Aikido And The Dynamic Sphere

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Author: A. Westbrook & O. Ratti
Pub: 1970 by Charles E. Tuttle Co.
Pages: 375
Ranking:Five Star Rating
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I only spent a couple of years training in Aikido, so I'm far from knowledgeable in this fascinating art... but I think even many Aikidoka would agree that this is a fine addition to any library. This book contains no photos, but many figure drawings that well illustrate the technique being shown. There are quite a large number of techniques taught in this book, as well as a fairly good philosophical breakdown of Aikido. The only complaint I can come up with, is that the names of the techniques are rarely included, and you are learning "Projection No. 10 against Attack No. 1". But other than this flaw, the book definitely is worth owning.


                          Table of Contents     
       ACKNOWLEDGMENTS 9                                                       
       PREFACE 11                                                              
       LIST OF CHARTS 13                                                       
  I    WHAT IS AIKIDO? 17                                                         
       Defense in Aikido - The "Centre" and "Ki" - The Strategy of Neutral-
       ization - The Potential of Aikido                                       

  II   THE FOUNDATIONS OF AIKIDO 29                                            
       The Founder - Main Sources of Formation and Inspiration - The           
       Martial Arts - The "Ethics" of Defense                                  

 III   ORGANIZATION 35                                                         
       The  Hierarchy  -  Promotion -  The Uniform  - The  Practice Hall  - The
       Mat - Etiquette and Classes

  IV   THE PRACTICE OF AIKIDO 45                                               
       The  Theory  of  Attack  - Physical  Factors / Dynamic Factors  - Tech-
       nical Factors - The Unified Power of Attack                             

  V    THE THEORY OF DEFENSE 61                                                
       The Process of Defense and  Its Factors  - The  Inner Factors:  the Role
       of the Mind - The  Principle of  Centralization -  The Principle  of Ex-
       tension - The Principle of Leading  Control -  The Principle  of Spheri-
       city - Circuits of Neutralization - Spirals and Semi-Spirals of Neutral-
       ization - The Dynamic Sphere - Fusion and Special Exercises             

  VI   THE PHYSICAL PREPARATION 113                                            
       Preliminary Exercises: Suppleness -  Basic Exercises:  Coordination -
       Rolls and Somersault

 VII   THE POSTURE AND MOTION OF DEFENSE 143                                   
       Stages and Unity of the Aikido Process of  Defense -  The Posture  - The

VIII   THE BASIC TECHNIQUES OF NEUTRALIZATION 159                              
       General  Recommendations  -  Immobilizations  -  Projections   -  Combi-

  IX   ADVANCED PRACTICE 323                                             
       "Mat" or Kneeling Aikido - The Stave Exercises - The  Techniques of
       neutralization Applied Against an Armed Attack - The  Techniques of
       Neutralization Applied Against a Multiple Attack - Free Style    

   X   CONCLUSION 359                                                    
       GLOSSARY 365                                                      
       SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY 371                                         
       INDEX 373                                                         


From the Inside Cover:
An Illustrated Introduction
by A. Westbrook and O. Ratti

AIKIDO has often been referred to as the gentleman's fighting art. Though it is not an unfamiliar word, few outside the world of the martial arts can distinguish it from various other "methods of self-defense." Its trademark, however, lies partly in its sophisticated style and particularly in its essential motivations.

Aikido is a method of self-defense which can be used against any form of attack and-at its highest levels-a Discipline of Coordination, a "way" of harmonizing all of man's vital powers. There is no attack in aikido; i.e., its goal is merely to neutralize an aggression and render the attacker harmless, without causing him any serious injury if at all possible. To do this requires skill, but even more, it requires an ethical intention. The very word aikido, in fact, contains the three elements which comprise the art: (ai), harmony or coordination; (ki), spirit or energy,' (do), the method, the "way."

A man who studies and practices aikido correctly desires only to defend himself without hurting others. To possess this attitude, one must achieve a very high level of integration of the powers of mind and body, the harmonious combination of physical means and ethical motives.



