, here presented in English translation for the first time.
Saotome, Mitsugi (1993), Aikido and the Harmony of Nature: Shambhala Publications, Inc
Contains history and anecdotes of Aikido founder Morihei Ueshiba, Saotome was one of his live-in students (uchi-deshi). Ranges from the ideals of honor and service in the samurai tradition, to the elements of "reality," wave-forms, gravity, and spirituality These concepts are woven into the descriptions of individual Aikido techniques. Excellent
_(1989), The Principles of Aikido. Shambhala Publications, Inc.
A treasury of Aikido philosophy and techniques. Particularly remarkable for the chapters on 'The Sword" and "Ukemi." If you are caught in the common delusion of nage as "winner" and uke as "loser," this will help you see ukemi (giving attacks and taking falls) as discipline and art in its own right.
Shifflett, C. M (2000), Aikido Exercises for Teaching and Training: Round Earth Publishing.
Emphasizes the physical aspects of Aikido training: safe rolling, basic pins and throws, tools and toys for demonstrating and practicing with a partner or alone. Includes additional ki exercises with commentary on the underlying physics. There is also an extensive essay by linguist Suzette Elgin on the tools and techniques behind the critical but seldom-taught Martial Art of Verbal Self-Defense. But See Elgin herself.
Stone, John and Meyer, Ron, Eds (1989), Aikido in America Frog, Ltd., P.O. Box 12327, Berkeley, CA, 330 p.
Interviews with two generations of American Aikidoists from Terry Dobson to the late George Simcox. A wonderful collection of observations by those who studied under or observed O-Sensei in action
Note correct spellings for the following names: Imaizumi, Kashiwaya, Maruyama (p 180), Clyde = Clyde Takeguchi (p 184), Sorenson = Swa-rens (p 178), Lorraine Deann - Lorraine Diann(p 126), Sumio Toyota -Fumio Toyada (p 179), Tacoma - Takoma Park (p 192). —R. Nisley
Stevens, John (1984), Aikido — The Way of Harmony: Shambhala Publications Inc.
Biographies of the Founder of Aikido, Morihei Ueshiba, and of Shirata Rinjiro, the author's instructor. Detailed analysis of Aikido techniques including such basics as proper bowing, sitting, standing, breathing. Aikikai-style terms are slightly different from those used in the style of Shin-Shin-Toitsu Aikido. Extensive photographs.
On becoming aware. This man and his followers were persecuted in their native Viet Nam because they insisted on tending the wounded, suffering, and dying — regardless of which side they had fought on. In "Random Acts of Kindness" (see Conari Press, 1993) there is a haunting story told by an American who was wounded during an attack on a Vietnamese village. As he lay helpless in his blood, an old woman approached and gave him — not the final blow he expected but — a cup of tea Then she quietly went her way.
Tohei, Koichi and Shinojima, Sabi (2003), Kiatsu: Japan Publications.
Kiatzu techniques, application of ki to healing. Detailed descriptions and explanations of the Ki Exercise for Health," 'The One-ness Taiso" and other exercises.
— (1978), Ki in Daily Life. Kodansha International.
I was pleased to have read this book just for the commentary on the Japanese phrase suisei-mushi, meaning "to be born drunk and to die while still dreaming."
— (1976), Book of Ki— Coordinating Mind and Body in Daily Life. Japan Publications, Inc.
From training body, mind, and soul to raising a golf handicap Contains exercises and an introduction to kiatzu, a method of healing with ki.
Ueshiba, Kisshomaru (1987), The Spirit of Aikido: Kodansha International The late Kisshomaru Ueshiba was the son of Morihei Ueshiba, Founder of Aikido, and the head of Aikikai. Presents a detailed review of the underlying philosophy of Aikido and its pre-WWII history.
Walker, Jearl (1985), Roundabout — The Physics of Rotation in the Everyday World [Readings from 'The Amateur Scientist" in Scientific Amencan): W. H.
Freeman & Co.
