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Old 09-12-2002, 10:09 AM   #1
drDalek
 
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Absolutely essential Aikido related books

Just as a matter of interest, I am interested in getting some reading material on Aikido.

I know that there is quite a large amount of book reviews right on this very site, but any specific recommendations? I dont fancy buying all the 5 and 4 star books on the list and I am not quite ready yet for an entire volume of O'Sensei's deep philosophical ponderings without some technique thrown in as well.

What would you recommend as good books that demonstrate clearly the techniques, have helped you understand the philosophy or in other ways helped your Aikido?

(I have placed an order for "Total Aikido" so that I can get a taste of Yoshinkan Aikido. But I want more recommendations.)

Thanks
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Old 09-12-2002, 10:31 AM   #2
diesel
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Readings...

Aikido and the Dynamic Sphere by Adele Westbrook, Oscar Ratti

Total Aikido: The master course by Gozo Shioda, David Rubens

Dynamic Aikido by Gozo Shioda

(These two complement each other...)

Aikido by Kisshomaru Ueshiba, Morihei Uyeshiba.

Budo Training in Aikido by Morihei Uyeshiba

Those are all pretty good for pictoral reviews of techniques.

For philosophy;

The Art of War

The Art of Peace

Book of the 5 Rings

Hagakure

Code of the Samurai

All of D.T. Suzuki's writings

For nonfictional fun..

Angry White Pyjamas: A Scrawny Oxford Poet Takes Lessons from the Tokyo Riot Police (great look at the senshuan course at the yoshinkan hombu dojo)

That's some of what my personal library consists of.

Cheers,

diesel

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Old 09-12-2002, 10:36 AM   #3
SeiserL
 
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IMHO, Ueshiba's Spirit of Aikido, Aikido, and now Best Aikido are excellent and from the source. Aikido and the Dynamic Sphere is also excellent.

Until again,

Lynn

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 09-12-2002, 11:53 AM   #4
Erik
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Best Aikido: The Fundamentals

by Kisshomaru Ueshiba, Moriteru Ueshiba, John Stevens (Translator)
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Old 09-12-2002, 02:07 PM   #5
siwilson
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Hi

I am only going to recommend one more book to you, as you already have Total Aikido on order and Dynamic Aikido has been mentioned already. The following book is even better and an essential!

"Aikido Shugyo" by Kancho, Gozo Shioda Sensei

You can only get it on the following link, as far as I know.

http://www.shindokanbooks.com/shugyo.shtml


Osu!
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Old 09-12-2002, 03:43 PM   #6
Wayne
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For an entry on the fiction side

If you like or tolerate science fiction, I recommend "Helm" by Steven Gould. It is an interesting takeoff on the idea of suddenly being an aikido expert.

There was an aikiweb poll on the subject several months ago.

Enjoy,

Wayne
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Old 09-12-2002, 03:54 PM   #7
DaveO
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A book I would recommend is the one that got me interested in Aikido in the first place. It doesn't really stand in the same place as the superb works already mentioned, but if fascination and interest have a place, then so does this book. It's a novel; science fiction, called 'HELM', by Steven Gould, an Aikido practicioner. It's a fun, charming little story about a young nobleman given the power and knowledge of the Ancient master that brought Aikido to his planet.

Like I said, it has nothing to do with spititual awareness, Aikido knowledge or training, but it's a fun story and committed me to Aikido far more than any of the other books I'd read on the subject. Here's a link to look at it: http://www.digitalnoir.com/helm/index.htm

Again, not much for info, but fun; enjoy!

Dave

Answers are only easy when they're incomplete.
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Old 09-12-2002, 04:00 PM   #8
MikeE
 
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The Essence of Aikido by Bill Sosa

Ki: A Road That Anyone Can Walk by William Reed.

These two books do a great job of explaining the underpinnings of Aikido to Westerners.

Mike Ellefson
Midwest Center
For Movement &
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Old 09-13-2002, 06:39 AM   #9
DaveO
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Oops, wayne, looks like you beat me to it!



Dave

Answers are only easy when they're incomplete.
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Old 09-13-2002, 07:23 AM   #10
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Absolutely essential Aikido related books

Quote:
Wynand van Dyk (drDalek) wrote:
Just as a matter of interest, I am interested in getting some reading material on Aikido.

