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The Way of Aikido: Life Lessons From An American Sensei Paperback – June 1, 2000


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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

George Leonard has introduced LET to more than 50,000 people in the United States and abroad. He is the author of a number of books on human possibilities and social change, including Mastery (Plume 1992), and lives in San Francisco, California.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Plume; Reissue edition (June 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0452279720
  • ISBN-13: 978-0452279728
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.5 x 7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #221,909 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

George Leonard has introduced LET to more than 50,000 people in the United States and abroad. He is the author of a number of books on human possibilities and social change, including Mastery.

Customer Reviews

I found this book to be very informative.
Laurence R. Carter
Although about Aikido, the non-aikidoist might find this interesting also.
David Bamford
Mr. Leonard's writing reads like the poetry of science and magic.
Lawrence Levy

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Ronaldo on October 31, 2001
Format: Hardcover
At a recent aikido seminar, I asked some friends why they practiced aikido. All three of them had slightly different answers, but all mentioned that it made them a better person. I remember thinking they seemed to be on to something, but I couldn't authentically give the same response at the time.
I took up aikido six years ago in Asia because it was a martial art that fit my non-violent sensibilities. I continue to practice it because, like George Leonard, aikido represents a path to mastery that defies quick fixes. It's a modern day spiritual discipline that is challenging, fun and it trains my character. This book captures the essence of that discovery in George Leonard's own words and expresses it in language that most anyone can grasp. You won't find here a treatise on how to do aikido techniques (you learn that through practice on the mat), but you will find practical wisdom for everyday living.
George Leonard is a trained and seasoned writer, which brings ease and enjoyment to the reading of this book. He is also trained and seasoned in aikido, and his reverence for life and cultivation of the human spirit come through clearly in his stories. I recommend it to those interested in aikido, but also to the broader audience of those interested in a spiritual approach to life.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By David Bamford on June 8, 2000
Format: Hardcover
If I had a collection of books that I would run out of the house with in the event of a fire, this would be one of them. I have been studying Aikido for 3 years and this is the first book I have read that captures some of the inner spirit of the art. Leonard shares his journey in Aikido in a poignant and personal way. This book shares some rare insight into an american masters thinking and into living life in a more rich and full way. Although about Aikido, the non-aikidoist might find this interesting also. There is little if any talk about technique as much as it chronicles Leonards work in his art on the matt and off. I highly recommend this book.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 5, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I have been a student of Aikido since 1988. Though I have only spent 5 of those 11 years on a mat in training, I carry the philosophies of Aikido with me in every aspect of my everyday life, or at least I try to. This book is brilliant in its ability to reveal to the reader a true sense of what O Sensei was trying to give to the world; not a martial art to watch on the big screen, but a way of reconciling problems, physical, emotional and spiritual. I am buying copies of this book and giving them to my friends who have shown an interest in Aikido but wanted to know more.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful By "lubeg" on January 17, 2003
Format: Paperback
A friend found this at a second hand bookstore during the holidays and gave it to me for Christmas. I've been practicing Aikido for only six months and have begun to discover that I'm fascinated by both the martial and spirirtual aspects of the discipline. Thus, my friend's reasoning for this gift.
Mr. Leonard does a fine job of presenting some concepts which may awaken a desire to learn more about the philosophy and spirit of Aikido. Unfortunately each phrase or statement which moves in that direction is a bit of sales pitch to participate in his seminars or join his organizations.
Not being a California resident and lacking a total interest in sales pitches related to Aikido, I've spent some time doing research of my own and speaking more closely with my Senseis about Aikido's philosphy.
Buy this book if you want some inspiration to discover your own path. Otherwise, it's more suited to be the required reading for one of his seminars.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Lawrence Levy on September 14, 1999
Format: Hardcover
George Leonard has put his years of self-exploration, curiosity about life, and a deep understanding of the mind-body relationship into this wonderful and informative book. He explains aikido in way that is both accessible and inspirational. Chapter titles such as "A Transformative Ordeal" and "Taking the hit As A Gift" reveal the depth of his relationship to this powerful martial art. Perfect for layman and expert alike, the ideas in The Way of Aikido are descriptive of the noble challenges of living. Mr. Leonard's writing reads like the poetry of science and magic. I highly recommend this book.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By SpiritSite.com Staff on June 30, 2000
Format: Paperback
The Way of Aikido is a wonderful new book from George Leonard (the founder of Aikido of Tamalpais in Mill Valley, CA and a Director of Esalen).
In The Way of Aikido, Mr. Leonard draws on years of experience with Aikido, a consciousness-raising marial art. This isn't a book about moves, though -- it's a book about the power of defenselessness, about moving with verbal attackers and trusting the "ki" (life force). George Leonard draws on his background as an author, speaker, and aikido student to illustrate the remarkable power of holding to a spiritual center.
Filled with anecdotes and down-to-earth ideas, the book comes highly recommended.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 4, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This book is aimed primarily at non-martial artists, but well worth the read in any case. It is an excellent primer on the art. If you are considering taking up Aikido, this is the best book I have found to help you decide. This book speaks to the spiritual, psychological, and transformative aspects of this beautiful art. I didn't give it 5 stars because I would've liked more,"meat." (Which is merely a function of my perceptual filters....and I am sure that this book could be taken on many levels) I have been researching Aikido, mostly the non-technique aspects (techniques are best learned from instruction, not a book), because I plan to take lessons. I consider myself very lucky to live near enough to Leonard Sensei to visit his dojo.
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