Books

A selection of books about Aikido – Some were used as reference in the aikidoromanord.org website.

 

Oscar Ratti, Adele Westbrook
Aikido and the dynamic sphere
William Gleason
The spiritual foundations of Aikido
dynamic_sphereAikido, the gentleman’s fighting art,” neutralizes aggression and renders attackers harmless without injuring them. By controlling body position and understanding its simple physical premises, anyone — regardless of size, strength or weight — can fend off attacks using this sophisticated martial art. This classic text reveals the secrets which enable the stunning displays of physical control practiced in Aikido. Further, it delves into the ethical intention requisite for successful aikido, and enables its readers to harmonize their vital powers — both mental and physical — into the disciplined practice of this elegant martial art. spiritual-foundationsMorihei Ueshiba, who founded Aikido early in this century, intended that his martial art would give form to profound spiritual truth, and lead to a unification of the world’s peoples. He saw Aikido not as a fighting method or as a competitive sport but rather as a means of becoming one with the laws of universal order–ki, or life energy. Unfortunately, the subtleties of Ueshiba’s teachings, veiled in the esoteric terminology of Shinto, can be puzzling for even the most advanced practitioners. They are not passed down today, and have never been introduced to the West. Gleason, a fifth-degree (Godan) black belt in Aikido, recognizing the importance of the spiritual aspects of the discipline, researched its roots in Shinto, and in this book is able to offer a clear explanation of Ueshiba’s teachings.
Morihei Ueshiba
Budo – Teachings of the founder of Aikido
William Reed
KI, a practical guide for westerners
budo-founderBudo Techniques of Aikido by the founder of Aikido Morihei Ueshiba is where it all starts. 132 pages filled with technical, historical and philosophical information this book is an absolute must have for anyone interested in the art of Aikido. ki-reedWilliam Reed has tried to define and teach the meaning of KI so that we in the west can learn. The first part of the text helps us undersatnd KI, develop KI and pratcie KI. There are a series of excericses and a section on KI meditation. The second part of the text goes into KI development in the Japanese Arts (Shodo, Aikido, Kiatsu, Go, Noh and the Tea Ceremony). And the third part, Ki in our ever changing world. A must have book.
John Stevens
The secret of Aikido
Oscar Ratti, Adele Westbrook
Secrets of the Samurai
aikido-secretsAikido evolved from the rich martial traditions of Japan, and was developed by Morihei Ueshiba based on their profound philosophies. In this book, the author explains how Aikido is both the spirit of love and the study of that spirit. In unique and incisive language, Ueshiba discusses the arcane aspects of Aikido’s aims and techniques, as well as the central importance of breathing, ki (chi), and Aikido’s relationship to the spirit and body – these form the very essence of Aikido.He goes on to consider the virtues of this revered martial art, urging the reader to link to the universe through Aikido, and ultimately to unify the divine and human. He also explains the essence of Takemusu aiki (valorous force of procreation and harmony), and Misogi (the ritual of purifying oneself).

The book includes many rare photos of the author – on both his techniques and his everyday life. Also included are his twenty-five doka (spiritual Japanese-style poems) in Japanese, English, and Romanization. The introduction was written by his grandson, Moriteru Ueshiba, the present Aikido Doshu.

samurai-secretsBeginning with a panoramic survey of the tumultuous early struggles of warlords contending for political ascendancy, this classic text outlines the relentless progression of the military class toward absolute power. In addition to illustrating actual methods of combat, the authors discuss in detail the crucial training necessary to develop a warrior’s inner power and to concentrate all his or her energies on a single force. Secrets of the Samurai is essential for those interested in Japanese combat techniques, weaponry or military tradition.
Taisen Deshimaru
The Zen way to martial arts
John Stevens
The phylosophy of Aikido
zen-wayThis book by Taisen Deshimaru gives the reader a framework to begin zen meditation and ultimately produce spontaneous ‘non-thinking’ actions in the martial arts. True to the title, the book shows the link between zen and the martial arts. This is done with an interesting mix of interviews, short stories and anecdotes. aikido-philAt last, a clear and insightful look at the system of beliefs that is the basis for the practice of Aikido. The Philosophy of Aikido is an invaluable guide for practitioners–whether beginning or advanced–wishing to know more about the context in which Aikido was developed and Aikido’s implications for the world today.Intended as a companion volume to Kisshomaru Ueshiba’s classic The Spirit of Aikido, the book is authored by John Stevens, the foremost non-Japanese expert in the field. It is written from an international perspective that considers how Aikido is related to the emerging global culture.
Eiji Yokshikawa
Musashi
John Stevens
Invincible worrior
musashiThe classic samurai novel about the real exploits of the most famous swordsman.Miyamoto Musashi was the child of an era when Japan was emerging from decades of civil strife. Lured to the great Battle of Sekigahara in 1600 by the hope of becoming a samurai–without really knowing what it meant–he regains consciousness after the battle to find himself lying defeated, dazed and wounded among thousands of the dead and dying. On his way home, he commits a rash act, becomes a fugitive and brings life in his own village to a standstill–until he is captured by a weaponless Zen monk.

