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Aikibatto: Sword Exercises for Aikido Students Paperback – September 19, 2007

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: BookSurge Publishing (September 19, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1419658786
  • ISBN-13: 978-1419658785
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #586,748 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Stefan Stenudd is a Swedish author and 6 dan Aikikai Shihan aikido instructor, Vice Chairman of the International Aikido Federation, member of the Swedish Aikikai Grading Committee, and President of the Swedish Budo & Martial Arts Federation. He has practiced aikido since 1972. He is also a teacher of the sword art iaido.

In addition to his aikido life, he is a historian of ideas, researching the patterns of thought in creation myths and cosmological beliefs, as well as Aristotle's Poetics.

His books span both fiction and non-fiction. Among the latter is one about the cosmology and religious beliefs of the Greek philosophers, a little encyclopedia of life energy concepts, and several books about the martial arts and the principles behind them.

On the subject of aikido, he has also written Aikido Principles, about the basics and underlying ideas of the art, and Attacks in Aikido, presenting all the attack techniques used in aikido training and explaining how to improve them. Also his book Qi - Increase Your Life Energy, with very simple exercises for developing one's qi (ki) and explaining this concept thoroughly, is highly relevant for anyone practicing aikido.

More About the Author

I was born in Stockholm, Sweden, in 1954, and grew up in some of its suburbs. In 1991 I moved to the city of Malmö in the south of Sweden, where I still live - much to my surprise. I thought I was more of a vagabond, but the years pass with increasing speed. Also, with the Internet one's geographical habitat is of less significance than ever before.

At the start of the 1980's I spent a year in the USA - first in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, with a winter climate that was quite familiar to me, and then New York as it approached the long, hot summer. I fell immediately in love with that magnificent city, entering it through Washington Bridge in my Chevy '69 Station Wagon just hours before a strike had closed all public transport and cars to the city were stopped.

If I can muster up the energy to move again, New York would be the ideal goal.

Since childhood, my main means of expression have been writing and art. Actually, as an adolescent I entered an art school, but had some clashes with the principal and left after only a few months. School and art - aren't they contradictions in terms?

That same year I wrote my first novel, getting the impulse by an opening sentence appearing in my mind. The first version of the script was 19 pages. The first rewrite expanded it to 90 pages, the second to almost 200. It's still unpublished. Instead, I had my literary debut with my fourth script in 1979, winning a Scandinavian literary competition with a science fiction story that the Norwegian publishing house found so weird that they rejected it, in spite of the competition rules. It was published in Sweden and Denmark, though.

There have been some books since, novels as well as non-fiction, probably most of them too weird for that Norwegian publisher - either in plot or in subject-matter.

Like so many writers, I have also done some journalism through the years, mainly as a critic. Writing reviews one needs to have integrity, a lively relation to experience, and the ability to put words even to subtle impressions. That is very close to fiction.

So, I've been a critic of literature in the tabloid Aftonbladet, a rock critic in the morning daily Dagens Nyheter, and the very secret restaurant critic of the Malmö newspaper Sydsvenskan. These last few years, though, I focus solely on writing books. Not that it brings very much bread on the table and certainly not of the kind I got used to as a restaurant critic.

In this new millennium I started writing books in English. Well, I had tried it during my year in the US, back in 1980. I even got an agency, Sanford J. Greenburger, which was the first one I approached (because it was the agent of Kurt Vonnegut, a favorite author of mine). They were almost ecstatic about another science fiction story of mine, with the drastic title All's End. The agent told me that after a US release they would use their contacts to get the book published in Japan! I had thought that America was the thing, but the agent insisted with emphasis: Japan!

Later, a pop song would make the same statement. It might still be true.

Anyway, the agency was unable to get a publisher for the script, so they dropped it and its author. Years later I could easily understand why. The script needed a lot of editing, which was something the agent didn't have to bother with, but surely a publisher.

So, a few years ago I picked up that script and another one in English, polishing their language as much as I could. Soon other books in English followed. You find them all on Amazon. Mostly non-fiction, but often on subjects that some would call fictional. Well, that's where the human mind dwells.

Apart from the arts, my life has since the teens consisted of aikido, which is a Japanese martial art, a particularly peaceful and inspiring one. It took me surprisingly long to write a book about it, although I have a tendency to turn things that catch my attention into books. In the martial arts, you're supposed to be humble and shut up - an ideal diametrically opposed to that of literature. After twenty years of training and a few black belts around the hips I finally got the courage.

After the initial leap, writing more books about aikido and adjacent subjects has been less of a struggle.

Aikido is intriguing, as are the cultural and philosophical traditions behind it. This is indicated by the many books published on the subject. I wouldn't hurry to call it a sport, although it's done by exercises that can consume a lot of calories. No, it's an art. That's why you can spend a lifetime on it, never getting bored.

