From the Publisher: “The Heart of Aikido: The Philosophy of Takemusu Aiki” takes the reader on a spiritual journey straight to the essence of Aikido, in the words of the great Founder himself. Ueshiba, affectionately known as O’Sensei, or “Great Master,” devoted himself to the promotion of peace and expression of universal human values, and spent a substantial part of his life imparting and teaching these values. Taken largely from transcripts of lectures he gave, The Heart of Aikido draws on the essence of the Founder’s philosophy and spirituality based on the Shinto religion, and his beliefs on the divinity of the true self and the universe. His teachings also emphasize the importance of harmony in Aikido, and how ultimately humans can foster a peaceful society by dispelling aggression through such harmony.
This long-awaited English version is a translation of the original Japanese classic. Among the many Aikido books that exist today, this book will stand out for its heartfelt focus on the spiritual message of the Founder, and how that message resonates with equal urgency in today’s world.
This is one of the most popular Aikido books of all time. Originally published as a pocket-sized volume (see photo with yellow cover), a full-sized softcover edition (see photo with white cover – 93pp, ISBN#1570629641) was published in 1992. The book is a collection of writings and quotations by O’Sensei, translated and edited by John Stevens Sensei.
The book consists of a series of proverbs by O’Sensei, the sequence of which varies from one publication to another. Many of the proverbs are presented in a form of Japanese verse called “doka”. Illustrations are limited to depictions of kanji symbols.
Hardback edition (see photo with maroon cover – 184pp, was added in 2005. The 2010 hardback edition (white cover/red title) comes with an audio reading on CD.
It could be argued that the most popular martial arts/sports are Judo, Aikido, and Karate. Accordingly, author John Stevens has provided biographies of three seminal figures, one from each of these disciplines.
Quotes from author Stevens’ own Preface provide a good summary of the book: “It begins with a short [26 page] biography of the founder of Aikido, Morihei Ueshiba….” And, “Chapter 2 describes the traditional training methods and techniques of the art of Aikido. Chapter 3 is a presentation of the profound philosophy and ideals of Aikido…” And finally, “The book concludes with several shorter chapters of reference: Styles and Schools of Aikido, Resources, and a Glossary.”
“Aikido has been called the most philosophical of martial arts…” says the author, and in this book he details what he considers to be the “Essential Principles” on which Aikido is based, in his first chapter. Other chapters include his discussion of how Aikido is related to Nature and Health, to Eastern and Western philosophies, to Art, and to the Global Society. The second half of the book discusses Aikido Practice, but it is an examination not of technique, but of the ideas and philosophies that govern and inform practice. This latter half contains many pictures. The book has a short, but highly complimentary Forward by Doshu Moriteru Ueshiba. A paperback edition was first produced in 2013.
In the Forward, Kisshomaru Ueshiba says, “Expertly compiled and translated into English by Professor John Stevens, The Essence of Aikido presents the spiritual teachings of Morihei Ueshiba, the founder of Aikido.” Also included, with commentary, are caligraphies by O-Sensei and many photographs of him.
Invincible Warrior tells the fascinating story of the life of Morihei Ueshiba (1883-1969), whose quest for the true meaning of warriorship lead to the creation of the martial art called Aikido, “The Art of Peace.” Ueshiba—whose name means “abundant peace”—is considered by many to be one of the greatest martial artists who ever lived. His documented ability to disarm any attacker, throw a dozen men simultaneously, and down and pin opponents without touching them has accorded his life legendary status.
Invincible Warrior presents the real story behind Morihei’s achievement, illuminating the man and his message. Stevens describes the people, events, and ideas that influenced Ueshiba’s lifelong spiritual quest, which culminated in the development of unique teachings of Aikido. Illustrated with two hundred photographs of Morihei in action and filled with revealing anecdotes about his life and times, Invincible Warrior also offers valuable discussion of the Founder’s conception of Aikido as a path of harmony and love, unifying body and mind, self and others, humans and the universe.
Editor John Stevens brings to one volume samples of the work of many notable figures in the history of Japanese martial arts. These works are mostly translation excerpts, but quite a few are drawings. Chapter One, The Principles of Budo, includes 14 short selections; Chapter Two, The Philosophy of Budo, contains five; and Chapter Three, Tales of the Masters of Budo, contains a few dozen selections, ranging from a paragraph to a page or so. There is a bibiography of Japanese and English source materials.