ADELE WESTBROOK, who works for one of the largest advertising agencies in the world, studied philosophy at Columbia University at the same time co-author Oscar Ratti was doing graduate work in classical languages. They began to practice aikido together, and while studying under a variety of instructors in the United States and Europe, started the collection of notes and sketches which finally developed into this illustrated introduction to the art of aikido.

OSCAR RATTI, now a commercial illustrator, received his degree in classical studies and law from the University of Naples where he was intercollegiate Greek-Roman wrestling champion and a member of the championship judo team. He later came to the United States and began to study aikido with Yasuo Ohara, one of the first instructors to teach in New York. In addition to being co-author of the book, Mr. Ratti provided all the excellent drawings that appear in this volume.

Miss Westbrook and Mr. Ratti have also taught aikido in New York, working with youth groups at Centers affiliated with the Y.M.C.A.



IN ORDER to be consistent and have any significance whatsoever, a book- any book-must have a purpose and a system for achieving that purpose. The primary purpose of Aikido and the Dynamic Sphere is to widen and deepen knowledge of this Discipline of Coordination. In the authors' estimation, the art of aikido contains valuable directives for helping man in his struggle against the age-old predicament represented by that dispersive (and dispersed) condition of physio-functional and psychological lack of coordination which can undermine the very foundation of his character, personality, and-eventually-his entire well-being. This art also contains an ethical message, a reason why, as well as a means of harmonizing that character and that personality in the sphere of superior development and of coordinating it with the everyday conduct of man-in his individual niche, in his society, in his world.

Such a purpose, however, because of its very depth and extension, is extremely difficult (if not impossible) to achieve in a single book. Aikido, in fact, rests upon cultural foundations drawn from the life of Japan in particular, and Asia in general. Its theory is complex and its practice extremely varied-both replete with unexplored possibilities. At best, then, what we have systematically gathered together here can serve only as an introduction to the subject.

Aikido consists of, and may be systematically approached as, theory and practice. Volumes could be devoted entirely to either, and anthologies to both (the Bibliography found at the end of this book indicates a very bare be-ginning). We were forced to consider whether Aikido and the Dynamic Sphere should concentrate primarily on the former-the history, philosophy, ethical motivations of the art, etc.-or should deal more specifically with its practice, i.e., its techniques, exercises, and strategies.

We decided finally in favor of the second possibility, and have consequently gone very deeply into the practice of aikido, taking great pains to demonstrate through examination of concrete conduct of actual techniques, exercises, and strategies, what their theoretical motivations are (or should be), hoping that the image of an action or the action itself may prove to be worth the proverbial "thousand words."

As to the system adopted, we would propose that there are two equally valid ways of approaching any experience-both with their positive and negative aspects. In the East, the general tendency historically has been that of approaching it as a totality, as an indivisible entity whose hidden laws must be felt intuitively and followed absolutely if the desired result is to be obtained. There is, of course, a tacit acceptance of order and therefore, implicitly, a system of some sort; but the emphasis is upon leaping into the experience with both feet-as into a pond-and sinking or swimming as the case may be.

In the West, analysis plus the ability to project abstractions have been largely responsible for the advances (and the horrors) of Western civilization. However, in the West, the pervading theme is beginning to be: "We have progressed from primitive and unselfconscious participation to analytical thinking and an appreciation of awareness on the individual level-now, finally, let us move onward toward synthesis and unity on a higher and more truly humane level."

In the East, on the other hand, they began with the idea of unity accepted a priori-an acceptance which was to be largely responsible for the wonders and the tragedies of their civilization. But with the coming of industrialization, Asia of necessity began to respond to the analytical resonances buried just beneath the surface of that word. In Asia too, however, it is only a matter of time before there will be a move toward blending the original and largely unexamined totality with the newly acquired tradition of analysis-gravitating, as in the West, toward a higher and more consciously constructed unity.

In this book, we, being Westerners, have analyzed and systematized the practice of aikido, always keeping in mind the ultimate unity of the art and hoping that the method we have devised will help to introduce other Westerners to this marvelous Discipline of Coordination. And, as we-although steeped in Western ways-learned aikido by studying with many Japanese instructors, so we hope that it may prove enlightening for readers in the Orient to catch a glimpse of their art as seen through Western eyes.



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