Musashi is a novel in the best tradition of Japanese story telling. It is a living story, subtle and imaginative, teeming with memorable characters, many of them historical. Interweaving themes of unrequited love, misguided revenge, filial piety and absolute dedication to the Way of the Samurai, it depicts vividly a world Westerners know only vaguely. Full of gusto and humor, it has an epic quality and universal appeal.

ueshiba-invincibleInvincible Warrior tells the fascinating story of the life of Morihei Ueshiba (1883-1969), whose quest for the true meaning of warriorship lead to the creation of the martial art called Aikido, “The Art of Peace.” Ueshiba—whose name means “abundant peace”—is considered by many to be one of the greatest martial artists who ever lived. His documented ability to disarm any attacker, throw a dozen men simultaneously, and down and pin opponents without touching them has accorded his life legendary status.Invincible Warrior presents the real story behind Morihei’s achievement, illuminating the man and his message. Stevens describes the people, events, and ideas that influenced Ueshiba’s lifelong spiritual quest, which culminated in the development of unique teachings of Aikido. Illustrated with two hundred photographs of Morihei in action and filled with revealing anecdotes about his life and times, Invincible Warrior also offers valuable discussion of the Founder’s conception of Aikido as a path of harmony and love, unifying body and mind, self and others, humans and the universe.
Dave Lowry
The essence of Budo
Eugen Herrigel
Zen in the Art of Archery
budo-essenceThe study of budo, or Japanese martial arts for self-cultivation, is a lifelong path toward achieving perfect balance in body, mind, and spirit. Here, Dave Lowry, who has pursued that path for over forty years, addresses the myriad issues, vagaries, and inconsistencies that arise for students of karate-do, judo, kendo, aikido, iaido and other Japanese martial arts—classical and modern—as their training develops.
Lowry also gives practical advice on improving structural integrity in posture and movement; focusing under stress; stances and preparatory actions before engaging with an opponent; and telling a good teacher from a bad one. Both beginning and advanced students of Japanese martial arts will appreciate Lowry’s take on the real issues and experiences that they encounter in practice.
zen-archerySo many books have been written about the meditation side of Zen and the everyday, chop wood/carry water side of Zen. But few books have approached Zen the way that most Japanese actually do–through ritualized arts of discipline and beauty–and perhaps that is why Eugen Herrigel’s Zen in the Art of Archery is still popular so long after it first publication in 1953. Herrigel, a philosophy professor, spent six years studying archery and flower-arranging in Japan, practicing every day, and struggling with foreign notions such as “eyes that hear and ears that see.” In a short, pithy narrative, he brings the heart of Zen to perfect clarity–intuition, imitation, practice, practice, practice, then, boom, wondrous spontaneity fusing self and art, mind, body, and spirit. Herrigel writes with an attention to subtle profundity and relates it with a simple artistry that itself carries the signature of Zen
Wiston L. King
Zen and the Way of the Sword: arming the Samurai psyche
James Clavell
Shogun
zen-swordIn this engaging examination of the development of the Samurai and their relationship to Zen, King (Divinity Sch., Vanderbilt Univ.) covers a lot of ground. He discusses the martial arts, Zen history, Japanese cultural history, the art of sword making, and kamikaze pilots, among other topics, in terms of the thread of Japanese spirituality that runs through them all. He examines the influence of Zen on the warrior ethic and handles deftly the difficult issue regarding the alignment of nonviolent Buddhist philosophy with the training of warriors. In addition, King carries the discussion up to the present, drawing illustrations from World War II and current Japanese business practices to strengthen his contention that the way of the Samurai and Zen are inextricably woven into the fabric of Japanese behavior. Included is an excellent bibliography. Recommended for academic collections and those with a more than basic interest in Asian studies.
shogun
This is James Clavell’s tour-de-force; an epic saga of one Pilot-Major John Blackthorne, and his integration into the struggles and strife of feudal Japan. Both entertaining and incisive, SHOGUN is a stunningly dramatic re-creation of a very different world.Starting with his shipwreck on this most alien of shores, the novel charts Blackthorne’s rise from the status of reviled foreigner up to the hights of trusted advisor and eventually, Samurai. All as civil war looms over the fragile country.