This book cannot be classed as technical, although a whole chapter is dedicated to techniques. The main portion of the book deals with personal interpretation of what Aikido means to the authors. It draws comparison with modern-day Aikido, and the Aikido from the past; all its good and bad points. There is also a strong emphasis on personal history.
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Review by: Nigel Jones
Aikido in the United Kingdom has a very colourful past. Positive Aikido is the first publication to move to the forefront and give an insight to the humble beginnings for what we see today. Although most people in the UK know that Kenshiro Abbe Sensei arrived in 1955, most other facts are normally passed on verbally. This book is the first to preserve the facts and events.
Positive Aikido took the authors nearly 15 years to finally get on the bookshelf. The idea initially was to produce literature to give to new students who were interested in practicing Aikido. As the amount of information began to increase, the idea of collating a book was conceived. This book is littered with old historic pictures and first hand experience of what the Aikido practitioners had to go through in the early years. It is wise to point out; this is no ordinary Aikido publication. Abbe Sensei learned Aikido from O'Sensei during the transition stage from pre to post war. This is the style of Aikido introduced to the UK. Sensei Ellis, who is one of the co-authors of this book, still practises the true way of Aikido. This is reflected in the books contents.
This book in my opinion is unique in the way the content is portrayed. The subject matter is offered in a simple and straightforward way. If the reader is looking for a more spiritual or deeper meaning of Aikido, this will not be found in this edition. Sensei Rogers is pictured in the middle section, on a majority of the Aikido technical section. Contributions from Senseis Ellis and Eastman's vast Aikido careers fill the book with interesting accounts of events, visiting Japanese Sensei, and the early attempts to spread Aikido to the British public. A must read for anyone who is interested in Aikido history, and early development of British Aikido.
Review by: Dave Humm
The material contained within this book serves as a lasting reminder to British Aikido students of the rich history relating to the arrival and development of their art in the United Kingdom.
The book its self is an accurate depiction of post war aikido studied within the United Kingdom, by those who were studying it. Some may perhaps see Ellis Sensei's written word as "political" or "agenda driven." It is neither. It is neither simply because it sets out in plain English the actual historical events from the day Abbe Kenshiro arrived in the United Kingdom in 1955, facts which have been recorded and verified by those actually there at the time.
It is an unfortunate and very sad situation that several people within the British Aikido community have seen fit to embellish their lineage/historical backgrounds and attempt to claim direct connection with Abbe Kenshiro. Henry Ellis sets the record straight within the historically accurate text contained within the book.
Positive Aikido is both an excellent read and a valuable record of the aikido studied and taught by Abbe Kenshiro. The book itself is a wonderful insight into early British aikido, and is to my knowledge, the only verifiable and accurate text of its kind. Whilst it is true that Positive Aikido isn't a technical manual, one cannot escape that aikido within the United Kingdom originated from a martial source and this book details those techniques and applications taught by one of Japan's legendary Budoka.