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A Life in Aikido: The Biography of Founder Morihei Ueshiba Hardcover – December 1, 2008
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About the Author
Kisshomaru Ueshiba became the second Aikido Doshu (leader) after the Founder and his father, Morihei Ueshiba. He was the author of the popular The Spirit of Aikido and co-author of Best Akido.
Moriteru Ueshiba, the third and present Aikido Doshu, wrote the preface to this book. He is the son of Kisshomaru Ueshiba, and the author of Progressive Aikido, Best Aikido, and The Aikido Master Course.
Top customer reviews
Kisshomaru Ueshiba died in 1999 and the Japanese original was published in 1978.
It is a beautifully produced book on quality paper that does justice to the many photographs, quite a few of which are original to this publication. Others we have seen before, but never so well presented.
Kisshomaru, the 2nd Doshu and only surviving son of Morihei Ueshiba, O Sensei, the Founder of Aikido, relates here the life of his father, clearly delineating the influences and discoveries that led to the development of Aikido.
Unlike other biographies of the Founder of Aikido, this one is told from a unique perspective that embodies familial love and respect that no other third hand version of O Sensei's life can capture. Kisshomaru lived Aikido from his earliest moments, and often acted as his father's training partner. His constant work in promoting Aikido in Japan and around the world is hinted at but not gone into in much detail as this book is about his father. And on the passing of his father he naturally became the next leader. This gives the book a viewpoint that is personal and private and reveals much about O Sensei that has not previously been known. Though some parts are overlong in general it covers all anyone would want to know about Moriehei Ueshiba, the person, not the legend others have created around him.
What most impressed me was when Kisshomaru related that almost on his deathbed his father told him "You did well." These were the only words of praise he ever said to his son. And just before he slipped into a coma he told his disciples to keep everyone together and support Kisshomaru. How must Kisshomaru have felt at that moment?
"Carry on, won't you," were his very last words to his son. He died early the next morning.
This is the definitive biography translated by Kai Izawa and Mary Fuller, and I would recommend it highly to any and every serious Aikidoka. They should read this book.
Author of Aikido- Basic and Intermediate Studies.
Admittedly the book is not perfect. There are times when Kissho seems to go on tangents about things not related to the man, and other times where he's quoting at length from so many other sources that you start to wonder if this is a biography, or a compilation of things said of Morihei. Others might also have issues with Kissho inserting himself into the story to speak personally of his own experiences with his father but I personally found those scenes touching and did enjoy them. I must also mention that if someone picks up this book hoping to learn any actual techniques they'll be disappointed. I didn't, so I wasn't, but I can see why others might, This is a straight up biography, not a guide book or manual on Aikido.
I consider those complaints but mere nit picks, however, and still thoroughly enjoyed the book. This is one of those rare books that I knew, upon finishing it, I would inevitably read again. It's not too long, told very naturally, and is just such a fascinating read. I cannot recommend it highly enough and urge anyone with any interest in martial arts or just history or both to read it.