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Customer Review

on 20 August 2013
A lot of the material here has been published before but always in bowdlerised, cut and paste versions which resulted in the segmentation of the Founder's thought and ideas, making what appears merely complex, virtually opaque, mysterious and "secret". The title of this book, unfortunately, follows this trend of previous publications: Fortunately, the book itself doesn't. Here we get clear, unambiguous statements by the Founder, such as, "Aikido is the study of the spirit", upon which he elaborates quite succinctly. The "secret" philosophy of aikido, once the veil of mystery put over it has been removed, is digestible and really quite simple and elegant. The text, we are told in the preface, is a series of lectures given by the Founder and translated by his son. Unfortunately, we are not told anything more about those lectures. Perhaps the organisation of the book into discrete chapters follows the original organisation of the lectures? By keeping the reader in the dark about the original sources this book helps perpetuate the "secrecy" which has surrounded the Founder for decades. That said, this book begins the task of putting the Founder's thoughts into context if only because the Founder himself makes a few very specific references such as: "... on December 14, 1940, around 2:00 o'clock in the morning when I was performing misogi, I suddenly forgot every martial art technique I had learned". You will have to buy the book to find out what happens next, but through gems like this we get to see the developing thought of the Founder, presented in this book , coherently and, it seems, for the first time, as a whole. This book gives us access to the world view of a man who saw himself as an avatar, born at this time to teach the world anew that budo is the way of restoring peace not the art of waging war. It is no longer a secret.
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