Westbrpok, A., and Ratti, O. (1970), Aikido and the Dynamic Sphere —An frustrated introduction• Charles E. Tuttle Company. I first this book in a martial arts supply store where-1 had gone to purchase a wooden practice,sword Near the, door was a wide selection of video tapes, featuring snarling bloody actors and titles such as The Art Killing. A mannifcin in black ninja uniform, armed to the teeth, stood by a poster advertising classes in the "secrets of Japaji's professional assassins." The counter at back held throwing stars, daggers spikes, steel daws, and a warning that these could not be sold to anyone under 1& without parental permission The store clerks themselves didn't look that old. I found the only book on Aikido in the entire store* and opening it at random, found this line: "ff you harm your opponent unnecessarily, you have, failed.™ It's an excellent book, but on that day I would have bought it just for that one sentence.
This is the textbook on Aikido, so widely used that in 1994 it was in its 42nd printing; in 1984 I bought the 27th printing, Besides an extensive essay on the ethics ofjxiartial arts, the authors delve into every aspect of til® art Sections address such topics as "Immobilization No. 1 Against Attack No. 3" but the Japanese names that we use are supplied in the glossary Reading it is difficult for a beginner; it was two years before the technique instructions made sense to me, partly due to stylistic differences» largely due to names. See Shiffleit (2P0G) for m chart that "translates5* the numbering system into Japanese terms more commonly used in Aikikai and Ki Society schools.
It is invaluable for the superb line-drawings which emphasize the circular motions These drawings enjoy the dubious honor of being the most-plagiarized illustrations in the history of martial arts. If you have seen a beautiful, flowing line»drawing of an Aikido throw or jo-kata en a poster or advertisement, chances are excellent that it came from this book.
Zi, Nancy (1986), The Art of Breathing: Bantam Books.
Thirty exercises (with visualizations) for improved breathing. In Aikido, as in yoga and other arts, breathing is a discipline in and of itself. The idea is this: If you can't control your own breathing, you control nothing.
Movies and Videos
In the what m0tm% am the &mgs and stories qf hemes told im little children around the eampfire.
Lists of movies and videos related to Aifciio or ki tend ro emphasize the* Japanese, samurai tradition while ofchen ©tnpha$izephysical skills white preaching values of the worst possible kind. This list includes works which would not, at first glance, be associated with Aikido, but which demonstrate Aikido principle if only in a few key scejies.
The internal principles of Aikido aie not limited to certain geographic settings, equipment, plots, or actors. They are uni v6rsaL If they am to be developed at all they must be observed,, considered, practiced, and developed in daily lifei While molt movies and video« here are fictional, the idess behind them and the people who choose to convey these particular ideas are quite ml1 Observe thetmdedying purpose and intent i Beginners often askr^Who's your favorite martial arttet?" Isamtjrad Air Force coldnel. JbMt what they usually, mean is "which movie stafT Weil, OR, Colonel Potter of'M.A.S.H" I've learned a lot from thatficttanal character and writers who created him. Most "martial arts" characters can kick and pundh, but nsffherUmy north®, producers behind them £g©mto have a dye as to how w liv« fir the ©on^quen^s involved ortee fight' scares feovar and the money has been eolleeietf.
Classic tale by John Sturges, director of The Great Escape and The Magnificent Seven. By merely appearing unannounced and unexpected, a mild-mannered stranger (Spencer Tracey) sends a small town with a dark secret into a frenzy of suspicion and fear. A story of choices: the shame and guilt of having made die wrong ones, the terror and opportunity of a second chance. Includes a short scene of karate versus the classic Western bully filmed in 1954 when karate was still a rare and exotic oriental art. See Gluck, 1996.
