This is a very interesting book. As soon as I opened it and saw the Songs of the Path (100 of them, each a nugget of insight about aikido practice), I bought it straight away. There are also many photos of Morihei demonstrating in his younger days, which are a very interesting and useful resource. A particular favourite of mine is of him demonstrating the correct gokyo grip (p192), which seems to be a relatively rare technique in books on aikido. While the techniques in the photos are not explained in detail, there is still much to be learned from studying the photos. If you study aikido, this should be on your bookshelf.
`The Essence Of Aikido' is a book of Morihei Ueshibas teachings as translated by John Stevens. It is the companion book to `Budo' also by Morihei Ueshiba but this one has more doka (songs of the path) and calligraphy, as well as numerous photos of O Sensei. Part 1 looks at Aikido cosmology, part 2 contains the doka in kanji, roma-ji and English, part 3 has calligraphy, part 4 looks at misogi purification and part 5 has extensive photography of O Sensei practising various techniques. Some of the philosophy is hard to grasp from an initial reading and this is good to come back to as you progress in your understanding and Aikido training. The information enclosed isn't essential for the physical aspect of Aikido training, but makes for an all round understanding of the martial art and adds to your overall training and development. This is probably best come to after you have been training for a while and wish to develop Aikido ideas further. This is an excellent source of photography of O Sensei and would make up the purchase price for this aspect of the book alone. A worthy addition to any Aikido bookshelf.
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This book has some great photos and explains some of the teachings of Morihei Ueshiba in a very clear way. It is not as instructive as some of the better books on Aikido, but it is a must for all true Aikido followers.
This is a great book for getting a glimpse into the slightly more esoteric side of the art. It's not as thorough as The Secret Teachings of Aikido, but it's a good stepping stone as the reader will be introduced to the sometimes confusing intellectual side of aikido.