God is bigger than we think and cannot be put in a box. Christian saints and mystics saw God in and through all things; yet, modern Christians are afraid to venture beyond non-traditional disciplines and conceptions in their search for God. As Eastern exercises, such as yoga, have become popular in the West, they have been recognized as meaningful means of Christian spiritual growth. This book shows that a Japanese martial art, aikido, can also be a path to God. Drawing upon his experience in aikido and in ministry, as well as training in theology, the author shows how selected principles parallel and are congruent with the Christian message. Each chapter ends with a prayerful reflection for practical application in Christian life.
From the Publisher: In this first full autobiographical work, the legendary aikido grandmaster Gozo Shioda tells of his exciting life. Born in Tokyo in 1915, Shioda excelled as a student of Morihei Ueshiba, the founder of aikido. He went on to win first place in the All Japan Martial Arts Exhibition in 1954; and later, founded the Yoshinkan school of aikido, considered a “hard” style for its rigorous training techniques and emphasis on correct form. In 1988, Shioda was awarded the title of Aikido Master by the International Martial Arts Federation. Over the course of his distinguished career, he also served as the chief instructor for the Tokyo Metropolitan Police, the Air Self-defense Force, the Japanese National Railways, and a number of leading Japanese universities.
In Aikido: My Spiritual Journey, Shioda relates moving, personal anecdotes about Ueshiba and imparts what he learned from his mentor. He offers a concise overview of the key elements of aikido, including breath power, focused power, and the power of the center line. About 20 rare photos of the author, chronicling his life in aikido, are also included. Yasuhisa Shioda, the author’s son and himself a prominent figure in the aikido world, has contributed the Afterword to this volume.
From the Publisher: The texts in this book are inspired by the teachings of Katsuyuki Shimamoto, 8th dan, who has been a Zen priest and aikido teacher for 50 years. The title is taken from a poem that frequently graces his calligraphies: Harmonize with others, Harmonize with Heaven and Eart, Dance with others, Dance with Heaven and Earth. Humble and congenial, Katsuyuki Shimamoto is a perpetrator of aikido as a martial art of peace that seeks to create harmony. Influenced strongly by Zen, he emphasizes good posture, calm breathing, universal acceptance, simplicity, and minimalist aesthetics. These short pieces of wisdom taken from aikido and Zen help us understand that living with others is what allows us to live at all. That the right form – including posture, field of vision, and breathing – can change not only our outlook but the outcome, too. That we can neutralize any attack once we learn to accept it. That true victory is to win against our weaknesses, and fighting only serves as a stepping stone towards harmony. That with the right approach, the very life we struggle with can turn into the greatest treasure. Photographer and designer Morteza Ariana has not only given the book a beautiful look but also contributed significantly to conveying its message by adding a visual component to its expression. His breathtaking original photographs resonate with Katsuyuki Shimamoto’s sense for Zen aesthetics and clarity of communication. Every text is juxtaposed with one of these images, adding another dimension to its meaning, and often alluding to the contradictory nature of Zen teachings intended to help practitioners overcome the boundaries of reason. Get ready for a book that takes you straight to the heart of the matter. Dance with Heaven & Earth!
Also available as an E-Book from numerous outlets.
Publication Year: 2012
ASIN (Kindle): B008ZB9NAO
Available Bindings: Paperback, Kindle, Nook, E-Book
Nobuyuki Watanabe was born on July 25, 1930 in Miyazaki, Kyushu. He is one of the few remaining direct disciples of Ueshiba Morihei, The founder of Aikido. Watanabe Shihan started Aikido at the age of 22 and entered the Aikikai Hombu Dojo in Tokyo as a live-in student (uchideshi) in 1958, where he still teaches regularly to date. Besides his international engagement as an Aikido teacher (8° DAN), Watanabe Shihan is also active as a physician (a specialist in osteopathy) at his residence in Koshigaya, Saitama.
This book in honour of his eightieth birthday is dedicated to Watanabe Shihan for his engagement as an Aikido instructor in Germany over more than 25 years. Most of the photographs were taken in the past three years during workshops in Birach, Germany as well as in Togari and the Aikikai Hombu Dojo, Japan. The text is based on notes taken from the teachings of Watanabe Shihan as expressed in his classes and talks. This book is a snapshot of the ever transforming nature and variety of Watanabe Shihan’s Aikido, because to Watanabe Shihan Aikido means constant change and freedom. The aphorisms chosen aim to express this unlimited spirit of Aikido.
