Write On! wraps up the week with an Author Q&A with Lawrence Novick, The Journey of Aikido: Reflections on the Path. The book is a compilation of sayings and insights into Aikido: “the unique martial art of harmony, non-violence, and effective self-defence.” Novick, co-founder and chief instructor/head of the ACE Aikido dojo in Santa Monica, California, will celebrate 28 years in Aikido in March. He has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and is also an educational consultant, Shamanic Practitioner, musician, and composer.
Aikido is a Japanese martial art based on redirecting negative energy in the safest possible way rather than reacting to violence with more violence. This involves an internal re-organization of consciousness, away from reactivity to conscious response from a compassionate perspective.
How/why did you first start practicing?
I first started practicing in 1982. I had been doing another more aggressive martial art, but when I saw the flowing gracefulness of Aikido, and was introduced to the deeper subtle elements of centering and energy, I was hooked.
Why did you write The Journey of Aikido?
I was inspired by the deeper insights into martial arts, relationship, and life that Aikido affords, and wanted to share some of the things that I have learned over many years of teaching.
What was your process for writing the book?
Over the years I had collected many of my thoughts and perceptions while teaching Aikido, so I had a lot of notes to go through. At the same time, certain themes had emerged that worked as general guidelines for my teaching and understanding of Aikido, so I worked at embodying these into the overall movement of the book.
How did you go about getting it published?
Given the nature of this work, I decided to self-publish with a company I found on the Internet. Designing the cover was fun, but it has to be done correctly for printing, so that takes some effort.
What is it like to write an “inspirational” book? Are there any particulars to this genre?
I think it’s important to be clear about both the essence of what one is writing about, and the form the message is taking. It’s easy to fall into both cliché and over-identification with “the knower,” when approaching this kind of material, and it’s good to avoid both. I took a lot of time to really think out and feel into the unique quality and meaning of each message I was trying to communicate.
What was your favorite part of writing the book? The greatest challenge?
The best part of writing this was that I could let my own love of Aikido emerge and my inspiration flow into the words without self-consciousness. After all, that was the goal of the book. The greatest challenge was to be clear and concise, as some of these concepts can be vague and difficult to convey.
I’m finishing a similar book on spirituality.
What do you know now that you wish you knew when you first started writing?
That Internet services can be difficult.
Advice for writers?
Write what you truly know and what is real for you. That’s what’s interesting, and inspired. Authenticity is what’s meaningful.