Continuing our collaboration with some of the best bladed weapon specialists in the world, we’ve distilled insights we’ve gained into a series of concepts we’d like to share with the community.
Learning from the Blademasters
The Inosanto Academy is one of the most prestigious martial arts academies in the world and has deep specialization in edged weapons. Guro (Sensei) Dan Inosanto has over 60 years of martial arts experience and was one of Bruce Lee’s best friends and closest students. Instructors from the Academy have taught law enforcement, military special forces, and many of the world’s top masters across a range of martial arts. If you haven’t seen how they move with edged weapons, check out Death by Disarm and watch Jeff Imada take apart Josh Gold with a training blade.
Guro Dan Inostanto and his team of instructors are gracious enough to share their arts with us and in exchange, we humbly share Aikido and body structure principles with them.
A New Perspective
Through our exchange program, we’ve gained exposure to strategies and tactics that can be universally applied to attacks, defenses, and positioning. We’ve also experienced engaging new training methods that fall outside of standard Aikido practice parameters.
While the depth of our understanding of these elements is still limited, we’ve decided to share some of these concepts with the community. We believe they can help every martial artist to sharpen their skills.
Our First Research Report
We decided to structure our research report in the form of a workshop conducted with Ikazuchi Dojo’s students. Instead of solely documenting our impressions, we brought them to life in an experiential format. We’ve taken key concepts and illustrated them using a framework of traditional Aikido based sword training. We use sword movements familiar to aikidoka to explore new concepts and practice methods. We also tried to convey the spirit of the Academy’s practice and their approach to learning.
We captured the workshop on video and have assembled a series of 8 videos that are designed to serve as a kind of research report for Ikazuchi Dojo students and the Aikido community, more broadly.
- Movement Efficiency: Generate speed and seize initiative through movement path efficiency. A deep understanding of this principle leads to effortless and lightning fast attacks, defenses, and techniques. Efficient movement paths and intelligent movement linking provide an unquestionable edge for a martial artist.
- Understanding the Target: Understanding human anatomy and key vital targets can bring significant benefit and understanding to both sword and empty handed practice. Knowing how our Aikido techniques and weapons interact with different anatomical targets will improve the effectiveness of throws, deflections, controls, and provide awareness of the vital areas one needs to protect.
- Understanding Range: Aikidoka typically practice at middle range (punching or grabbing distance). However, both armed and unarmed engagements often change rapidly between long, middle, and close range. Understanding how range impact attacks, defenses, and techniques completely transforms how one responds in a dynamic engagement.
- Funneling Attacks: In traditional Aikido practice, we usually deal with a response to a single attack. Supplementing this practice with a model that shows how to improve response capability against multiple / follow up attacks can provide a substantial boost in effectiveness for our Aikido. Understanding this kind of response framework allows you to position yourself to isolate threats, reduce an attacker’s response options, and force them into responses you are prepared to deal with.
About The Video Series
Led by Josh Gold (4th dan), our Sword Concepts video series uses traditional Japanese sword movements practice to explore these principles. We transmit these key insights using a common language and movements familiar to all Aikido styles.
Each concept contains a detailed explanation, fun new training methods to explore, and an overview of the implications for our Aikido practice.
Warning 1: The approach and exercises in this video series respect the foundation of our art, but show sword and empty-handed techniques from a substantially different perspective. We don’t claim to have a definitive understanding of these principles nor a conclusive position on how they can or should impact traditional Aikido practice. Our intent is simply to share our current understanding and thinking. As Bruce Lee said ” Absorb what is useful. Discard what is not. Add what is uniquely your own.”
Warning 2: Be prepared to have fun! We received universal feedback from the participants in this workshop that the training was not only insightful, but incredibly fun and challenging.