People who have been practicing martial and other arts for decades say that there is no substitute for getting out and practicing your art. Some people also seem to fall into this “let’s get hands dirty” style naturally. Others tend to learn more about things that might take them a lifetime to study first. Yet others find out that their practice may benefit from the greater understanding of the an art that may come, for instance, from studying its history, founders, and theoretical underpinnings and from interacting with those who walk the path alongside or ahead of them. So, if you might want to sit down on a slow Sunday afternoon or grab your favorite drink and settle into a chair in front of the monitor on a quiet night and learn more about the wonderful art of Aikido you’ve come to one of the right places to start. There is a lot written about the history of Aikido, its background, rules and other things. We are going to help you get going by pointing to the relevant materials available on the web at this time.
If you’d rather make up your own mind on what to read you can start from the community and publication sites such as AikiWeb, Aikido FAQ, Aikido Journal, and the Wikipedia Aikido page have good references and original content. To get an overview of Aikido as a martial art and its history you could start your reading with the words of the Founder of Aikido O’Sensei Morihei Ueshiba in the following materials – Excerpts from The Founder’s teachings, The Memoir of the Master, Dojo regulations as written by O’Sensei. Good overview of the various aspects of Aikido is presented in Eric Sotnak’s . There are also shorter original articles written for AikiWeb such as Aikido general information by Eric Sotnak, Aikido History by Eric Sotnak, Did Morihei Ueshiba invent Aikido? by Peter Boylan, Aikido Etiquette, and .
If you are interested in learning about the effectiveness of Aikido as a martial art, the ‘real World’ use of Aikido and other questions of this sort you could read Aikido and Combat Effectiveness by Erik Sotnak, Life, Not Death by Dennis Hooker, Does Aikido Make Me a Warrior? by Dennis Hooker, and Real Aikido by Carol M. Shifflett.
If you’d like to learn more about the training methodology, pitfalls and ways to improve your practice then Common problems and observations by Carol M. Shifflett, Analogies for the Aikido Learning Process by George Simcox, Training the Mind by Eric Sotnak, On training by Eric Sotnak, How Much? by Cady Goldfield, Danger – Lottery Mentality by Roger Alexander, and Kata Training and Aikido by Diane Skoss may be appropriate.
Some interesting psychological aspects of training are illustrated in the Polishing the Mirror and Grinding the Stone by Dennis Hooker, Honest practice by Jim Zimmerdahl, Aikido to Apples by Lee Escobar, On Stopping, Starting, Persevering and Growing by Mike Collins, and The Role of Fear by Tarik Ghbeish.
As Ukemi is such an important part of keiko (Aikido practice) there are some good AikiWeb articles that illuminate it – About Ukemi by Lisa Tomoleoni, Appropriate Ukemi by George S. Ledyard and Taking Ukemi and Being Uke by Peter Boylan. Some good information that might help you make your decision in selecting a place to train can be found in How to Choose an Aikido Dojo by J. Akiyama and Evaluating a Dojo by Bill Witt.
Introductory reading: The Shambhala Guide to Aikido, by John Stevens, (Boston, Shambhala Publications, 1996). The Aikido Student Handb ook, by Greg O’Connor (Berkeley , Frog Ltd, 1993). Principles of Aikido, by Paul Wildish (London, Thorson Publications, 1998). Aikido for Life, by Gaku Homma, (Berkeley , North Atlantic Books, 1990). The Spirit of Aikido by Kisshomaru Ueshiba translated by Taitetsu Unno, (Tokyo: Kodansha Publications, 1987). A Beginners Guide to Aikido, by Larry Reynosa and Joseph Billingiere (Ventura: R&B Publishing, 1993). The Essence of Aikido, by Bill Sosa and Bryan Robbins, (Burbank: Unique Publications, 1987).
Philosophy and spirituality: The Essence of Aikido: Spiritual Teachings of Morihei Ueshiba, compiled by John Stevens (Tokyo: Kodansha Internat ional, 1993). The Secrets of Aikido, by John Stevens (Boston: Shambhala Publications, 1995) Aikido and the Harmony of Nature, by Mitsugi Saotome, (Boston, Shambhala Publications, 1993). The Philosophy of Aikido, by John Stevens, (Tokyo: Kodansha International, 2001). The Spiritual Foundations of Aikido by William Gleason, (Vermont: Destiny Books, 1995). Kototama: The Secret Sounds of Aikido, recorded by John Stevens (Claremont: Aikido Today Magazine, 1995). Kototama: Sounds of Power, Innen (a journal on the spiritual side of Aikido), Fall 1996, Vol 1 Issue 2.
History of Aikido and the Founder: Abundant Peace, by John Stevens (Boston: Shambhala Publicat ions, 1987). Invincible Warrior: An Illustrated Biography of Morihei Ueshiba (Boston: Shambhala Publications, 1997). Two Pillars of Aikido, four audio tapes by Stanley Pranin (Aikido Journal, 1999).
Books written by the Founder: Budo Training in Aikido, by Morihei Ueshiba 1933, translated by Larry Bieri and Seiko Mabuchi (Tokyo: Sugawara Martial Arts Inst itute, 1997). The Art of Peace, by Morihei Ueshiba, translated by John Stevens, (Boston, Shambhala Publications, 1992). Budo, Teachings of the Founder of Aikido, by Morihei Ueshiba 1938, translated by John Stevens (Tokyo: Kodansha International, 1991). Budo, Commentary on the 1938 Training Manual of Morihei Ueshiba by Morihio Saito, translated by Sonoko Tanaka and Stanley Parnin, (Tokyo: Aiki News, 1999).
Books on Ki: Book of Ki: Co-ordinating Mind and Body in Daily Life, by Koichi Tohei, (Tokyo, Japan Publication, 1976). Ki in Daily Life by Koichi Tohei, (Tokyo, Kino Kenkyukai, 1978). Ki: A Practical Guide for Westerners by William Reed, (Tokyo: Japan Publications, 1986). Ki: Energy for Everybody, by Louise Taylor and Betty Bryant, (Tokyo: Japan Publications, 1990). Ki: A Road that Anyone Can Walk, by William Reed (Tokyo: Japan Publications, 1992).
Aikido Principles off the mat: Leadership Aikido: 6 business practices to turn around your life, by John O’Neil, (New York, Three Rivers Press, 1997). Aikido in Everyday Life: Giving in to get your way, by Terry Dobson and Victor Miller, (Berkeley, North Atlantic Books, 1993). The Magic of Conflict, by Thomas Crum, (New York, Simon and Schuster, 1987). The Way of Aikido – Life Lessons from an American Sensei, by George Leonard, (New York, Penguin Books, 1999). Aikido and the New Warrior, edited by Richard Strozzi Heckler, (Berkeley , North Atlantic Books, 1985). Corporate Aikido, by Robert Pino, (New York, McGraw-Hi ll, 1999).