Aikido and Words of Power: The Sacred Sounds of Kototama

Excerpts & Samples

By William Gleason

Publisher : Inner Traditions/Bear & Company

ABOUT William Gleason

William Gleason
William Gleason has studied aikido and Japanese medicine and philosophy since 1969, including 10 years of study in Japan. The director of Shobu Aikido in Boston and a 6th dan instructor, he is the author of Aikido and Words of Power and The Spiritual Foundations of Aikido, and translator o More...



For the first time in English, the secrets of the sacred sounds that unlock the principles and spiritual strength of aikido

•    Explains the nature of the five vowels that govern the physical manifestations of universal consciousness

•    Uses more than 300 photographs to demonstrate a unique approach to aikido techniques that supports advanced spiritual practice

•    Author is a 6th dan aikido instructor

Aikido founder Ueshiba Morihei described the discipline as one spirit, four souls, three origins, and eight powers. One spirit and four souls are the five vowel dimensions of infinite space, the source of the sacred sounds of Kototama. Now, for the first time in English, William Gleason explains how to use the sounds of Kototama in the practice of aikido.

Aikido is often approached as a purely physical discipline, but it is a truly profound spiritual vehicle for those who approach it with sincerity of purpose. The five vowels represent various dimensions and stages of awareness, whose different powers are revealed through aikido practice. Using more than 300 photographs, Gleason sensei presents physical routines that provide an introduction into the Kanagi, Sugaso, and Futonorito levels of spiritual development.

Understanding the sacred sounds related to each of these dimensions, the adept gains not only the ability to realize the stages inherent in spiritual mastery but also the ability to maintain health and balance in his or her own life. “When fish move through water, there is no end to the water; when birds fly, there is no end to the sky.” Similarly, humans swim and fly in an ocean of sounds. Understanding Kototama allows human beings to view the world without distortion and allows the creative powers of the mind to flourish.
“This is one of those rare works that probes the spiritual dimensions of Aikido as conceived by founder Morihei Ueshiba O-sensei. The practice of the art today largely centers on technique, but Gleason sensei’s research and eloquence shed light on a difficult subject for Western readers, given the cultural and spiritual milieu in which Aikido evolved. For those seeking to go beyond mere physical training and who view the art as a lifelong discipline for personal growth, this insightful book will prove an indispensable guide.”
Stanley Pranin, editor in chief of Aikido Journal

“This book is a great gift to the Aikido community. Gleason sensei takes us deep into the spiritual and energetic principles that underlay this marvelous art.”
George Ledyard, founder of Defensive Tactics Options

“William Gleason brings awareness to the spiritual practices at the foundation of Aikido. By delving in to the essence of kototama theory, this book becomes a must for every Aikido practitioner or any person looking to connect to his or her own true nature.”
Bronwen and Frans Stiene, authors of The Japanese Art of Reiki and The Reiki Sourcebook