I suppose most aikidoists know about these books, but I’m going to say a few things about them anyway. These are “Best Aikido” parts one and two, by Moriteru Ueshiba, the current Doshu of Aikido. I purchased these books when I began Aikido, and they’ve been very helpful. Each contains many techniques, all with pretty good sequential photographs and some instructions to help guide you through the moves.
Best Aikido: the Fundamentals covers “the fundamentals”. I think it covers everything that is on most 5th Kyu tests. The Aikido Master Course: Best Aikido 2 covers some more advanced techniques, including some weapon taking. It also gets into responses to the Yokomenuchi (side strike to the head) attack, which we worked on this week and seem a little more difficult.
The author suggests that you use these as a reference — something to review after you practice a technique in class. I have done just that, and it has been helpful. These books contain all the basic moves, omote and ura versions and other variations. There have been many times I’ve worked on a technique at practice but still felt a little confused about it. These books have cleared up a lot of questions.