View Full Version : Read any good books lately?

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Wil Branca
10-16-2003, 12:31 AM
Can anyone suggest a good book for beginners? It would be helpful if it included a glossary of terms as well as illustrated techniques. Thanks!


Clayton Drescher
10-16-2003, 12:50 AM
Well the first book I ever read about aikido before I even started was "The Way of Aikido: Life Lessons from an American Sensei" by George Leonard. Not really a technique manual at all, but very interesting nonetheless and a more "enjoyable" read than technical books. He tells of how he got into aikido in the "early years" and how to apply its principles everyday. I mostly enjoyed it because of the interesting anecdotes.

"Spirit of Aikido" by Kisshomaru Ueshiba is a good overview of the value of aikido to the individual and to the world by the successor to O'Sensei [in some styles anyway;-)].

So in reference to you question about technical books....sorry!:) I've read a few but they were all before I even started training, so I got nothing from the illustrations. John Stevens has authored a small library of quality aikido books with illustrations, glossaries, the works. Give some of those a try if you want meat-and-potato aikido.

The books section on this website has lots of reviews on aikido books, I was just browsing it today. Check that out in addition to the martial arts section at your nearest megabookstore.

Best of luck!


Nick Simpson
10-16-2003, 05:42 AM
I would reccomend "Total Aikido" by Gozo Shioda, in my opinion its an excellent book that explains each technique clearly and has great photographs, although it is a yoshinkan style book I have never had any problems with it and I practice Aikikai.

Ive never read it, but many people seem to like "Aikido and the Dynamic Sphere", hope that helps.

Thomas Froman
10-16-2003, 05:47 AM
Complete Aikido by Roy Suenaka with Christopher Watson is the best book I have seen as far as showing a lot of techniques and "breaking" them down. Aikido and the Dynamic Sphere is also good but can be really deep.

10-16-2003, 09:11 AM
I think Aikido and the Dynamic Sphere is a bit dated now. A useful addition to a collection maybe. Gozo Shioda's TOTAL AIKIDO and even the MASTER'S COURSE are excellent books which, although useful even to advanced practitioners, are clear, concise and accurate and are the only books I've seen which really talk about the real method behind the techniques and not put leg here, push etc.

Gozo Shioda's shugyo is a good general interest book about his life but may be a bit shocking and portray an overely violent approach for beginners. To be truthful I've never seen any other books that compare to those authored by Shioda. (and I'm not Yoshinkan!)

John Stevens has a massive bias towards the religious aspects of aikido (possibly because Stevens is a lecturer in Buddhist studies) and basically worships Ueshiba as some sort of demi-god - he's written probably the best biography of Ueshiba, but I'd pretty much avoid his other books(to start with at least); I feel he has introduced a religious aspect into aikido that wasn't intended to be transferred.

Books by O'Sensei are too terse and hard to understand for beginners. All the saito and yamada books I've read are now out of publication.


Mark Balogh
10-16-2003, 09:32 AM
I'd go for Best Aikido by Kisshomaru & Moriteru Ueshiba. I think it is the best Aikikai 'IN PRINT' technical book. Very detailed, modern and well rounded. :)

10-16-2003, 10:12 AM
I agree with Ian and Nick, the Total Aikido books are great. The photos of the basic techniques are shot with the practioners standing on a tape cross on the floor which really helps illustrate the direction of motion and footwork.

10-16-2003, 10:47 AM
Hi everyone,

Don't forget that the books section of this website allows reviews for many aikido books. If there are any aikido books out there that you know of that aren't in the books section, please let me know!

Please feel encouraged to write your reviews about aikido books, too.

The books section of this site is:



-- Jun

PS: The same goes for aikido videos, too: http://www.aikiweb.com/videos/

10-16-2003, 12:30 PM
Hi Wil,

I'd suggest The Spirit of Aikido (as mentioned before) and Dueling with O'Sensei by Ellis Amdur. Two great books that can provide some perspective on aikido training.

For technical training, I'd suggest one of the editions of Budo the training manual developed by O'Sensei.



10-16-2003, 08:41 PM
Can anyone suggest a good book for beginners? It would be helpful if it included a glossary of terms as well as illustrated techniques. Thanks!

Best Aikido by Moriteru Ueshiba

Total Aikido/Dynamic Aikido by Gozo Shioda

Ki in Daily Life, either by Schifflett or Koichi Tohei, can't remember.

10-17-2003, 12:30 PM
Can anyone suggest a good book for beginners? Yes, how 'bout Bioprocess Engineering -- Basic Concepts, Second Edition, Shuler/Kargi (ISBN:0-13-081908-5). This book is very good for those needing a review of biological processes and also builds on that knowledge. You may need some supplemental stuff on Thermodynamics. But I think this book is done well.:D :D :p :D

If you are thinking Aikido there's a book by Gaku Homma that is very interesting to read, with great illustrations.

10-17-2003, 12:41 PM
Best Aikido

Aikido and the Dynamic Sphere

Principles of Aikido (Saotome)

10-17-2003, 01:10 PM
If you are thinking Aikido there's a book by Gaku Homma that is very interesting to read, with great illustrations.
I suspect you're thinking of Aikido For Life, the book Homma-sensei wrote on what he's learned from teaching teaching beginner classes for many years. It's largely designed to be read by beginners and is very simple and straightforward, but very insightful.

I also recommend it. :)

10-17-2003, 02:21 PM
Yup! That's the one! But if you're up for a little light reading check out "Process Dynamics in Environmental Systems, Weber, DiGiano ISBN 0-471-01711-6" :D

Wil Branca
10-18-2003, 12:31 AM
WOW! Thanks again, everyone. I'm off to the (virtual) bookstore...

C. Emerson
10-18-2003, 10:01 AM
Look at other books to round you out a little bit.

Sun tzu the art of war

The book of five rings

The martial way

Teaching of a grandmaster

On killing

Zen in the martial arts.

Just a few,