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Aikido: The Way of Harmony [Paperback]

John Stevens
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

31 Dec 1993
This definitive, profusely illustrated manual covers the essential elements of the philosophy and practice of Aikido, the Japanese martial art that has been embraced by modern psychology and many Western bodywork therapies.

Useful to the beginner and experienced practitioner alike, the book details the traditional methods and techniques of Shirata Rinjiro, of whom John Stevens is a principal student. Noted for the precise execution of a wide range of techniques and an emphasis on Aikido as a spiritual path, Shirata Sensei's teachings exemplify the way of the warrior: superior technical prowess combined with profound spiritual insight.

In addition to photographs and descriptions of all the important Aikido techniques, Stevens recounts interesting and lively anecdotes about the history of Aikido and its founder, Ueshiba Morihei, who developed it from a martial art into a spiritual discipline. A biography of Shirata Sensei, complete with his reflections on sixty years of Aikido practice, is also included.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 198 pages
  • Publisher: Shambhala Publications Inc (31 Dec 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0394714261
  • ISBN-13: 978-0394714264
  • Product Dimensions: 27.9 x 21.6 x 1.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 767,193 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
This was the first book I ever bought on Aikido, and after reading more than 12 other books on the subject, it still stands out pretty good. The historical overview of the art's founder, Morihei Ueshiba in the first few chapters is very informative, as is the section where Stevens explains Aikido's philosophy and the religious principles that influence it. The photo illustrations of the various techniques are quite good, especially where they first show you the bokken (wooden sword) version of a technique, then show you the empty hand technique that was developed from it. Not an extensive catalogue of techniques, but a great introduction. I highly reccommend it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars My favourite aikido resource book. 16 Dec 1998
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
One of John Steven's early works that I am aware of on aikido, is also one of the better ones that I have acquired. The excellent photographs of the various techniques, which blend in the principle of swordmanship and spiritual elements of aikido are unmatched. These photos and the large page format are a leap from the martial arts books of the sixties and seventies. Ideally I would have liked to have seen a similar format follow-up book authored by John Stevens that takes more advantage of his knowledge of Eastern philosophy as can be experienced through aikido, but the other books he has written are good additions to read along with Aikido: The Way of Harmony. If you are looking to be introduced to aikido or want to give a gift that encompasses the art from the elementary to the advanced, this would be my pick. Stevens avoids getting to heavy on the Japanese terms and philosophy that might scare of the beginner. The sad part about the book is knowing that Shirata Rinjiro recently passed away.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great addition to a martial arts library. 26 Aug 1996
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
John Stevens proves once again that he is the foremost Western chronicler of this fascinating Japanese martial art called aikido. His historical analysis is admirable, and his access to the records, documents, photographs, relatives and friends of Morihei Ueshiba, the founder of aikido, makes this book all the more rich in depth and detail.
What makes this book truly worthwhile, however, is the abundance of photographs of Shirata Sensei performing aikido techniques, both with and without weapons. There's much here for anyone already training in aikido to learn from.
A must for any collector of aikido material.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.9 out of 5 stars  8 reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My favourite aikido resource book. 16 Dec 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
One of John Steven's early works that I am aware of on aikido, is also one of the better ones that I have acquired. The excellent photographs of the various techniques, which blend in the principle of swordmanship and spiritual elements of aikido are unmatched. These photos and the large page format are a leap from the martial arts books of the sixties and seventies. Ideally I would have liked to have seen a similar format follow-up book authored by John Stevens that takes more advantage of his knowledge of Eastern philosophy as can be experienced through aikido, but the other books he has written are good additions to read along with Aikido: The Way of Harmony. If you are looking to be introduced to aikido or want to give a gift that encompasses the art from the elementary to the advanced, this would be my pick. Stevens avoids getting to heavy on the Japanese terms and philosophy that might scare of the beginner. The sad part about the book is knowing that Shirata Rinjiro recently passed away.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great addition to a martial arts library. 26 Aug 1996
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
John Stevens proves once again that he is the foremost Western chronicler of this fascinating Japanese martial art called aikido. His historical analysis is admirable, and his access to the records, documents, photographs, relatives and friends of Morihei Ueshiba, the founder of aikido, makes this book all the more rich in depth and detail.
What makes this book truly worthwhile, however, is the abundance of photographs of Shirata Sensei performing aikido techniques, both with and without weapons. There's much here for anyone already training in aikido to learn from.
A must for any collector of aikido material.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Presents Aikido very well 7 April 2001
By D. Hunter - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This book was actually recommended to me by a black-belt, Aikido student and I have never regretted it's purchase. I tend to study sword-styles, and Aikido offers several movements based on sword-fighting principals (as well as actual sword-fighting based on old samurai movements).
It also has a bit on the history of Aikido, breathing, meditation, the life of Ueshiba Morihei (the founder of Aikido) and a glossary of Japanese terms. The rest of the book is mostly dedicated to movements. All in all, this is a must-have for anyone even remotely interested in Aikido.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my favorites 16 Feb 2003
By Gerhard Maurer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Out of quite a few books about Aikido that I own this is the one I return to most often. What sets it apart from other books is the demonstration of fundamental aikido techniques both with and without bokken. It concentrates on a small, but representative number of techniques. These are explained very well. Quality counts more than quantity. I have used the book to devise training lessons.
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Introductory book to this excellent martial art 20 May 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This was the first book I ever bought on Aikido, and after reading more than 12 other books on the subject, it still stands out pretty good. The historical overview of the art's founder, Morihei Ueshiba in the first few chapters is very informative, as is the section where Stevens explains Aikido's philosophy and the religious principles that influence it. The photo illustrations of the various techniques are quite good, especially where they first show you the bokken (wooden sword) version of a technique, then show you the empty hand technique that was developed from it. Not an extensive catalogue of techniques, but a great introduction. I highly reccommend it.
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