Watanabe Shihan has broadened the scope of Aikido in his very own way and thereby helped people today to learn to understand the interaction of nature, health, energy and freedom beyond the world of Budo as a martial art. In the true spirit of the founder Ueshiba Morihei, Watanabe Shihan has made understandable in a comprehensive manner the special nature of Aikido as a way to continuously develop body and mind in accord with nature and the energy of the universe, and thus opened the gate to this borderless path for many people. For this Watanabe Shihan deserves all of our special thanks!
Thomas Witty, Tokyo, July 2010
The book is published tri-lingually, in German, Japanese and English.
As martial arts have gained in popularity, they have been associated with their Eastern origins and identified with Eastern philosophies and religions. This book shows that beyond kicks, punches and throws, they can be a path to God and an aid in Christian spiritual growth. Drawing upon his experience in aikido, a Japanese martial art, and training in theology, the author shows how selected principles parallel and are congruent with the Christian message, with each section ending with a prayerful reflection for practical application in our Christian lives.
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.
From the Publisher: Among the modern martial arts most often mentioned in relation to “spirituality” is the Japanese martial art aikido, created by Morihei Ueshiba (1883 -1969) in the 1940s. He described aikido as an art of peace and viewed its practice as a spiritual endeavour. Academic observers, however, have cast doubt on the authenticity of spiritual content in the martial arts while others consider that spirituality is not possible outside the confines of established religion. This book refutes these arguments by exploring in detail aikido’s relationship to Japan’s spiritual traditions. Drawing extensively on Ueshiba’s discourses and writings, it compares the aikido world view and practice methods with those of four belief systems influential in Japan – Daoism, Zen Buddhism, Shingon Mikkyo and Shinto. The book shows how Ueshiba pierced the meaning of these traditions and was able thereby to synthesize their spiritual practices creatively. It also sheds light on various sources of confusion surrounding spiritual aspects of the martial arts and should interest martial arts’ practitioners and anyone concerned more widely with new forms of spirituality.
Aikido goes beyond martial arts: it does not only resolve conflict in a constructive way but it also develops our intuition. It gives us an insight that changes old paradigms and transforms our current vision of the world, our mind and spirit, through the practice of harmonious universal movements developed by its Founder, Kaiso Sensei Morihei Ueshiba. It is through its physical training system that Aikido helps us to get the technology we need to improve our lives by using unity, confluence and harmony (Aiki). The way of Aiki is a path intended to prepare us to avoid destructive actions in order to find the value and possibilities it offers in order to develop an Aiki culture. This book presents basic information derived from the great master’s teachings that might have been forgotten or neglected throughout the years of its expansion.
Most people pursue waking up in the way they go after a new car, or a mate, a college education, or becoming CEO, as if it’s the same thing. But this is not the same. Those are temporary goals. There is nothing wrong with getting new cars or becoming CEO, or whatever else pleases you, but don’t confuse the two. Achieving those things, we use skills that can be learned, whereas awakening does not result from education, a gathering of knowledge. This is the very highest art form: the art of letting go of ‘doing’ and dropping into resting in the awareness itself. This ‘shift’ is the perfect and complete unification of all aspects of life, of truly knowing and experiencing at the same time; suddenly, ‘waaa!’ It all comes together.
Aikido, as a martial art, embraces both the physical aspects of enhancement as well as the spiritual growth of the individual. Each practitioner discovers and journeys their own unique path – gaining a new perspective of the world around them and of themselves. “How Aikido Can Change the World” is a road map of that journey of discovery. This book discusses Aikido beyond the physical aspects. While Aikido is a physical martial way, its philosophies and peripherals carry over far into a practitioner’s world if proper focus and realization are maintained. The author conveys his expedition of the art gained through personal experience, exploration and integration. “How Aikido Can Change the World” is definitely one that will be read multiple times, as each reading will provide further insight as the Aikido practitioner develops and grows.