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Old 07-25-2012, 11:01 AM   #26
Basia Halliop
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Re: Aikido maneuver manual

I agree about asking your instructor for recommendations.

Personally, I find that it's hard to learn any technique at all from books. Videos are a little better (though still rather inadequate), but trying to take something that's basically 4-dimensional (3 space dimensions plus time), and that involves interaction between two people, and describe it on a flat page with text and pictures generally always leaves a lot to be desired.

Plus add to that the fact that the chances are good that they're teaching a different version of the basic techniques than your teacher does, and well...

The one thing I found books and written material great for in my first year of aikido was starting to make sense of some of the vocabulary. All those names of techniques, of attacks, of footwork patterns, etc. Vocabulary is something that works well written . And they don't have to explain the exact same version of the technique for you to pick up the difference between, e.g., sankyo and nikkyo, or the names of attacks.

Of course for that to be useful you need to find a book that uses the same (or at least mostly the same) vocabulary as you do. (some books, even some of the respected 'classics', use systems of naming that aren't much in use in dojos). But that's a more doable task, still, to find a book that explains vocabulary well.
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Old 07-25-2012, 01:31 PM   #27
PaulF
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Re: Aikido maneuver manual

Hi John,

I'm another keener

I've bought a lot of books (20+) in the few months I've been practicing, mostly picked up cheap 2nd hand on amazon. I think about them in four loose groups, introductory, technical, inspirational and biographical, which to some extent overlap.

Introductory ones were most useful when I got started, covering basics of etiquette and philosophy, etc.

The technique ones are useful for revision, to remind you what you did in class, even more so if you keep a log, and are also good for learning the Japanese terminology as Basia says.

The inspirational ones are good to pick up for a few minutes to dip into, before bed, or in the bath, that sort of thing.

The biographical ones are great for a general read around the subject and to get to grips with the history, they're often more of a compelling read and easier to pick up when you've ODd on the other stuff.

The ones I've found most useful/enjoyable so far:

Beginner:
An Introduction to Aikido - Jon Pearson.
Aikido Basics - Dang & Seiser

Technical:
The Dynamic Sphere - Westbrook and Ratti.
The Principles of Aikido - Saotome
Aikido - Traditional Art and Modern Sport - Bagot
The Structure of Aikido - Homma
Living Aikido - Klickstein

Inspirational:
It's a lot like dancing - Dobson
Zen in the Martial Arts - Hyams
Ki in Daily Life - Tohei (this was highly recommended by a senior dan grade who I greatly respect)
Aikido and the New Warrior - ed. Heckler
The Art of Peace - Ueshiba

Biographical:
The Way of Aikido - Leonard
Complete Aikido - Suenaka & Watson

FWIW our society blends ki, iwama and aikikai heritage in varying proportions depending on the dojo. To quote the website, the society "warmly welcomes into its fold many practitioners of differing styles, encouraging reciprocal development so that our Aikido can continue to be enriched as the living, dynamic art". So I've felt OK about taking an "anything goes" approach to my reading.

Hope this is of some use.

Cheers

Paul
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Old 07-26-2012, 07:50 AM   #28
lbb
Location: Massachusetts
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Re: Aikido maneuver manual

When I first started training in martial arts, I was an enthusiastic reader on the subject, but I found that when I started training in aikido, reading about it didn't help. I looked at a few books and found that the technique books didn't show me anything that looked like I was seeing in the dojo, and the non-technique books all talked about concepts that were rooted in experiences that were unknown to me as a newbie. So I decided to stay away from books, and I'm glad I did. I think in a style like aikido, where there are so many variations of waza, a technique book is of very limited value in either teaching technique or in prompting your memory...but YMMV. The impulse to amass a body of techniques is also probably somewhat misdirected. You can't learn techniques the way you learn the times tables -- not techniques that are effective. Effectiveness comes from manifesting the fundamentals, which can play out in many forms -- that's why we have all these variations. And you only learn the fundamentals in practice.

As for the non-technique books, again, I think they're talking in a language that is acquired through practice, about concepts that take on meaning through practice. I don't think they're a bad thing for newbies -- at the least, a newbie could read them and be inspired by the idea that in time, this will have meaning for them. The danger is in reading these books and believing that intellectual understanding is enough.

(To Paul, de gustibus and all that, but Hyams' book is just simply awful. I'm surprised it made your list.)
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Old 07-26-2012, 08:19 AM   #29
Gorgeous George
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Re: Aikido maneuver manual

Quote:
Ashley Hemsath wrote: View Post
I just ordered that from Amazon, and should be getting it Tuesday. Our schools have a list of recommended reading, so I'm picking up a few books a month off of the list. My problem with the books is that I am not experienced enough to understand some of what they are saying. I've read Aikido and the Harmony of Nature a few times, and I'm still not *getting* several chapters of it. So, I think the books are good to have when you are alone, but regular practice in a dojo is more useful. Plus having a teacher that is patient enough to explain parts of those books to you is also a nice thing to be able to rely on.

