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5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting and enlightening, 2 Aug 2009
There are instructional books on aikido that are a mixture of text and photos to help describe the movements for each step of a particular technique. There are books on aikido that describe the writer's personal journey while practicing the art. This book is a mixture of both. The book uses fictional characters to better express the many subtle points of aikido. You follow the character through his practice and his discussions with his instructor. The book discusses the etiquette, how you work with your classmates, and how to improve your technique, but it is not the step-by-step approach. You can read the book in a linear format, or you can choose a chapter.

I enjoyed reading the book. I have reread this book several times and each time it has given me a different perspective on how I practice. I keep it nearby so that I can read a chapter or two when I'm relaxing and I visualize the movements described.
Easily one of my favorite books on aikido.

Highly recommended.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A great read, 24 Sep 2012
This review is from: Aikido, Iron Balls and Elbow Power: The Teachings of Alex Essani (Kindle Edition)
This is a great martial arts book. There are many concepts particular to this style of Aikido explained in short readable chapters. I also think that these are applicable to many other martial arts as well. I often re-read many sections and find this gives encouragement and often new insights into my training.
I also know that this book is built from a life time of real experience (both the author and also the fictional/real character)and can vouch for the authenticity of much that is contained.
However, don't expect to become an Aikido expert just by reading this. For that you will have to do the Iron Ball technique every day for the next 40 years, exactly like Essani.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely first rate..., 7 Feb 2012
I think I have said in some of my other reviews how much I like travelog. Specifically, travelog which charts inner journeys. This is a great example of such a book.

As a relatively new practitioner of Aikido, this book was a surprise and delight - filling in many of the blanks that every new student has about the art, but also serving as a constant reminder of something. While Aikido may only be comprised of a relatively small number of techniques, their refinement and application are matters of immense subtlety and sensitivity.

This is one of the best books on Aikido that I have read. Humorous, relevant, insightful and genuinely informative. If you're a student of any of the more cerebral martial arts, it will surely appeal. Really excellent.
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