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Old 04-09-2002, 10:11 AM   #1
Kat.C
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Will a book help me?

I am just wondering if it is worth it to get a beginners book on aikido. Have any of you used one and found it useful? Also if you did find one useful could you tell me which one.
Thanks Kat
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Old 04-09-2002, 10:40 AM   #2
Randy Pertiet
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Re: Will a book help me?

Quote:
Originally posted by Kat.C
I am just wondering if it is worth it to get a beginners book on aikido. Have any of you used one and found it useful? Also if you did find one useful could you tell me which one.
Thanks Kat
This book helped clear the cobwebs...

http://www.aikiweb.com/books/detail.html?book_id=71
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Old 04-09-2002, 10:56 AM   #3
Kat.C
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Re: Re: Will a book help me?

Quote:
Originally posted by Randy Pertiet


This book helped clear the cobwebs...

http://www.aikiweb.com/books/detail.html?book_id=71
Does it have alot of diagrams? I learn visually. Actually I learned best in karate when sensei would correct me by physically puttting my hands and feet in the right position. Pity books can't do that. I cannot learn very well by written or oral directions. Makes things difficult at times. I did by the way look at some of the book reviews here but they did not say how visual they are. It is aikikai that I am learning don't know if that matters in regards to a book.
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Old 04-09-2002, 11:15 AM   #4
Bruce Baker
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Books ...

Out of my thirty some books on aikido, I would say Ultimate Aikido by Yoshimitsu Yamada has some of the best items you are looking for.

Although the many books by John Stevens are in deed intricate and insightful, the simplicity and straight-forwardness of Ultimate Aikido will reinforce your class time as notes to review later. That is what I consider all books I have, notes for things that have already been done in class.

A little book that speaks to the spirit of Aikido, is Kissshomaru Ueshiba's The Spirit of aikido.

Unless you come upon them in a yard sale, or discounted section, My Ultimate Aikido is marked $17.95 and The Spirit of Aikido is marked $8.00. You can find online sources at a discount, but that basically makes shipping free. Check with your teacher on some of these recommendations and see if he/she has a reading list too. I also have the videos by Yamada Sensei, but that will come in time as you your practice progresses.
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Old 04-09-2002, 11:20 AM   #5
akiy
 
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As I don't know what "style" of aikido you're currently training in, I can't give any recommendations. The best thing you can do is to ask your teacher(s) for book recommendations.

For me, aikido books and videos are merely supplemental material to actual aikido training...

-- Jun

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Old 04-09-2002, 11:23 AM   #6
Greg Jennings
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Re: Will a book help me?

Quote:
Originally posted by Kat.C
I am just wondering if it is worth it to get a beginners book on aikido. Have any of you used one and found it useful? Also if you did find one useful could you tell me which one.
Thanks Kat
I've found the Takemusu Aikido series by Morihiro Saito / Aikido Journal and Total Aikido: The Master Course by Gozo Shioda to be helpful.

I especially like to use the Takemusu Aikido series and Saito Sensei's videos together.

Unfortunately, these might not be the right tools for your flavor of aikido.

Best Regards,

Greg Jennings
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Old 04-09-2002, 11:26 AM   #7
Greg Jennings
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Quote:
Originally posted by akiy
For me, aikido books and videos are merely supplemental material to actual aikido training...

-- Jun
The visuals are nice, but the feel is everything....

Best,

Greg Jennings
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Old 04-09-2002, 12:45 PM   #8
Kat.C
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Thanks for the recommendations guys, I will check out those books as soon as I'm in town next. I learn best by repetition but I don't even know what it was we were doing in class! I know it was just my first class but I got the impression that it was a typical class so I hope that a good book can serve as a guide.
Kat
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Old 04-09-2002, 01:27 PM   #9
ScottyC
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Before you go buy a book, STOP!

Like Jun alluded to above, you need to consider what style of aikido you study in order to help select a book.

If you train in, oh, say USAF-East, and read "Total Aikido" (Yoshinkan), you will get VERY confused. Especially at a beginner's level.

I would personally recommend that you wait a while before trying to learn from a book. Get a rudimentary feel for what's going on in class first.

