Aikido & The Dynamic Sphere
Aikido and the Dynamic Sphere is a comprehensive technical introduction to 1960's-era Aikikai Aikido as taught in the United States. The book is effectively in two parts. The first part provides an overview of Aikido, including its history and organization, its technical place among other Japanese martial arts, its primary technical features, and its theory of defence. It is from this theory of defence that the book draws its title.
The second, and far larger, part of the book presents a detailed basic technical curriculum, from preparation exercises and posture through to basic techniques and some advanced techniques. Both sections pair descriptions with hundreds of hand-drawn illustrations. Since the book sets out to introduce Aikido from a Western point of view, Western terms are substituted for Japanese terms throughout. For example, "ikkyo" is called "immobilization no.1".
The book also includes many charts, including a detailed fold-out chart close to the center showing all the basic "techniques of neutralization". Aikido and the Dynamic Sphere is one of the earliest aikido books to achieve widespread success and has subsequently been reprinted many times. The first softcover printing (ISBN 0804832846) appeared in 2001.
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Review by: John Boswell
From what I have seen over the years, this book has been the subject of many mixed opinions, but overall it is an outstanding introduction to the Art of Aikido.
Though it was written some time ago, much of the basic principles discussed still hold true today. Ranking, Uniform, Etiquette are always going to be there. The basic principles of motion, resistance, control, basic holds and attacks are always there as well.
When you start looking at the Theories of Defense, here is where one will need to listen as much to their instructor or sensei, but knowledge is power and the more you know (and this book is a great help) the better off you will be.
Many questions are often repeated by new students of aikido. You'll find most of the answers in this book. The diagrams are not always the easiest to follow, but the more you learn about aikido, the more they will start to make sense to you.
When I first started studying aikido, I read everything I could get my hands on. This book, more than any other, was my textbook of choice. I wish it had a larger glossery in the back, but aside from that, I just can't knock it.
Anyone starting out in aikido would do well to buy this book, read the beginning chapters of it and then review it from time to time. Great book!