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The Complete Guide To Aikido

by Stanley Pranin

Aiki News #76 (December 1987)

In a departure from our usual range of editorial subjects, I would like to deal here with two special topics: “The Complete Guide to Aikido” and advertising in AIKI NEWS.

This editor has been involved in research into Aikido for over fifteen years and the amount of information and documents these studies have generated is now quite voluminous. Having more than satiated my gargantuan desires as a collector of Aikido and Daito-ryu memorabilia, I have in recent years been squarely faced with the no less formidable task of classifying and digesting this mountain of material.

It was in answer to this increasingly pressing need that I began about three years ago to develop a computerized biographical listing of individuals of importance in the history and development of Aikido for use in my personal research. Essential information such as birth dates, beginning date of training, relationship to Morihei Ueshiba and current whereabouts of such persons formed the basis of this listing. With the passage of time I found myself consulting and expanding this data base quite frequently and little by little its potential utility for Aikido practitioners in general became apparent.

Once a decision was made to offer this material to the public the next question was what additional information should be included to gather all essential facts on Aikido together in an easily accessible form in a single volume. This led to the publication in April of this year of the first edition of “The Complete Guide to Aikido”. The book contained the following sections: Who’s Who and What’s What in Aikido, A Chronology of Morihei Ueshiba, an Annotated Bibliography of Books and Articles on Aikido, the Contents of AIKI NEWS’ Back Numbers, and a World Dojo Directory. In the second edition appearing in June the contents were considerably expanded and an Aikido Lineage Chart was added.

Shortly thereafter the idea occurred to me to open the pages of “The Guide” to instructors world-wide who, though perhaps experienced Aikido practitioners, have remained virtually unknown outside of their local areas and organizations. The listing of such individuals in the “Who’s Who” section would identify them, recognize their status and achievements and pinpoint their present whereabouts. Thus for the last several months we have been processing applications from teachers of Aikido and Daito-ryu (especially those operating dojos) who have found this service valuable. (Refer to the ad on page 36 of this issue for details on how to become listed) Their names and vital statistics will appear in updated form in all future editions of both the English and Japanese versions of the “Guide” and, as a matter of course, in the French edition which will be published in 1988. I believe that this ready availability of information will to a certain extent minimize cultural and language barriers in the Aikido world and serve a useful role in the internationalization of the art.

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