Then, ask your sensei or sempai to recommend a couple of books. That way:

(1) You'll have a frame of reference to help you understand the book, and

(2) You'll be sure to get a book that is more directly in line with what you're learning in class.

After a few years of training, reading books from other styles of aikido can be very enlightening, and you can learn a lot. However, you need to have a fairly good grasp of your "home" style before you branch out to others. Without that, the disparate teachings will likely confuse more than clarify.

If you can tell us what style of aikido you're training in, some folks here might have more specific recommendations.

Scott

Scott Crawford
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Old 04-09-2002, 01:30 PM   #10
Kat.C
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The style I am training in is aikikai.
Kat
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Old 04-09-2002, 01:39 PM   #11
DanielR
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Quote:
Originally posted by ScottyC

If you train in, oh, say USAF-East, and read "Total Aikido" (Yoshinkan), you will get VERY confused. Especially at a beginner's level.
As a beginner training in an Aikikai dojo, I completely agree with Scott - this particular book, despite its obviously great educational value, was a source of major confusion for me when I tried to draw parallels between the techniques learned in the dojo and the techniques demonstrated in the book.
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Old 04-09-2002, 01:52 PM   #12
erikmenzel
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Exclamation

I will never recommend a book with techniques to a beginner.
There just is no substitute for going to the dojo and train.
If you want some help to remember the techniques etc., buy an empty notebook and make notes after every training.

There is one book however that I would recommend to beginners (and not so beginners also ), but it has no techniques in it. Still it is in my opinion a very important book:

The Aikido Student Handbook, by Greg O'Connor,
isbn 1-883319-04-8

Train and enjoy

Erik Jurrien Menzel
kokoro o makuru taisanmen ni hirake
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Old 04-09-2002, 02:16 PM   #13
DanielR
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Quote:
Originally posted by erikknoops
I will never recommend a book with techniques to a beginner.
There just is no substitute for going to the dojo and train.
If you want some help to remember the techniques etc., buy an empty notebook and make notes after every training.
Erik,
While I agree that no book can substitute the actual training, don't you think an appropriate book would be a great supplement, especially if you're trying to recall a technique at home and you have nothing to refer to (I found myself in such situation many times). If I could videotape the sensei, I would, but if I don't have that, having a book with a series of photographs for each technique looks like the next best thing...
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Old 04-09-2002, 02:50 PM   #14
erikmenzel
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Quote:
While I agree that no book can substitute the actual training, don't you think an appropriate book would be a great supplement, especially if you're trying to recall a technique at home and you have nothing to refer to (I found myself in such situation many times). If I could videotape the sensei, I would, but if I don't have that, having a book with a series of photographs for each technique looks like the next best thing...
That is why making your own booklets with training notes is so useful, not only can you read them back, you also have to make them yourself!!

Making your own booklets with notes is a realy great training aid, IMHO better than some book that offers prefab standards and ideas.

I like books and pictures and videotapes, I just wouldnot advice them to a beginner.

Erik Jurrien Menzel
kokoro o makuru taisanmen ni hirake
Personal:www.kuipers-menzel.com
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Old 04-09-2002, 03:26 PM   #15
Wayne
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A comment from another beginner

I also am enjoying the comments since I too am a beginner at aikido. I have been making notes since I started in hopes of helping my brain and body remember what I practiced during class. For me, as well as other students I think, a book or books would provide a means of memory refresh during times when we cannot practice. Also, if I remember some of a technique, pictures may very well jog my meory as to what sensei demonstrated.

I agree with the style concerns but subtle differences won't matter since I'm not that good at the technique anyway.

As far as specific suggestions, I also enjoyed the beginner handbook. I asked a senior student and found out that my dojo is affiliated with Saotome Sensei. Thus, I decided that his two books (I forget the titles) would be good additions to my library. It seems to me that his versions of the fundamental techniques are probably what I will be learning and practicing and practicing. Ask around see if your organization's Shihan has books or videos. Also, check with your local library. Some other aikido books may have a good selection of stretching exercises that you can do at home in between practice sessions.

One more thing. I have enjoyed the "Aikido in America" and "Women in Aikido" books. They are each collections of interviews and may give you a feeling for some of the history and politics behind aikido.
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Old 04-09-2002, 03:31 PM   #16
Erik
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Quote:
Originally posted by Kat.C
The style I am training in is aikikai.
Kat
LOL! That'll clear things up.

