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James Spahn
04-19-2005, 10:56 AM

This is my first post here and I'm going to dive right in with both feet. The area I live in doesn't offer any Aikido instruction and I was wondering if anyone could recommend some books for a beginner. I had brief martial arts experience with Kenpo and found it too agressive, but other than that I've no martial arts experience.

I got drawn to Aikido after reading The Art of Peace early in my studies of buddhism. I'd never seen a martial art that was so peaceful. Immediately, I was intrigued and have since been hoping to find an instructor or book that could offer some insight to a beginner like myself.

Thank You very much.

04-19-2005, 11:16 AM
I liked aikido and the dynamic sphere. That seems to be pretty much standard reading. It has some theory and some illustrations. As far as the peaceful thing, I think you are on the wrong track.

04-19-2005, 11:50 AM

There are many books on Aikido available, both technical and spiritual. You can gain quite a bit of knowledge from these books, but as most experience Aikidoka will tell you, you can only learn by doing - and they are right. Books can serve as general introductions to the world of Aikido and provide a good reference for those active in training, but you need to study and train in a dojo environment - you really need to feel Aikido to truly understand and lean it.

With all that said, this web site has a book review section and the Aikido Journal site has a newly launched book section as well that has quite a list, albeit the summaries are still being worked.

Good luck on your book search; but be careful, one book leads to another and the next thing you know you have invested hundreds of dollars and have a substantial sized collection before you know it. I speak from experience on this - I started out a little over a year ago trying to find a copy of first aikido book (This is Aikido by Koichi Tohei) to serve as a good reference when I started training in Aikido again. Well, I found the book - brand new 1968 first edition still in the box that I got from the estate of a book dealer in Hawaii at a very reasonable cost. Anyway, that started my collector's bug and now I have close to a hundred books and still looking…

Greg Steckel

Eric Webber
04-19-2005, 02:41 PM
Hi James,
Are you in a position to travel to train? I highly recommend training versus reading.
But if you are still interested in reading up on aikido, I find there are several books I continue to return to after a number of years of training. "Aikido and the Dynamic Sphere" is a classic, probably one of the best books for all levels of aikidoka. I also like Saotome's books (I train at an ASU dojo, so I am partial!) "Principles of Aikido" and "Aikido and the Harmony of Nature", as well as Wendy Palmer's "The Practice of Freedom," and Richard Strozzi Heckler's "In Search of the Warrior Spirit." John Stevens is also a very prolific writer who is worth reading. Good luck.

04-19-2005, 02:46 PM
i let my friend borrow aikido ad the dynamic sphere and never got it back ;(

04-19-2005, 02:52 PM
I don't care for Aikido spirituality or philosophy type books, but if you like technique books, here's a good list:

Morihiro Saito has a number of good books to choose from. His first 5 books called Traditional Aikido are really expensive now and hard to find, but he has the Takemusu Aikido series that are still available.

Gozo shioda's books Dynamic Aikido and Total Aikido are really good.

Tohei has a great book called This is Aikido. I got an original copy, and it's really good but also hard to find.

Ultimate Aikido and Aikido Complete by Yoshimitsu Yamada are really good.

Aikido: Tradition and the Competitive Edge by Fumiaki Shishida and Tetsuro Nariyama is a good Tomiki Aikido book.

Aikido by Kisshomaru Ueshiba is also good.

Ron Tisdale
04-19-2005, 02:53 PM
Hi James,

Your profile doesn't make it clear if you can travel some distance for training. I know of an excellent dojo in Maryland from personal experience (John Goss's Aiki Martial Art Institue). You can find them easily on the web. I've heard of at least two other dojo in the state...have you tried using the dojo finder? If you can't drive any distance (or at all), that's a different thing...but sometimes if someone can get you to the dojo once, you can find people that live in your area who are willing to car pool.

Best of luck,

04-19-2005, 07:45 PM
I recommend Aikido and the Harmony of Nature by Mitsugi Saotome. It's a beautiful tome with a unique perspective on the spiritual/philosophical aspect of aikido, which you appear to be interested in. It retails at $29.95. You really should find a dojo, though, if you are truly interested in learning the art. In that case, I have found Aikido and the Dynamic Sphere to be an excellent guide to accompany my beginner's training; I have been training for about 4 months now.

04-19-2005, 07:50 PM
Hi folks,

As always, I want to encourage everyone to post their thoughts and reviews about your favorite (or not so favorite!) aikido books in the AikiWeb Book Reviews (http://www.aikiweb.com/reviews/index.php?cat=1) section. Even a short paragraph of your thoughts would be greatly appreciated!


-- Jun

Peter Seth
04-20-2005, 06:37 AM
There are many books on Aikido, - but one of the better books I have read is about Martial arts specifically Kenjitsu, as an example to try to explain the art of life. How all principles are the same and can be transferred to any sphere of life. Will give a greater insight into why, where, how etc. ('The Life Giving Sword').
Peter :)

04-20-2005, 08:46 AM
IMHO, any of the Ueshiba family books are great. Go to the source.
There are so many great books out. Go to the library and used book stores. Read everything.
Most important, find competent instruction and train.

Neal Dunnigan
04-30-2005, 11:04 PM
Since your background interests include Buddhism and other martial art experience, you might be interested in "Zen Stories of the Samurai". It would not give you any immediate insights into Aikido technique. It does deal with the historical background and physiological principals which might be useful to you.

05-01-2005, 10:48 PM
You seem to have spent the day building up a head of steam to advertise your book. Why don't you just come out and do it? Jun, our moderator, might even set up a board-wide chat for you.

Good luck with it, but your being 3 for 3 posts on the zen thing and coy about your interest in the book leaves me feeling a little manipulated and spammed here.
Forum: Marketplace
Today, 10:26 PM
Book: Zen Stories of the Samurai
Views: 9 Posted By Neal Dunnigan

Some visitors may be interested in the new book: Zen Stories of the Samurai

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Views: 365 Posted By Neal Dunnigan
Re: Aikido Books

Since your background interests include Buddhism and other martial art experience, you might be interested in "Zen Stories of the Samurai". It would not give you any immediate insights into Aikido...

Forum: Spiritual Yesterday, 12:43 AM
Replies: 3 Zen anecdotes and stories
Views: 167 Posted By Neal Dunnigan
Zen anecdotes and stories

I'm interested in hearing from anyone who has a particular "Zen" type anecdote or story that has been significantly significant in shaping their attitude about some aspect of their training and life....

Username: Neal Dunnigan
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