I'm a Swedish writer and aikido instructor, 6 dan Aikikai Shihan, former Vice Chairman of the International Aikido Federation. I've practiced aikido since 1972. I also teach the sword art iaido. Here's my budo bio.
by Stefan Stenudd. The aikibatto sword and staff exercises for aikido students explained, with practical and spiritual aspects of the sword arts, equipment for training, and more. Click the image to see the book at Amazon.
Increase your life energy, by Stefan Stenudd. The life energy qi (also chi or ki), with exercises on how to awaken, increase, and use it. Click the image to see the book at Amazon.
Basic Concepts of the Peaceful Martial Art
Aikido is a martial art unlike any other. It contains no attacks, only defense, and this defense should be so gentle that even the attacker is delighted by it. There is no competition, since each participant should be a winner. It's an art that takes a lifetime to learn.
There are many books about aikido. None of them is enough for learning this gentle martial art. Still, one day I felt I had to write one, too. But I focused on the ideas, principles and theories behind aikido - not at all a manual on how to do the techniques. That has to be practiced in the dojo. A book is for thoughts, so I wrote one about what thoughts lie behind aikido and its practice.
Transmitting ideasI had the fortune of practicing for a very talkative aikido teacher, when I was new to it. His name was Toshikazu Ichimura and he was the national instructor in Sweden. He explained the philosophy and mythology in the tradition from which aikido had sprung.
Other experienced teachers have done the same. I found these perspective of tremendous importance when trying to understand and improve in aikido.
Since I'm a writer by profession, it was unavoidable that I had to write a book about aikido sooner or later. That happened later - after twenty years of training.
I guess it took so long because humility is part of what we learn in this martial art. I doubted that I would have something of any value to contribute. I was even unsure if a non-Japanese aikidoka was at all equipped to do it.
Well, what I found was that I had learned so much from my teachers, actually also from my students, I needed not to be concerned. What we lack in wisdom, we can compensate by experience. So, I focused on transmitting the thoughts and perspectives I had been taught.
That's what it's all about. We learn, and we pay back by passing the knowledge on.
So, much to my surprise the book was a delight to write. Even more surprising was the kind reception it got when published.
The first edition was in Swedish, printed in 1992. I hesitated again about writing an English version, although many aikido friends from other countries urged me. It took me another 16 years.
Aikido is an art. That means people practicing it are artists. The more of them expressing their experience in writing, the better. There's a lot of aikido books published so far, but there's still room for a lot more.
The BookAikido Principles presents the principles and basic concepts of aikido – deeply rooted in Eastern philosophy and the refined ideals of the samurai. It's not a technical manual, but an exploration of the thoughts and theories at work in aikido practice.
It's divided into three parts. The first one deals with aikido ideas of finding the peaceful solution, of doing away with conflict, and how to enjoy aikido practice to the fullest. The second part presents the basic Japanese concepts at work in aikido, such as do, the way, ki, life energy, tanden, the center, the polarities of irimi/tenkan and omote/ura, the significance of maai, aiki, kinagare, takemusu, and so on.
There's also a substantial chapter about kototama, the spiritual cosmology of sounds that was central to Osensei. The third part is an appendix, including an aikido glossary.
There are no instructions on how to do ikkyo, shihonage, and the other aikido techniques. That you find on this website, instead. The book focuses on aikido theory, but in a way that should be readily applicable in practice. Let's say that it's a book about how you should think when you practice aikido.
With the right mind your aikido will improve, all by itself. But only by practice, lots of practice.
The book has previously been published with the title Aikido: The Peaceful Martial Art.
ContentsHere is the book's table of contents:
Aikido is true 9
Aikido principles 11
The impossible martial art 12
No opponent, no battle 19
Morihei Ueshiba’s path 22
Water, air, and vacuum 25
Sooner like the youth 31
Female advantage 36
Throw away 40
To know or to learn 45
Here and now 51
A shared journey 53
That self-defense thing 56
Aikido basics 63
Do – the way 64
Ki – life energy 69
Ai – harmony 78
Triangle, circle, and square 82
Tanden – the center 84
Aiki – rhythm and direction 89
Kiai – gathering power 94
Kamae – the perfect guard 99
Kokyu – belly breathing 105
Maai – the safe distance 111
Irimi, tenkan – inward, outward 114
Omote, ura – front, back 116
Gotai – static training 119
Jutai – soft training 122
Kinagare – flowing training 125
Zanshin – extended spirit 128
Uke – the one who is led 132
Keiko – practice, practice, practice 137
Takemusu – limitless improvisation 139
Nen – one with the moment 142
Kototama – the soul of words 146
Osensei’s rules for training aikido 164
Budo Charter – the Japanese rules 166
Glossary of aikido terms 169
Aikido websites 187
SamplesHere are two short chapters from Aikido Principles, as Acrobat PDF files in computer screen resolution (72 DPI):
About meI started to practice aikido in 1972, when I was 18 years old. Now, I'm 6 dan Aikikai Shihan, Vice Chairman of the International Aikido Federation, member of the Swedish Aikikai Grading Committee, and President of the Swedish Budo & Martial Arts Federation. I teach aikido and iaido at the dojo Enighet in Malmo, Sweden, and at seminars in Sweden and other European countries.
Outside the dojo I'm a writer and historian of ideas. I've written a number of books in Swedish and English, both fiction and non-fiction. Among the latter are books about aikido and aikibatto, a guide to the life force qi, and a Life Energy Encyclopedia. I've also published a translation and commentary of the Chinese classic Tao Te Ching. In the history of ideas I study the thought patterns of creation myths, as well as Aristotle's Poetics.
Basic Concepts of the Peaceful Martial Art
by Stefan Stenudd
Paperback, 188 pages
In German, Swedish, and CzechThe above aikido book has also been published in Swedish, German, and Czech. The first edition of the English version had the title Aikido - The Peaceful Martial Art. It's still around, but I recommend this edition called Aikido Principles.
My Aikido Books
Basic Concepts of the Peaceful Martial Art, by Stefan Stenudd. Aikido principles, philosophy, and basic ideas. Click the image to see the book at Amazon.
How to do kogeki, the attack techniques, by Stefan Stenudd. All the attack techniques in aikido explained, and how to do them correctly. Click the image to see the book at Amazon.