Wednesday, July 10, 2013

5 stars for "Aikido Ground Fighting: Grappling and Submission Techniques"

Aikido Ground Fighting: Grappling and Submission Techniques

Authors: Walther G. von Krenner, Damon Apodaca and Ken Jeremiah
Copywrite Date: 2013
216 Pages
ISBN 978-1583946060

I bought my copy on amazon and the book has a cover price of $19.95.

Rating: 5 Stars (out of 5)

      This is a book that the aikido world needed to have.  Many schools of aikido have lost their martial heritage to the point where they cannot be called martial arts anymore.  Mr. von Krenner, Mr. Apodaca, and Mr. Jeremiah have written a book that justifies the claims that aikido CAN be a genuine martial art.  However, most schools do not practice the correct methods or ideas to make it such.  In that way, this book is intended for aikido students (and maybe more specifically aikido sensei) who have some knowledge of aikido already.  Through well-researched examples and methodology, the authors dispel many of the myths around many modern schools of aikido and argue that in order to fully comprehend aikido, as O Sensei intended, you HAVE to have the martial aspect intact.  These full aspects need to include all martial ranges and aspects, including striking -- both offensive and defensive -- weapons, and ground fighting.  They argue that because he was challenged by so many different types of martial artists, O Sensei had to at least be able to defend himself from these types of attacks using aiki principles.  This book, which is supposed to be the first of three, deals mainly with the ground fighting aspect of aikido.
O Sensei grappling from 1936
      I know ground fighting and aikido seem to be the antithesis of each other; however, what the authors do is show how aiki principles can be applied to ground fighting situations.  In fact, they argue that by mastering the principles of aiki, they can be used in any situation.  They show how suwari waza are a sort of half-way step to ground fighting, and then show and describe specific ways to apply aiki while on the ground, in a vulnerable position.

Pros: This book presents wonderful arguments for making aikido a martial art again, including an honest, non-political history of O Sensei and aikido complete with O sensei's original art, Daito ryu Aikijutsu, and his teacher Takeda Sokaku.  Because Mr. von Krenner studied with O Sensei and took extensive notes
Author von Krenner showing aikido groundfighing
while there, it lends first hand credibility to their statements.  They also use many different sources to detail how aikido came to be what it is today.  Furthermore, they show you, who's presumably a high level aikidoka (or aikidoists, if that is your preference) how to incorporate these new ground fighting aspects into your aikido that is already there.

Cons: Apodaca , von Krenner, and Jeremiah’s reasoning is very clear on the why ground fighting should be done in aikido; however, it lacks somewhat in the description of how to incorporate the fighting.  For example, there are very good descriptions on the way it should be done, which include pictures, but like most martial arts books and articles I've read, the pictures seem to jump a bit too much.  It is sometimes hard to see between the steps.  I know martial arts in general, and aikido in particular, is a dynamic art, so I do give them some leeway on this one.  The only other issue is that this is not a book for beginning students.  A pretty good knowledge base of aikido is required to understand the principles presented in this book; a fact which really isn't the fault of the book, but it is not explicitly stated anywhere either.

Conclusion:  I read this book and immediately wanted to go try out the aiki principles on the ground.  I also loaned it to the other instructors at the dojo.  I wanted everyone in aiki arts to read this book because I want aikido to be a martial art again.  I gave this book five stars (out of five) because the intent and thoughtfulness of the book easily outweighed the minor downsides.

No comments:

Post a Comment