Archive for Robert Lara

A Word From O’Sensei

Posted in Aikido with tags , , , , , , , on March 29, 2014 by Combative Corner

Robert Lara Sensei 001“In our techniques we enter completely into, blend totally with, and control firmly an attack. Strength resides where one’s ki is concentrated and stable; confusion and maliciousness arise when ki stagnates.”
Morihei Ueshiba O’Sensei

(植芝 盛平 , December 14, 1883 – April 26, 1969)

O’Sensei and The Art of Peace

Posted in Aikido, Teaching Topic with tags , , , , , , , , , on May 10, 2012 by Combative Corner

Aikido is the realization of Love.
If you think that “martial art” means to have opponents and enemies and to be strong and defeat them, you are mistaken. The true spirit of the martial arts is to be one with the universe and have no enemies. The essence of the martial arts is the spirit of loving protection of all beings in the universe.
Never defeated means never fighting. This is not mere theory. You practice it. Then you will accept the great power of Oneness with Nature.
As the words for “harmony” and “love” can be pronounced ai, I decided to name my unique budo (martial art) Aikido, although the word aiki is an old one. The word which was used by the warriors in the past is fundamentally different from that of mine.


Aiki is not a technique to fight or defeat an enemy.

It is the way to reconcile the world and make human beings one family.
The secret of Aikido is to harmonize ourselves with the movement of the universe and bring ourselves into accord with the universe itself.
Aikido is non-resistance. As it is non-resistant, it is always victorious. Those who have a warped mind, a mind of discord, have been defeated from the beginning.
There is no conflict in love. A mind of conflict, thinking of the existence of an enemy, is not consistent with the spirit of the universe. Those who do not agree with this cannot be in harmony with the universe.
Don’t look in the opponent’s eyes, or your mind will be drawn into his eyes. Don’t look at his sword, or you will be slain with his sword. Don’t look at him, or your spirit will be distracted. True budo is the cultivation of attraction with which to draw the whole opponent to you.
A mind to serve for the peace of all human beings in the world is needed in Aikido, and not the mind of one who wishes to be strong or who practices only to defeat an opponent.
When anybody asks if my Aiki budo principles are taken from religion, I say, “No.” My true budo principles enlighten religions and lead them to completion.
I am calm however and whenever I am attacked. I have no attachment to life or death. I leave everything as it is to the spirit of the universe. Be apart from attachment to life and death and have a mind which leaves everything to that spirit, not only when you are being attacked but also in your daily lives.
The source of Bu is divine love. It is the spirit of love and protection for all things. The training of Budo is the forging in our minds and bodies the power of divine love, which produces, protects, and nurtures all things in the Universe. The techniques of budo are signposts pointing the way which leads to this.


Aikido is love.

You make this great love of the universe your heart, and then you must make your own mission the protection and love of all things. To accomplish this mission must be the true budo.
Even though our Path is completely different from warrior arts of the past, it is not necessary to abandon the old ways totally. Absorb venerable traditions in Aikido by clothing them with fresh garments, and build on the classic styles to create better forms.
Our techniques employ four qualities that reflect the nature of our world. Depending on the circumstance, you should be: hard as a diamond, flexible as a willow, smooth-flowing like water, or as empty as space.
The body should be triangular, the mind circular. The triangular represents the generation of energy and is the most stable physical posture, The circle symbolizes serenity and perfection, the source of unlimited techniques. The square stands for solidity, the basis for applied control.
A good stance and posture reflect a proper state of mind. The key to good technique is to keep your hands, feet, and hips straight and centered. If you are centered, you can move freely. The physical center is your belly; if your mind is set there as well, you are assured of victory in any endeavor.
Do not stare into the eyes of your opponent: he may mesmerize you. Do not fix your gaze on his sword: he may intimidate you. Do not focus on your opponent at all: he may absorb your energy. The essence of technique is to bring your opponent completely into your sphere. Then you can stand just where you like, in a safe and unassaiable position.
When an opponent comes forward, move in and greet him; if he wants to pull back, send him on his way.

M. Ueshiba

O’Sensei and The Principle of The Circle

Posted in Aikido, Teaching Topic with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 16, 2012 by Combative Corner

Aikido technique is structured on circular movement, for harmony is brought about and all conflict resolved through the spirit of the circle. The response of the body, mind and spirit to the principle of the circle is vital to the creation of technique.

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A circle…

encloses space, and it is from the perfect freedom of this emptiness that ki is born. From the center of this birthplace, the creative processes of life are joined with the infinite, immeasurable universe by the spirit. The spirit is the Creator, the eternal parent giving birth to all things.

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The Budo of Aikido springs from the mastery of the spirit of the circle. The essence if this Budo is to embrace the complementary action of cause and effect and to draw into yourself all things as if they were held within the palm of your hand. You have a spirit, therefore you must realize that each person has a spirit. When the life processes are connected with the spirit and the fundamental principle of the circle is given birth in Aiki, all things are led to completion through the circle. All things are freely created by the circle. The secret of the circle is to create technique by piercing the very center of Space.

