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Aikido and the Harmony of Nature [Paperback]

Mitsugi Saotome
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Book Description

4 Nov 1993
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.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Shambhala Publications Inc; Shambhala ed edition (4 Nov 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0877738556
  • ISBN-13: 978-0877738558
  • Product Dimensions: 28 x 21.7 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 594,465 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply. . .interesting 24 Feb 2002
By A Customer
So far the best book I've read on Aikido (which is to say it is better than Kisshomaru's 'Aikido', though these 2 are absolutely different books). This gave me some idea of Aikido as Ueshiba might've seen it (through the perceptions of Saotome, of course), but, most of all, it was interesting. Some interesting stuff on Japanese history as connected with budo and also reading on the Founder's life & character that I found fascinating
If you're looking for technical info, though, don't buy this book. I'm a beginner of a few months, so I was able to grasp what was going on from the photos, but 1) for the 100% beginner, you won't understand what's going on 2) for others, technical instructions 'do it this way' is not what this book is about. There's a section in which a few techniques ARE described, but otherwise. . .
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Best book on Aikido phIlosophy!!! 18 Sep 2012
By Petros
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is the best book on Aikido philosophy I have ever read. It should be read by every Aikido student that wants to take a look in the teachings of Aikido regaring universal laws, life events etc. It can change the way you experience life and interact with people around you. Just excellent!!!
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5.0 out of 5 stars perfect state,fast delivery. 9 Jun 2012
By blaise
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I got my book today. It is in a perfect state,clean and looks like its brand new,and the delivery fast extremely fast.
I am very happy with my purchase.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Aikido and the Harmony of Nature 9 Aug 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I'm sorry to be the voice of dissent with my review but I found `Aikido and the Harmony of Nature' to be a disappointing read, maybe all the more so after reading the other glowing reviews here. This book looks at Aikido philosophy and links it into themes of nature. The premise sounds great but it struggles hard to actually do it in practise. You get lots of spurious illustrations of aikido throws with swirling arrows that spin around strands of DNA, atoms or solar flares (for example), but these bare little relevance to both the text or the philosophy itself. They look like they mean something and are deeply profound or spiritual, but on closer analysis they really aren't. Whilst it's true that the spherical motion of Aikido techniques can find a mirror in nature, this book struggles to tie them together in any coherent or meaningful way. There is also far too much talk of God (although Saotome does specify that he doesn't mean any particular God) and how Aikido links you with him when Aikido is a non religious martial art, although it is deeply spiritual. The sections that recount the authors training with O Sensei are fascinating to read and some of the philosophy makes for interesting reading, although it tends to ramble after a while. If you are looking for a book on Aikido philosophy then I'd suggest you start with the excellent `Spirit of Aikido' by Kisshomaru Ueshiba and then come to this one way, way down the line. Some interesting parts and some of the photography redeemed this book from being a total washout, but it could have delivered so much more.

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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Taking the esoteric Shinto based beliefs of the Founder of Aikido, Morihei Ueshiba, Saotome Sensei translates these ideas into Western terms using examples from natural science, physics, psychology, and mathematics. Not a technique book! This is the premier explanation of Aikido philosophy in terms comprehensible to the average Westerner.There are very few teachers who had more exposure to the Founder on a daily basis, training with O-Sensei for over fifteen years! If you only have one Aikido book, this should be it!
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