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» Number of reviews : 4 - viewing 10 Per Page

Last Review Posted by crbateman - posted: 2:55pm [ Post a Review

Views: 40936

This recently released book is the first from Judy Ringer, Aikido instructor and Professional Trainer in Portsmouth, N.H. It is a guide to self-improvement through Aikido philosophy and principles, in the same vein as “The Magic of Conflict” by Thomas Crum, who, not coincidentally, is one of the author’s primary teachers, and who wrote the foreward to this book. This book contains no technical instruction. It is a delightful and interesting collection of anecdotes, quotations and stories, accompanied by the author’s interpretations of the lessons to be gained by thinking them through. Quotes are presented from such notable Aikido influences as O’Sensei himself, Mitsunari Kanai, Mitsugi Saotome, Thomas Crum, and Terry Dobson. Other notable quotations run the gamut from the Dalai Lama to Gandhi, from Shakespeare to Einstein, from Robert Frost to Emily Dickenson, and even Dr. Seuss. The book is well researched, thoughtfully arranged, lighthearted, and not dull or preachy. The author gives common-sense advice to deal with everyday problems of human existence. The aiki principles of centering, blending and redirection are well represented. It is an easy read, but do it when you are in the mood to think. The format is good, with notable stories and points of emphasis boxed and highlighted. The printing is easy on the eyes. There are no photos or illustrations. Availability is primarily from the author directly at this early juncture (a quick “google” will lead you right to her), although I’m sure the usual sources (Amazon, B&N, etc.) will eventually get with it. I applaud Judy for her considerable effort in preparing this book. It is enlightening, positive and thought-provoking. Hopefully, she will do more in the future. Check it out if you get the chance.

Rating: 7
Product Details: "Unlikely Teachers: Finding the Hidden Gifts in Daily Conflict" by Marc Kupper - posted: - Rating: ******* 7.00

Last Review Posted by crbateman - posted: 6:43am [ Post a Review

Views: 20161

This is a newly released book, authored by an Aikikai stylist who currently resides and instructs in South Korea. The book is intended for those who are already engaged in the study of Aikido, and does not waste space talking about how to tie an obi or how to fold a hakama, but goes right to the business of explaining in some detail the dynamics and mechanics behind the various movements intrinsic to Aikido. There are chapters on warm-ups, posture, breathing, spacing, balance, generating power, attacks, and many other topics, all discussed matter-of-factly, at what I would judge to be an intermediate level. The text does seem to waver somewhat between facts and opinion, but not in a way that would be detrimental. The author has definite ideas on how to train proficiently, and they are put before the reader succinctly in this text. The book is well illustrated, with numerous detailed diagrams and black/white photos. The photos are taken outdoors against a wooded natural backdrop, which seems to enhance some photos, but also makes others less clear. One glaring omission from the material is any discussion, or even acknowledgement of, the principle of ki. The power of mind and breath do get much ink, as does the generation of mechanical power, but the concept of ki is left out completely. Some discussion of it would have made the book much more balanced, although I know that in some Aikido circles, ki is a vague and unsubstantiated element. The book is a fairly easy read, although the single-spaced text is a little rough on the eyes, and the magazine-styled columnar text format seems a little out of place here. If you can get past all that, though, there is a lot of material presented here, and much can be learned from this book. I liked that the author targeted the material to the experienced practitioner, and that this is not just another “here’s what Aikido is” book. There is just no need for any more introductory level books on Aikido, because there is nothing that can be said at that level that has not already been said dozens of times before. The book is a little pricey, especially since there will probably be a shipping charge on top of it, but in my opinion, it’s worth the money. It is a book that one can go back to and re-read from time to time, as there is real information here. Availability is good through Amazon and other online sources. Used copies are probably not available yet. I would recommend adding it to your library.

