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John Stevens is Professor of Buddhist Studies and Aikido instructor at Tohoku Fukushi University in Sendai, Japan. He is the author or translator of over twenty books on Buddhism, Zen, Aikido, and Asian culture. He has practiced and taught Aikido all over the world.
Over the years, John Stevens Sensei has written enough books on Aikido and related topics to fill the martial-arts shelves of most bookstores. The latest in the series, The Shambhala Guide to Aikido, is an introduction. Stevens' hope, he explains in the book's introduction, is that this will be "the first book that Aikido instructors recommend to beginning students, as well as the one that Aikido practitioners present to their parents, friends, co-workers, partners, and spouses when confronted with the question, 'What is Aikido?'" Like some of Stevens' other books, The Shambhala Guide to Aikido contains many photos, which are accompanied by lengthy captions (some several hundred words long). A university professor in Japan, Stevens has access to much historical material, and the book contains twenty-four interesting pictures of O-Sensei at various stages of his life. The Shambhala Guide to Aikido is divided into four parts: a biography of the Founder, a section on the art of Aikido, a section on Aikido philosophy (which includes selections from O-Sensei's writings), and a discussion of "schools and styles" of Aikido. There is also a list of resources and a glossary. "[a] brief, engaging introduction to the Japanese defensive art of aikido..."-- Natural Health Magazine