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Aikido: The Way of Harmony Paperback – April 12, 1984

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From the Inside Flap

This illustrated manual covers both the philosophy and practice of the popular Japanese martial art of Aikido.

About the Author

Shirata Rinjiro served for many years as Director of the All-Japan Aikido Federation and frequently conducted seminars overseas.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 198 pages
  • Publisher: Shambhala (April 12, 1984)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0394714261
  • ISBN-13: 978-0394714264
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.5 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #566,115 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

John Stevens lived in Japan for thirty-five years, where he was a professor of Buddhist studies at Tohoku Fukushi University in Sendai. Stevens is a widely respected translator, an ordained Buddhist priest, a curator of several major exhibitions of Zen art, and an aikido instructor. He has authored more than thirty books and is one of the foremost Western experts on aikido, holding a ranking of 7th dan Aikikai. Stevens has also studied calligraphy for decades, authoring the classic Sacred Calligraphy of the East.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 16, 1998
Format: Paperback
One of John Steven's early works that I am aware of on aikido, is also one of the better ones that I have acquired. The excellent photographs of the various techniques, which blend in the principle of swordmanship and spiritual elements of aikido are unmatched. These photos and the large page format are a leap from the martial arts books of the sixties and seventies. Ideally I would have liked to have seen a similar format follow-up book authored by John Stevens that takes more advantage of his knowledge of Eastern philosophy as can be experienced through aikido, but the other books he has written are good additions to read along with Aikido: The Way of Harmony. If you are looking to be introduced to aikido or want to give a gift that encompasses the art from the elementary to the advanced, this would be my pick. Stevens avoids getting to heavy on the Japanese terms and philosophy that might scare of the beginner. The sad part about the book is knowing that Shirata Rinjiro recently passed away.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 25, 1996
Format: Paperback
John Stevens proves once again that he is the foremost Western chronicler of this fascinating Japanese martial art called aikido. His historical analysis is admirable, and his access to the records, documents, photographs, relatives and friends of Morihei Ueshiba, the founder of aikido, makes this book all the more rich in depth and detail.
What makes this book truly worthwhile, however, is the abundance of photographs of Shirata Sensei performing aikido techniques, both with and without weapons. There's much here for anyone already training in aikido to learn from.
A must for any collector of aikido material.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By D. Hunter on April 6, 2001
Format: Paperback
This book was actually recommended to me by a black-belt, Aikido student and I have never regretted it's purchase. I tend to study sword-styles, and Aikido offers several movements based on sword-fighting principals (as well as actual sword-fighting based on old samurai movements).
It also has a bit on the history of Aikido, breathing, meditation, the life of Ueshiba Morihei (the founder of Aikido) and a glossary of Japanese terms. The rest of the book is mostly dedicated to movements. All in all, this is a must-have for anyone even remotely interested in Aikido.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Gerhard Maurer on February 16, 2003
Format: Paperback
Out of quite a few books about Aikido that I own this is the one I return to most often. What sets it apart from other books is the demonstration of fundamental aikido techniques both with and without bokken. It concentrates on a small, but representative number of techniques. These are explained very well. Quality counts more than quantity. I have used the book to devise training lessons.
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Format: Paperback
This was the first book I ever bought on Aikido, and after reading more than 12 other books on the subject, it still stands out pretty good. The historical overview of the art's founder, Morihei Ueshiba in the first few chapters is very informative, as is the section where Stevens explains Aikido's philosophy and the religious principles that influence it. The photo illustrations of the various techniques are quite good, especially where they first show you the bokken (wooden sword) version of a technique, then show you the empty hand technique that was developed from it. Not an extensive catalogue of techniques, but a great introduction. I highly reccommend it.
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