'On the Back' of Training with the Master
"The purpose of Aikido is to remind us that we are always in teh state of grace," said Morihei Ueshiba (O'Sensei). Of anyone embodied that state of grace, it was O'Sensei himself, the founder of Aikido and perhaps the greatest martial artist who ever lived. But who was the man who created this martial art known as the 'Art of Peace"? What were the princilpes - always more spiritual that physical - that this 'warrior for peace" espoused? And how did O'SEnsei's own movements embody the high standards he set for himself and others?
Training with the Master addresses all these questions, centering around 157 photographs of unrivaled quality, shot when O'Sensei was eighty-four years old and at the peak of his career as a teacher, martial artists, and spiritual seeker. Here, frozen forever in time, is a "day in the life" of the Founder, on and off the mat. We see him in training, from his initial bow before the dojo shrine and warm-up movements, through a series of exercises, postures, pins and throws, to the concluding "seated breath-power training" and mutual back-stretching. We see him demonstrating his immobilizing wrist grip; explaining the mysteries of Ki, the vital life force, and how to control it; speaking to his student; taking refreshment - and flashing the smile that itself drew many to the practice of Aikido. Framing the photographs are a biography of O'Sensei by John Stevens; a compilation of quotations from the Founder's talks, saying, and poems; and examples of his calligraphy.
John Stevens is Professor of Buddhist Studies and Aikido instructor at Tohoku Fukushi University in Sendai, Japan. He is the author of over twenty books on Buddhism, Zen, Aikido, and Asian culture, including The Secrets of Aikido and The Art of Peace. He has practiced and taught Aikido all over the world.
Walther v. Krenner studied at Morihei Ueshiba's training center in Japan when the Founder was still alive. He owns and operates the Sandokan Aikido school in Kalispell, Montana, where he lives.
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