Re: If you could only have one Aikido book ?
Don M Wrote
(Still pounding my head agains the KOTODAMA stuff, though. It doesn't help that Western scholars tend to savage the concept and its applications...)
Don, I do understand what you said. It is a tough book to get through. I go through it a few times a year.
Gleason Sensei is my Sensei. This is just my opinion....I think that perhaps it is not that Gleason Sensei has savaged the concept and its applications, rather, maybe we just do not know enough of the philosophy behind what he is saying. Again, please do not take that has one of the "jabs" some take at others here when expressing a contrary view.
When I get to class, Gleason Sensei will explain different areas of AIkido and use some of what is in his book. Then the clouds part a little.....I am a bit slow...so perhaps it will take more pounding into my thick skull to better understand his point.
I do not get to the dojo to practice as often as I should, but having studied under Gleason Sensei for a number of years, I find that he his very reluctant to express a view that he does not have a very good understanding of.
Anyway...to answer the question this thread asks,
Aikido and the Dynamic Sphere was my first book. I still go through it often. I find the drawing to be much more helpful than a series of still photos. My reason is that Westbrook &Ratti have wisely included many lines with arrows that can give an idea of the motions used to perform the technique. Sometimes with still photots shot in sequence, a crucial movement may be missed or not understood.
And, as always....this is just my opinion.....