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Shirata, Rinjiro; Stevens, John -- Aikido, The Way of Harmony
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Description: From the Publisher:

This definitive, profusely illustrated manual covers the essential elements of the philosophy and practice of Aikido, the Japanese martial art that has been embraced by modern psychology and many Western bodywork therapies.

Useful to the beginner and experienced practitioner alike, the book details the traditional methods and techniques of Shirata Rinjiro, of whom John Stevens is a principal student. Noted for the precise execution of a wide range of techniques and an emphasis on Aikido as a spiritual path, Shirata Sensei's teachings exemplify the way of the warrior: superior technical prowess combined with profound spiritual insight.

In addition to photographs and descriptions of all the important Aikido techniques, Stevens recounts interesting and lively anecdotes about the history of Aikido and its founder, Ueshiba Morihei, who developed it from a martial art into a spiritual discipline. A biography of Shirata Sensei, complete with his reflections on sixty years of Aikido practice, is also included.
Keywords: stevens shirata way of harmony
ISBN: 0394714261

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AikiWeb System

Registered: April 2001
Posts: 1317
Review Date: Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 0 


Author: Chris Elkins
E-Mail: Send E-mail to Chris Elkins

Neither a beginner's nor an advanced student's book, Aikido: The Way of Harmony is geared more toward readers with some small amount of experience in the martial arts. The rather well-written style, simple explanations, and especially the many photographs make this book an easy read. However, some of the techniques are more easily performed by those who have some knowledge of Aikido, or a similar Way.

The book opens with a history of the Founder, and the beginnings of the Way, including several anecdotes about the Founder. Then Stevens includes a section on Shirata Rinjiro, and the meaning of Aikido.

The greater portion of the book is dedicated to technique, starting off with bowing and breathing, then moving on to stance. The first combat technique described is Shiho-nage, and then Stevens works his way through more difficult techniques as the book progresses. The last few pages are devoted to a glossary, with terms in both English and Japanese. Each technique described, from breathing to throws, is accompanied by photographs of Shirata Rinjiro, depicting every move from start to finish, as well as a written description of the technique and it's purpose.

Overall, Aikido: The Way of Harmony is worth buying just for the panels of photographs. The information on the Founder and Shirata Rinjiro was fascinating, and the glossary at the back will help any student who has trouble remembering technique names. As this was my first introduction to Aikido, the techniques described were difficult to follow, but a former background in TKD and capoeira helped me to understand the movements, and now, I'm hooked.

Blessed Be,
Chris Elkins
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