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Shodo: Japanese Brush Calligraphy
Achieve Self-Mastery with
Shodo: The Way of the Brush

  SHODO: Brush Calligraphy
  From Simple Fun to True Self Mastery

  Available on AMAZON:


Shodo is one of the most important classical cultural arts of Japan, where it is considered a martial art, essential for the complete education and proper development of the whole person.  Dr. Bannister is an accomplished calligrapher whose paintings are held in private collections nation-wide.  He has taught Japanese Brush Calligraphy to adults and children for more than a decade.  In this book he reveals the principles of self-mastery that imbue his paintings with strength and expressiveness.

by Dr. Jonathan Bannister, Ph.D./Ma.D.Sc.
AiShinKai Founder and President

Paperback 124pp, lavishly illustrated

AiShinKai Basic Principles of Self-Mastery
Origins of Brush Calligraphy
Tools and Maintenance
Work Space Layout
Posture and Grip
Work Sheets: nine basic strokes, Kanji in block, semi-cursive, and full cursive styles, Multi-character compositions, and four-kanji idioms
Gallery of Shodo Examples with commentary

Price USD$27.00 plus shipping. 

“The Way of the Brush mirrors the Way of the Sword.  Each requires Self-Mastery and a full appreciation of our humanity.” 

- Dr. Jonathan Bannister, Aishinkai Headmaster

The characters drawn by master brush calligraphers reveal a great deal about the artists' internal state and the depth of their ability to harness human potential.  These works of art bear only slight relationship to the block characters of print media.  A brush in the hands of a master becomes a living thing, capable of communicating emotion and complex subtleties of meaning.  There are many deep, philosophical points of Budo practice, for instance, that can only be truly expressed in performance.  Where it is not always possible to display a martial arts technique, it can sometimes be desireable to use calligraphy brush painting to illuminate hidden truths. 


Shodo means "The Way of the Brush (Sho)."  Shodo is Japanese calligraphy written with a brush (usually) and sumi (ink) on rice paper using Chinese and/or Japanese idiogram characters.  Shodo art can be a few or many characters, a particular phrase or idiom, or even a single character or mark used to express a thought, feeling or idea.

Shodo is used to communicate or inspire, and is often found in public places. The tokonoma (art alcove) at AiShinKai holds a beautiful scroll by sword master Tesshu Yamaoka, there to inspire visitors. Shodo art may have a seasonal theme, and be changed in accordance with occasion or climate..

The art of calligraphy was an important component of classical education for members of nobility.  Today Shodo is one of the many Japanese cultural arts such as Ikebana: flower arranging, Chado: tea ceremony, and Budo: martial arts, that are enjoyed by people of all backgrounds. 
Kanji written characters originated from China, but the Japanese have made them their own with distinctive forms executed with a delightful spontaneity rare in such a disciplined culture.  The beautifully brushed characters of Shodo are both communicative pictograms and vehicles of exquisite artistic expression.  The strokes themselves can be imbued with the power to evoke strong emotion, even when the characters themselves may not be understood.

The Way of the brush and the Way of the sword have often been compared, and Bannister Sensei was urged by his martial arts teachers to develop his natural artistic abilities through the study of traditional calligraphy.  Today his works reside in many private collections, and he delights in sharing the basics of Shodo with others, especially school children.  Members of the Aishinkai are sometimes surprised to receive instruction in Aikido or swordsmanship from Bannister Sensei with brush in hand, as he illustrates particular concepts not easily communicated through other media.

Bannister Sensei regularly teaches the basics of Shodo to schools and community groups, and enjoys teaching privately as well.   Contact him to schedule a Shodo program to delight your group or class.  He also accepts commissions for calligraphic works on particular themes. 

Contact the Aishinkai or call 425-771-6816 to inquire about Shodo art availability, commissions, and instruction.

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Socially-Engaged Martial and Cultural Artists Make a
Difference By Serving the Community
The non-profit Pacific Northwest Budo Association
(PNBA) supports and fosters appreciation for Japanese
martial arts and traditional culture
through cooperative programming, fund
raising, and community service.

Aishinkai maintains a drug- and alcohol-free environment.  We do not discriminate
in the administration of our programs based on race, creed, color, religious
affiliation, gender, or in any other way prohibited by law or common sense.

Offering local and nation-wide education in Self-Mastery, Mind-Body Coodination, Leadership Development, Conflict Resolution, and Team Management, as well as the Japanese martial and cultural arts of AiShin-Ryu Aikido, Iaido, Aiki-ken, Aiki-jo, Kyudo, Kiatsu Ryoho, Bonsai, Shodo, and Ikebana.  Locally serving the communities of Seattle, Everett, Shoreline, Mountlake Terrace, Lynnwood, Mukilteo, and Edmonds, WA.
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