Aikido Off the Mat: One Woman's Journey Using Aikido Principles to Stay Sane in Body, Mind, and Spirit

Aikido Off the Mat: One Woman's Journey Using Aikido Principles to Stay Sane in Body, Mind, and Spirit


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A deeply personal and compelling memoir that illustrates how the basic principles of Aikido can help us cope with the challenges of life outside the dojo

Drawing from more than forty years of experience as an Aikido practitioner and teacher, Kathy Park explains how principles such as embodiment, grounding, centering, extension, 360-degree awareness, blending, and alignment can be applied to everyday life. Candid stories from her own life show how the purpose of practicing Aikido on the mat is to take it off the mat and into the world.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781623172305
Publisher: North Atlantic Books
Publication date: 08/07/2018
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 954,443
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

KATHY PARK holds a second-degree black belt in Aikido, practicing since 1977 and teaching off and on, formally and informally, since 1978. She has an MFA in creative writing/nonfiction from Lesley University, Cambridge, MA. She has published two other books (a memoir about her apprenticeship with a stone sculptor titled Seeing Into Stone: A Sculptor's Journey and a compilation of nonfiction, fiction and short plays titled Coyote Points the Way: Borderland Stories and Plays). She was a citizen diplomat promoting Aikido in the Soviet Union in 1989. From 1990 to 1994, she founded, administered, and taught in the Prison Integrated Health Program, an all-volunteer holistic health program for female inmates and staff at FCI Dublin in the Bay Area. She teaches at Adams State University, both on campus and through ASU Extended Studies. She is also an artist, painting in watercolor and carving wood and stone.

Table of Contents

Foreword Jamie Leno Zimron ix

Acknowledgments xvii

Introduction 1

1 From Revenge to Reconciliation, or How My Boyfriend Got Me into Aikido 7

2 Irimi: Entering into the Eye of the Hurricane 17

3 Embodiment 1: Transforming Body Shame and the Mind-Body Split 27

4 Embodiment 2: What Horses Can Teach Us 37

5 The Ramifications of Disembodiment 47

6 Grounding: Growing a Dinosaur Tail 57

7 The First Steps toward Center Are Backwards and to the Left 69

8 Losing and Finding Center 81

9 Extension is the Key to Connection 91

10 360-Degree Awareness and Soft Eyes 103

11 Blending 113

12 Falling and Rolling 125

13 Circle, Square, and Triangle 135

14 Alignment and the Power of Doing Nothing 147

15 Anger, Aggression, and Natural Power 159

16 The Dangers of Overriding Intuition 169

17 Ukemi as the Art of Pursuit 179

18 On the Messy Nature of Change and Having an Empty Cup 189

19 Aikido across Borders 199

20 Incorporating the Principles Within 209

A Far-from-Comprehensive Glossary 219

Bibliography 223

About the Author 225

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