It’s a lot like dancing: An aikido journey is a collection of aikido anecdotes, short themes, and aphorisms–ranging from single lines to pages–told by Terry Dobson, a longtime aikido student at the Aikikai Hombu Dojo in the 1960s and founder of the Bond Street dojo in New York, NY.
The material for the text was collected by audio taping Dobson on several occasions, and then edited by Riki Moss. Divided into six chapters that begin with an aphorism from O’Sensei, the text is interpersed with artistic black and white photographs taken by Jan E. Watson. The photographs are not direct interpretations of the text, but an engaged reader would soon find parallels.
Much of the text is autobiographical in nature, often about Dobson’s interactions with O’Sensei and sometimes other (unnamed) personalities at Hombu Dojo or around Japan. This is not, however, a linear autobiography (although a short biographical timeline is included in the rear of the book), nor any form of linear treatise about the philosophy or history of aikido. That being said, Dobson’s thoughts cover a wide range of material and the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Dobson was a renowned story-teller and this book includes many of his most famously re-told stories, including “The Train Story.”
Subtitled “Giving In to Get Your Way”, this book gives clear examples of how to use non-confrontational Aiki principles such as centering and blending to deal with the internal and external conflicts that face everyone.