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Saotome, Mitsugi -- Aikido and the Harmony of Nature
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100% of reviewers None indicated 8.0
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Description: From the Publisher:

Here is a unique approach to the teachings of the Founder of Aikido, Morihei Ueshiba, as interpreted by his direct student of fifteen years. Mitsugi Saotome examines the spiritual philosophy of the Founder, the warrior ideals of feudal Japan as the basis of his martial arts philosophy, and the scientific principles underlying the philosophy of Aikido technique.

The author shows that the physical movement of Aikido is the embodiment of principles of the spirit. Negative force is not countered with aggression but is controlled and redirected through the power and balance of spiral movement. This is the shape of Aikido and the dynamic shape at the foundation of all energies of existence. Aikido movement can only be understood from its roots in universal law and the processes of nature. The sincere practice and study of Aikido deepens our appreciation for the perfection of nature's balance and brings us back into harmony with our environment, other people, and ourselves.

Abundantly illustrated with the author's drawings, diagrams, and calligraphies, as well as photographs demonstrating Aikido techniques, the book also offers a history of Aikido, personal anecdotes about the Founder, and translations of several of his lectures.
Keywords: saotome harmony nature
ISBN: 0877738556


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Registered: April 2001
Posts: 1318
Review Date: Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 0 

 
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Author: Steven Scott
E-Mail: Send E-mail to Steven Scott

Aikido and the Harmony of Nature, while still a book on both the technical and spiritual aspects of the art, approaches the explanations from a very different angle.

The explanations are not defined merely in western terms of 'this hand holds here, that hand holds there', but are put forward, as the name suggests, with the comparison to the natural world that we are all part of. The natural world that we sometimes forget about until we come into conflict with it.

It is this 'natural conflict' that Saotome Sensei draws upon for a good deal of the book's content. The book begins with the usual history of O- Sensei and explains the theories of Kannagara no Michi before beginning to explain the essence of the creation of the universe in both scientific and theoretical terms. 'The Nature of Truth' and the expression of universal laws lead the way into what can only be called an 'awakening of the mind' as to the true nature of the world around us. Not only in its exceptional beauty and harmony, but also in the necessity for the natural violence of the earthquake, hurricane and volcano. Saotome Sensei then shows the manifestation of these natural wonders into the principles of Aikido technique, drawing comparison from many sources of natures power, passivity and compassion.

The final chapters are dedicated to the evolution of Bujutsu from the inherent aggressive tendencies of our race. The book explains the nature of our conflict from the psychological perspective before advancing toward the nurturing of Budo as the education of our instinctive drives toward these destructive goals. The progression of Aikido as the instrument of realising universal truth then draws the book to a steady close, finishing with the principles of Ki and Kokyu and the theory of Marubashi (entering into the very heart of the attack) within the training process.

An excellent book, lavishly illustrated with both black and white photographs and Saotome Sensei's own drawings, the book also contains the authors own experiences during his many years in the art. Drawing upon a lifetime of knowledge and experience, incorporating short stories from many sources such as Zen, Buddhism, Shinto, and his days spent at the Hombu Dojo as one of O-Sensei's Uchi Deshi, Mitsugi Saotome has created an excellent book that I never tire of reading. Undoubtedly one of the few books that I recommend as a 'must read' to all of my students, regardless of their grade, or their aspirations to their own individual study of Aikido.

Its ability to make you think about our world, and the awesome force that both it, and humanity harness means that everyone from every walk of life, Aikidoka or not, can learn something from its content. Truly one of the finest books around.

Yours in Aiki
--
Steven Scott
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Registered: April 2001
Posts: 1318
Review Date: Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 6 

 
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Author: Ian Dodkins
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No doubt an authoritative book. However if you would rather improve your experience of aikido than listen to philosophical musings, psuedo-scientific comparisons and airy-fairy 'one with nature' talk I would borrow someone else's copy. Interesting (particularly the brief intro. about Ueshiba) but unlikely to give any long term aikidoka particular insights. Ian
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Registered: April 2001
Posts: 1318
Review Date: Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 0 

 
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Author: George S Ledyard
E-Mail: Send E-mail to George S Ledyard

A really unique book. Saotome Sensei has made the effort to take O-Sensei's rather arcane esoteric Shinto framework and express the concepts using more familiar language. The principles of Aikido are described using cosmology, physics, the weather etc. In addition he dsecribes many of the key concepts of Aikido as a martial art such as ma-ai, de-ai, etc. There is no other book in Aikido which so completely describes the philosophical range that underlies the practice. You can come back to this book every year you train and see something new that you hadn't understood before. This book stands apart from the many technique books.
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Registered: April 2001
Posts: 1318
Review Date: Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 10 

 
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Author: Luis Sánchez
E-Mail: Send E-mail to Luis Sánchez

More than techniques (even when its included), you will find the inner principles of Aikido and its Universal Nature, as it was teached from O Sensei to his Uchi Deshis (Saito Sensei is one of this). Besides the books inherited to us by O Sensei and his son Kisshomaru Ueshiba, this is one of the best on Aikido.
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