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05-14-2004, 12:51 AM
Hi all!
I was wondering you people out there know of any good aikido books for beginners... I have already spotted the one by M.Ueshiba...


05-14-2004, 01:27 AM
Hi Achilleas;

I'll be in Athens twice this summer but with that little party you've all got planned I wont even be leaving the airport. I did enjoy training there last year though.


There are very very few good books for beginners. Even my first choice I advise it is better to just train at the dojo. I did not read any books for two years (on the same advise) and to this day don't tend to read Aikido specific books although over time I've read several.

If you really want to read a book - it is far better to ask your current teacher. The reason is that there is so much contradictory stuff out there you can go mad. In other words if you must read - better to read something that matches your sensei's view.

On the Books section of the site there are book reviews. Read them. At the bottom of the page there are related threads - look at them.

Have fun

Peter R.

05-14-2004, 01:44 AM
Agree with Peter on this. I'd stay away from most aikido specific books for a while unless reccomended by your instructor. The chances of randomly finding a book that matches what will be going on your dojo is pretty slim. The exception for this that I can think of right now is Aikido Exercises for Teaching and Training (http://shop.store.yahoo.com/roundearth/aiexforteand.html). It has a really nice FAQ and an extensive bibliography.

There are non-aikido specific books I'd go with. Mastery (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0452267560/qid=1084520072/sr=1-3/ref=pd_ka_3/102-5726883-6935365?v=glance&s=books) by George Leonard is good for explaining the learning process involved in the long-term study of most anything. Also, Beyond the Known (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0804818916/qid=1084520227/sr=1-4/ref=sr_1_4__i4_xgl14/102-5726883-6935365?v=glance&s=books) and Toward the Unknown (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0804820996/qid=1084520227/sr=1-2/ref=sr_1_2__i2_xgl14/102-5726883-6935365?v=glance&s=books) both by Tri Thong Dang sensei are martial arts books that convey lessons in story/parable format. They're the kind of books that you can read over and over and keep finding new things as your understanding changes.

I'd also reccomend anything by Dave Lowry (http://koryu.master.com/texis/master/search/?s=SS&q=Dave+Lowry) or Ellis Amdur (http://koryu.master.com/texis/master/search/?s=SS&q=Ellis+Amdur).

Hope this helps,


05-14-2004, 02:50 PM
Ki in daily life by Tohei Koichi sensei.

Lots of usefull exercises that you don't need to be on the mat to do.

Paul Sanderson-Cimino
05-14-2004, 06:55 PM
I'd reccomend "The Way of Aikido" by George Leonard-sensei. It's a bit "loopy" for me at times, but I think it was a good intro - one of the first aikido books I ever read. (Actually, I think the first.) It has some good examples of "off the mat aikido"/"verbal blending", etc. I enjoyed it, and continue to keep it in mind as I train today.

Brad Darr
05-14-2004, 09:57 PM
I'm sure the criticism will come but I have always liked Aikido and the Dynamic Sphere by Westbrook and Ratti. I think the drawings are excellent, there is a fairly decent etiquette section at the beginning and overall it is just a great book. I still like to read bits and pieces of it from time to time because some of the ideas are very interesting and the description of technique is clear and concise. Anyway just my two cents.

Robert Jackson
05-14-2004, 11:16 PM
I would like recommend on call Best Aikido by Kisshomaru Ueshiba and Moriteru Ueshiba. It's a great book to read and look at the pictures after your classes. I've picked up a couple of small tidbits from it. It even helped a bit with my 6th kyu test.

05-15-2004, 07:54 AM
I agree with Brad, Aikido and the Dynamic Sphere. I have read this book over and over again. I have only just started to train Aikido over the last three weeks but i started reading this book about a year ago and found that all the things that you need to know about Aikido before you actually start training is in this book.Another good book is Aikido by Kisshomaru Ueshiba. This book has a good history of Aikido and also a bit about Morihei Ueshiba, it also includes some basic techniques. Good luck on your search for the way and keep training :)


05-15-2004, 09:12 AM
Shameless plug: We wrote Aikido Basics (Tuttle Publishing, $12.95) specifically for beginners. Its gotten some good reviews. Certianly not the end all be all, but we tried to be pretty comprehensive.