Facing drug and murder charges, real-estate hotshot Daryl Poynter (Michael Keaton) decides that a drug clinic, with its guarantee of complete anonymity, would be the perfect hideout — and is in for a big sui prise While this appears to be a movie about drug addiction, it is actually about addiction in its endless variety, whether to external sources or internal ones, whether material goods, alcohol, sex, food, self-image or the desire to prey on or to control others to hide one's own lack of self-control. Consider the different images of car headlights presented at the beginning of the film and at the very end. Morgan Freeman as a drug counselor and M. Emmet Walsh as an Alcoholics Anonymous counselor can't be fooled because they've been there themselves and already know all the lies
One of the few modern movies, including martial arts and others, where the protagonist uses his head rather than just punching or running. A mysterious law firm spins a web of easy money and material things. No one has ever escaped until neophyte lawyer Mitch McDeere finds a way out via negotiation, a small but powerful weapon of the law — and the price of a postage stamp. The FBI investigator, wanting something a bit more dramatic is incredulous, yet "it's more than you had on A1 Capone," points out McDeere. Dramatic and bombastic not necessary —just what works An excellent performance by Gene Hackman as a lonely man who wishes he had done better — and does
On effective peaceful resistance. It is often said that Ghandi's non-violent tactics were all very fine against the British who had a tradition of restraint but they would never have worked against the Nazis, communist troops, or violent dictators. Indeed they have done exactly that Here is the history of the Nazi invasion of Denmark, the Polish Solidarity movement, the defeat of dictator Pinochet in Chili in 1983, and others. A gripping two-part video with companion book Written and produced by Steve York To order call 1-800-343-4727
A strange and beautiful look at violence, real and imaginary, the interrelationships between lives and the things that actually matter. In the beginning moments of this film you will see a great Aikido Master working as a towtruck driver (Danny Glover). Watch what he does and how he does it then compare his actions with Terry Dobson's diagrams for attack and defense. (See Dobson, 1987.) Another haunting scene is Steve Martin's portrayal of a movie maker exploiting the lucrative genre of make-believe violence; after a real mugging he sees the light — then chooses to walk back into the darkness.
Based on a true story of Allied prisoners of war who tunnelled out of a German prison camp. Of the 75 escapees, those who got into gun battles at the rail stations, punched out guards, stole bombers and other dramatic solutions, never made it out. This is the source of the famous scene (and poster) of Steve McQueen fruitlessly attempting to elude Nazi pursuers via motorcycle stunts. (Legend has it that he refused to make the movie unless allowed to film this bravura sequence.)
Who actually escaped? Only three: two who posed as harmless fishermen and one on a bicycle, all with a firm goal but who moved so calmly and gently that they never aroused the suspicions of watching soldiers. Also notice the character and behavior of the camp commandant and those under his command in contrast to more modern portrayals of German troops. See Schindler's List.
A charming remake of the legend of the Flying Dutchman of folklore with a kinder, gentler, wiser ending. The profoundly unlovable and unloving Bill Murray is trapped within the same day, apparently doomed to live it over and over — forever. What would you do if you could live forever? What would you do if no one knew? How long before money, manipulation, and preying on others becomes very very boring? What counts? What's next?
Morihei Ueshiba & Aikido — Takemusu Aiki
Scenes of O-Sensei filmed between 1952 and 1958. Includes the "flying" sudori described on page 92 and the famous scene of American MPs filmed by Jay Gluck and described in Zen Combat. Available from Aikidp Journal
Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn in a classic film example of how attitude (and patronizing or thinly veiled disapproval) can impact performance. Hepburn does a passable shiho-nage on tough-guy Charles Buchinski (before he became tough-guy Charles Bronson).
See "Soundman's" battle with a bad guy. OK, it's the Keystone Cops and it's a cartoon, but consider the idea of "Thank you for the opportunity to practice my Aikido" with a slightly different emphasis: "Thank you for the opportunity to practice my sound effects." Either way, the emphasis is not on the attacker.
A breathtaking change in point of view. A man dozes on a picnic blanket in lake-side Chicago. Every ten seconds we are ten times further out from our starting point until our galaxy is only a distant glimmer of light. The viewpoint then returns to the man's hand at the rate of 10 times more magnification every ten seconds, ending within a proton of a carbon atom. The Films of Charles & Ray Eames, Volume 1 The video is $39.95 from Pyramid Film & Video, 2801 Colorado Avenue, Santa Monica, CA 90404, 1-(800) 421-2304.
