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What are the classical/canonical books written about Aikido? I am interested in all styles (aikikai, iwama, yoshinkan, shodokan, whatever) training "manuals" as well as more philosophical work.

I am taking the hit, see this meta discussion. Suggestions as to how to make this type of questions on topic are appreciated -- feel free to edit this.

Just because there is an accepted answer does not mean I am not looking for more answers!

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I can't contribute an answer, but I like the question. :-) –  Simon Peter Chappell Feb 6 '12 at 14:16
A down vote with no feedback... Thank you for the time you took to try to improve the question. –  Sardathrion May 15 '13 at 10:25

6 Answers 6

up vote 5 down vote accepted

I won't answer for classical, as it's a matter of personal opinion.

Personally, I'd consider "canonical" just the two books written by O'Sensei:

Also, given that Kisshomaru Ueshiba gave a significant contribution to help O'Sensei shape Aikido, Kisshomaru's own books may also be considered as canonical.

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Your links are broken –  jacknad Feb 15 '12 at 19:03

"Aikido and the Dynamic Sphere" by Westbrook and Ratti

and for Yoshinkan style "Total Aikido" by Gozo Shioda

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+1 for Shioda's book, -1 for Westbrook and Ratti. Even thought the illustrations are good, the content is confusing and in some cases inaccurate. –  Sardathrion Feb 6 '12 at 14:18
LOL! I only remember that I was a bit disappointed about the American style of writing of Westbrook and Ratti. But it isn't a bad book. It also has a rating of 4.8 stars out of 5 on Amazon and I think it is one of the most read book on Aikido (at least in the west) so in my opinion it's definitely a classic. As for "canonical", I agree with tacone and would like to add "The Spirit of Aikido" by Kisshomaru Ueshiba –  THelper Feb 8 '12 at 7:44

Aikido Shugyo is also an excellent resource, containing both lots of anecdotes about Ueshiba Sensei as well as deep and well-explained insights from Gozo Shioda Sensei. And don't let the fact that it's writtem by the founder of Yoshinkan distract you -- there's not really anything specific to Yoshinkan in there.

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Good foundations for Shodokan Aikido:

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  • Once I read a book about the Life of Morihei Ueshiba (though I don't remember the exact book's name...). I never thought of it as of a "canonical book", but if something is, it is this book - for me.

  • I'd definitely take a look at The Secret Teachings of Aikido.

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For hombu aikido technique, I'd say the canonical textbooks are the two "Best Aikido" volumes produced by Moriteru Ueshiba Doshu and his late father.

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