“Aikido ahs no set forms – it is the study of the spirit,” declared Morihei
Ueshiba, the founder of Aikido.
For the first time in English, The Essence of Aikido presents the profound
philosophy of Aikido in Morihei’s own words, disclosing many of the arcane
secrets of Aikido’s aims and methods. Considered by many to be the greatest
martial artist and spiritual teacher of the twentieth century, Morihei provides
a wealth of clues to the often puzzling nature of the inseparable link between
the physical and spiritual aspects of Aikido, revealing the heart of the
peaceful warrior’s art.
Elegantly translated and compiled by John Stevens, translator of Morihei’s
Budo, the first half of The Essence of Aikido presents the most comprehensive
collection of the writings of Morihei Ueshiba ever published. Key concepts in
Aikido philosophy, such as kototama (language of the spirit) and misogi
(purification of body and mind) are discussed at length, profusely illustrated
with Morihei’s mystical diagrams, spiritual poems, and fascinating calligraphy.
For Morihei, techniques were the means to express the spiritual principles of
Aikido, and in the second half of The Essence of Aikido, John Stevens focuses on
Morihei’s techniques. Over two hundred hitherto unpublished photos of Morihei in
action from his earliest days as a teacher of the martial arts to his last years
as a master of Aikido complete this detailed survey of the true nature of
A major contribution to a field that until recently has remained elusive to
Western readers, The Essence of Aikido is an inspiring study of the spiritual
and physical elements in Aikido, providing an important resource for martial
arts practitioners and philosophy students alike.