Friday, October 13, 2017

4 Ninja Stars for Aikido's Hidden Ground Techniques

In the interests of full disclosure, I was given this DVD for review purposes

Title: Aikido's Hidden Ground Techniques
Featuring: Dr. Jose Andrade-Shihan & David Nemeroff-Shihan
Publisher: Tambuli Media
Duration: 28 minutes
Price: $21.95

    I have practiced aikido for about 15 years.  At some point in my training, I realized aikido was not the "ultimate" martial art.  I fully had faith in the principals of aikido, but I was deficient in some experiences through lack of some training methodologies.  One of those areas was ground fighting.  With the rise of the UFC, and Brazilian Jujitsu, groundfighting was becoming more widely known.  In my own head, aikido is a grappling art, so it should have some similarities right?  So I started to do some research.  As it turns out, Aikido's founder, Ueshiba Morihei (O-Sensei) was a skilled ground fighter .  He put his same Aikido principals to the test through ground fighting.  So I started to look for how ground fighting could be incorporated into aikido training.  This DVD was one the pieces that I use to argue how Aikido principals can be used to create a complete martial artist.


    This video is broken into two portions.  The first is in the dojo and demonstrates 15 techniques in gi and hakama  as is traditional in Aikido dojo.  The second portion takes those same techniques and demonstrates them in more realistic, environments, such as in parks, in buildings, or even in a garage.  The dojo portion shows the technique twice.  Once at training speed, and then again in slow motion, with specific instructions to describe the important points of the technique.


    This video has a lot going for it.  The techniques that the presenters chose to show are done so with Aikido in mind.  The set-up for the technique is from an Aikido throw, or from being thrown.  This does a good job of showing how this can be incorporated into existing Aikido training.  The dojo portion does a good job of instructing someone through the techniques.  They are filmed in such a way that the viewer is able to see all the pertinent movements for the technique.  I believe that if you have some skill in Aikido, you could interpret these movements and instructions enough to practice the techniques shown.


    I have only two negative complaints about this video, and those are both just minor things.  One, I would have liked to see a little more explanation of Aikido's principals at the beginning and then describe/demonstrate how these techniques still fall within those ideas.  The second minor thing is I would have liked to see multiple angles.  Both the practice speed and the slow motion replays demonstrating the techniques are from the same angle.  As I stated before, I do believe you get to see enough, but as someone not familiar with the ground techniques, I would have wanted another angle.


    The presenters of this information seem to be making a claim that ground fighting can and should be incorporated into your Aikido training.  They then go to show how this can be achieved.  This means the presentation is speaking directly to Aikidoka, most likely with some years into their practice.  If you take this into consideration, the video makes excellent sense, and you can easily see its function.  With that in mind, I'm going to give this video four out of five Ninja stars.  I really think this is an area of study that most Aikido schools need to incorporate more of into their curriculum.  The information is presented well, and even if you practice an martial art besides Aikido, you can adapt the information very easily to incorporate into your system.


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  2. Thank you so much for such an instructive information. Aikido's is always special for me its another farm of karate.It looks cool, but can it work on the streets? I've never seen anyone to use it in real life.

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