Recommended Reading

There are a lot of Aikido books out there, some are great others not so good. At some point I made it my task to read everything I could find by the western students who had trained directly under O’sensei as I felt they would be the most accessible to understand O’sensei philosophy. Here are some of my favourite Aikido books.

By O’sensei.

The Art of Peace by Morihei Ueshiba translated by John Stevens

A small book on the teachings of O’sensei compiled by renowned Aikidoka John Stevens. Most long term Aikidoka will have a copy, comforting to read in times of stress or when you need inspiration.

Featuring direct students of O’sensei.

Aikido In Everyday Life by Terry Dobson & Victor Miller

This book blew my mind when I read it, it opened the door to applying Aikido principles in a non physical way outside of the dojo. Dobson was one of the few westerners that trained directly under O’sensei & Miller wrote the original script to friday the 13th.

Aikido In America edited by John Stone & Ron Meyer

This book is a selection of essays written by the most prominent Aikido Sensei’s based in America. It includes essays by Terry Dobson, Robert Nadeau, Robert Frager & Mary Heiny all direct students of O’sensei.

Aikido Talks by Susan Perry & Ronald Rubin

A book of conversations with American Aikidoists including Dobson, Nadeau, Heiny, Virginia Mayhew & Henry Kono all students of O’sensei.

Tales from the life of Kenneth George Edward Cottier edited by Alan Ruddock

Aikido Memoirs by Alan Ruddock

Two books from Alan Ruddock both telling the stories from Ken Cottier and Alan Rudduck of living and training in Japan under O’sensei. These two books might be hard find especially in paperback format.

Aikido: Heart & Sword by Andre Nocquet

Nocquet was one of the first european students to study under O’sensei.

Aikido and the Harmony of Nature By Mitsugi Satome

Another book on the philosophy of Aikido (with beautifully drawn illustrations) by one of O’Sensei last students.

Other good books.

Journey to the Heart of Aikido by Linda Holiday

A very nice book rich in the philosphy of Aikido (particularly the floating bridge of heaven) as taught to Holiday by her teacher Anno Sensei.

Tenchi Building a Bridge between Heaven and Earth by Alister Giles

A another nice book on the Philosophy of Aikido by UK sensei who teaches in Swindon.

Dueling With O’Sensei / Hidden in plain sight by Ellis Amdur

Amdur is a former Aikido student of Terry Dobson, his books are very interesting and well researched, (more suitable for the advance practitioner).

Way to Reconcile the World Edited by Quentin Cooke

A collection Aikido anedotes gather and compiled by Quentin Cooke from a wide range of Aikido practitioners ranging from 7th dan to 5th kyu.

Takemuse Aikido by Tony Sargaent

This book has too half’s the first half is anecdotal whilst the second half technical, it is an enjoyable read.

For general reference.

Aikido & Dynamic Sphere by A Westbrook & O.Ratti

A useful reference book on every facet of Aikido, full of many illustrations showing the attacks & techniques. First published in 1970, the illustrations by O.Ratti are so good that I’m sure they have been borrow many times over the years by Aikidoka. If you are going to buy get the hardback version.

Aikido by Brian N Bagot

I found this book very handy as a kyu grade, primarily a manual detailing the techniques (empty hand & weapons).

For the beach…..

Angry White Pyjamas by Robert Twigger

Winner of the William Hill Sports Book of the year 1998, an entertaining account of Twiggers year of training on the Riot Police budo course in the Yoshinkan style.

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