Aikido Off the Mat
One Woman's Journey Using Aikido Principles to Stay Sane in Body, Mind, and Spirit
Kathy Park uses stories from her own life to illustrate how the principles of Aikido can be taken off the mat and out of the dojo to help us cope with the many challenges of life in an increasingly chaotic world
Combining memoir with analysis, Kathy Park describes how the basic principles of Aikido can be applied to our daily encounters in order to live sanely and peacefully in an increasingly conflicted and disembodied world. Drawing from a full and wide-ranging life as well as more than forty years’ experience as an Aikido practitioner and teacher, Park explains how principles such as embodiment, grounding, centering, extension, 360 degree awareness, entering, blending, and alignment can be applied to the problems and challenges found in relationships, stressful situations, leadership roles, and questions of identity and purpose. Candid stories from her own life not only bring a striking intimacy to the narrative but also illustrate with vital immediacy how the entire point of practicing Aikido on the mat is to take it off the mat and into the world.
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.