--Ashley
I'd guess it'll be too abstract.

As you say: you can't understand this stuff in the context of actual aikido training (then there's the debate about whether the aikido training you're doing, is the aikido training Ueshiba did, and talks about...).
Regards a book to understand no-nonsense, straight-forward technique, i'd recommend something by Gozo Shioda, as he was all about that, and published several great books with clear, precise explanations of the techniques, what you're looking to do, and what makes them work:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Aikido-The-C...312332&sr=8-10

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Total-Aikido...3312332&sr=8-3

Last edited by Gorgeous George : 07-26-2012 at 08:20 AM. Reason: Added another book
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Old 07-26-2012, 08:20 AM   #30
PaulF
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Re: Aikido maneuver manual

Hi Mary, yep, life would be boring if we all liked the same stuff. Hyams' book is certainly on the "light and accessible" end of things (for some that might equate to cheesy and superficial I suppose) but I found it enjoyable enough, some amusing anecdotes and the odd insight with nothing really grating - plenty of name dropping but that's to be expected. As I said, one to pick up and put down. Be interested to hear your critique, by all means by PM if you want to avoid a derail
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Old 07-26-2012, 08:57 AM   #31
lbb
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Re: Aikido maneuver manual

Hi Paul,

I didn't like it because I didn't think there was any originality in it. There's no personal revelation or epiphany in it. His ideas and insights are not derived from personal experience and practice, but are all taken from others, and when you've basically lifted your ideas and insights from others, you should at least give credit to the original source.
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Old 07-26-2012, 09:51 AM   #32
PaulF
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Re: Aikido maneuver manual

Hi Mary

Thanks for the reply. Interesting, you've probably read a lot of source material that I haven't. I found him relatively modest, quite careful to give credit to the people he trained with or learned from along the way. Most of the book seemed to me to be along the lines of "there was this time when so and so showed me something, and I found it had this relevance or application in my life".
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Old 07-26-2012, 11:08 AM   #33
lbb
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Re: Aikido maneuver manual

Hi Paul,

Eh, it's just my thing. I tend to prefer books where either a)the author goes to the source, or b)the author's effort and training produce some kind of realization (which is maybe tied in to a), in a sort of "Oh, so that's what they mean by such-and such!" way, or "I mentioned this to my sensei, and he referred me to blah de blah" way).
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Old 07-26-2012, 11:13 AM   #34
SeiserL
 
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Re: Aikido maneuver manual

Quote:
Paul Funnell wrote: View Post
The ones I've found most useful/enjoyable so far:
Beginner:
An Introduction to Aikido - Jon Pearson.
Aikido Basics - Dang & Seiser
Thanks for the kind mention.

FWIW: I prefer the Ueshiba books.

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 07-26-2012, 12:28 PM   #35
Hanna B
Location: Stockholm, Sweden
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Re: Aikido maneuver manual

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
When I first started training in martial arts, I was an enthusiastic reader on the subject, but I found that when I started training in aikido, reading about it didn't help. I looked at a few books and found that the technique books didn't show me anything that looked like I was seeing in the dojo, and the non-technique books all talked about concepts that were rooted in experiences that were unknown to me as a newbie. So I decided to stay away from books, and I'm glad I did. I think in a style like aikido, where there are so many variations of waza, a technique book is of very limited value in either teaching technique or in prompting your memory...but YMMV. The impulse to amass a body of techniques is also probably somewhat misdirected. You can't learn techniques the way you learn the times tables -- not techniques that are effective. Effectiveness comes from manifesting the fundamentals, which can play out in many forms -- that's why we have all these variations. And you only learn the fundamentals in practice.

As for the non-technique books, again, I think they're talking in a language that is acquired through practice, about concepts that take on meaning through practice. I don't think they're a bad thing for newbies -- at the least, a newbie could read them and be inspired by the idea that in time, this will have meaning for them. The danger is in reading these books and believing that intellectual understanding is enough.
As a Swede, I read Stefan Stenudd's book on aikido before I even got started. It's a non-technique book written in a way so it's acceissible for people who don't have the practice and don't know the concepts - the book describes the concepts. The Iwama-people tend to loathe it since their version of what aikido "is" would be very differently described. Lots of non-aikidoists have read it and liked it. For good and for worse, this book has shaped quite a bit of what general conception there is in the general Swedish mind of what aikido is. It certainly shaped mine.

I do recommend it, for those who can read one of the languages it's available in: Swedish, German (as free PDF and also as an e-book, also free I think?) and Checzh (sp?)
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Old 07-26-2012, 02:46 PM   #36
PaulF
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Re: Aikido maneuver manual

Mary, I shall ponder your words and you've already given me cause to reflect on Hyams' book in a way that I hadn't until now. Many thanks.