I'd say buy whatever (other than Aikido Tips and Tactics which no one should ever buy). The differences on a form level are really much less dramatic than everyone is making them out to be and you'll get inculcated into the teacher's style anyway by virtue of practicing it. I find the visual parts of most MA books almost useless anyway.

I second the Takemusu series of books. The techniques are clean and well presented in the one I have. Plus, the series goes into a fair amount of depth. Many books give you irimi nage, ikkyo and a couple of variations before calling it a day.

Last edited by Erik : 04-09-2002 at 03:38 PM.
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Old 04-09-2002, 03:33 PM   #17
Bruce Baker
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Books ...aikikai

I think that my original recommendations will stand, as they are USAF materials ... and even when scrutinized by other aikido organizations they hold up verywell.

If you can borrow them from people in your Aikikai to look at them, then you will know what works for you.

Of course, practice will be a lot more fun than karate, just go do it and it will happen.

Greg O'Connor does have two plainly written books for the student, and descriptive spirit of aikido, which are inexpensive, but first get the Yamada book, its pictures are quite simple, and I think most Aikikai's use it as reference with Yamada Sensei's 'power and the basics' video series.

I have been with both Yamada Sensei, and O'Connor Sensei many times. Should they come near you, go try a seminar, it will be fun.
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Old 04-09-2002, 03:43 PM   #18
Andy
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Re: Books ...aikikai

Quote:
Originally posted by Bruce Baker
first get the Yamada book, its pictures are quite simple, and I think most Aikikai's use it as reference with Yamada Sensei's 'power and the basics' video series.
Nope. Your inexperience in aikido is showing again, Bruce.
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Old 04-09-2002, 03:45 PM   #19
giriasis
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Good Books for Beginners

I started looking at books as a beginner as well, while books are no substitute for training they do help a lot. If you are practicing Aikikai, Aikido and the Dynamic Sphere is really good. You don't have pictures but Ratti's drawings are very dynamic and indicate the flow and movement very well. I think the only difference in that book (based on Ki Society I believe) is that they interchange the names of iriminage and kokyunage, but the way the techniqes are described are similar.

I'm a visual learner, too, and when I can't get to the mat, books are a great supplement.

If you want to get some videos, ask your dojo mates and see which is best for you. In my school, the best video for beginners is Yamada's Power and the Basics Pt. 1, and Donovan Waite's Ukemi videos. (Really good for USAF-East folks)

In regards to Aikikai, there are different associations under that banner and different shihan that emphasize different aspects of aikido. Yamada, Chiba, Saotome, Saito are all Aikikai but they all differ in their approach to aikido. Based on who your instructor trained under should help you decide which videos or books to buy at first.


And for help just learning names check out some of the language sections on this site.

Last edited by giriasis : 04-09-2002 at 03:50 PM.

Anne Marie Giri
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Old 04-09-2002, 03:54 PM   #20
akiy
 
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Re: Good Books for Beginners

Quote:
Originally posted by giriasis
In regards to Aikikai, there are different associations under that banner and different shihan that emphasize different aspects of aikido. Yamada, Chiba, Saotome, Saito are all Aikikai but they all differ in their approach to aikido. Based on who your instructor trained under should help you decide which videos or books to buy at first.
I, too, consider "Aikikai" to more be an "umbrella" organization moreso than a way to identify someone's "stylistic" definition. Even just at Aikikai Hombu Dojo alone, you'll see differeing "styles" from Watanabe sensei to Endo sensei to Osawa sensei to Arikawa sensei.

So, once again, I'll repeat my recommendation to ask your teacher for suggested books and such (rather than just relying on "styles" or organizations).

-- Jun

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Old 04-09-2002, 04:11 PM   #21
Wayne
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And for light reading...

Two more aikido-related suggestions for those who like to read fiction.

"Helm" by Stephen Gould is a terrific science fiction story. He also has three or four other books that I have enjoyed. Each time I re-read the book I notice something new in the aikido descriptions.

