"If interested in a serious exploration of Japanese religion, the practice of Zen, or aikido history, this title could serve well. It thoroughly explains the basic philosophical concepts behind this martial art and the components of Shinto and Zen." (Library Journal
From the Back Cover
MARTIAL ARTS / EASTERN PHILOSOPHY
“The Spiritual Foundations ofAikido
is a necessary book, both timely and well written. William Gleason’s book is the first to explain the spiritual teachings of the founder in detail.”
--Mitsugi Saotome Shihan, author of The Principles of Aikido The Spiritual Foundations of Aikido
is the first book by a leading American aikido teacher to examine how this twentieth-century martial art sprang forth from the ancient spiritual traditions of Japan. William Gleason, a fifth-degree black belt, offers a lucid commentary on the teachings of Morihei Ueshiba, the founder of aikido. Many of Ueshiba’s teachings appear here for the first time in English.
Ueshiba considered aikido to be not a fighting method or a competitive sport but rather a means of becoming one with the laws of universal order. Aikido, he insisted, is rooted in the principles of the kototama, a set of sacred Japanese syllables. Examining the basic tenets of Shinto and Zen, Gleason shows how the syllables of the kototama represent different aspects of universal life energy, or ki. His explanations of such concepts as One Spirit, Four Souls, Three Origins, and Eight Powers describe the generation and movement of ki, which is the source of the martial artist’s strength.
More than 160 photographs illuminate the application of the kototama to the actual movements of aikido. In 22 photographic sequences, the author and his students demonstrate several complete forms in detail. Yet Gleason’s depth of analysis makes this book far more than a mere technical manual. The Spiritual Foundations of Aikido
will be a priceless resource for both the novice and the seasoned practitioner of the martial arts.
WILLIAM GLEASON has studied aikido and Japanese medicine and philosophy for more than two decades, including ten years’ study in Japan. The director of Shobu Aikido of Boston, Massachusetts, he also has translated books by George Ohsawa and Mitsugi Saotome.