Sunday, April 24, 2016

4.5 out of 5 Ninja Stars for "Atemi" by Walther G. Von Krenner with Ken Jeremiah

In the interest of full disclosure, I received this book from the author for review purposes

Title: Atemi: The Thunder and Lightning of Aikido
Written By: Walther G. Von Krenner with Ken Jeremiah
Publisher: Tambuli
Format: Softcover
Page: 218
Cover Price: $22.46 (US) on Amazon

  Walther G. Von Krenner Sensei was a student of Ueshiba Morihei at the Hombu dojo for the last couple years of O Sensei's life.  So the information in this book comes with some authority attached to it.  When the author writes "this is what O Sensei said" it is not a researched translation from a second hand source, but from his own notes taken from O Sensei's lectures.  This is the second book from von Krenner Sensei, the first being Aikido Ground Fighting, which is also worth the price.  If you are interested, I also conducted an email interview with von Krenner Sensei, which you can read HERE.

Ckeck out the affirmations at the top!

Content

  This book starts off with a thesis stating that despite modern aikido's appearance, striking is part of aikido as the founder intended it.  The first third of the book is comprised of personal observations by the author, and interactions with O Sensei's top students, with which the authors seek to show how aikido was intended to implemented.  The middle third takes standard aikido pins and throws and shows how and why to incorporate strikes into the techniques.  The final third of the book describes the development of ki in the founder and some of his top students.  It describes what ki was used for and what they did to develop it to such near magical levels.

Pros

  This book is an extremely important piece of aikido. If you want your aikido, to not only be an effective martial art, but to be as O Sensei intended it, then this book is for you.  If you'd like to start adding strikes to your aikido, this book does a great job of showing how to incorporate the strikes, while still keeping with the spirit of aikido.  You won't have to give up your hard earned aikido skills in order to learn an effective self-defense martial art.  The book is well written, and makes great use of pictures to show how and when strikes can be applied.  I truly feel that if you are an aikidoka, be it a student or instructor, this book is necessary for your bookshelf.


Cons

  The only drawback, and why I didn't give it the full 5 Ninja stars, is that the book is rather aikido specific.  I don't know what or if a karateka would get from the book.  

Conclusion

  I've been doing my own research on how O-Sensei had a martial art called aikido that worked for him in many conflict situations, and how that was incongruous with what I see as aikido today.  So, maybe this book is just confirmation, or justification for what I was already starting to conclude, but I loved this book.  I give this book 4.5 out of 5 Ninja Stars.  The only reason I didn't give it a full 5 Ninja Stars is, as I said, the book may only be truly useful to modern aikidoka.  I don't know, maybe a kung fu practitioner could glean some useful information out of the pages, but its intended audience was definitely aikido practioners, specifically those who were at a point in their training where they knew something was missing.  That missing part was martial effectiveness.  This can be reinstated with strikes.

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