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Journey to the Heart of Aikido: The Teachings of Motomichi Anno Sensei Paperback – September 10, 2013

4.9 out of 5 stars 44 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“This book is a treasure of wisdom from the heart of a true peacemaker, offering a tangible experience of interbeing as well as practices we can use every day to cultivate well-being and compassion.” —THICH NHAT HANH, Zen master and author of Peace Is Every Step
 
 “The sublime life and teachings of Morihei Ueshiba are authentically presented in Journey to the Heart of Aikido through the lifelong training of Motomichi Anno as well as Linda Holiday’s amazing dedication and research. As one who studied with the Master in his tiny nightly class right after World War II, I am overjoyed that the essence of what I witnessed and learned in Japan’s countryside sixty-five years ago is now available to the public in the Western world.” —KAZUAKI TANAHASHI, author of Brush Mind; co-translator of Aikido by Kisshomaru Ueshiba, under the direction of Morihei Ueshiba
 
 “Entertaining, insightful, at times humorous, but always compelling… Linda Holiday’s Journey to the Heart of Aikido is a monumental work that documents the teachings of Aikido master Motomichi Anno, a direct student of the art’s founder, Morihei Ueshiba.  Over the years, Linda has become intimately acquainted with the culture of Japan to a level few foreigners attain. I wholeheartedly recommend Linda Holiday’s book to every aikido practitioner and martial arts aficionado. It is a complete package that will not fail to inform and inspire, and is surely destined to become a classic.” —STANLEY PRANIN, editor of Aikido Journal

"Few remain - among them Anno Sensei, now 82 - who experienced O Sensei's teaching firsthand and felt his celebrated fusion of irresistible control and harmless, illuminating spirit. As the founder's direct students dwindle with time, aikido teachers everywhere share concern for perpetuating the truthful transmission of his vision...As [Holiday] relates in the opening of the book, it was at a dojo - a practice hall - in the rural Kumano district, where O Sensei had lived and frequently taught, that she and a few other young Americans immersed themselves in aikido with teachers, including Anno Sensei." —San Francisco Chronicle
 
“Linda Holiday shares her journey with us, with honesty and clarity. As the story unfolds, step by step her quest becomes clear; she devotes herself as a student of Hikitsuchi Sensei, and then Anno Sensei becomes her mentor. Through his teachings, Anno Sensei guides us with a benevolent smile and the deepest humility to ‘the heart of Aikido.’  His reflections on all aspects of practice are very rich and will surely answer all the questions we may ask. Journey to the Heart of Aikido is also a beautiful testimonial to fidelity:  that of student to teacher, and teacher to O-Sensei.” —CHRISTIAN TISSIER, Aikido seventh dan shihan, Paris, France
 
Aikido’s founder, Morihei Ueshiba, established Aikido as a way of harmony, an art of peace, a path of light. Motomichi Anno, one of the last remaining direct disciples of the founder, and his student Linda Holiday have devoted their lives to preserving Morihei’s legacy. Journey to the Heart of Aikido presents Anno Sensei’s simple, yet profound teachings, together with an inspiring account of his life and his experiences with the founder. This is a rich, valuable book, lovingly put together in the true spirit of Aikido.” —JOHN STEVENS, Aikido seventh dan; author of Invincible Warrior, a biography of Morihei Ueshiba
 
“An extraordinary and important contribution not only to the literature of Aikido but to the larger world of the martial arts as well.  This intimate and penetrating look into the development of Aikido reveals a sacred world of power, vision, and harmony. Linda Holiday has deftly crafted a historical narrative that allows us to see the inspiration of the founder of Aikido, embodied in one of his direct students. As the Aikido community evolves, this book will be a guidepost along the way. It’s a classic.” —RICHARD STROZZI-HECKLER, PHD, author of The Leadership Dojo and In Search of the Warrior Spirit; chief instructor, Two Rock Aikido; co-founder, Tamalpais Aikido.
 