Morihei Ueshiba – Founder of Aikido

Robert Lara Sensei

Four Winds Aikido

Four Principles of Aikido

Posted in Aikido, Internal Development, Martial Arts, Philosophy, Training with tags , , , , , , , , on February 21, 2011 by Combative Corner

Keep One Point
Relax Completely
Keep Weight Underside
Extend Ki

These principles are very important in Aikido training. Since not all styles of Aikido being taught today emphasize these principles, I feel very fortunate to have had teachers that taught and believed in the coordination of the mind, body and spirit.  As time goes by, I realize more and more the importance of not only training the body to perform techniques but training the mind and spirit as well. The mind is a very powerful tool that we can continue to develop as long as we live. While the body ages with time, the mind, with proper training, can remain fresh and alert even to an advanced age.
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“How do I train my mind?”
The answer is always the same. You simply take control of your thought. When the mind begins to wander and flip-flop from one thought to another, take command of it and bring it back to the task at-hand (or whatever it is you are trying to accomplish).
The key here is practice.
The more you do this, the more effective you’ll become.  This forces us to live in the present moment and increases our awareness. When one lives in the past or the future it considerably weakens the power of the present moment. Understand that how we do things in the present affects the outcome of the future.
Awareness is the number one rule in all self-defense situations and it is also the number one rule in living a strong and successful life. Numbers 1 and 4 are rules of the mind. Numbers 2 and 3 are rules of the body. The four basic principles to unify the Mind, Body and Spirit are the path to a true understanding of Self and your relationship to the world as a whole (AND you as a part in it!). When you have found your center, it’s then that you are starting to see the true spirit of Aikido.
Four Winds Aikido

The Four Winds

Posted in Aikido, Internal Arts, Martial Arts, Styles with tags , , , , on January 15, 2011 by Combative Corner

The Aikido I teach is much different then most main line Aikido. In my Aikido system we strike and kick. We apply Aikido to every situation I can come up with so that the student from day one is learning a real combat effective art. But our goal is peace.
Aikido Is a way of life. And the best way to understand Aikido at the higher levels is to study nature. There comes a point in your training when you no longer have to think to control an attacker. You can call out the attack and control from the first move.  Own the situation by extending Ki, keeping your center, keeping weight underside, and relax completely.
Weapons are very much a part of our system as Aikido is based on the sword. We train many weapons. Not just the Jo(Staff), Ken(Sword), & Tanto(Knife).  There are many influences in my Aikido system.  I have trained in many different martial art systems my whole life and those things that work I keep and use. Those that do not, I throw away.
A large goal with my students is that they learn Masakatsu Agatsu (True victory is victory over Oneself).  This is a high goal, and I expect all of my students to strive for it each and every day… not just in the dojo, but in daily life. We do this so that we spread peace where ever we go, and to represent the true spirt of Aikido.

Robert Lara Shihan

His Combative Profile

Roundtable Discussion 006: Life

Posted in Martial Arts, Roundtable Discussion with tags , , , , , , on November 22, 2010 by Combative Corner

Six martial artists, from six different disciplines were asked,

“How did the study of the martial arts impact your Life?”

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Robert Lara ::.. The study of Martial Arts positively impacts my life more and more each day. I started my studies in the arts to learn to be able to control attackers. But as the years have went by I now train to learn to control myself. To master the self is the true battle.

I do my best each day of my life to better myself through the study Martial Arts. I deal with Fibromyalgia and other health issues. Without the Martial Arts I would not have the tools to deal with my health issues. I wish you all the best on your paths in the study of Martial Arts.

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Brandon Vaughn ::.. That’s easy.  My martial arts training greatly increased my confidence and improved my self discipline.

I first started training for the same reason a lot of kids did because I wanted to be able to beat up all the bullies that were tormenting me at the time. As so often happens in martial arts, by the time you learn how to “fight” you realize that you no longer need to. Through Martial Arts I gained the confidence to stand up for myself but also the discipline to not let people provoke me into fighting over nothing. I went from walking looking down at my shoes to walking with my chin held high.

Martial Arts also helped me deal with some anger issues when I was younger and still helps me manage my temper to this day. Martial Arts gave me a healthy outlet for expressing my anger and according to my wife has calmed me down a lot since high school. One of the main reasons I enjoy teaching so much is because I get to help kids dealing with the same issues that I dealt with as a child. Nothing compares to watching a student’s confidence grow before your eyes.

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Freddie Lee ::.. Martial Arts holds great significance in my life. Before practicing Martial Art, all I knew of was sport, nothing about art. When I started training, it was a physical discipline, something that was nothing new to me. It was not until 2 years later did I begin to look deeper into it. It first started with being inspired by Bruce Lee. Practicing Martial Arts for the first time made me proud of my own culture and race. I was no longer ashamed. For the first time I went to seek out information about my original Chinese culture.

