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Shioda, Gozo -- Total Aikido, The Master Course
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Recommended By Average Price Average Rating
100% of reviewers $30.00 10.0
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Keywords: shioda yoshinkan total aikido master course
ISBN: 4770020589


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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: Christopher Ross
E-Mail: Send E-mail to Christopher Ross

Total Aikido is undoubtedly the most comprehensive manual of Yoshinkan aikido techniques ever published in English. Although twenty nine years has elapsed since the publication of Shioda Sensei's Dynamic Aikido (Kodansha, 1968), looking at this text, the wait seems worthwhile. This is real budo aikido. Aikido as it was intended to be and hopefully, will continue to be practiced by those dedicated to perpetuating the highest levels of excellence.

In an interview with Stanley Pranin, editor of Aikido Journal, in 1982 Gozo Shioda Sensei commented:

"Today's aikido is dimensionless. It's empty of content. Now we see nothing but imitation without any grasp of the real thing. People try to reach the highest levels without even paying their dues. That's why it seems so much like a dance these days. Ueshiba Sensei was the only one who could do that sort of soft, fluffy movement. You have to master the basics solidly, with your body, and then proceed to develop to the higher levels."

Shioda Sensei, one of the last of the pre-War generation of disciples of aikido founder Morihei Ueshiba O-sensei, awarded a 10th dan and the title Meijin or grandmaster and then declared mudan, or beyond rank by the Kokusai Budoin, spent nearly forty years after the second world war teaching an aikido designed to reverse this trend. Shioda Sensei, through his dojo the Yoshinkan, taught budo aikido: a martial way forged in his early experiences as the outstanding uchi deshi of Ueshiba Sensei's most severe period in the 1930s, when his school, the Kobukan, was nicknamed Jigoku, or Hell Dojo.

Total Aikido, an expertly translated rendering of Aikido Yoshinkan Gokui, is Shioda Sensei's technical masterpiece. The Japanese term gokui means ultimate, end of the road or the final destination, and in Yoshinkan aikido the ultimate aim of practice, mastery, is clearly understood to derive from an unrelenting emphasis on fundamentals or basics. Throughout the text the word basic recurs many times. In English, basic can mean simple, the opposite of complex. In Japanese, the term kihon connotes the cognate term basis or foundation. That on which all else rests or depends. Mastery - and this book is subtitled the Master Course - is only possible by first studying, understanding and absorbing, learning with the body not just the mind, the basics. Without passing through this stage, whatever we may look like, we are just dancing the dance of self delusion: aikido as aerobics.

What then are the basics? Total Aikido comprehensively sets out Yoshinkan aikido's systemization of the means to effective budo aikido: first comes kamae, the combatitive posture. Kamae is a formula for correct positioning of the body and reflects the mind directing the body. Shioda Sensei says of kamae:

"Everything is contained or condensed in kamae. This is the gokui, the most important single basic unit of aikido. All that makes a person - his personality and character, way of thinking or philosophy and presence - is reflected in his kamae. If your mind is not straight, your thinking not pure, you will have a stray kamae. Likewise, if you are cruel or brutal it will be reflected in your kamae. The technique reflects like a mirror."

>From a correct combatitive posture is born the possibility of correct motion. Kihon Dosa, or basic movements, is a set of six movements distilling the riai, or essential logic of all techniques, and represents the unique signature of training in all Yoshinkan dojo. Remembering the kihon dosa it is possible to practice correct basic techniques, or kihon waza, in co-operation with a partner employing real attacks. Yoshinkan, as a budo aikido, strongly emphasizes that attacks must be meaningful - in other words, unless blocked or avoided, a strike will both make contact with a precise target and will damage that target, whilst at the same time, for safety, remaining aware of the capacities of your partner. Budo is a serious business requiring a desperate effort - "train as if your life depended on it," is how Shioda Sensei puts it. Yoshinkan refers to another basis or fundamental concern, having the meaning "[place] for cultivating the spirit." Aikido although bu or a martial pursuit, is also do, a way to refinement, a means to contact the real essence of mankind, a universal unity of being where everything is seen to be in accord.

Total Aikido is divided into five sections: (1) Principles of Aikido; (2) Basic movements; (3) Basic techniques; (4) Goshin waza, or applied techniques; and (5) Ogi, or hidden principles. Shioda Sensei explains various aikido principles, such as chushin ryoku or centerline power; kokyu ryoku and shuchu ryoku, the unique aikido approach to focusing strength through a combination of breathing, timing, will and correct rythm; ki as a concept of balance - maintaining your own whilst disrupting your partner's; and less well known ideas, such as how to control an opponent's knees and ichitaita, or regarding many attackers as a single opponent. Each of the techniques in the third section is broken down, with important points highlighted alongside common errors.

This book is a goldmine for the photos of Gozo Shioda Sensei alone. Inside the title page is a double spread picture capturing one of Shioda Sensei's most famous skills - the ability to completely reverse an attacker's power, causing him to rebound as if running into a brick wall. In addition to the translated text, expertly rendered by David Rubens Sensei, a former Yoshinkan Honbu Dojo instructor now teaching in London, the postures and techniques are performed throughout by senior Yoshinkan Honbu Dojo instructors - the best in the world today - Chida, Nakano, Yasuhisa Shioda, Ando, Chino and Oyamada, with the assistance of non-Japanese Honbu teachers Jacques Payet, Mark Baker, Gadi Shorr, Paul Stevens and Darren Friend.

Total Aikido is a must buy for all Yoshinkan practitioners, irrespective of level. For other aikidoka and all serious martial artists it will repay a close study and perhaps deserves a place on the small shelf of martial arts masterpieces: a worthy legacy from aikido's "little giant," Gozo Shioda Sensei, whose death in 1994 was truly, as David Rubens says, the end of an era.

Christopher Ross

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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: Ian Dodkins
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I don't do Yoshinkan aikido, and I'm not sure I ever want to. However I believe this is currently the best technique book there is on aikido. Don't be put off by the title (Master Course), this book is for advanced students and beginners alike.

Concise, valuable information with proper tips on how to DO the techniques effectively, not just brief descriptions of where you step and stick your arms.

My advice - get it.
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Registered: April 2001
Posts: 1318
Review Date: Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros:
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Author: Brian Babiak
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A great book, solid technique. Even if you practice ki aikido in your dojo, this book will infuse your practice with effectiveness and technical precision.
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Registered: April 2001
Posts: 1318
Review Date: Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros:
Cons:

Author: Desmond Smith
E-Mail: Send E-mail to Desmond Smith

I have bought one of this books and i must say that it is awesome the way Shioda Sensei explains his philosophy of Aikido. Ever since i saw Aikido i fell in love with the sport and i am currently training with a few others. This Martial Art is so unique and i hope to be the best and get to the highest dan as possible.
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Review Date: Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: $30.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: This IS the book!
Cons: Not everyone owns it.

I purchased this book when I first started Aikido. The only regret I have is that I didn\'t read it every night since I purchased it. I looked in it yesterday, the day before, the day before that, and just about everyday that I train.

This is the book. If you don\'t have it, you mustn\'t be an Aikidoka.

Details, details, details. Pictures, pictures, pictures. If you bought it only for one of those, you\'d still be getting a deal at thirty bucks.

That\'s not to mention the tips!

Whatever your style, you can\'t go wrong with this book.
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