“Today there are few instructors who can speak from personal experience about the founder of Aikido. I read with great interest Motomichi Anno Sensei’s portrait of the founder, and his impressions of O-Sensei’s instruction and personal character, interwoven with his own reflections on a lifetime of practice. Linda Holiday’s experiences practicing Aikido at the Kumano Juku Dojo in the 1970s also make for a truly fascinating story.” —HIROSHI IKEDA, Aikido seventh dan shihan; chief instructor, Boulder Aikikai
 
“The teachings of Aikido are truly universal, and thus this book is for everyone. Anno Sensei's lifelong journey along the path of love and harmony is an inspiration to us all. I praise Linda Holiday for her dedication in bringing this treasure to the world, as I know it will help guide countless readers on their path to personal and global peace.” —BRANT SECUNDA, shaman and healer in the Huichol tradition; author of Fit Soul, Fit Body: 9 Keys to a Healthier, Happier You
 
“Journey to the Heart of Aikido offers a portrait of the founder born of Anno Sensei's deep love and close contact with O-Sensei. He retells many wonderful stories and shares profoundly important teachings received directly from the founder. This is an invaluable resource for all Aikidoists and for other martial artists as well … a book I am planning to read many times over, to let its rich wisdom sink in.” —ROBERT FRAGER, PHD, Aikido seventh dan; founder, Sofia University; president, Western Aikido Association
 
“Linda Holiday writes with devotion and a pure heart. Journey to the Heart of Aikido inspires greatness through humility, dedication, and self-responsibility. Through Linda's personal story and the teachings of Anno Sensei, I feel that I have been introduced to the living flame of the lineage of Aikido burning bright.” —TAMI SIMON, founder and publisher, Sounds True
 
“For over forty years I have endeavored to understand how O-Sensei was able to manifest love in response to aggression, both on and off the Aikido mat. This book is a gift for all who wish to develop greater spiritual understanding of Aikido, its universal application, our potential to embody the principles, and the amazing abilities of its founder.” —WENDY PALMER, author of The Practice of Freedom: Aikido Principles as a Spiritual Guide and The Intuitive Body: Discovering the Wisdom of Conscious Embodiment and Aikido
 
“A truly exceptional and vibrant Aikido book…a must-read book for everyone who is interested in the origins of Aikido and the spiritual foundations of the art.  Through the words of her teacher, Anno Sensei, Linda Holiday brings to life O-Sensei’s lifelong quest to create a peaceful martial art. Reading Journey to the Heart of Aikido is like traveling through time and space to meet with the founder of Aikido and step into his world of sincere physical and spiritual determination and practice, inspired by the sacred nature in Kumano. This book is a treasure.” —JAN NEVELIUS, Aikido sixth dan shihan, Vanadis Aikido Dojo, Sweden; author, Vaken Vila
 
“Brilliant, illuminating … Journey to the Heart of Aikido is aptly named. Linda Holiday opens our eyes to the light that shines on the path.” —FRANK DORAN, Aikido seventh dan shihan; chief instructor, Aikido West Dojo
 
“Those who read this book will not only be rewarded with a deep understanding of what Aikido is, but will be entertained and moved by Anno Sensei’s personal and ongoing journey to go deeper into Aikido’s essence.” —MARY HEINY, Aikido sixth dan, Seattle, Washington
 
“The flow of universal knowledge from O-Sensei through Anno Sensei to Linda Holiday … Read this book and enjoy that inspired journey.” —ROBERT NADEAU, Aikido seventh dan shihan, direct student of O-Sensei
 
“This is a long-awaited account of Aikido’s development in Kumano’s mysterious mountains. The simplicity with which Aikido’s positive message is articulated here may stir many people looking for meaning in life to seek an answer in the practice of Aikido. Everyone will benefit from reading Journey to the Heart of Aikido. It may well help us all to transform the ravages of a materialistic world.” —SUSAN PERRY, PHD, Aikido sixth dan, author of Remembering O-Sensei; co-chief instructor of Musubi Dojo, California
 
“Linda Holiday’s clear, poetic translation of Anno Sensei's teachings provides a wonderful resource for those of us wishing to better understand the words of Aikido founder Morihei Ueshiba. The founder’s spiritual philosophy of love and unity is embodied in a martial practice that can appear antithetical to it.  Yet Anno Sensei’s interpretation of the founder’s teaching embraces the paradoxical nature of Aikido and makes the principles alive and accessible to us. Anno Sensei's humility, compassion, and wisdom are ever apparent. Journey to the Heart of Aikido brings to us the fruit of a heart-to-heart transmission of the Way.” —DARRELL BLUHM, Aikido sixth dan shihan; chief instructor, Siskiyou Aikikai, Oregon
 
“What a great story. Well told, tender in places, with a genuine ...

About the Author

LINDA HOLIDAY first moved to Japan in 1973 to receive instruction from Aikido teachers who were direct students of the founder of Aikido. She was one of the first Westerners to study Aikido in the remote, mystical Kumano region of Japan, where she became a close student and personal interpreter of Motomichi Anno Sensei. A 6th degree black belt, she has taught Aikido professionally since 1976 and founded the nonprofit organization Aikido of Santa Cruz in 1982, where she continues to serve as its chief instructor.