I know that there is quite a large amount of book reviews right on this very site, but any specific recommendations? I dont fancy buying all the 5 and 4 star books on the list and I am not quite ready yet for an entire volume of O'Sensei's deep philosophical ponderings without some technique thrown in as well.

What would you recommend as good books that demonstrate clearly the techniques, have helped you understand the philosophy or in other ways helped your Aikido?

(I have placed an order for "Total Aikido" so that I can get a taste of Yoshinkan Aikido. But I want more recommendations.)

Thanks
With respect, I would like to turn the question back to you. You are asking "just as a matter of interest", but want books that "demonstrate clearly the techniques" AND "help understand the philosophy". This is a very tall order. All the previous posters have made excellent choices, but I think if you read all of these books, you would be no further forward in your training. I notice that you have asked for specific recommendations, but the replies suggest that you should buy virtually everything on offer.

Once I asked my teacher the same question and he answered: "Why do you need to read books about aikido? You have me as a living model, and I studied with O Sensei. Isn't this enough?" So I suggest you ask Mr Cottier, who also studied with O sensei, when he next visits South Africa (which I believe will be very soon).

Best regards,

P A Goldsbury
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Old 09-13-2002, 07:48 AM   #11
David Kerr
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Two of the best books I've read on Aikido are

"The Principles Of Aikido" by Mitsugi Saotome

and "Living Aikido" by Bruce Klickstein.

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Old 09-13-2002, 08:30 AM   #12
drDalek
 
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Re: Re: Absolutely essential Aikido related books

Quote:
Goldsbury Peter (Peter Goldsbury) wrote:
With respect, I would like to turn the question back to you. You are asking "just as a matter of interest", but want books that "demonstrate clearly the techniques" AND "help understand the philosophy". This is a very tall order. All the previous posters have made excellent choices, but I think if you read all of these books, you would be no further forward in your training. I notice that you have asked for specific recommendations, but the replies suggest that you should buy virtually everything on offer.

Once I asked my teacher the same question and he answered: "Why do you need to read books about aikido? You have me as a living model, and I studied with O Sensei. Isn't this enough?" So I suggest you ask Mr Cottier, who also studied with O sensei, when he next visits South Africa (which I believe will be very soon).

Best regards,
Firstly, its not an AND question, its an OR question, as in show technique OR help understand the philosophy OR helped in other ways. I guess I should have made that clear.

Secondly, I dont plan on just reading books about Aikido and leaving it at that, I want something to get me through the days when there is no class, or when I need the inspiration to drag myself out of the couch and go to class. How better than to read some of the classics of the genre, or read about the budo lifestyle as lived by Musashi?

Thirdly, I dont plan on buying everything suggested but I am making a list of the most recommended books, and eventually I hope to get to all of them. So far at the top of my list is Aikido and the dynamic sphere and the other Gozo Shioda books.
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Old 09-13-2002, 08:53 AM   #13
Bruce Baker
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If you are makeing a list: The Spirit of Aikido by Kisshomaru Ueshiba, Ultimate Aikido by Yoshimitsu Yamada 8th dan /with steven pimsler, and not so much an aikido specific subject but a philosophy of martial arts, The Bible of Karate/ Bubishi translated by Patrick McCarthy.

Books are excellent for opening the mind to new techniques, and giving the mind rest for understanding techniques already practiced. I like to say they are notes from class, and hopefully, that is how you will remember them.

I have seen a whole new generation of books at my local bookstores about Aikido, so this would indicate that each of us does have a different view for the same practice on the subject of Aikido... between practice and reading we should all find the truth of our Aikido practice.
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Old 09-13-2002, 08:55 AM   #14
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Re: Re: Absolutely essential Aikido related bo

Quote:
Wynand van Dyk (drDalek) wrote:
Firstly, its not an AND question, its an OR question, as in show technique OR help understand the philosophy OR helped in other ways. I guess I should have made that clear.

Secondly, I dont plan on just reading books about Aikido and leaving it at that, I want something to get me through the days when there is no class, or when I need the inspiration to drag myself out of the couch and go to class. How better than to read some of the classics of the genre, or read about the budo lifestyle as lived by Musashi?

