The Gift of Danger

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The Gift of Danger

Lessons from Aikido

Author: Mary Stein

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Mary Stein took up aikido in her mid-fifties and quickly learned what it really means to face danger—both external and internal. In this powerful collection of short essays, she vividly describes learning an active and spirited defense on the mat, in the process uncovering a lifetime of habitual tensions and emotional reactions, of flight and ineffective fight. Stein’s thoughtful musings make clear how the practice of aikido can show what is really needed, right now. The Gift of Danger is aimed at men and women for whom the question of what is genuine in their lives has taken on fresh urgency.

Above all, Stein shows that a sense of danger has extraordinary importance for the martial artist; when danger is present during training, one learns to test limits and respond quickly and accurately. We follow the author as she stands, tentative but determined, on the razor’s edge between knowing and not knowing, judgment and impartiality—the only place where real growth can occur. The Gift of Danger is both a striking story of personal growth and a potent argument for aikido as a model for human behavior.

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Product Info

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6 x 9
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About the Author

Mary Stein holds a black belt in aikido and has taught and studied the art for 25 years. She is an associate editor at Far West Editions in San Francisco, and her poems and articles have appeared in various journals. She lives in San Francisco, CA.

Reviews/Press Quotes

"Mary Stein's The Gift of Danger is a narrative of the author's aikido journey, spanning a period of some twenty-five years. This youthful octogenarian describes the internal dialogue and psychological processes that accompany her steady progress in the martial art of peace with an insider's eye and attention to detail. By the end of the book readers will begin to grasp the subtleties of aikido's approach to conflict resolution and discover new tools for handling life's daily challenges."
—Stanley Pranin, Editor, Aikido Journal

"This is the story of a remarkable woman who at the age of eighty is committed to facing her fears and learning about her potential. Mary Stein invites you into her home dojo—a community dedicated to learning—to follow her on an inspiring journey of self-discovery."
—Wendy Palmer, author of The Intuitive Body and The Practice of Freedom

"For aikidoists as well as for those seeking an introduction to the practice, here is a rare exemplar… [of] the subtle heart of aikido, brought to life story by story from the mats of the dojo."
—Richard Whittaker, Editor, Works & Conversations

"A book of exquisite delight, guidance, and wisdom that redefines courage as a day-to-day dance with all the forces of life."
—Jacob Needleman, author of The American Soul and Why Can't We Be Good?

“Mary has a poetic and comfortable style, both engaging and easy to absorb. Her amazing insights and entertaining stories come through in a voice both unique and sincere."

The Gift Of Danger is inspirational for not only older people who take up martial arts, or women in martial arts, but to students of Aikido in general.”
Dojo Rat

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