MOTOMICHI ANNO is one of the highest-level teachers of Aikido in the world. Born in 1931, he is one of the few remaining members of a generation of Japanese master-teachers who received direct instruction from the founder of Aikido. Anno Sensei received his 8th-degree black belt in 1978 and has been a senior teacher at the Kumano Juku Dojo for over forty years, serving as its chief instructor for the past nine years. In 2009, Anno sensei received the prestigious Distinguished Service Award from the Japan Martial Arts Association for his lifetime dedication to teaching Aikido. Deeply rooted in traditional Japan, Anno sensei is an international teacher who has a remarkable ability to convey the heart of Aikido to people of different cultures. He continues to live on his family homestead in the countryside of western Japan, and teaches in Japan, the United States, and Europe.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 376 pages
  • Publisher: Blue Snake Books; 1st Printing edition (September 10, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1583946594
  • ISBN-13: 978-1583946596
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #530,800 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

For additional information about Linda Holiday, Motomichi Anno, and Journey to the Heart of Aikido, please visit www.JourneytoAikido.com.

Linda Holiday is a senior American Aikido teacher who began her practice of Aikido in California over forty years ago. In 1973 she moved to Japan for several years to receive instruction from the generation of Japanese Aikido teachers who had studied directly with the founder of Aikido, Morihei Ueshiba. Linda was one of the first Westerners to live in the remote Kumano area of Japan and undertake rigorous physical and spiritual practice at the Kumano Juku Dojo. It was during this time that she met Motomichi Anno and began a lifelong connection as his student and interpreter. In Journey to the Heart of Aikido: The Teachings of Motomichi Anno Sensei, Linda provides extensive translations of his wise and compassionate teachings, accessible in English for the first time.

Since her return to the United States over three decades ago, Linda Holiday has devoted herself to the development of Aikido in her native California as well as teaching seminars in the United States and Europe. Complementing her intensive training in Japan with academic study in the West, she received a BA in Japanese and Chinese Studies from the University of California, Santa Cruz, in 1979, and a master's degree in East Asian Studies from Stanford University in 1983. She has served as an interpreter for numerous Japanese Aikido teachers. Linda holds a sixth-degree black belt awarded by the Aikikai Foundation in Japan, an international organization headed by the grandson of Aikido's founder.

In 1982 Linda Holiday founded Aikido of Santa Cruz (North Bay Aikido, Inc.), a nonprofit educational organization and dojo, where she serves as executive director and teaches regularly as chief instructor. Following in the tradition of her teachers, she emphasizes the heart and spirit of Aikido as a multifaceted practice of peace. Traveling nationally and internationally, Linda Holiday leads and co-teaches Aikido events that draw together teachers and students from a wide variety of affiliations.

About Motomichi Anno Sensei:

Motomichi Anno is one of the highest-level teachers of Aikido in the world today. An eighth-degree black belt since 1978, he is one of the few remaining Japanese master-teachers who received direct instruction from the founder of Aikido. In 2009, Anno Sensei received the prestigious Distinguished Service Award from the Japan Martial Arts Association for his lifetime dedication to teaching Aikido.

Anno Sensei was born in 1931 in the Kumano region of Japan, where many traditions and spiritual practices of Japan have been kept alive. He suffered poverty and hardship as a child in wartime. When he was twenty-three years old, Anno Sensei met the founder of Aikido and began a lifelong devotion to Aikido as a practice of peace and the cultivation of the heart.

For over four decades, Anno Sensei served as a senior instructor at the historic Kumano Juku Dojo in Shingu, Japan. He also founded his own school, Matsubara Dojo, in Kumano City, in 1969. In 2004, he succeeded the late Michio Hikitsuchi Sensei to serve for nine years as the chief instructor of the Kumano Juku Dojo.

Deeply rooted in traditional Japan, Anno Sensei is an international teacher who has a remarkable ability to convey the heart of Aikido to people of different cultures. Now in his eighties, he has traveled many times to teach in the United States and Europe. Anno Sensei lives with his wife on his family homestead in the countryside of western Japan.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Journey to the Heart of Aikido is a valuable account from Motomichi Anno Sensei, one of the last students of Aikido's founder Morihei Ueshiba. The book made does an excellent job making the essential spirit of Aikido accessible. Holiday and Sensei have artfully composed this book so that it is also a personal journey for the reader in addition to being and enlightened exploration of Aikido. The spiritual teachings, touching on interconnectedness, practicing peace, and harmonizing physicality and mentality are presented to appeal to a global community. Journey to the Heart of Aikido provides profoundly moving and authentic insight into this spiritual art, and it is important reading for any martial arts practitioner.

