This episode of the Aikido Journal Podcast hosted by Stanley Pranin features guest Pat Hendricks, 7th dan, of Aikido of San Leandro. Pat and Stan each briefly describe their careers in aikido and connection with Morihiro Saito Shihan of Iwama.
Pat Hendricks and Stanley Pranin will conduct a joint aikido seminar in Las Vegas March 9-10, 2013. Both also talk about the topics and training they will present at the event.
Part 2 of this interview will follow shortly where Pat and Stan will field a number of questions submitted from readers on various aikido-related subjects.
Theme: “Excellence in Technique”
Instructors: Pat Hendricks and Stanley Pranin
The present state of affairs in the aikido world is the result of the worldwide dissemination of the art during the last 60 years. Aikido was born during a difficult period in the history of Japan. Things reminding the war-shocked Japanese of its recent militaristic past were frowned upon This, of course, included the martial arts.
It was in such an atmosphere of suffering and poverty during the aftermath of World War II that aikido began to spread its wings and make its way to foreign shores. Those who made this possible were, for the most part, young men in their 20s and 30s. Due to their youth and the interruptions of the war, they had only a few years experience in martial arts, and even less training under Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba.
These men — now considered among the aikido greats, names like Koichi Tohei, Kisshomaru Ueshiba, Gozo Shioda, and others — did their best to teach up to the levels of their abilities at that time. Some, like Koichi Tohei, were innovators and incorporated outside skills in developing their curricula. Given the tenor of the times, hard, martial training was eschewed in favor of presenting aikido as an exercise and health system to cater to the general public. The beauty and elegance of the technique were there, but the art became devoid of its martial core.
Now many years later, many practitioners are attempting to restore the martial integrity of aikido, and transform it into an effective self-defense system based on an ethical foundation suitable for a wide audience.
This seminar taught by Pat Hendricks and Stanley Pranin is part of this attempt at returning to aikido’s roots and rediscovering the technique and principles espoused by Founder Morihei Ueshiba. They have both been inspired by the vast groundwork of their teacher, Morihiro Saito, 9th dan.
Pat Hendricks began her aikido training in 1975 under Mary Heiny and Stanley Pranin in Monterey, California. Beginning in 1977, she traveled to Japan for the first time and began practice at the Iwama Dojo of Morihiro Saito Sensei. Pat made scores of visits to Japan over a period of more than 30 years honing her aikido and language skills. Pat became one of the senior students of Saito Sensei and took ukemi for him at many seminars and demonstrations in Japan and abroad. She has operated Aikido of San Leandro in northern California since 1984. Pat is currently head instructor of the Iwama Division of the California Aikido Association. She travels extensively worldwide conducting aikido seminars and demonstrations. In 2012, she received the 7th dan ranking from the Aikikai Hombu Dojo in Tokyo.
Stanley Pranin began training in 1962 in southern California. He received his 1st and 2nd dan rankings from Koichi Tohei Sensei in 1965 and 1967. Stan began a newsletter called “Aiki News” in 1974 which began his lifetime calling as an aikido historian and an authority on the life of Founder Morihei Ueshiba. In 1977, he relocated to Japan where he stayed continuously for 20 years. During that time, he trained primarily with Morihiro Saito Sensei and also collaborated with the latter in the publication of many books and videos. Stan also accompanied Saito Sensei on many of his foreign trips as his interpreter. Today, Stan operates the Aikido Journal website which is the outgrowth of his many years of research and publications on all aspects of aikido.