Aikido

Aug. 3rd, 2010 12:09 pm
salvianus: (shield)
[personal profile] salvianus
Recovering from a third major operation in two years, I've been doing a lot more reading than re-enacting! I spent some months before my latest op preparing myself by practising Aikido again after a break of many years.

It helped me through.

If you are interested in Aikido, my favourite instructional text has become "Best Aikido: The Fundamentals" by Kisshomaru and Moriteru Ueshiba, the second and third (and current) doshu, son and grandson of the founder of Aikido, translated by John Stevens. The title is not inspiring, but the content is: wall to wall clear photograph sequences in the modern style practised at the Aikido Hombu dojo in Tokyo.



Master Moriteru co-authored the work published in Japan "Kihan Aikido: Kihon-hen" shortly before his father's death and appears throughout the illustrations, so any British Aikido Federation members or other groups affiliated to the Aikikai Foundation can feel assured this represents authoritative current stylistic detail: very upright stances with withdrawn knee, un-agressive tegatana held low and relaxed, direct irimi etc.


The nearest quality text I have is Dynamic Aikido by Gozo Shioda, the founder of the Yoshinkan school and this highlights the stylistic differences which continue to grow between Ueshiba's early pupil's pupils and his own development of Aikido and that of his chosen heirs. I believe that a beginner needs the text written for one's own school, the differences are significant. My sensei can demonstrate techniques in the style of different schools of Aikido after a lifetime of study with many masters, but I feel that this is something for seniors.

The English used in the new book is much clearer and techniques are shown from different angles where relevant. I also love Aikido and the Dynamic Sphere by Westbrook and Ratti, but while Ratti's drawings beautifully capture the flow of energy in technique, I have found them vague on mundane matters such as how to place the feet or how far to raise the hands - matters which I have learned from my sensei make a technique work or not work. It must also be said that Westbrook and Ratti were awarded shodan after a relatively short period of study. The current authors by contrast have between them been masters of the Aikido World Headquarters since 1948.

The second volume moves on to more advanced technique.

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salvianus

February 2011

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