[edit: since noticing that this book was recommended by john stevens, i decided to read his book The Philosophy of Aikido, which is also great! particularly at placing the teachings of Aikido within the context of the emerging global culture.
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What does it mean to see--and practice--Aikido as a spiritual art? Answering that question has been a prime motivation of my Aikido practice over the years. Journey to the Heart of Aikido is one of the few Aikido books I've read that actually shows how this might be done. One of the profound enticements of Aikido is the prospect of marrying a martial way with a spiritual practice to achieve both physical harmony as well as mental and emotional balance, all with the aspiration to contribute to the greater well-being of people everywhere. Anno Sensei not only seems to have realized this marriage in his practice, but is able to speak about it in language that is at once inspiring and accessible. That's rare.

Many wonderful books on Aikido speak with authority and insight about the intellectual tenets and spiritual concepts at the core of O Sensei's Aikido. The magic in this book is that Anno Sensei, aided by Linda Holiday's brilliant translation and insightful commentary, goes beyond conceptual discussion to convey how he actually conducts his practice--how he thinks and feels as he trains, and how his years of direct contact with O Sensei helped him forge the discipline and outlook of his practice.

We aren't just spectators in this book either. Anno Sensei brings us along with him every step with a tone that's incredibly positive and inclusive. Reading this, replete as it is with Anno Sensei's honest and personal observations, you will never think for a moment that you too can't open your heart in your practice, or that it would not be worth it to try. It's the kind of inspiration that can help to wash away years of frustration with one's practice, and find anew the joy of opening and connection that is, in Anno Sensei's words, at the Heart of Aikido.

--Greg Mock, Seattle, WA
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This book is Aikido incarnate!!! Skillfully crafted, profoundly perceptive, and deeply moving, 'Journey to the Heart of Aikido' lovingly guides us on a personal journey that engages at every step, and illuminates universal truths all along the way. Thank you for writing this book!!!...I'm already changed for having read it once, and will return to its pages many times more...mining its gems and sharing them with the next generation of Aikidoists.
~Charles Colten, Director of "Aikido in the Schools"
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After 33 years of practicing Aikido, I was finally convinced by this book that the aims of Aikido were really achievable - to develop internal harmony and to create a peaceful world. Using historical evidence, Holiday substantiates that Osensei, the founder of Aikido, had developed remarkable powers through his alignment with the forces of nature. We the readers are invited to do the same and given plenty of guidance in the mental and physical aspects of the training involved.

The clarity and depth of Holiday's new book render the principles of Aikido fully accessible. This contributes to the sense of optimism I was left with - that a peaceful human society, governed from the heart, is within our reach.

This book will be helpful and inspiring, not only for people who practice Aikido, but for anyone interested in envisioning a way forward for our planet.

Penny Sablove, chief instructor
Heart of San Francisco Aikido
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I found "Journey to the Heart of Aikido: The Teachings of Motomichi Anno Sensei" by Linda Holiday to be an engaging, enlightening, and excellent read in regards to the more inner aspects of the martial art of Aikido. The wisdom shared by Anno Sensei, based on his first hand experiences with Aikido's founder O-Sensei Morihei Ueshiba, and his decades of teaching this art, delves into the inner aspects and spiritual teachings that O-Sensei stressed were the true meanings of the art, which are heavily into heart, peace, and love.

The book is written and translated by Linda Holiday, a senior instructor of Aikido. It starts with her telling how she left for Japan in the early 1970s to begin her journey into this martial art of peace. Having also lived in Asia to study martial arts, I enjoyed learning of some of her experiences, and how she started training under Anno Sensei. (One must note that O-Sensei had just died a few years before Holiday moved to Japan, so her instructors, including Anno Sensei, were direct students of the founder, and things were still very close to how O-Sensei did things.)

The second part of the book contains teachings from Anno Sensei. You can compare it to many short essays on various aspects of the art of Aikido. These reflections on the art were selected by Holiday from extensive taped interactions between Anno Sensei and Western students and teachers. They are drawn from formal classes in Aikido dojos, and conversations in more intimate settings with Anno Sensei's closest students as well as beginners, artists, musicians, teachers, and professionals in many fields.
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