Morihei Ueshiba, who founded Aikido early in this century, intended that his martial art would give form to profound spiritual truth, and lead to a unification of the world's peoples. He saw Aikido not as a fighting method or as a competitive sport but rather as a means of becoming one with the laws of universal order--ki, or life energy. Unfortunately, the subtleties of Ueshiba's teachings, veiled in the esoteric terminology of Shinto, can be puzzling for even the most advanced practitioners. They are not passed down today, and have never been introduced to the West. Gleason, a fifth-degree (Godan) black belt in Aikido, recognizing the importance of the spiritual aspects of the discipline, researched its roots in Shinto, and in this book is able to offer a clear explanation of Ueshiba's teachings.
• Unlike the common "how-to" manuals on basic technique, this is the first book to introduce the underlying spiritual principles of Aikido--the elusive concept of kototama (word souls), expressed as one spirit, four souls, three origins, and eight powers--and how they relate to the forms.
• Teaches the student how to use Aikido to accomplish spiritual goals.
• Reveals little-known teachings of Shinto and Aikido, relating them to Buddhism, Christianity, and other spiritual teachings.
William Gleason has studied aikido and Japanese medicine and philosophy since 1969, including 10 years of study in Japan. The director of Shobu Aikido in Boston and a 6th dan instructor, he is the author of Aikido and Words of Power and The Spiritual Foundations of Aikido, and translator of Mitsugi Saotome’s Principles of Aikido.
"If interested in a serious exploration of Japanese religion, the practice of Zen, or aikido history, this title could serve well. It thoroughly explains the basic philosophical concepts behind this martial art and the components of Shinto and Zen."