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On Mastering Aikido, 2nd Edition: Nine Dialogs on Principles From Black Belt to Master Paperback – 18 Mar 2011

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Product details

  • Paperback: 232 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 2 edition (18 Mar. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1456562487
  • ISBN-13: 978-1456562489
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 1.3 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,304,061 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Daniel Linden has been involved with martial arts for over 50 years. He is a 6th degree black belt in Aikido (Aikikai) and a teacher in his own school. His books On Mastering Aikido and Journey, On Mastering Ukemi are classics in the field and available from all the usual suspects. The Aikido Mystery Series with Sensei Parker is Mr. Linden’s attempt to generate interest in Aikido, as the art has lost a great deal of popularity over the last couple of decades and he sees the mystery series as a chance to bring it back before the public’s eye. They are also a hell of a lot of fun to write, he says. His literary novel, The Content of Character has been praised as a masterwork and depicts the life of a man suffering from Asperger’s syndrome as he tries to deal with the American dream and his own struggles with normalcy, racism, and brotherly love. When not involved in the study and teaching of Aikido Mr. Linden builds guitars and mandolins in his workshops in Florida and Maine, where he has a small farm. He travels with his wife Laurie, and dog, Gibson. Daniel Linden served the public in municipal security and has been on assignment with the F.B.I., FDLE, multiple police agencies, and has been billeted with the United States Secret Service under three presidents. He is retired now and writes full time when not sanding maple and spruce in his workshop. All books are available (or will be soon) in Audio format, e-book format, and in print.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Many books on Aikido read like instructions for how to put together a new grill. Insert "A" into "B" with some pictures...that kind of thing. That's great for communicating technique, but guidance toward mastery takes more.

Daniel Linden takes the reader past mere technique while communicating profound Aikido principles that are woven into the fabric of this often mystifying art. On Mastering Aikido does away with the smoke and mirrors that many masters use to keep the students coming back year after year, without really showing them what they're doing.

What's more, Linden does all this in a format that's fun and compelling...dialog. The book captures the master-student dynamic, creatively brings the reader into the master's dojo and thereby communicates the "spirit" of mastery.

As an Aikido instructor (3rd dan), this book has given me a language and framework for moving toward mastery and helping my students do the same. Highly recommended.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A very misleading title,the emphasis this man places on reaching Nidan before contemplating what this book is about qualifies as nonsense.I am a practitioner myself and rate the content as very poor.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By C. Larivière on 9 Sept. 2010
Format: Kindle Edition
On Mastering Aikido gives you a perspective unlike no other, and is written by a TRUE warrior. I've read a number of books on Aikido including the more popular ones (The Dynamic Sphere, etc.). This book is FAR more down to earth and practical. Aikido isn't practiced with the mind alone, it's a far more complete experience - a unification of mind, body and spirit. On Mastering Aikido allows you to feel what this is all about through highly practical examples and great stories. If you're serious about Aikido, I recommend this book very highly.

C. Schwartz
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 16 reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Simply Excellent! 10 July 2004
By Beverly Brian - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I study tai chi and had barely heard of Aikido until I was urged by a friend to read On Mastering Aikido by Daniel Linden. Now I want to see if everything that Mr. Linden says about mastering the body's movements is as applicable to tai chi as it is to Aikido.
It seemed at times that he was talking about the same things that my teachers have tried to express for years and I was finally hearing and understanding. It is a man's book and has a masculine lean, but without ever being too heavy. Mr. Linden says right up front that the book is for advanced Aikido students. While I have been doing tai chi for over ten years, I think more time will make more of his teachings evident for me.
I loved the dialog style, and I very much enjoyed when he would digress and tell stories to illustrate the principles he has uncovered. The story of his blind father left me nearly in tears, but with pride rather than sorrow. On Mastering Aikido is a complex book that reads very easily and I believe that I will read it again and again.
It is simply excellent.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
A fresh, clear approach, amazingly practical & READABLE! 2 Aug. 2004
By C. Larivière - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Finally, a book on Aikido that is, unlike so many other Aikido books, completely readable. But more importantly, Daniel Linden Sensei's fresh approach to mastering Aikido is loaded with "satori". It is simply a must for anyone interested in Aikido or any other marshal art for that matter.

As a shodan from Montreal, Canada, I have read pleanty of Aikido books and studied with several teachers and I have never come across an approach quite like this. It's not that the concepts are entirely new, they've just never been explained like this before.

Also, unlike so many other books which are either purely technical ("The Dynamic Sphere" comes to mind) or purely philosophical, Linden Sensei's book is a very readable balance between the two. Great stories from his life experience make this book very entertaining which is pretty much unheard of in marshal arts books. And as most people know, the best way to teach anything is to keep it entertaining. The result is that all of his principals become very understandable in a very real sense. As good a book as "The Dynamic Sphere" is (it seems to be the most popular), "On Mastering Aikido" blows it away, hands down.

