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Stevens, John; von Krenner, Walter -- Training with the Master: Lessons with Morihei Ueshiba, Founder of Aikido
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100% of reviewers None indicated 10.0

Description: From the Publisher:

Through an extraordinary collection of photographs, Training with the Master depicts the training methods and daily life of Morihei Ueshiba, the Founder of the martial art known as Aikido, or "the way of harmony." The photographs presented here were all taken in 1967 when Morihei was eighty four—at the summit of his career as a spiritual seeker and when the flower of his teaching was in full bloom. Most of these photographs are being made available to students for the first time.

The first part of the book, "On the Mat with the Master," is a detailed photographic record of Morihei instructing his students. These photographs offer a precious opportunity for readers to see what it would have been like to train with the Master himself. The photographs in part two, "The Master Teaches the Way," depict Morihei in everyday life—entering a room, sitting in a relaxed yet dignified manner, chatting easily and joking with students, making a serious point, taking refreshment—manifesting the Way of Harmony naturally in all his actions. Part three, "The Art of Peace," contains the essence of Morihei's philosophy distilled from his collected talks. Also included is a short biography of Morihei as well as a section of suggestions for further reading for those who wish to have more detailed information on Morihei's life and teaching.
Keywords: stevens von Krenner training with master
ISBN: 1570623228

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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: 10 


Author: Sean Murphy
E-Mail: Send E-mail to Sean Murphy
Date: 2001-10-22

There are any number of books available for those seeking a biography or portrait of Morihei Ueshiba, but "Training with the Master" offers a uniquely intimate example; one that tells more about being one of O'Sensei's deshi than many other books and personal anecdotes can.

Von Krenner is the photographer, displaying a number of up-close-and-personal shots taken on the mat and off, while he was studying with O'Sensei during the last year before the Founder stopped teaching.

The photos are all shot in black-and-white, which adds a sense of drama to the pictures, but also accentuates detail, adding to the realism. Many of the in-class photos are also taken at close range, with a number of students visible in close proximity, giving the appearance that the reader is sitting right on the mat, mere feet from O'Sensei himself.

As is probably typical of photos of the Founder this late in his life, many of the class pictures are visually impressive, showing a man frail in appearance handily tossing people larger and younger than he. Still, the closeness of the shots and the variety of expressions on Ueshiba's face make this collection stand out.

In addition, Von Krenner was granted access to O'Sensei off the mat as well. Aikido students may not find these photos as visually stunning, but Von Krenner still manages to maintain the intimacy by offering a number of close-up shots of the Founder eating, drinking, and laughing with visitors. Again, the reader feels the illusion of being right in the room with him. Like the class pictures, the captions are peppered with anecdotes about and quotes from O'Sensei that add even more detail.

John Stevens contributed much of the accompanying text, which features a brief biography of Ueshiba and a series of quotes from the Founder. The book does not go into technical detail beyond explaining what technique O'Sensei is performing in a certain shot, and should not be considered an instructional tool. Still, as biographies of the Founder go, "Training with the Master" is more personal than many, and tells of life in the dojo with Aikido's creator in a way few have matched. A must-read for Ueshiba fans who think they've seen it all!
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