This definitive, richly illustrated manual covers the essential elements of the philosophy and practice of Aikido, the Japanese martial art that has been embraced by psychologists, spiritual teachers, and even Western bodywork practitioners.
Full of insightful wisdom for beginners and experienced students alike, this book details the traditional methods and techniques of Shirata Rinjiro, of whom John Stevens is a principal student. Noted for the precise execution of a wide range of techniques and an emphasis on Aikido as a spiritual path, Shirata Sensei’s teachings exemplify the Way of the Warrior: superior technical prowess combined with profound spiritual insight.
In addition to photographs and descriptions of all the important Aikido techniques, Stevens recounts interesting and lively anecdotes about the history of Aikido and its founder, Ueshiba Morihei, who developed it from a martial art into a spiritual discipline. A biography of Shirata Sensei, complete with his reflections on sixty years of Aikido practice, is also included.
John Stevens lived in Japan for 35 years, where he was a professor of Buddhist studies at Tohoku Fukushi University in Sendai. A widely respected translator, ordained Buddhist priest, curator of several major exhibitions of Zen art, and an aikido instructor, he has authored more than thirty books and is one of the foremost Western experts on aikido, holding a ranking of 7th dan Aikikai.