Quote:
Lynn Seiser wrote: View Post
Thanks for the kind mention.

FWIW: I prefer the Ueshiba books.
You're more than welcome sir, thank you for the book! I've found it one of the clearest and and most instructive. I've watched videos of sensei Dang at the Nakozono memorial event in Wales, 2007, and found them astounding.

I was reading Kisshomaru's "The Spirit of Aikido" this evening and was really loving so much of what he has to say e.g.:

The gates of aikido are open to people of all ages, classes, sexes, nationalities and races.

Aikido rejects all forms of violence, justified or unjustified. Otherwise we would be no different from the forms of martial arts in which fighting and winning are selling points.

Aikido for women is clearly budo, and there is no difference in the training of women or men.

These go to the very heart of what attracted me to aikido in the first place and why I am so happy to get on the mat with my wife and children whenever we can.
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Old 07-27-2012, 01:20 AM   #37
crbateman
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Re: Aikido maneuver manual

Quote:
Graham Jenkins wrote: View Post
Regards a book to understand no-nonsense, straight-forward technique, i'd recommend something by Gozo Shioda, as he was all about that, and published several great books with clear, precise explanations of the techniques, what you're looking to do, and what makes them work:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Aikido-The-C...312332&sr=8-10

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Total-Aikido...3312332&sr=8-3
A long awaited new Shioda book is due out in November. It can be pre-ordered on Amazon now. Here's the link.
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Old 07-27-2012, 05:00 AM   #38
lars beyer
Dojo: Copenhagen Aikishuren Dojo
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Re: Aikido maneuver manual

Quote:
Hanna Björk wrote: View Post
As a Swede, I read Stefan Stenudd's book on aikido before I even got started. It's a non-technique book written in a way so it's acceissible for people who don't have the practice and don't know the concepts - the book describes the concepts. The Iwama-people tend to loathe it since their version of what aikido "is" would be very differently described. Lots of non-aikidoists have read it and liked it. For good and for worse, this book has shaped quite a bit of what general conception there is in the general Swedish mind of what aikido is. It certainly shaped mine.

I do recommend it, for those who can read one of the languages it's available in: Swedish, German (as free PDF and also as an e-book, also free I think?) and Checzh (sp?)
I think many people believe that other people dislike them even they don´t.
I´m a socalled "Iwama" person and I have read the book you mention long time ago and maybe not being totally relevant to the kind of aikido I do it is still interresting reading and I do find inspiration in other styles of aikido as well as other martial arts. So... I disapprove of your broad generalisation about other people and what they like and what they do and how they think. In fact how would you know ?
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Old 07-27-2012, 10:21 AM   #39
Rob Watson
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Re: Aikido maneuver manual

Takemusu Aikido series by Saito. If you can find it the precursor series Traditional Aikido also by Saito.

http://www.aikidojournal.com/shop/in...&subcategory=2

Might as well get the Saito dvds while you are at it.

http://www.aikidojournal.com/shop/?category=7

"In my opinion, the time of spreading aikido to the world is finished; now we have to focus on quality." Yamada Yoshimitsu

Ultracrepidarianism ... don't.
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Old 07-27-2012, 11:53 AM   #40
Hanna B
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Re: Aikido maneuver manual

Quote:
Lars Beyer wrote: View Post
I think many people believe that other people dislike them even they don´t.
I´m a socalled "Iwama" person and I have read the book you mention long time ago and maybe not being totally relevant to the kind of aikido I do it is still interresting reading and I do find inspiration in other styles of aikido as well as other martial arts. So... I disapprove of your broad generalisation about other people and what they like and what they do and how they think. In fact how would you know ?
OK, change that to "some Iwama people!" Officially I've never heard anything but praise, at least from people in any kind of position. Further down in the hierarchy and unofficially, that's something else. *waving to someone who is here*

It may be somewhat different also when one lives in a country where another style of aikido than one's one has become "the definition" of what aikido is, through a well-written book. If I taught at a dojo and half of the beginners who arrived there already have conceptions of what aikido is, only it's ki aikido... I would probably be mildly irritated. Which doesn't imply that the book is bad.

I do believe that Iwama stylist beginners spend their money better on for instance Saito sensei's many books, or Klickstein's.
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Old 07-27-2012, 12:13 PM   #41
Mark Greenwood
 
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Re: Aikido maneuver manual

Positive Aikido By Sensei Dave Rogers, Sensei Henry Ellis, and Sensei Eastman.

Masagatsu Agatsu. Ueshiba.M
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Old 07-28-2012, 07:43 PM   #42
Gorgeous George
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Re: Aikido maneuver manual

Quote:
Clark Bateman wrote: View Post
A long awaited new Shioda book is due out in November. It can be pre-ordered on Amazon now. Here's the link.
Thanks a lot.
I'll be asking for it for Christmas.
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