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Advanced Aikido

Book Summary:

In this book, the authors present an in-depth look at the complete art of Aikido - from the underlying theories that drive the techniques and strategies to advice on mastering the throws and locks fundamental to the art. With over 400 illustrations and detailed instructions from one of the leading teachers in the field, even the most experienced practitioners can benefit from the lessons in this book.

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Review by: Clark Bateman

This recently released book is the second installment in a planned trilogy by these authors, who between them have the better part of a century of training. The first book, “Aikido Basics”, is now a staple in bookstores, arriving on the market in 2003. The third offering, “Aikido Weapons Techniques”, is due in the spring of 2006.

I applauded the first book, because it hit the target exactly as a basic primer, and was so objective in its approach, even to subjects that are often polarizing between various styles. This second book is similarly objective, and once again focuses accurately on the demographic for which it is aimed, that being the somewhat experienced practitioner, who has a good foundation of training under his belt (pun intended), and is looking at the deeper topics and for answers to some of the tougher questions. “OK, what goals do I set now?” “Is there more?” “How do I add focus on the philosophical aspects of my Aikido?”

Although there is a good portion of this book devoted to technical issues, such as combination techniques, counters and reversals, and even strikes(!), what I like most about this book is the material dealing with applying the core philosophies of Aikido to one’s thinking, and to expanding one’s training into dimensions that keep things fresh and interesting. There are discussions dealing with the aikidoka who wishes to become a teacher, or who wants to explore the concepts of “ki” to improve his technique. There is material devoted to realistic application of techniques in a self-defense scenario. There are tips for getting the most out of attending seminars. There is commentary on demonstrations, and even competition (yikes). Yet, all of this is presented in a balanced and objective manner, with no particular emphasis on any one style. It is “beyond the basics” Aikido for the masses. Also included are transcripts of in-depth interviews by Stanley Pranin and Susan Perry, and a compilation of pertinent quotes by many distinguished instructors.

The writing combines the diverse and unquestionable technical expertise of Phong Thong Dang Sensei, and the considerable writing skills and devoted training of incurable “mat rat” Lynn Seiser Sensei, who will no doubt still be training after he is DEAD. The book is well formatted and easy to read; it is profusely illustrated, mostly with renderings created from photographs. The book speaks to a segment of the training population that many other works do not, and is a lot of bang for the buck. I recommend it as a fixture in any library. Borrow it if you have to, but buy it if you can. Find it at your local bookstore or martial arts supply, on amazon.com, or directly from Tuttle Publishing. Good show.

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