Shoji Nishio's "Nishio Aikido" Course in 82 Online Lessons
An introduction to Nishio Aikido by Stanley Pranin
Shoji Nishio Sensei explains Gyakuhanmi katatedori nikyo while performing empty-handed, ki no nagare, sword vs sword, and sword vs staff applications. All of the weapons forms are derived from the basic taijutsu variation.
Shoji Nishio demonstrates Shomenuchi irimi from a lesson excerpted from the "Nishio Aikido" Course
Shoji Nishio: Aikido's Innovative Genius!
Shoji Nishio’s technical legacy is totally unique. He mastered the basics of several of the modern weapons systems from which he drew many elements in addition to his prior experience in judo and karate. What then emerged as Nishio Aikido is an amalgamation of elements drawn from judo, karate, iaido, and jojutsu built on the aikido technical framework and philosophy.
Shoji Nishio: Strikes to vital spots to neutralize attacker!
Shoji Nishio demonstrates how to immediately neutralize uke's attacks from the outset in order to facilitate application of the technique without opposition.
In the annals of aikido, there are perhaps a dozen or so teachers who have commanded universal respect for their high skill levels and major contributions to the spread of aikido. Among this elite list of exceptional figures who have left an indelible impression on today’s aikido, Shoji Nishio stands out as one of the foremost technical innovators and strongest proponents of the founder’s philosophy.
Who is Shoji Nishio?
Shoji Nishio (1927-2005) was a key figure among the postwar generation of instructors operating under the Aikikai umbrella. A talented martial artist who firmly believed in cross-training, Nishio Sensei developed an innovative approach to aikido that drew upon the modern martial arts of judo and karate as well as classical weapons traditions.
When Shoji Nishio entered the Aikikai in 1952, there were few attendees in classes. Moreover, the Founder showed up infrequently as he spent most of his time in Iwama during this period. Nishio was convinced that aikido was the true martial path for him. At the same time, he found shortcomings in its practice methods, especially after watching Morihei Ueshiba’s incredible sword work for the first time, and noting the lack of inclusion of sword techniques in the art’s curriculum.
To supplement his training, as he had done earlier by practicing judo and karate, Nishio took up the study of iaido (sword-drawing), and then jodo (staff training). Each of these arts contributed to his knowledge of the use of weapons and, in turn, complemented his aikido training. Not everyone was pleased with Nishio’s forays into other arts as his aikido began to take on a unique flavor.
Nishio also felt dissatisfied by the relatively few throwing techniques of aikido that included mainly iriminage, shihonage, and kotegaeshi. Little by little, he developed his own innovative repertoire of techniques that included aikido hip-throws (koshiwaza) based on his background in judo. In a like manner, he systematically incorporated atemi modeled on sword movements to facilitate the setup and execution—“tsukuri” and “kuzushi”—of techniques. He also devised sword and staff counterparts to empty-handed techniques drawn from his extensive weapons background.
Despite being somewhat out of the aikido mainstream, Nishio nonetheless rose quickly through the ranks achieving 5th dan in 1958 after only six years of training. This was not uncommon in the early years of aikido and many of the principal figures from the 1940s and 50s were rapidly promoted.
By the mid-1950s, aikido was undergoing steady growth as many branch dojos, and university and company clubs sprang up all over Japan. Nishio began teaching more and more on the outside and frequenting the Hombu Dojo less and less. He was employed at the Japanese Mint during the day and taught aikido at night at various locations in Tokyo and its suburbs. Nishio’s network of dojos practiced methods that were widely seen as a deviation from the standard curriculum of Hombu that was based primarily on the approaches of Kisshomaru Ueshiba and Koichi Tohei. He did, however, maintain close ties with the headquarters organization and regularly participated in large aikido demonstrations and social events. The founder Ueshiba and his son would often appear as guests at the functions of Nishio-affiliated dojos.
By 1980 when he retired, Shoji Nishio was an aikido 8th dan, iaido 7th dan, judo 6th dan, and karate 5th dan. This signalled a new era as he was free to devote full time to aikido instruction. His activities were not only limited to Japan, but he also made frequent trips to Scandinavia, the USA, and various European countries, in particular, France. Nishio maintained an active teaching schedule including regular trips abroad for some 20 years.