Thirdly, I dont plan on buying everything suggested but I am making a list of the most recommended books, and eventually I hope to get to all of them. So far at the top of my list is Aikido and the dynamic sphere and the other Gozo Shioda books.
Thanks for the quick reply.

When I began aikido I had a teacher and I read books to try to understand what the teacher was trying to explain. At that point I read Westbrook & Ratti's "Aikido and the Dynamic Sphere" and Kisshomaru Ueshiba's "Aikido". Later I studied weapons and Saito Sensei's five volumes of "Traditional Aikido" then proved very useful. Later still, I began to study the history of aikido and at that point "Budo Renshu" and "Budo" were very useful. But all the time, I had a teacher and was able to illuminate what I read by reference to daily training.

With respect, if you need inspiration to "drag yourself off the couch" to go to practice, I do not think books will substitute for a teacher.

Best regards,

P A Goldsbury
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Old 09-13-2002, 10:24 AM   #15
siwilson
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Hi Peter

I know what you are trying to say, that there is no substitute for a teacher and this is of course very true. My fellow Aikidoka and friends in Malaysia have a saying - "To learn from a book is to learn from the Devil!"

That said, books most definitely have their place. Especially to fill the void of the thirst for information of the new (and not so new) Aikidoka. I myself was glued to the pages of Aikido Shugyo when I got it this July, after it was finally released in English.

I have also found that the best students tend to be those who go out and buy books and read about this Martial Art, and this then raises questions within them. Those who come only to the dojo and then go home and don't do this, generally do not progress as quickly. This is because they are not thinking about Aikido between walking out of the dojo and the next time they walk in.

The one big problem with the books though, is the technical side. When showing Kihon Waza, the manner in which it is performed is how that school practices it, so a student trying to learn Katate Mochi Shiho Nage for his grading exam is not going to get very far. Nor should they - they must learn it from their instructor.

Wynand is obviously practicing Yoshinkan Aikido (good choice ), so he is aiming straight at the books by Shioda Sensei.

Wynand, you will really enjoy Aikido Shugyo.

All the best to you all.

OSU!

Si

Osu!
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Old 09-13-2002, 12:32 PM   #16
aikigreg
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I leanred everything I needed to know by watching "Under Seige"

Or you can try anything by Saotome Shihan and John Stevens.
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Old 09-13-2002, 12:49 PM   #17
PhilJ
 
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Thumbs down

A great book that provides some wonderful thought on applying Aikido off the mat -- Giving To Get Your Way: Aikido In Everyday Life, by (Terry) Dobson sensei.

The geometry he uses is not the greatest of tools, but this was the best book I've read on applying aikido in everyday life. He outlines 6 options for dealing with conflict: Do nothing, confluence, Deception, Parley (?), Fight Back, and Aiki. He goes into great detail on proper usage of all the methods with some decent examples.

Very good book, I wholly recommend it (among the many others recommended above).

Phillip Johnson
Enso Aikido Dojo, Burnsville, MN
An Aikido Bukou Dojo
http://www.aikidobukou.com
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Old 09-14-2002, 12:22 AM   #18
Bronson
 
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While many of my recomendations aren't aikido specific I think they all have lessons and ideas that you can relate directly to your aikido practice.

Tri Thong Dang's "Beyond the Known" and "Toward the Unknown".

Dave Lowry's "Autumn Lightning", "Persimmon Wind", "Sword and Brush", & "Moving Toward Stillness"

Richard Heckler's "In Search of the Warrior Spirit"

C.M. Shifflett's "Aikido Exercises for Teaching and Training"

C.W. Nicol's "Moving Zen"

George Leonard's "Mastery"

These along with the most of the others recommended already (most, because I haven't read them all...yet )

Bronson

"A pacifist is not really a pacifist if he is unable to make a choice between violence and non-violence. A true pacifist is able to kill or maim in the blink of an eye, but at the moment of impending destruction of the enemy he chooses non-violence."
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Old 09-14-2002, 09:53 AM   #19
mike lee
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Cool visualize this!

Quote:
I leanred everything I needed to know by watching "Under Seige"
For me it was "Karate Kid."

But really, I find video tapes of Embukai to be more usesful than books.
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Old 09-14-2002, 09:59 AM   #20
erikmenzel
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Well, how about going to the dojo instead of reading and buying books.

