Any book about aikido comes from one’s teachers and one’s own experiences.
This book started when this writer was living in Bodega Bay. “Pow!” There it was. The vision of the book was complete in the mind’s eye. At the beginning of each chapter, a photograph from this writer’s photo library seemed to fit perfectly as an illustration of what the chapter contained. So for the next months, sitting in front of a cracking wood stove on those wonderful cold raining winter mornings (that will hopefully return again this winter) time was devoted to writing. The words seemed to flow easily as if there was no barrier between fingers and keyboard.
When the first draft was finished, it was put it aside for a period of time. On the second visit to the manuscript, things were changed, either added or deleted. The result was a tighter read.
The manuscript was shared with a few friends who also train in order to get their feedback. From this feedback more changes and corrections were made. The manuscript was then put aside again. There were fresh eyes looking at what was written and additional changes and corrections were made as a result.
Although this writer has received many requests over the years to write a book specifically about Low Impact Aikido, the book that emerged was written for those curious about Aikido, and those who are training want to gain additional insights into the art. About half way through this process of reading and rereading the manuscript, there was the realization that Low Impact students could easily use what the book contained.
The book that emerged is not about techniques, the correct way to do this technique or that one. There are many excellent aikido books available showing this. The message of the book was how the reader could use the core principles of aikido out in the world. And to show this, a fun set of exercises were created that could be done in a very public, and safe environment.
These exercises were the result of this writer’s trial and error experiences. What is great about aikido is that you get instant feedback on the mat whether what you are doing is or isn’t working. The same litmus test with the examples used in the book. They were tried until they worked.
Energy, ki, is, after all the same to all the martial arts just as it is in life. Even with no martial arts experience, the reader could just simply center and relax her or his breath and let the fun begin.
After a number of re-writes, and sharing the manuscript with more friends, it appeared the manuscript was ready for as my grandmother used to say, “The acid test.” (Not quite sure where this, one of her many sayings, came from?) The “acid test” was to give it to a number of senior teachers and request them to make comments and if possible, write a blurb that could be used with the book.
There was more than some nervousness about doing this. How would be book be received? But the feedback and comments that came back were positive. Hiroshi Ikdea, Shihan and Bob Noha, 6th dan (the dojo cho of Aikido of Petaluma) were the first to respond. Other senior teachers followed, including one who politely suggested my manuscript could use a good final editorial scrubbing to clean up the remaining grammatical issues (which was agreed to).
As this process is about complete and another one is about to begin with Amazon, there is a profound acknowledgement of all those who have in one way or another contributed. Teachers, students, friends and the many social media friends that have shared their own experiences (especially those on Facebook) are part of what has been written.
The book is a reflection of the goodness and strength of our Greater Bay Area Aikido family, and the Aikido (and martial arts) family world-wide. We’re not a perfect family, but there is a real palpable bond that exists beyond any faults. The tie that binds us is a common language of shared experiences, and always holding the greater and highest good. This is as O Sensei would have wanted it!
Note: A portion of any profits from the book will be donated to Aiki Extensions.