The Essence of Aikido

The Essence of Aikido - Spiritual Teachings of Morihei Ueshiba.

Book Review

The Essence of Aikido

by John Stevens

In this book, John Stevens has gathered what he calls the spiritual teachings of Morihei Ueshiba. That's no over­statement. Stevens is not altogether convincing when explaining koto­tama and other abstract planes behind Osensei's aikido - but still, this is interesting reading for an in-depth study of aikido.

    Also, the book contains a lot of Osensei's expressive calligraphy (shodo), as well as a number of short poems (doka) of his, most of them about aikido and budo from an elevated and inspired perspective. The doka are translated into English by Stevens, and that can't have been an easy task. I've heard that some of his interpretations are questionable, but that's true for any translation of poetry. For those who want to make up their own mind, the Japanese versions are included alongside the English ones.

    John Stevens has a tendency of publishing the same material over and over, so there are some reruns in most of his books. But this is one of the most fascinating, because of the profundity of the Osensei material included. Just the calligraphies are worth hours of contemplation.

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My other reviews

I've reviewed some other books about aikido and related topics.

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My Own Aikido Books

Aikido Principles

Aikido Principles, by Stefan Stenudd.Basic Concepts of the Peaceful Martial Art. The principles, philo­sophy, and basic ideas of aikido. It's not about the aikido techniques, but the thoughts and ideas behind them. You could call it a book on aikido theory. It was my first book, initially in Swedish. It has also been published in 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.

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Attacks in Aikido

Attacks in Aikido, by Stefan Stenudd.How to do kogeki, the attack techniques. All the attack techniques in aikido explained, and how to do them correctly. This is an often neglected field in aikido training. We focus on the aikido defense techniques but forget to learn the attacks properly - but then the development of our aikido skills will suffer. So, I wrote this book. As far as I know, it's the only one on the subject.

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Aikibatto, by Stefan Stenudd.Sword and staff exercises for aikido students. I developed a comprised system of sword and staff exercises (aikiken and aikijo), initially for my own students to get familiar with these things. Other aikido students seemed to appreciate it, so I made this book. The exercises are explained in detail, with practical and spiritual aspects of the sword arts, how to teach them, equipment for training, and more.

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Qi - Increase Your Life Energy

QI - increase your life energy, by Stefan Stenudd.Ki, the life energy, is a very important aspect of aikido. This is evident already in the name of this martial art. It's the same as the Chinese concept qi (also spelled chi or ch'i). Although essential in many ways, far from all aikido students know how to deal with it and integrate it in their training. Therefore, I wrote this book explaining ki, with several simple basic exercises on how to awaken, increase, and use the life energy.

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My Aikido Books

Aikido Principles, by Stefan Stenudd.

Aikido Principles

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.

Attacks in Aikido, by Stefan Stenudd.

Attacks in Aikido

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.


Stefan Stenudd


Aikido Techniques
Attacks in Aikido
Ikkyo complete
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Aikibatto sword exercises
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Attacks in Aikido
Aikido Principles
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All about the peaceful Japanese martial art.

A system of jo (staff) and ken (sword) exercises for aikido students.

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What the Greek philosophers thought about the cosmos, the gods and the myths.

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Myths in general and myths of creation in particular.

Qi (also spelled chi or ki) explained and exercises to increase it.

An encyclopedia of life energy concepts around the world.

The wisdom of Taoism and the Tao Te Ching, its primary source.

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My Books

Click the header to get to the webpage where I present all my books in English. Click an image below to go to that book's page on Amazon.

All's End, science fiction novel by Stefan Stenudd. Tao Te Ching - The Taoism of Lao Tzu Explained, by Stefan Stenudd. Tao Quotes - The Ancient Wisdom of the Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu.
Cosmos of the Ancients, by Stefan Stenudd. Occasionally I Contemplate Murder, by Stefan Stenudd. QI - increase your life energy, by Stefan Stenudd.
Attacks in Aikido, by Stefan Stenudd. Aikido Principles, by Stefan Stenudd. Aikibatto, by Stefan Stenudd.
Life Energy Encyclopedia, by Stefan Stenudd. Tarot Unfolded, by Stefan Stenudd. Your Health in Your Horoscope, by Stefan Stenudd.

About me
I'm a Swedish writer of fiction and non-fiction books in both Swedish and English. I'm also an artist, an historian of ideas and a 7 dan Aikikai Shihan aikido instructor. Click the header to read my full bio.