If you really want a book to help you in your study and first steps, I would recommend "The Aikido Students Handbook" by Greg O'Conner.

Still going to the dojo and training would be the best option.

Erik Jurrien Menzel
kokoro o makuru taisanmen ni hirake
Personal:www.kuipers-menzel.com
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Old 09-14-2002, 01:09 PM   #21
Duarh
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Re: Re: Re: Re: Absolutely essential Aikido related bo

Quote:
Goldsbury Peter (Peter Goldsbury) wrote:
Thanks for the quick reply.

With respect, if you need inspiration to "drag yourself off the couch" to go to practice, I do not think books will substitute for a teacher.

Best regards,
I watched this discussion with some interest as I'd been pondering the same topic lately myself. For most of the time, I am VERY (perhaps even too) enthusiastic about aikido. Sometimes, though, something manages to get me down, either a 'bad' training session or something of that kind. Reading a book at that time provides me with very great inspiration.

I don't need the inspiration to get myself to the dojo - I get there anyway - I need it to make my training have results. I have observed that I learn little when I feel bad about myself - and I feel bad about myself when I learn little. This is a vicious circle from which I sometimes need an impulse to get out of. From recent experience, R. Twigger's "Angry White Pyjamas" provided such an impulse after series of failed and failed and failed shihonages (which I still toil with terribly). I consider 'searching' for inspiration to train normal - not searching for enthusiasm for aikido, but searching for enthusiasm to practice with determination. Sometimes, I need strength to convince myself that I can really do it - I don't know if this is different with others.

On another note, I obtained G. Shioda's "Total Aikido", Ratti & Westbrook's "Aikido and the Dynamic Sphere" and K. Tohei's old work "Aikido - Coordination of. . ." (forgive me for forgetting the exact title) recently, and I have found all three eminently useful as a SUPPLEMENT to my training. I did not, of course, become better just by reading the books. They provided me with an opportunity to look at aikido when I am not at the dojo, however, and to notice things that I had SEEN, but not noted and paid much attention to, before, when demonstrated by sensei. When I returned to the mat, I could include those into the list of details I had to mind. They also provided some information on areas of aikido that my sensei does not particularly emphasize.

Of course, books are especially useful to me because the language of my sensei is Russian, which I don't understand very well. Still, I don't see saying that books are not necessary because there is sensei justified in any case. There is only a limited amount of time sensei will spend demonstrating to you and answering your questions - imagine a book as a very much expanded lecture by a sensei, not immediately useful, but providing material for thought. We go to seminars and other dojos to practice and hear what other senseis than our own have to say, don't we? Books are another form of input that we process through training to arrive at our own 'truth'

Last edited by Duarh : 09-14-2002 at 01:13 PM.
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Old 09-18-2002, 04:14 PM   #22
gadsmf@aol.com
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Thumbs down

I'll be brief as all the classics have already been mentioned (Ratti and Westbrook is absolutely indespensable), but if you have some spare pocket money, parts of Bruce Lee's

"Tao of Jeet Kune" provide very well

written thoughts on a Zen approach to martial arts. Although there's little actual reference to Aikido itself, many of Lee's comments struck me as very similar to what we are taught in the dojo (emptying the mind, response vs. reaction, etc)

Ignore the "Study on kicking a man while he's down" in Chapter 3, I think ;

it's about as un-Aikido as you can get.

Cheers,

Darren

DL Gadd
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Old 09-18-2002, 06:24 PM   #23
DanD
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"Ki In Daily LIfe", by Koichi Tohei Sensei.

Check also-

http://ki-aikido.net/index.html

Have fun
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Old 09-18-2002, 08:57 PM   #24
Brian Crowley
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I think everyone should read "Dueling with O'Sensei" at some point during their martial arts career. Check it out at the link below & check out some of the reviews.

http://www.ellisamdur.com/DuelingwithOsensei.htm

Also, "It's a Lot Like Dancing" by Terry Dobson is a great experience.

There are many other great books, but these are my "must reads". Neither provides descriptions of techniques. They both focus on other aspects of training.

Brian
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Old 09-18-2002, 10:39 PM   #25
SeiserL
 
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I am curious, what are the elements that make a book "absolutely essential"?

Until again,

Lynn

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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