Occasionally, students ask me to recommend some reading on the subject of Aikido. Dozens of great books about Aikido are available. Just a few that come to mind are:
The New Aikido Complete: The Arts of Power and Movement, Yoshimitsu Yamada. Yamada-sensei is Technical Director of the U.S. Aikido Federation and one of the world’s great Aikido shihan. The book provides clear explanations and photos of standard techniques.
The Art Of Aikido: Principles and Essential Techniques, Kisshomaru Ueshiba. This book by O-sensei’s son, the second Doshu (leader of Aikido) is an encyclopaedia of Aikido technique. It is authoritative, detailed and informative.
Best Aikido: The fundamentals(co-authored by the second Doshu); The Aikido Master Course: Best Aikido 2; and Progressive Aikido: The Essential Elements, Moriteru Ueshiba, are all invaluable references. The third Doshu, O-sensei’s grandson, has written clearly and extensively about Aikido practice at all levels. These books are currently in print.
The Aikido Student Handbook: A Guide to the Philosophy, Spirit, Etiquette and Training Methods of Aikido, Greg O’Connor. Covers a lot of basic knowledge needed by newcomers, in particular the basics of Aikido practice, Aikido culture and dojo etiquette.
Aikido Exercises for Teaching & Training, by C. M. Shifflett. Provides some general background on Aikido practice as well as useful, and sometimes amusing, answers to common questions. Includes much information on various Aikido exercises.
The five-volume Traditional Aikidoseries (especially volumes 1 and 2 if you are interested in jo and bokken) are valuable and unique resources. The author is the celebrated shihan Saito Morihiro-sensei, who has written widely about Aikido technique and practice.
Aikido Journal: No longer printed, this online magazine presents a great variety of articles on different elements of Aikido, especially its history. See http://www.aikidojournal.com/
Aikido News, published by the USAF, is a source of great articles on Aikido online, many written by Yamada-sensei himself. See http://usafaikidonews.com,
While there are many great books about Aikido on the market, there are a few questionable ones, too. If you are unsure whether you want to spend the 30 dollars or so a new acquisition might cost, just ask us.