actor steven seagal

Seiseki Abe discusses the role of weapons training in aikido, Steven Seagal offers a testimonial for the man who was his teacher, and the interviewer defines the terms you need to know to understand the traditional art.

Have you trained in other martial arts? Seiseki Abe: Judo, kendo, kenjutsu and iaido. Are there any differences between aikido when Morihei Ueshiba was alive and aikido today? Seiseki Abe: Before the war, there was more emphasis on technique and [use of] the bokken (wooden practice sword) and jo (staff). After the war, O-Sensei began placing more emphasis on aikido philosophy and less emphasis on weapons. When he died, some techniques were altered by some aikido masters. The difference between aikido in Japan and in the United States is this: In Japan, you are not allowed to carry a gun or a weapon. Japan has strict controls with regard to using a sword. In contrast, in the United States everyone can carry a weapon — gun, knife, club, etc. It is much easier to use a weapon against someone. Therefore, in the United States, aikido training places more emphasis on the self-defense applications.

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Hoplology: Martial Arts Weapons and How Humans Fight

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