Mulligan Sensei is currently 6th Dan and, with his wife Okamoto sensei, runs Aikido Kyoto .  Okamoto and Mulligan sensei started the Kyoto dojo upon their return to Japan in 2003.  Before Kyoto, Mulligan and Okamoto sensei founded Portland Aikikai.  But the journey started well before then.      ____________________________________________________________________ Mulligan Sensei, thank you for taking […]



Ryotedori – two hands vs two hands.*  There are any number of basic body-building reasons to train ryotedori – tanren development, resistance training – but for the advanced practitioner it is an indexing exercise. Indexing.  The total number of combinations in a two hand v two hand wrist grab is three: double inside, double outside, […]

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Testing in Aikido is a performance art.  Without overt competition there is no immediate external validation of one’s skill and achievement.  A presentation of one’s understanding of the art at that moment in time (the great Tarim Kim has sound advice on knowing what you know now*) , along the path of one’s development is the […]

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Ashi-sabaki generically means foot work but for us it denotes a very specific relationship.  The solo form of practice will be similar to ikkyo.  Standing shizentai as a universal posture, lower the center and zone out with the fingers in the up position, elbow pointed toward your own hip.  Drive the fingers forward with the […]

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Continuous and correct training is the most efficient way to learn material, but we will always need a way to reference past material and transmit information to future generations. This morning my son was watching an episode of Batman “Artifacts“ set in the future after the Batman has died.  A group of scientists search the […]



I have used the phrase ‘artifacts of training’ sporadically to refer to conditioned responses that result from improper training assumptions and methods.  One of the most notable is the ‘sensei effect.’ The Sensei effect works on both teacher and student – the student ‘over-reacts’ to the instructor’s input (making any given technique look more effective) […]


JULY 4th

The iconic picture of Washington crossing the Delaware by Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze – while fraught with inaccuracies the image is a powerful reminder of the total commitment the rebels had – pledging their fortunes, lives and sacred honor to the cause. Now used as a parody of saccharine inspirational posters – it translates the 18th […]

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