Thin plot, but the source of the famous scene in which Fred Astair dances with a hatrack. As always he makes his partner look very very good. No clash Only blending and flowing. Consider this in dealing with uke.
Sanjuro (Director: Akira Kurosawa, 1962)
A rollicking tale of feudal Japan. In this sequel to Yojimbo, a gruff and rough wandering samurai (Toshiro Mifune) comes to the aid of a band of naive and hopelessly idealistic young noblemen. The young men see only yes and no, black and white, and are sorely disappointed in a wise old uncle who was taking a quieter, gentler path. In their impatience they are determined to deal with every situation in a dramatic haste which ultimately results in death and destruction.
Mifune highlights the contrast between explosive action and relaxation, appropriate action and appropriate inaction, the dangers of seeing everything in black or white, judging by surface appearances, and how insistence on Action Hero Solutions lead to tragic ends. Notice how Sanjuro deals with (or attempts to deal with) his former foe in the final scene.
When enemy soldiers come to ambush the Boy Scout samurai where they have met at a secluded shrine, Mifune drives them down the steps, surely the inspiration for a strikingly similar picture in Westbrook and Ratti's Aikido and the Dynamic Sphere. The scene of the young men emerging from under the floorboards reappears in Lucas' Star Wars when Han Solo, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Luke Sky walker emerge from under the floorboards of the Millenium Falcon, following almost identical advice from a seasoned warrior that there are many ways to fight Note also the trademark screen wipes which Lucas (an enthusiastic Kurosawa fan) used in Star Wars, in turn inspired by Kurosawa's Hidden Fortress.
Nazis and World War II German soldiers are the all-purpose bad guys, the monsters we love to hate. Our memories revolve around the innocents destroyed by gas and guns. Forgotten are the other casualties, the soldiers themselves, many forced or deceived into taking part in a great wrong. In a final scene of this powerful movie, news is received that Germany has surrendered. The war is over, but now the Schindlerjuden face the prospect of being shot down in mass by their former guards.
Schindler saves not only his workers but the soldiers too, by presenting them with what may have been their first real choice in many years — to give in to the temptation of murder and vengeance and the destruction of their own souls, or, to simply stop, to return to their homes with clean hands, as men, not as murderers.
"Behold!" says God.
"I have set before you the way of Good and the way of Evil.
The way of Life and the way of Death.
To redeem is defined in part as: "To recover ownership of something through payment of a sum, to fulfill a pledge, to set free, rescue or ransom."
A financial planner (Tim Robbins) is wrongly condemned for life to Shawshank Prison for murdering his wife. The experienced inmates bet that this quiet man will crack the first night. Not only does he not crack, ever, but in the course of a secret 20-year goal he starts a library, an education program, and groundwork to rescue the prison from the control of a sadistic warden. Red (Morgan Freeman) on his way to die, keeps a pledge that enables his friend to save his life, enables Red to choose life.
While this movie appears at first to be about surviving the rigors of prison, it is actually about goals, and soft, gentle, persistent progress towards those goals, blooming where you're planted, and life — any life — as an act of creation.
Most wars have been fought over who gets to keep the food the farmers grow. In Greco-Roman mythology, Mars, the god of war, was originally a god of agriculture. This practical need to protect the crops is also the root of the Japanese samurai and of martial arts from other lands. (Note that numchuks, which we know only as a martial arts weapon, are actually a farm tool for threshing rice. (See Disney's Three Musketeers for a brief glimpse of the European version, the flail, used in threshing grain as d'Artagnon gallops through a farm village. See Braveheart for the same farm tool used as a weapon.) In the classic film by Akira Kurosawa a village hires seven samurai (with a youthful Toshiro Mifune as a would-be samurai) for protection against the annual harvest-time raiders. In the test set for selecting candidates, observe who wins and why.
