Learning and Teaching Aikido

Learning and Teaching Aikido

Fred Phillips


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You have trained in aikido for at least several months and wonder what's beyond the mechanics of basic technique. You ponder why we do what we do, and what principles underlie the techniques. You are looking for an edge to accelerate your learning and deepen your understanding. This book's 'Especially for Students' section is for you.The 'Especially for Teachers' section offers tips for aikido instructors. It helps you articulate to your students some of aikido's more difficult ideas.The third section's longer chapters treat philosophical and strategic questions that are central to aikido practice.Learning and Teaching Aikido shows beginning-to-intermediate aikido students how to approach their practice, explaining why we do what we do in aikido. This literate presentation for the thoughtful practitioner also advises aikido teachers on how to present difficult concepts to their classes. Drawings and photos make the explanations clear. Learning and Teaching Aikido is a needed supplement to the many books that explain aikido history and how to execute aikido techniques.Contents:

  • Preface: Why This Book?
  • Introduction: May We Disagree?
  • Especially for Students:
    • Q&A: Aikido and Martial Art Practice
    • Enter the Dojo
    • Big Mind and the Insanity of Attack
    • Escape or Lead?
    • Three Purposes of Tai Sabaki
    • Tai Sabaki Is More Important Than Technique
    • Posture is More Important Than Tai Sabaki
    • Breath and Ukemi
    • Warm-Ups
    • Don't Hurry
    • Relax
    • Changing Your Mind
    • There is No Tree
    • Regain the Center
    • Range of Effectiveness
    • Stare at Your Hand, or Stare at the Floor?
    • Around, Not Against
    • Push, Don't Pull
    • Get Close
    • Attack Sincerely
    • Atemi
    • Nerve Techniques and Self-Defense
    • Kumitachi Make No Sense. Practice Them Anyway
    • You Will Do Aikido with Your Mind
    • I Say Same, You Listen Different!
    • Your Teacher and Your Aikido Organization
    • Should I Ask for a Test? Should I Take a Test If Asked?
    • Postscript
    • Out of the Dojo
    • Play Your Own Game
    • Practice!
  • Especially for Teachers:
    • Motivating Beginners
    • Fear of Falling
    • Zen Conversations
    • Atemi 2: The Force Continuum
    • Eye Contact in Aikido
    • Unifying and Separating
    • Clapping and Bowing
    • Slow Time
    • Empathy and Martial Art
    • Learning Styles
    • What's Your Metaphor?
    • Sword and Staff
    • Teaching Aiki Sword
  • Why Do We Do This? Reflections on Training for Both Teachers and Students:
    • Intention
    • Duality: The Power of Two
    • When Times Get Tough, the Tough Stay Centered: The Way of Peace
    • Victims at Work
    • Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good People?
    • Aikido and Beyond
    • Women in Aikido
    • More Q&A: War and Peace
  • Conclusion: Looking for Aikido
  • Glossary
  • About the Author

Readership: Thoughtful aikido students, prospective students, and non-students interested in aikido.Martial Art;Aikido;Self-Defense;Zen;Physical Education;Fitness;Self-Help;Asian Culture;Asian StudiesDr Fred Phillips is a serious researcher and aikidoka who has incorporated his lifelong aikido training philosophy into this book. This book is not a technical treatise, but practicing aikidoka should keep its well-organized ideas in mind at all times. I recommend reading it.' - Yoon, Dae Hyun, ShihanChairman of the Korean Aikido Federation

'Great insights! Well written and entertaining.' - Paul Barrett4th Dan, Dojo-cho, Duke City Dojo, Albuquerque

'Thumbs up! Wonderful writing and an amazing Aikido contribution, 'The 3-inch-wide black belt arms only the waist. The real black belt is the spiritual practice and the whole body.' - Jie Han4th dan, Kobayashi Aikido China and New Zealand

'Fred Phillips is the essence of an accomplished Aikido instructor — he delves deep intellectually like the college professor he is, but he also has the heart and soul of a warrior. Learning and Teaching Aikido reflects the author's many years of aikido teaching and practice, his continual search for deeper meaning, and his gentle humor. Despite style differences, there are deep principles that are of interest to all of us who train. I believe this book is a worthwhile addition to every martial artist's library.' - James Pounds7th Dan — Goju-Ryu Karatedo SeiwakaiPresident, Seiwakai USA

'Learning and Teaching Aikido is written with mature and sage advice for the modern warrior in modern times. Using humor and irony, Fred Phillips reflects on the words of his teachers. He shares his stories as a reflection, like a Zen meditation, that has informed both his aikido practice and his connection to the world. His stories describe a way of being, with open-mindedness and empathy. He instructs the reader to show up, be present, listen, bring intention and practice regularly and patiently.' - Dan Penrod5th Dan, Dojo-cho, Budo DojoBeaverton, OR

'Learning and Teaching Aikido is a very insightful book that explores Aikido from the perspectives of students and instructors. Both will gain valuable knowledge from this book.' - Tim Spies5th Dan, Chicago Regional Director, Aikido Association of America

'I was lucky to practice with Fred Phillips Sensei on several occasions in Taiwan. He always found creative ways to instruct his students and enhance their vision of aikido beyond repeating movements. His new book continues to do so in a concise and thought-provoking way by addressing the issues many aikidoka face.' - Alex Waits2nd dan, Taiwan Aikikai and Israel

'I have followed Taoist technique, Tai Chi, and meditation for health and well-being. Aikido had not attracted me. Big aikido falls scared me out of my wits. As I approached retirement age, Fred Phillips opened the door of my aikido journey. I quickly discovered the deeper aim of aikido is to gain control of oneself, at the same time extending compassion to the opponent, and I came to feel the ultimate aim of aikido is to reach and to connect with our primordial spiritual nature.' - Lily ClarkMBAcC (Member of British Acupuncture Council)MCHM (Member of Chinese Herbal Medicine)MAcAC (Member of Acupuncture Association of ROC, Taiwan)

'Sensei Fred Phillips, who really loves Aikido, has inspired me for a long time. This book is a good reference and resource for all who practice martial arts.' - Lim, Byoung KyuDaehan Dojo-cho, Incheon, South Korea

'Fred Phillips' understanding and explanation of Aikido and its philosophy go beyond the ordinary, and are highly recommended for all Aikido practitioners.' - Hiroshi Tajiri6th Dan, Shihan AikikaiChief instructor of Seibukan Aikido Dojo, North Carolina