Give it a look, we'd be interested in what you think.

David Kerr
05-15-2004, 03:29 PM
I would recommend the "Shambhala Guide To Aikido" by John Stevens. Ideal introduction to the art without heavy reading, and beautifully punctuated with images of the founder.

05-15-2004, 06:17 PM
Read everything. Just make sure and train.

I know it sounds glib, sorry. Train. :)

Charles Hill
05-16-2004, 01:12 AM

I have two recommendations with two different reasons. One is any technical book like some of those others above have recommened. When I was a complete beginner, I had a hard time connecting the Japanese names to the techniques. For me, Saotome Shihan`s Principles of Aikido was very useful for learning technique/attack names. (It is obviously a much deeper book than that but I didn`t realize that until later.) Second, I recommend Terry Dobson`s "It`s a lot like dancing..." Terry Dobson was a personal student of the Founder`s in the 60`s. The book is full of short stories/essays on many topics related to aikido. He writes a lot about what it was like for him as a beginner and all the difficulties he had. The book teaches no techniques, no martial theories, but it is very inspirational.

Charles Hill

05-17-2004, 09:58 AM
My only real argument against technical books for beginning students is that it can be confusing if what's in the book doesn't match what's on the mat. For those of you in a more mainstream style this isn't really a big deal. From what I've read here there are minor differences from instructor to instructor but the basic technique stays the same. For those of us who are outside the mainstream, technical books are almost useless in the beginning. So, Black Pigeon, if you want technical books ask your sensei if there are any that they would recommend. In the case of my style there aren't too many.


p.s. On our recent visit to Rachel Massey's dojo she said something along the lines of "You definitely practice aikido but it's not like any aikido I've ever seen"....we're weird and like it like that :freaky: :D

05-17-2004, 11:34 AM
I will start by encouraging you (as others have) to ask you instructor for recommendations. Also repeating previous suggestions, I would be leary of technique-based books as a beginner. You may or may not learn some terminology but the movement and purpose behind the technique is much better learned from real teachers.

That said, I will present a list of books that I have read that are mostly inspirational for me. I liked some more than others. You and other readers will probably like different ones. Note: the numbers are not rankings.

1. Helm - Steven Gould (science fiction with some aikido content)

2. Aikido in America - John Stone & Ron Meyer (interviews)

3. Invincible Warrior - John Stevens (biography)

4. The Aikido Student Handbook - Greg O'Conner (general)

5. Women in Aikido - Andrea Siegel (interviews)

6. Complete Aikido : aikido kyohan - Roy Suenaka (autobiography and techniques)

7. Angry White Pyjamas - Robert Twigger (diary from training course) Many people have been offended by this book. I enjoyed reading it as an experience of a beginning student. I haven't read it again, however.

8. Aikido Shugyo - Gozo Shioda (biography)

9. Remembering O'Sensei - Susan Perry

05-17-2004, 02:50 PM
Also check with your sensei or organization headquarters to see if there are any materials available that were produced for your organization. I know Seidokan has a booklet for our weapons kata, a glossary, writings of the founder of our style, videos, etc. Your organization may have similar things and it will be directly related to what's on the mat.


Lyle Laizure
05-17-2004, 02:59 PM
The first book that comes to mind is Aikido and the Harmony of Nature by Mitsugi Saotome Sensei. It is a book you can read many many times and always gain new insight. Even as a beginner it will give you something to think about.

Another really good book is Aikido by Kisshomaru Ueshiba. It has a wealth of knowledge regarding terminology and technique.

Jack Simpson
05-17-2004, 03:52 PM
In addition to the previously mentioned books, especially Greg O'Connor's excellent little handbook, there is a relatively little known beginner's book by Larry Reynosa and Joseph Billingiere, entitled " A Beginner's Guide to Aikido ". This is a very nice starting point, especially for those with no experience in martial arts and has some intriguing interviews.

Jack :ai: