Roughly two months ago I managed to get my hands on an original copy of Ki in Daily Life, which is among the best Aikido source materials I’ve come across, authored by Koichi Tohei himself. It’s not a martial arts book, as such, but more a general guide to relaxation and co-ordination techniques that underpin Ki Aikido.
Tohei based Ki Aikido on two main things: co-ordination and relaxation – the secret ingredients that eliminated the need to use strength in Aikido, and enables a smaller person to overcome a much stronger opponent. From what I’ve heard, a large number of Welsh martial artists (Saunders, Williams, etc.) saw this as a vast improvement on the traditional Aikdo they were practising back in the 1970s.
Tohei later realised the co-ordination, relaxation and breathing excercises can be applied in everyday life (hence the title) by anyone, and so Aikido became a vehicle for an alternative health ‘movement’ (the Ki Society). I’m not sure of the book’s value as a stand-alone anti-stress guide, but it’s still relevant and definitely recommended reading for those practising any form of Aikido.
Ki in Daily Life is relatively short, and authored in a very accessible way. However, the opening chapters did require several readings to understand, but I came away with a much better grasp of what Tohei was trying to communicate. Plus readers will find an explanation of the four principles of Ki Aikido. It also cleared up the confusion about the nature of ‘Ki’ in the martial arts.