Seven Samurai, regularly found in the list of the world's Top Ten Movies, inspired Hollywood's "Magnificent Seven" cast as a western, director John Sturges seems to have carefully matched the faces and personalities of the original Japanese actors.
An asthmatic youth lost in a fantasy world is taken in hand by the canny and kindly Mr Lee (Mako) who leads him out of the trap of fantasy into the world of real competence, true confidence, and genuine self-control. All the elements of the standard martial arts movie are here* good guy, bad guy, the opportunity to "take revenge" on one's opponent by beating him to a pulp — and they are all slyly lampooned and redirected
The enemy is not really the class bully, it is asthma The karate competition is won not by trashing an adversary but by "breaking," an exercise in concentration and self-control. The beautiful girl is not the prize won by defeat of a rival; she already liked him anyway — for himself And "don't need karate gi," points out Mr. Lee (who races from kitchen to competition in an apron) "to break blocks."
Chuck Noiris' all-time best movie pokes gentle fun at all his others. While it suggests the value of hero-worship for setting direction and goals (the boy in the final scene gave me goosebumps), emphasis is firmly placed on the need to move beyond.
Based on the 1958 Hidden Fortress, a film by Japanese director Akira Kurosawa Lucas saw it in film school and never forgot it Toshiro Mifune is general Rokurota Makabe, who in "Star Wars" becomes Obi-wan Kenobi, Princess Yukihime becomes Princess Leia Organa, and the two hapless wandering foot soldiers who come to the rescue of the disguised princess become C3PO and R2D2. The Source of the Force.
Star Wars. Many of the concepts attributed to "The Force" come directly from Aikido. Darth Vader's hissing breath is a wonderful parody of ki breathing and his helmet is the traditional samurai helmet and bamboo armor reinterpreted in black plastic. (See the movie Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for an example of the almost-real thing worn by the wicked Shredder) Observe Ben Kenobi's calm and impartial graciousness to all, even the despised 'droids, in contrast to the generally spiteful and frenetic behavioi of almost all other main characters. (This same character of calm graciousness is displayed by Master Splinter, the ninja rat in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.)
An Aikido joke in circulation since this 1977 movie is that "The Force" — one side light, one side dark, that "binds the universe together" —
actually refers to duct tape.
The Empire Strikes Back: Who has Luke destroyed when he strikes down his enemy in the cave? The inspiration for Yoda is believed to be Misao Shoji of Gardena, California. A superb Aikidoist, he is also renowned for his pixilated sense of humor. His favorite song, "Found A Peanut," is sure to be sung in the course of any workshop where he is present.
Return of the Jedi: On video and in slow motion, watch the clash between Vader and Emperor where you will see X-ray images largely invisible at normal film speed. Compare with Saotome's(1993) account of experience as Ueshiba's uke.
Ukemi: The Art of Falling: Bruce Bookman Falls are a leading cause of accidental death and injury yet safe falling is rarely taught. Even in Aikido and Judo where falling is a critical technique and teaching skill, it is rarely taught in a systematic manner. Bruce Bookman corrects that lack with two well-done videotapes.
Volume I: Basic Ukemi progresses from simple rocking chair rolls to breakfalls. Includes strategies for improving ukemi by effective blending with your partner.
Volume 2: Advanced Ukemi continues to high-flying breakfalls and flips.
Watch these then compare with the falls seen in "pro-wrestling." See "Exposed« Pro-Wrestiing's Greatest Secrets."
A documentary of a little French town of pacifist Huguenots that spent the years of World War II rescuing fugitive Jews. We hear and dwell much on the perversion of good by evil; here is a stunning example of the perversion of evil by good. Written and directed by Pierre Sauvage who was born in the town during his parents' sojourn there. Available from Friends of Le Chambon Foundation, 8033 Sunset Blvd, #784-R, Los Angeles, CA 90046 or call (213) 650-1774.
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