C. M. Shifflett presents her subject on several levels. There is an intriguing look at the philosophy and power of Ki, a window into the world of Morihei Ueshiba's "Noble Warrior," a practical and joyfully creative presentation of Ki exercises, and a well-written guide to several forms of meditation. It seems to me that most books on martial arts are more or less esoteric, (i.e. understood by a "select few"). I found the messages contained in this book to be universal in scope and practical for areas far beyond the practice of Aikido - much more a philosophy of living. In fact, when I first read the book, I had not yet seen Aikido. I was so intrigued that I searched out a local Dojo. Incidently, check out the art work. My mother-in-law knows nothing about Aikido, and yet she was fascinated with the people in the pictures, who seem more real than photographs.
I had hesitated to review this for two reasons: First, while I have never met the author, based upon an ongoing e-mail correspondence, I very much consider her a friend. Second, my own practice of aikido is in a very different style (aikikai). It has occurred to me that this may actually be an advantage in judging the book: would a naive reader, upon opening and perusing this book, gain an understanding of the why and how of ki exercises? Definitely yes; the word "primer" would perhaps be even more apt than "sampler." Ms. Shifflett's breezy tone and relaxed line drawings (including, recognizably, George Simcox Sensei, as well as the author) invite the reader to explore; her very concise "how-to's" are liberally sprinkled with anecdotes that keep the book flowing, never bogging down in instructions. While this style happens not to be my cup of tea, this book has a place any well-rounded aikido library (my copy is staying put), and I strongly recommend this book to anybody who is beginning to practice shin shin toitsu style aikido or who may be curious about what it has to offer.
I have been in the martial arts for over 43 years, and own and operate the Hombu martial arts Education Center in Lafayette, Indiana.I instruct the art of Aikido,and find this book of value for intructional information, assisting all instructors a guide, and a path to keep on track. It gives all readers an overall picture of how KI training is taught, and what is involved. The drawings are very good, and I feel a dedicatied student can get much value from such text. It is good of her to share her knowledge and experience. Keep up the good work. Respectfully, Dr. Thomas H.Burdine\PhD\M.A. Head of family Kokon Ryu Aikido, Bujutsu, Renmei
As an on-again, off-again shin shin toitsu aikido practictioner since 1974, I would say that this primer contains easily 90% of all of the ki exercises I recall going over in all of my aikido classes. I've used the book with non-aikido folks and have had excellent results with it. It is written in an easygoing, non-threatening and clear style that non-initiates find useful and entertaining as well as educational. This book definitely belongs on any aikido practictioner's bookshelf.
The author has written down a set of simple tests and exercises (with illustrations) that demonstrate various aikido and spiritual principles, ranging from obvious to subtly profound. Insightful, fun, enjoyable, easy-to-understand -- and possibly even surprising and controversial! It's about time this material was put in writing.
I am a Matsubayashi Ryu practitioner. And have been studing KI. This books covers all of the basic excercises I feel one needs to practice KI. It is easy to read and follow. With this book, not only can you devlop good Metods of KI excercises; but a positive outlook on life in general.
I've been an aikido student & teacher for over a decade. Much of the material in this book has been passed from teacher to teacher for some time, but, as far as I know, this is the first time it has been writen down. This is an good introduction to Ki Development for a beginer, and a great source book for a teacher.