So if you really want to learn Aikido without waiting 30 years to discover the real essence of the art, read this book - and enjoy the many instant satori as I have.

Aug.2, 2004 - Montreal Canada
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Your Path to Enlightenment 5 July 2004
By A. Haider - Published on
Format: Hardcover
This is not a beginners guide to Aikido. Not the History or Techniques of the art. This book is indended to lead the experienced Aikido practitionars to enlightenment.
Sensei Daniel Linden presents the advanced and sublte issues underlying the principles of Aikido, in western terms, terms that we can easily understand and relate to.
The book starts with the discussion of Ki, the mystical part of Aikido, and proceeds with other aspects of the principles, including Center, Nexus, Technics, Timing, Strategy etc. Over his 35 years of Aikido training, Sensei Linden has developed a great understanding of the principles that doesn't rely on Japanese terminology, culture or religion. He shows that the principles do not belong to any particular culture or religion, they are universal.
But what makes the book unique, is its presentation. Its not a book with dry philosophy and explanations. The book presents the principles in a Dialogue form. Conversations among the practitionars of Aikido, who actually exist. Although all the conversations may not have taken place in real life.
Very interesting. It has been a privilege to be able to read this book, and be a part of the lifelong journey of Sensei Linden towards enlightenment. It felt as if I trained with him and was present when those conversations took place.
The book is intended for black belts. I am not a black belt in Aikido, but it was a pleasure reading this book.
I will look forward for an opportunity to train under Sensei Daniel Linden.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
This book changed my life. 25 July 2006
By Paul Damon - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Thirty years ago I read a book called 'The Ultimate Warrior' written by a man who had studied a bit of esoteric knowledge and used it in the gym to enhance his performance. The knowledge spilled over into his every day life and enhanced that as well. This book has stayed with me for all these years and I have kept going back to its many messages.

It could have been Linden Sensei doing the teaching. On Mastering Aikido is the first thing I have read in three decades that has been as powerful, as revealing, and as moving as The Ultimate Warrior. His descriptions of the art of moving the body expose the deepest secrets of mastery of all physical endeavor. His simple humility and honesty leaves you feeling exposed and deeply touched.

As for the Aikido? I am only a shodan (1st dan) but my understanding and ability tripled by the time I finished reading these dialogs. I now grasp the idea of 'doing less' and of 'listening with the body'. Most importantly I finally grasp the concept of triangulation. Not just the movement in Aikido, but in the universal sense of the 'golden triangle'. Linden Sensei demomstrates the most profound universal truth - that the evolution of the spiral evolves through the triangular. These concepts are very familiar to mathamaticians, but are merely vague ideas to most of us.

To discover that the strength of the galaxy, the spiral power of the hurricane, the delicate nest of a bird and the power of Aikido all flow from the same formula... and to see the actual math and description in print is pretty overwhelming. Linden Sensei does not just repeat the same tired things, he demonstrates the truth in each and every thing he says.

This is an amazing book.
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Not what I was expecting 24 July 2010
By Ryhms - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
What a great title - and a great table of contents. I had so much hope for this book going into it, especially after reading that Sensei Linden uses socratic dialgue rather than narrative.

I did give the book 3 stars - so right off the bat, that should tell you that it's not a horrible book by any means. Let me start with the positive aspects:


1. Sensei Linden shares his insights into some fundamental principles that have the potential to transform your aikido. Some of these are really important and I appreciated being able to tap into his 35 years of practice.

2. The book has some good anecdotes that are really enjoyable to read. The stories about his fathers and Saotome Sensei are the highlights and particularly touching.

Unfortunately, the book had some flaws, as well:


1. Too much fluff. The good stuff about mastering Aikido comprises about 15-20% of the book. The rest was his personal reflections, anecdotes, and...

2. Stilted diaolgue. Sensei Linden deserves praise for taking a novel approach to the book. But, the dialogue he uses didn't feel natural many times and it certainly wasn't socratic in any way. Lots of times it seemed to wander off topic.

3. Confusing worldview. Sensei Linden shares some of his view on politics and larger cultural issues related to Aikido and the martial arts. I found some of these points interesting (such as his nuanced view on the use of japanese terms within Aikido training) but some completely out of place (his emotional tribute to President GW Bush).

Overall, I would have preferred that Sensei Linden write two books: one, a personal memoir, in which he could put all his personal anecdotes and opinions on life, politics, and the martial arts. And the second, what this book could have been: a more indepth, focused study on those 9 priniciples that he believes lead to Mastering Aikido.
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