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33 of 33 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Top notch book on a thinking persons fighting art
I have the hard-back edition of this book and it helped me get to grips with Aikido when I went back training in the art after a few years away from training. I had started training when in college but couldn't get my head around the mind-set of Aikido (i had trained previously in Karate) and as a result found it hard to 'stick with it'. When I found this book, everything...
Published on 5 Nov 2003 by Daragh O Brien

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Too complicated for a beginner
I bought this book about 6 months after I started to practice aikido.

I was confused because I am studying aikido in a foreign language as I live abroad and there are no native speaking teachers here, and in addition I like the dojo I have located.

The book has explained so much of the philosophy behind the concept of aikido that it is very valuable,...
Published on 31 Oct 2011 by another reader, another reading


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33 of 33 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Top notch book on a thinking persons fighting art, 5 Nov 2003
This review is from: Aikido and the Dynamic Sphere: An Illustrated Introduction (Tuttle Martial Arts) (Paperback)
I have the hard-back edition of this book and it helped me get to grips with Aikido when I went back training in the art after a few years away from training. I had started training when in college but couldn't get my head around the mind-set of Aikido (i had trained previously in Karate) and as a result found it hard to 'stick with it'. When I found this book, everything clicked into place and I understood (better if not completely)the basic physical and mechanical principles of the techniques and also a whole lot more about the underlying philosphy of the art and of O'Sensei.
This helped me pick my next teacher well and his teaching style has me running to this book every so often to highlight key points and scribble in the margins. My only gripe is that some of the line drawings (very beautifully done) and diagrams are a little hard to follow, but having the technique applied to me/applying the technique to my training partner for real soon helped me to figure out which way was up.
DO NOT rely on this book to teach you Aikido. To learn Aikido (and any MA for that reason) you need a competent, qualified teacher who understands and has a passion for what they are teaching and aren't just going through the motions in a McDojo to pay the mortgage. DO rely on this book to supplement your experiences and learning in an Aikido. Works for me guv.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essence of a graceful and effective art, 27 Aug 2002
This review is from: Aikido and the Dynamic Sphere: An Illustrated Introduction (Tuttle Martial Arts) (Paperback)
Every once in a while I happen upon a book which opens up new horizons for me. Aikido and the Dynamic Sphere is one such book(along with Mas Oyama's This Is Karate).
Westbrook & Ratti's thoughtful and intelligent text explains the rationale behind one of the most effective yet graceful of the martial arts, the theory of sphericity of movement and its application in neutralizing and redirecting the force of an opponants attack is superbly illustrated through the hundreds of line drawings. In fact I found the drawings easier to follow in explaining the techniques and clarifying the text than in many more recent photographically illustrated martial arts books.
Aikido & the Dynamic Sphere belongs on your martial arts bookshelf. But don't leave it there, study it!!!
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb Aikido Reference..., 4 Oct 2001
This review is from: Aikido and the Dynamic Sphere: An Illustrated Introduction (Tuttle Martial Arts) (Paperback)
This is a superb reference book, focusing mainly on the core forms: holds, attacks and projections that beginners and intermediates will find continuously useful. A good account is given on the background philosophy of O'Sensei, and the representation of the "dynamic sphere" (often a difficult area to broach with beginners).
I highly recommend this text to any students of Aikido as an accompaniment to your formal training.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Martial Arts Book to measure all others against..., 13 Aug 2001
This review is from: Aikido and the Dynamic Sphere: An Illustrated Introduction (Tuttle Martial Arts) (Paperback)
A Classic. This book is worth its price just for the line drawings alone! I do not practice Aikido but it still has a place of honour on my bookshelf from which it comes down frequently. As other reviewers have said it is an ideal first book for Aikidoka but I can recommend it wholeheartedly to Jiu Jitsuka, Tai-jutsuka, Tai-chi Chuan and Pa-kua students. As Terry O'Neill used to say in his Fighting Arts magazine 'On the bookshelf this book sell's itself - buy it - you won't be disappointed...'
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Aikido is much more than a physical art --amazing, 4 Aug 1996
By A Customer
The world of martial arts can often be confusing. There is
a spiritual aspect that is often hinted at, but when the
practice invloves techniques for bone-breaking and face
smashing....well....
Then there's Aikido. And the quality of this book in explaining
the concepts of attack, the sphere of defense and the
philosophical standpoint of Aikido is impressive.
It goes beyond just Aikido and provides a deep understanding
of what a martial art can be (not just crunchy-bones!).
However, Aikido is obviously what it addresses and it does
so amazingly well. It's worth the price for Part V alone!
To boot...it has excellent inllustrations, and is printed
on high-quality paper that smells good!
ooooo----you should buy this book.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best single volume on aikido to date, 12 May 1998
By A Customer
I have read more than 10 books and read countless articles on the martial art of aikido, and this book was by far the best one. The philosophy of aikido clearly comes through and gives the reader more than just technical information on various techniques. Great illustrations too. While the drawings aren't as easy to follow as photos or video, they are profuse, with over 100 different techniques illustrated.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars good introductory philosophy, excellent reference work, 15 May 1999
By A Customer
I used this book often when I was living in Japan and studying Aikido. My sensei emphasized the spiritual / philosophical aspects of Aikido more than other sensei I have studied under; those explanations and concepts can be somewhat esoteric even for native Japanese, so while I was at a linguistic disadvantage compared to the other students, this book gave me a good, broad overview of the mental / spiritual underpinnings of Aikido as a whole, so that I was not completely lost during his discussions. The artwork which is used to illustrate the many basic techniques is not complicated by any means; but it is perfectly suited to its purpose: to as clearly as possible show correct form and technique. I used this book for review purposes before a promotion test, or just to try and figure out what I was doing incorrectly or how I could improve. I wouldn't recommend using this or any other book in lieu of actual real training, but this book is an excellent supplement.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Intelligent Intro to an Intelligent Martial Discipline, 5 July 2005
By 
Martyn Skiper (DARWEN, Lancashire United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Aikido and the Dynamic Sphere: An Illustrated Introduction (Tuttle Martial Arts) (Paperback)
Not your run-of-the-mill martial arts book. Thoughtfuly and intelligently put together.It is almost impossible to put such a volume together without including some form of instruction, but normally I would advise against it, as the subtleties of execution cannot be appreciated in a few line drawings. Nevertheless, the authors give it a good shot.
In some ways I feel the book is a little too pseudo-philosophical, but the sense of the spiritual inherent in aikido is adequtely conveyed. Well worth a read as an expert or aspirant
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Too complicated for a beginner, 31 Oct 2011
This review is from: Aikido and the Dynamic Sphere: An Illustrated Introduction (Tuttle Martial Arts) (Paperback)
I bought this book about 6 months after I started to practice aikido.