So far in life I've found this to be a universal truth: with the arts you never get bored.

Another longtime interest of mine is Taoism, as it's expressed in its original source the Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu, the legendary father of this philosophy. I was introduced to it by my first Japanese aikido teacher, who gave me a copy of it in English - the Feng and English version with sweet calligraphy of all the chapters. Since then the text has been a constant companion. It combines the wisdom of a Salomon with the simple and direct language of, say, a Hemingway - or, for that matter, Vonnegut.

My first version of it, in Swedish, was published in the early 1990's. I've made several revised editions of it since, but I never dreamed of trying it in English. Tao Te Ching is poetry, the greatest challenge of all for a translator. But at length I couldn't resist. I felt that in spite of the countless English versions of the classic, there's room for one more aiming at the simplicity of the original text and still staying true to it - as much as can be done with a book dated to several centuries BCE.

I was not a persistent art school student, but in the 1980's I enrolled in the history of ideas department, where profound learning is both commonplace and a delight. Oh, how much knowledge some people (not me, with my poor memory) can amass! Lao Tzu, who was wary of formal knowledge, would have expressed concern. But the history of ideas studies wisdom through the ages and in all fields of science, culture, and society. It's the history of thought. What can be more fascinating? It's the mind studying its own manifestations.

Years ago, I started working on a dissertation treating the patterns of thought in creation myths around the world. It's still in the making, but other books have been born in the process, e.g. Cosmos of the Ancients, an inventory of what the Greek philosophers thought about the gods and cosmology, and Life Energy Encyclopedia, discussing and presenting the many ideas, old and new, about a life force of some kind.

Sooner or later I just have to write a book about creation myths, whether it is a dissertation or not. But the subject is big and I've explored it too long to be concise about it, so I hesitate.

And of course, there are still several novels in my head, struggling to get out. Fiction is what this writer started with and it's still the essence of my attraction to the keyboard. Oddly, it's by products of the imagination we grasp that elusive thing we call reality.

Customer Reviews

3.1 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Tril on August 22, 2010
Format: Paperback
I've been a student of aikido and Toyama Ryu Iaido for over 6 years, almost as soon as I had seen this book offered I bought it thinking it would be a valuable training resource. I was unfortunately very mistaken in the hasty decision.

I found this book to be rather shallow and uninsightful, instead of exercises the reader is presented with a new set of kata. This would be great for someone in an aikido school where the sword is de-emphasised, however I did not appreciate being mislead.

If you're looking for sword drills, look up Suino, if you're looking for aikido, the Ueshiba books are great, as are Shioda-sensei's. This unfortunately was a waste of time and money.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Jaroslav Sip on July 29, 2008
Format: Paperback
Sword practice is a great tool for all budoka to advance, to get more precise, more sharp in his art. Aikibatto, brought to life by Stefan Stenudd, is a set of simple practices for both self and pair practice, which covers elementary moves, attacks, and other parts of sword work. Author, who served also as chairman of Swedish kendo, studied the sword with Ichimura Toshikazu and Nishio Shoji, which makes the book even more trustworthy.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Ronin on June 2, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Good basic sword book that covers a lot of beginner ground and is well illustrated in b/w. Typical of books like this, a lot of transition motion is missing between the images which may be a problem for some. Book presents a series of bokken and jo techniques, all rather basic but good quality instruction none the less.

As I often do, I take issue with Stenudd's method of breathing, which cover a whole 2.5 pages but deserve significantly more. In fact, if more teachers actually knew how to breath and if practitioners spent more time training breath, skills would improve radically. The author describes controlling the breath with the abdomen. In a sense this is correct, but not as he describes it.

The author says, "Most budo techniques are done with exhalation, where you are the strongest." Really? That's like saying I only punch with my right hand even though I have 2, because my right is strongest. That's very limited. A stronger approach is to synchronize the breath with rising and falling and be able to flow both with Qi and the cut.

For example, using Tachi Iaido Kesagiri Bunki, or any type of say draw that employs a rising diagonal cut, done correctly an inhalation is stronger than blowing all your energy out, and, it sets up a fast second downward strike with the exhale. However this author tells me to "forget my inhales and only focus on exhales". Kind of like only focus yang and ignore yin; its just wrong.

He then tells me to "extend exhales and let inhalations be done by body reflex that will be short and sufficient." Again this is wrong. If breath is not even, smooth and rhythmic, the body gets out of sync and heavy breathing is the result. Very poor technique, but Stenudd says, "this decreases the risk of getting out of breath".
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By lokene on October 10, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Illustrations are great, especially the side view. Sometimes the front alone does'nt show much of the width or height of th stance..
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