Rating: 8
Product Details: "Discovering Aikido" by akiy - posted: - Rating: ********* 9.33

Last Review Posted by crbateman - posted: 11:00pm [ Post a Review

Views: 20514

This recently released book is the second installment in a planned trilogy by these authors, who between them have the better part of a century of training. The first book, “Aikido Basics”, is now a staple in bookstores, arriving on the market in 2003. The third offering, “Aikido Weapons Techniques”, is due in the spring of 2006. I applauded the first book, because it hit the target exactly as a basic primer, and was so objective in its approach, even to subjects that are often polarizing between various styles. This second book is similarly objective, and once again focuses accurately on the demographic for which it is aimed, that being the somewhat experienced practitioner, who has a good foundation of training under his belt (pun intended), and is looking at the deeper topics and for answers to some of the tougher questions. “OK, what goals do I set now?” “Is there more?” “How do I add focus on the philosophical aspects of my Aikido?” Although there is a good portion of this book devoted to technical issues, such as combination techniques, counters and reversals, and even strikes(!), what I like most about this book is the material dealing with applying the core philosophies of Aikido to one’s thinking, and to expanding one’s training into dimensions that keep things fresh and interesting. There are discussions dealing with the aikidoka who wishes to become a teacher, or who wants to explore the concepts of “ki” to improve his technique. There is material devoted to realistic application of techniques in a self-defense scenario. There are tips for getting the most out of attending seminars. There is commentary on demonstrations, and even competition (yikes). Yet, all of this is presented in a balanced and objective manner, with no particular emphasis on any one style. It is “beyond the basics” Aikido for the masses. Also included are transcripts of in-depth interviews by Stanley Pranin and Susan Perry, and a compilation of pertinent quotes by many distinguished instructors. The writing combines the diverse and unquestionable technical expertise of Phong Thong Dang Sensei, and the considerable writing skills and devoted training of incurable “mat rat” Lynn Seiser Sensei, who will no doubt still be training after he is DEAD. The book is well formatted and easy to read; it is profusely illustrated, mostly with renderings created from photographs. The book speaks to a segment of the training population that many other works do not, and is a lot of bang for the buck. I recommend it as a fixture in any library. Borrow it if you have to, but buy it if you can. Find it at your local bookstore or martial arts supply, on amazon.com, or directly from Tuttle Publishing. Good show.

Rating: 10
Product Details: "Advanced Aikido" by crbateman - posted: - Rating: ********** 10.00

Last Review Posted by crbateman - posted: 11:43am [ Post a Review

Views: 17600

This book is a new John Stevens translation of the earlier Japanese-language book “Aikido Jotatsu”. It follows two other Kodansha publications by the same author, \"Best Aikido” and “The Aikido Master Course”. The new book is well formatted, and profusely illustrated with black/white photos. This book hearkens back to the fundamentals, with clear descriptions of breakfalls, stances, shikko (knee-walking), body movement and breath power. Of particular note here is that Doshu’s categorization of movements includes a description of “tenshin” (sweeping turn) right up there alongside “irimi” and “tenkan”. The book is basically technical in nature, but throughout there are explanations of principles, and many emphasized, or amplified, thoughts (identified as “points” in the text) which represent keys to the proper execution of the techniques being discussed. These points are highlighted by bold text and printed in text boxes, making them easy to get to in a glance. It’s a very nice format, and brings the text closer to providing the pointers one might actually receive in the dojo from the instructor. The book includes a discussion of “ki” and unification of mind and body. Although brief, it will seem remarkably “Tohei-esque” to the reader. There is coverage of the author’s views on absorbing training on the basic level, variations of techniques, and the process of progressing into more advanced training. There are tanto-dori techniques, but no other mention of weapons work, so buki-waza people will have to get their fix elsewhere. Techniques are named only in the Japanese vernacular, without English translation, but you should not have a problem if you are an anglophile with even basic experience in Aikido. In summary, although there is no new, groundbreaking information here, the book is an easy read, and there is a lot of beneficial material, presented in an excellent format. This book would make a good addition to any Aikido library, regardless of your particular style. The “traditionalists” will also say there is always a little extra weight given to those teachings which come “direct from the source” (sort of). Recommended. (Availability is good, even a little ahead of the official Jan.’06 release date.)

Rating: 8
Product Details: "Progressive Aikido: The Essential Elements" by crbateman - posted: - Rating: ******** 8.00

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