Aikido – The National Geographic Documentary (2004)

From the National Geographic martial arts documentary series “Deadly Arts”, here’s “Aikido”, a 45 minutes reportage shot in August 2004 that brought presenter Josette D. Normandeau in the heart of Aikido most sacred places, the Aikikai Hombu Dojo and the Ibaraki Dojo in Iwama, to present the Art to the general public

The National Geographic martial arts documentary series “Deadly Arts” explores six different martial arts: Aikido, Capoeira, Karate, Kalaripayyattu, Savate and Muay Thai in the country of their origin and examines technique, culture, history and philosophy.

The series takes a look at some of the most popular and some of the less known martial arts through the experiences of the masters teaching in their arts home countries. The masters divulge their secrets to the travelling journalist and Martial Artist Josette Normandeau. According to her Wikipedia page, Josette Normandeau holds black belts in both Shotokan Karate and Aikido.

While taking viewers to the birthplace of six different martial arts, each episode also involves a physical and spiritual journey to the heart of what it means to be a true disciple of a particular martial art. Bushido, the term given to this life-long quest for mastery.

Josette travels to Japan and practices in several renowned dojos. Among them are the Aikikai Hombu Dojo in Tokyo, the Kumano Juku Dojo in Shingu and the Ibaraki Dojo in Iwama. The presenter encounters the current Doshu, Moriteru Ueshiba, Hirohito Saito, at the time still Guardian of the Aiki-jinja, Yoshimitsu Yamada, who serves as a guide on the journey, and Michio Hikitsuchi, now deceased. Hikitsuchi sensei, although old and sick, joins in and takes the class. She also enjoys a tea ceremony and watches the art of katana forging. The episode also shows some wonderful views and landscapes of the Japanese country.

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