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4.8 out of 5 stars
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4.8 out of 5 stars
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on 5 November 2003
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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on 4 October 2001
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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on 27 August 2002
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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on 4 August 1996
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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on 13 August 2001
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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on 12 May 1998
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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on 5 July 2005
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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on 23 March 2009
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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on 2 June 1998
This is one of the books you will keep referring to as long as aikido is in your life. It is as pertinent to me today as when I bought it in 1976. The illustrations are clear and much easier to follow than many books with photographs. The text takes you from beginner basics to advanced techniques. I wish the authors would collaborate on a new book giving us the benifit of their 30+ years of experience.
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on 15 May 1999
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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