If you're someone who's never considered learning a martial art, you might wonder what a book about the relatively obscure Japanese art of aikido might have to offer you. But when George Leonard took his first aikido lesson, he had no idea that this physical discipline held an underpinning of philosophy and spiritual insight that would influence every aspect of his life. Now Leonard, cofounder of the Esalen institute and author of books such as The Life We Are Given (written with Esalen cofounder Michael Murphy) and Education and Ecstacy , has written an inspiring new book that translates this complex Eastern philosophy into life lessons for today's readers.
At the center of aikido is the philosophy of "entering and blending"; when an attack is launched, instead of countering or dodging it, the aikido practitioner moves toward it and turns to briefly experience the action from the attacker's point of view, gaining insight, opening the possibility of reconciliation, and making use of the energy of the attack. Leonard shows us how this same philosophy of turning negative energy positive can be applied to many situations in life, in personal and professional relationships and encounters of all kinds. He also explores the act of centering, the philosophy of ki or life energy, the practice of meditation, the role of optimism, and other lessons that apply not just to the practice of aikido but to all of life. The Way of Aikido is a beautifully written work about the human potential that will inspire not just students of martial arts but seekers of all kinds.