Nishio Aikido Curriculum
Nishio’s technical legacy is totally unique. Nishio mastered the basics of several classical and modern martial schools from which he drew many elements in addition to his prior experience in judo and karate.
What then emerged as Nishio Aikido is an amalgamation of elements drawn from judo, karate, iaido, and jojutsu built on the aikido technical framework and philosophy. To supplement his martially-oriented taijutsu or empty-handed techniques, Nishio also developed an elaborate series of sword, staff, and iaido practices.
What are the basics of his system? “In my dojo I teach how to grab, how to stand up, how to swing the sword, the tsuki and oblique stance (hanmen) and yokomen. Proper grabbing, proper swinging and striking are transformed into atemi instantly.”
The highly-principled concepts of aikido take on a physical dimension in Nishio’s aikido. For example, one should adopt a natural stance when confronted by an adversary. “If you stand naturally you can enter immediately when it appears that your opponent is about to move. When your opponent moves you have already won.”
Another important concept is the matching of breathing in unison with the opponent: “We don’t disrupt the opponent’s breathing because, in the aikido way, the opponent changes his breathing and we adjust our breathing accordingly.” Breathing is the key component of the process of unification with an opponent and corresponds to the breathing employed when using the sword which serves as the basis for Nishio’s atemi.
Atemi, the "Soul of Japanese martial arts"
While atemi or “preemptive strikes” have fallen into disuse in mainstream styles of aikido, Nishio saw their employment as essential to the success of aikido techniques: “I regard atemi as the soul of Japanese martial arts. Atemi temporarily neutralize the opponent’s fighting ability and allow him to correct his attitude and return to his previous condition.”
When Nishio explained the use of atemi in aikido techniques, he demonstrated their application at successive points in the movement showing that they are always available. No physical contact actually takes place in order to assure safe practice conditions. The movement corresponding to the atemi does indeed neutralize the opponent’s mind and body rendering him unable to continue his attack.
In Nishio Aikido, the mechanics of achieving unification with an opponent often include taking a “half-step”. This is a critical concept expressed by the Founder that allows the aikidoka to avoid discontinuity and make contact with the opponent. Looking deeper into the idea, we discover that taking a “full-step” translates to opposing the will of the opponent and applying counterforce. In a physical sense, this implies a clash. Applied to social interaction, this is tantamount to imposing one’s will in defiance of or ignoring another’s desires. In contrast, the half-step of aikido facilitates the unification of energies, or, in social terms, a meeting of minds leading to agreement.
Transmission of Shoji Nishio's legacy
Fortunately for posterity, Nishio left extensive pedagocial materials in the form of a multi-volume video series published by Aiki News, predecessor of Aikido Journal. The Nishio Aikido video legacy is organized according to categories of techniques including: gyakuhanmi katatedori, aihanmi katatedori, shomenuchi, yokomenuchi, ryotedori, sodedori, and katadori menuchi techniques. In the 82 videos comprising the "Nishio Aikido" Course, Nishio Sensei also demonstrates sword and staff applications that correspond to the taijutsu techniques presented.
Here's what you'll get...
Here's what the "Nishio Aikido" Course will do for you...
Martial artists, including aikido practitioners, are always on the lookout for a training edge. This may involve practice tips on how to make their techniques more effective, a strategic insight, or perhaps a video of an outstanding instructor who sets a high mark for excellence. Shoji Nishio, 8th dan, is a perfect example in every respect.
For example, have you ever considered the impact of strategically placed atemi or martial strikes in making your techniques work? There is no one who surpasses Shoji Nishio for the delivery, precision and variety of atemi.
Do you have a clear vision of how to position yourself while setting up techniques to insure success? Nishio Sensei's approach to aikido stresses martial effectiveness and out-of-the-box thinking. He was constantly analyzing and discovering new insights to make his aikido highly effective.
Since the "Nishio Aikido" Course is permanently stored in your personal account and fully mobile responsive, you will be able to pull up the course content at the dojo, at home, or whenever you desire to do so to watch and learn.
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You will learn the most important principles of Shoji Nishio's innovative approach to aikido through the 82 lessons of the "Nishio Aikido Course". This incredible aikido resource is yours for $57. Act today and get started!
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