"Angry White Pyjamas" by Robert Twigger is a non-fiction account of the author's experience taking an intensive year-long course in Yoshinkan Aikido. It was fun to read but I probably won't read it again.
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Old 04-09-2002, 04:21 PM   #22
giriasis
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Quote:
I consider "Aikikai" to more be an "umbrella" organization moreso than a way to identify someone's "stylistic" definition. Even just at Aikikai Hombu Dojo alone, you'll see differeing "styles" from Watanabe sensei to Endo sensei to Osawa sensei to Arikawa sensei.

Jun, I don't know if you were only trying to clarify what I was saying or that you think that I'm saying that Aikikai is a style?

My point is the same as yours, I just said it in a different way. To know who her instructor trained under she would have to ask him right? There is no need to repeat yourself. I was not saying otherwise.

If you were responding to her reference to Aikikai as a "style" then please quote her.

I apologize for being defensive, but I don't like being misunderstood. (If I am.)

Anne Marie Giri
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Old 04-09-2002, 04:27 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally posted by giriasis
Jun, I don't know if you were only trying to clarify what I was saying or that you think that I'm saying that Aikikai is a style?
I'm just adding on to what you said, Anne Marie. I wasn't disagreeing.

I've edited the post in hopes of making myself more clear. Hope it helps...

-- Jun

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Old 04-09-2002, 04:47 PM   #24
Kat.C
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Actually I did ask my sensei about books and he showed me Aikido & the Dynamic Sphere, I took a look at it but wasn't sure that it was what I was looking for. That was the only book he recommended though, and I was hoping for some other suggestions. Sorry, I should have mentioned this before, wasn't thinking. I will of course take another look at this book I did only get a quick glance. Thank you for the other suggestions and the videos are probably a good idea so I will look into that as well. Personally I would like to get help after class but there is a wrestling class right after aikido so that is not possible. Usually after karate class my husband and I would get to spend an extra half hour with sensei and I always learned alot in those sessions. And no, I'm not comparing aikido to karate, just circumstances.
Writing notes is definitely not my forte. Besides as I said I am a visual learner, I don't know if even my own notes would help me Anyways, thank you again for the ideas, I will check out the items mentioned.
Kat
P.S Bruce, karate was alot of fun I enjoyed it immensely, and sensei used to push us hard, I loved it.


I nearly forgot to put this in; We are affilliated, through my sensei's sensei, to Yamada Sensei. Does that help?

Last edited by Kat.C : 04-09-2002 at 04:58 PM.
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Old 04-09-2002, 06:25 PM   #25
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Hey, Kat, so how was that first class, anyway?

I would join with those who are urging you NOT to buy a book of techniques. Buy a biography if you wish, or books on the philosophy or even poetry of Aikido, if you are really up for a mind-bending experience then there's one by Gleason Sensei that should make you go 'hmmmmm ', more approachable (to me at least) ones by Stevens or Saotome Sensei... but make sure they are in keeping with the way your sensei wants you to look at Aikido, or it will be hard on you as a beginner to figure out what to think.

But avoid technique books. There is a natural desire on the part of beginners to get a book to study up, so they are not so confused. But it will only confuse you more. Unless your sensei wrote the book, even if it is the same style, but certainly if it is from a different style, things will not be the same. Even if your sensei DID write the book, what he was showing in the book might not be what he wants to be teaching right now. The Shihan of my organization has made videos and books. Which have dutifully been committed to memory and retained as gospel by his students, so much so that when he demonstrates a technique at seminars, the great majority hop up and do not what he showed, but what's in the book/video. Makes me want to cry. Probably doesn't do much for him, either.

It is good you are a visual learner. Just watch what you are shown closely, and repeat it. But feeling it really is the best way to go, I think, just nothing compares. Pay attention to what your body feels when you are uke. Take notes or since you are visual, draw stick figures or diagrams.

I think the important thing for a beginner to learn is how to learn, and it's not from memorizing a set of pictures in a book, because those are rarely shown in class (Saito Sensei's books I will say are an exception, probably because of the Iwama kihon attitude)-- but unless you are in an Iwama dojo, they won't serve the purpose you're after.

I'd invest in a nice notebook to take to class, and fill it up with notes as quickly as possible.
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