I first started reading “The Artist of Life.” That lead me to many other books related to Eastern Philosophy. Martial Arts sparked my thirst for knowledge and wisdom. Ever since then, my life was never the same. Ultimately it lead me towards enlightenment. Now I see the world from a whole different level. It has awakened me. I see very clearly now. And it began with Martial Arts; I have much appreciation towards Bruce Lee who had shared his wisdom with the world through his writings.

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Johnny Kuo ::.. The martial arts have impacted my life in several ways, but the primary effect has been on personal development. To understand an art, you need to focus your mental energies to perceive its essence. That sort of mental focus is not easy, especially in our modern day barrage of constant and varied distractions. The mental training has paid dividends in different aspects of my life. It helps me stay focused and calm when life’s pressures start mounting.

The other major effect of studying martial arts I’ve noticed has been more social. Training martial arts has given me the opportunity to interact with people who I would probably not run into otherwise. In my experience, the martial arts have been both a vehicle of physical struggle as well as a common bond which forms friendships and community.

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Coach Michael Joyce ::.. All people are different (especially children) and as I began to sprout upwards in this world, I played a variety of sports.  My father had always encouraged me to play football and I ended up becoming a fairly decent wide receiver.  In middle school, I could literally feel a strange “shifting” at work.  Running patterns on the football field and catching an oval shaped ball just didn’t cut it for me anymore.  Besides, I wanted something that could help to develop the image of what I had always hoped to become.  The martial arts, whether it was my earlier kungfu training, my college days spent studying fencing (mainly) or, later, my focus on self-defense and taiji… gave me an inner sense of fulfillment that I couldn’t get by being a team player.

In this world, it is important to do things on your own… or at least, have the capacity and confidence to do things on your own.  Although we all need people to guide us, nothing improves one’s confidence and sense of achievement when you know it was your strength, your courage, and your determination that produced the result.  Moreso, the result becomes even greater to see as one continues down the martial art path, whereby the result isn’t a championship ring, but something deep and profound that you wake up to every morning and something absolutely no one can take away.

Instructors ProfilesLARAVAUGHNLEEKUOJOYCE

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Roundtable Discussion 004: Next Best Style

Posted in Roundtable Discussion, Styles with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 31, 2010 by Combative Corner

Six martial art instructors were asked,

“If you were given only one style/system of martial art to study (besides your primary discipline), what would it be and why?”

Sensei Robert Lara – For me it would be Wing Chun Kung Fu.  I already train Wing Chun and that is why I picked it. Because it works! No messing around. A very solid and sound fighting art.  It is very much like the Japanese Aiki arts. To control your attackers mind and take away there intent to do harm to you or others.  To stick to an attack once launched is a very sound way to apply control. Be it deflecting blocks, Punches, Elbows, Chops, Low kicks. Sweeps, Throws.  I Love Wing Chun!  I have great love for all the arts but there are those systems that you know are for you.

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Sensei Brad Vaughn – If I could study one martial arts style it would be Kung Fu. It really doesn’t matter what style(though I think Southern Shaolin would fit me nicely) because I find any and all forms of Kung Fu both beautiful and dangerously effective at the same time. I’ve had the opportunity to study a couple of different styles, first in college and now recently and I never cease to be amazed by it. It is my “holy grail” of martial arts. I train hard in the martial arts hoping that one day I will be worthy to become a black belt in Kung Fu as well. I would love to just take off to China for a couple of years and just immerse myself in the culture and study Kung Fu up close and personal and then return to the states a true Kung Fu Masters but I don’t think my wife would go along with that.

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Sifu Freddie Lee – Jeet Kune Do. Because there are no limitations. It is not a style or a system, it gives you the realization to go beyond.

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Coach Johnny Kuo There are so many choices of martial arts that it’s difficult to answer this question. Almost any art would be a viable choice given access to a talented instructor. If I had to choose an art besides I-Liq Chuan, I would pick Arnis. Arnis has several characteristics I find appealing: it emphasizes partner practice, blends offense and defense, doesn’t require a lot of equipment, has a no-nonsense approach, and most importantly, it just looks fun.

I also like the fact the Arnis is not dependent on physical prowess; skill is a much more important factor for proficiency than size and strength. Swinging two sticks to beat the daylights out of your opponent seems so primal and basic, yet there is subtlety and beauty in the art. To me, it seems like Arnis would develop practical martial skills, enhance the mental ability to read the conditions of offense and defense, and have good skill carry over to other arts.

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Coach Michael Joyce – Silat.  But I’m actually going to be very specific with this one.  Over the last few months, I’ve glimpsed numerous martial art video posts (as I enjoy seeing forms progress, applications worked, and maybe pick up on some new training exercises/methods).  One channel really impressed me, as my main draw to the martial arts is the science behind efficient and effective self-defense.  The channel that I came across was Maul565 and the style is Silat Suffian Bela Diri.  Maul Mornie is the instructor and came from Seria, a small town in Brunei Darussalam.  He is currently based in the United Kingdom and does workshops across the country, stressing “Minimum Effort, Maximum Effect.”  My kinda guy!  Can’t wait to learn more about this style through his videos, and perhaps, one day, by him personally.  Check his website out HERE.

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