The Aikido Student Handbook.
By Greg O'Connor.
Berkeley, CA: Frog, Ltd., 1993.
ISBN 1-883319-04-8. 108 p. 5.5 x 8.5" paperbd.
What a delight this modest little training manual is! It provides a brief overview of what aikido is, how it came to be, and why you might want to practice it. Chapters on "What is a Dojo?" "Looking for a Dojo," "Common Questions," "Joining a Dojo," and "Etiquette" address many of the issues and confusions beginners face, in a light, breezy, and unaffected manner. Lively and humorous cartoon illustrations supplement points made in the text. The brief glossary contains the most commonly encountered Japanese terms, with clear guides to pronunciation for Americans. The list of "Suggested Reading" contains a good selection of material of interest to new students of aikido. Nor is the information packed into this little book only useful for beginners--yudansha can also benefit from an occasional perusal. I hope that O'Connor, or his publishers, can arrange bulk discounts for dojos. This would be an ideal book to include in an introductory packet given to new dojo members. Not everyone will agree with every point on philosophy or effectiveness of technique described in this book, but as an overview of the mainstream, and a good place for newcomers to start, it is excellent.