I was confused because I am studying aikido in a foreign language as I live abroad and there are no native speaking teachers here, and in addition I like the dojo I have located.

The book has explained so much of the philosophy behind the concept of aikido that it is very valuable, but I feel that I have to give it a low rating here, not because it is not good, but because as a beginner, though i am two years practicing now, the line drawing are almost impossible to follow. I don't know a better way to describle the movements than line drawings but I am not able to follow them. It's quite torturous to link the practice in the dojo with the images presented in this book.

That's all I wanted to say, I just feel that the big star rating that the book gets is justified by the philosophy it presents, but not by the method of defining and making sense of the practice. This is just one opinion, but it leaves me, still searching for a better book to make more sense of the schematics on paper of the practice in the dojo. I suppose videos on youtube are a realistic alternative.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent introduction to Aikido, 23 Mar 2009
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This review is from: Aikido and the Dynamic Sphere: An Illustrated Introduction (Tuttle Martial Arts) (Paperback)
I recently started Aikido practice and was looking for a book to improve my effectiveness at "homework" and understand the context and philosophy a bit better. After all, class is mostly non-verbal, and for beginners, the new techniques can be a real physical puzzle.

This book is an excellent introductory text that covers history, philosophy, etiquette and core techniques in a very accessible way. The chapter structure is clear, and there is a good balance between text and illustrations. Out of a number of books I purchased on this subject, at this stage in my Aikido life, I think this is the most useful. Strongly recommended.
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