On Mastering Aikido takes the reader on a journey through the world of the martial art known as Aikido and the teachings of Daniel Linden Sensei. Written for advanced students of the art – those who are already conversant with the fundamental teachings – Linden Sensei crosses the line often between teaching and entertaining with humorous, touching stories of years of training in the world’s most difficult martial way.
On Mastering Aikido consists of nine dialogs, an Introduction and Afterward. The dialogs are each devoted to one of the main principles of Aikido knowledge, what Linden Sensei refers to as the Eight Pillars of Aikido Wisdom. We discover a ninth in the Afterward, but as Linden says "It is almost impossible to attain." These dialogs are pleasant to read and clearly explain each of the principles in conversation between teacher and student and sometimes teacher to teacher. Interspersed are stories and anecdotes that bridge the gaps between times, attitudes and enlightenment.
On Mastering Aikido applies as well to the study of Aikido as it does to yoga, karate, judo, basketball, tennis, tango or any activity that uses the human body as a tool. The book’s focus is on physical mastership and the rules which Linden Sensei lays down can be applied to any human endeavor. It was written to be read as a continuous effort, but each chapter can stand alone or it can be selected for specific interest. The overall effect is almost that of a novel as the reader is swept up in Shoshin Aikido Dojo while students are engaged in training, relaxing and work around the school. European journeys become travelogues as the dialog unfolds. The book is engaging, enjoyable, enlightening and humorous. In an age when most Martial Art books read like math textbooks, it is a rare find.
In this Second Edition, Mr. Linden offers more insights and a renewed and refreshed viewpoint.