We will be looking at the book Training with the Master lessons with Morihei Ueshiba the founder of aikido, this book was written by John Stevens and Walther V. Krenner. This is a great book about the aikido master himself and has 157 photos, he was at the peak of his career, teaching, martial artist and spiritual seeker, during this time he was eighty-four years old. You will see the founder demonstrating immobilizing wrist grip, learn about the mysteries of Ki the vital life force.
Both authors are experts in aikido, with one instructing all over the world and the other studied with Morihei Ueshiba when he was teaching.
A Brief History
The early years Morihei Ueshiba had a long and established career.and created Aikido, he was also a great spiritual teacher of his time. Over the years there were many great photos taken of him teaching practicing etc this book has many of this aikido master.
His training embodies the way of harmony and peace,
Born in Japan in an old castle town 14/12/1883 being the four child of 5 and the only son, He was a robust teenager and build up his strength from swimming, working on boats, and hiking, He also was a keen Sumo competitor. At 6 years of age he was sent to learn at Confucius classes and spiritual classes being taught by a Buddhist priest.
Being a keen reader he devoted much of his time to reading books on various subjects, After a period in public school he dropped out and went to private school and after graduation he managed to get a job in a local office but this work did not suit him and he soon left and at 18 years of age he was given some money by relatives so he could go to Tokyo to seek his fortune.
He started a small business and made a life for himself, will military action looming Ueshiba failed the induction due to his height being below the requirement of 5ft 2 inches. Being rejected was not an option for him he spent hour hanging from trees to stretch his spine (not recommended) and managed to pass the 2nd physical and was assigned to a regiment. There is a lot more detailed information in this section, this is just to give you an idea of the quality here. This shows the determination of this great martial artist. He was very competitive and driven to achieve what he puts his mind to.
In his regiment he stood out always being the leader finishing marches first and making sure his back pak had more weight than the other soldiers and volunteering for every project going and lifting heavy boulders on his own.
Eventually establishing himself as the top Sumo, he then started learning warrior arts with one of the top instructors at the time, During this time fighting between Russia and Japan started and Ueshiba was eventually called up. Witnessing great carnage this changed his outlook,
Practicing martial arts for many years after and had a hand in dealing with the highway men in that time, He was said to have chopped down 500 trees on his own and was physically strong but he encounters a master who was only 5ft tall ans slight yet was a fearsome warrior.
Ueshiba had an enlightenment experience which he described as miraculous and after which his power was outstanding he could now throw 10 men and once.
He now trained in the martial arts spending days away from everyone up in the mountains. Beating many a challenger and finally finding great peace. Now focusing on peace and believed in not taking a human life even in war if possible.
He dedicated himself to Aikido which he called the way of harmony and trained in the dojo in iwarma. He now focused on preventing war, protection the environment and promoting peace,
Ki training, aikido, spirituality, prey, meditation, He obtained oneness with nature and the universe, Manage to do some traveling promoting his art.
This is just a brief outline of the book itself, the full story giving in depth details of his life but hopefully this gives you a feel of what to expect.
`Aikido is the entire world it is not for selfish or destructive purposes train unceasingly for the welfare of all`
On the Mat With The Master
Aikido has no opponents or enemies you learn not to use brute strength or smash any challengers to the ground Budo seeks one with all things. Aikido does not make you stronger than others it for peace and harmony.
There are pictures of Ueshiba doing purification exercises this can be done by wooden sword or a fan as in this photo. This sections shows plenty of warm up exercises and the also demonstrates some flowing techniques.
Some original Shinto exercises are demonstrated. Teaching on various mantra and the importance of the Hara the physical and spiritual center of the body.the sound of Su.
Then the start of the 1st technique a wrist grab technique. Then moving onto more techniques and ways to neutralize attacks.
Giving various pointers on Ki and how to let the Ki flow freely, immobilizing techniques
There are great pictures of Ueshiba demonstrating and teaching of how we need to think as aikido practitioners having total awareness of oneself and our environment, How to use the center for power.
Aikido should always be practiced joyfully.
The Master Teaches The Way
This section covers great wisdom a must see pictures, the universe is the greatest teacher how a river flow down the mountain making its own path, Books hold the worlds’ wisdom but we need to study, create and practice knowing the art of learning.
aikido is the art of learning and knowing one`s self.
Shinto teaches us the divine is here and we are able to have it here and now through our practice, find out a more definitive description in this section.
There is many great pictures here of Ueshiba relaxing, smiling and laughing.
Many professionals visited Ueshiba to wisdom which could help them, this included actors and athletes getting his thoughts on timing.
You will need the book to gain the true wisdom here and see the great quality of those photographs, as above is just a review of the information to expect.
The art of Peace
This is my favorite section having a large compilation of Ueshiba`s quotations from talks, sayings, poems and calligraphy.
This section has well over a hundred of those actual quotations and each quotation holds wisdom that is timeless. I think those are not only good for practitioners of aikido and for martial artists of any art also for non martial artists.
These will help you train, keep you motivated and give you plenty to contemplate on.
This section is a book of knowledge on it`s own.
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I found this to be a great book a must for anyone trains in Aikido, this book is based on the founder himself and the authors have produced a good level of knowledge and understanding giving the reader a feel for the founder and the sort of man he was covering his full life story,
How he finally came to start aikido and develop the art, his thoughts on life training etc
You will only gain from having this book and the pictures in this book are brilliant, various techniques are covered but this book goes beyond techniques and goes into the art itself and the message Ueshiba wanted to pass on in the great art.
The quotation section as mentioned above is a compilation of saying and quotations, a great section for those who like wisdom and those old sayings from the past masters.
All in all I would highly recommend this book, I have enjoyed reading and reviewing and this wisdom quotations will keep me thinking for some time to come.
Please let me know your comments in the box below, you may already have a copy or buy a copy.
Train hard, focus and practice