Aikido and Its Role in The Tome of Worlds

If you’ve read the post How The Worlds Within Came to Be, you will know that Janus Riberin, and subsequently the whole setting for The Tome of Worlds, came to me after a bicycle-vehicular accident.

Before that accident I studied in an Aikido dojo in the Ravenna area of north Seattle. A couple days a week I would roll around the mats and practice throwing and being thrown. There is a dance, a movement to Aikido that is elegant and beautiful. Aikido is a peaceful martial art. Not violent. You dance with your opponent, bring them into your sphere and push them out. The Aikido philosophy is akin to meditation. Acknowledge your opponent (problem) and push it out of your sphere.

A classical aikido throw being practiced. Tori...

A classical aikido throw being practiced. Tori maintains balance and structure to throw uke, while uke safely takes a forward roll (mae ukemi). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Aikido is the basis for the fighting and philosophical bent of the Jaunters in The Tome of Worlds.

I did not set out to use Aikido as the philosophical core of the Jaunters, but as I was writing, particularly the fight scenes, I fell onto Aikido.

Jaunters engage in staff fighting, and Aikido’s movements are based on ancient spear and sword techniques, which translate over to staves. In fact the weapons training we did in Aikido used staves. 

jaunter staff

The protagonist, Aedinn Finn, has been thrust into an altogether foreign world, and he has no clear memory of how he got there. How did he deal with being in The Nyre Lands? How did he make it through those first few weeks, especially as the Tower of Kol Uthera tortured his mind? Aikido.

Aedinn Finn does not remember that he learned the philosophy of Aikido, but its ways are imprinted upon his mind, and combined with his innate resiliency, he is able to deal with being thrust into a new land with no idea of his place.

Aedinn Finn takes to the staff, and at times he questions why he is a natural with the ways of Jaunter combat. He wonders how he learned to fight with the staff. How he is able to take problems in, acknowledge them, and then shrug them off. His innate sense of how to deal with problems, of how to be a  Jaunter come from when he studied Aikido in our world.

Aedinn Finn is younger than me. More rash. More prone to wading into conflict without a second thought. But in other ways he mirrors me. I took to Aikido like I had grown up practicing its ways, and its philosophy has served me well not only in the time right after the accident, but also in my day to day life since then.


If you want to learn more about Aikido without taking a class I recommend the book Aikido and the Dynamic Sphere. I quote its teachings throughout The Tome of Worlds, and I do not believe Aedinn Finn would be as sane as he is today if he had not spent time in that Aikido Dojo.

4 thoughts on “Aikido and Its Role in The Tome of Worlds

  1. An interesting bit of background to your book. Most fantasy novels involve fighting with sword, spear and bow and arrow, the staff fighting is something new to me, so I’ll look forward to reading your fight sequences.

    • I’ve considered taking a staff fighting class to make the scenes even more realistic, but I’m hoping that my aikido experience makes the fight scenes real enough.

      • I’m sure it will. I did a bit of fencing in my younger…ahem…much younger day, so although it is very different to the celtic cut and thrust, I hope it adds a touch of realism to my fight scenes, although I avoid guts, gore and jargon as much as possible! Tooooooo much detail leads to sensationalism and totally defeats the object, I think!

      • Right. There’s no reason for me to name-drop the stances we use in Aikido. Jargon only detracts from the story unless, for some reason, characters in the story decide to talk about training, but knowing how the fighting looks and feels should only help in writing the fight scenes.

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