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Aikido Ground Fighting: Grappling and Submission Techniques [Paperback]

Walther von Krenner , Damon Apodaca
2.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

15 Jun 2013
Aikido Ground Fighting presents effective ground techniques that remain true to aikido founder Morehei Ueshiba's teachings while addressing a potential weakness in the system: while aikido is renowned for its submission and compliance techniques as well as grappling from a standing position, it is not known for its effectiveness when it comes to ground fighting. Aikido Ground Fighting is a unique look at the roots of aikido techniques (in particular, the kneeling practices of suwari-waza) and how they might be applied to defense on the ground. Written by a direct student of Morihei Ueshiba in collaboration with other aikido teachers, this book remains steadfastly true to the founder's teachings while presenting innovative and effective techniques. Containing never-before-published pictures of Ueshiba as well as step-by-step photographs clearly demonstrating techniques, Aikido Ground Fighting is designed for aikido students looking to become more well-rounded martial artists as well as practitioners of all martial arts seeking effective self-defense techniques.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Blue Snake Books (15 Jun 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1583946063
  • ISBN-13: 978-1583946060
  • Product Dimensions: 22.9 x 15.2 x 1.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 494,835 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not a great book 26 May 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book is a mixed bag for me and in itself contains many contradictions.

To begin with there is very little information on ground fighting in the book. It barely qualifies as a technical manual in this regard with minimal techniques being shown in images. There are explanations of some others but these are lengthy and while possible to visualise a picture is worth a thousand words. Additionally I take serious issue with some of the pinning technques that are shown. The authors have stressed that these are useful in a 'real' situation but have clearly missed the concept that in the 'real' application the uke would simply tear giant chunks of flesh out of their arm with their teeth, assuming they don't tear an ear off with the free hand. The authors have gone to great lengths to stress that the martial application of aikido is being lost and that techniques are not effective but throughout the text there is little evidence that they understand the nature of violence in the modern world. That said their advice on training for it is reasonable and draws attention to areas that most aikidoka simply do not consider.

There is an overarching theme in the book which is essentially that you cannot do any of the things they are writing about until you reach a high level of skill and that the way almost all aikidoka train is utter nonsense and ineffective.

Much of the book is about the history of aikido and how O'Sensei developed it. While interesting there are numerous occurences of these in other books and they are often better presented.

There is also great mention of internal power which is essentially a way of avoiding an actual explanation.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.1 out of 5 stars  11 reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book aikido needed 27 Jun 2013
By Jaredd Wilson - Published on
Please let me start with the fact that I have been practicing aiki arts since 1995, and I read a lot of martial arts books. Now with that over with, on with the review.

The aikido world desperately needed this book. What Mr. von Krenner et al did was argue that aikido IS a viable self-defense martial art. In order to be a viable martial art, you have to cover a range of self-defense aspects. Aikido can do this. Without insulting anyone, he describes how aikido has strayed from its original intentions and principles. When amongst fellow martial artists, and I say I do aikido they almost always go on to tell me how it isn't a real martial art, how no one in MMA uses aikido, so therefore it must not be valid. With this book, your aikido training can begin to go back to O-Sensei's aikido, where he was able to defeat all comers. Which meant he had to be able to perform aikido in all sorts of combat ranges, and indeed, even on the ground. He could still use aiki principles, just in a different way. This book describes the core principles of aikido, and then describes, and gives examples of, how to use them on the ground.

If anyone wants to make their aikido a complete martial art, or feels that they loose their abilities when out of their aiki comfort zone, PLEASE get this book. I cannot praise this book highly enough. There are only two criticisms I have. The first is one I've found in almost every martial arts book or magazine article ever done. When they show or describe the movements, the pictures don't do what I consider a good enough job showing what is occurring. Aikido is a dynamic art, so showing movement with still pictures is difficult I know. But this is new territory for most aikidoka (or aikidoists if you are so inclined) so perhaps some better picture work would have helped. The second complaint is that this is not a book for beginners. You have to have a decent knowledge of aikido before this makes sense. Nowhere do they actually say that this knowledge is required to fully make sense of this information. However, these are easily looked over flaws, and anyone how studies aikido or other aiki arts and wants to re-establish the martial aspect of the martial art should get this book, and subscribe to it's advice.

Jaredd A. Wilson
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Book on a Little Discussed Topic 14 Oct 2013
By Logan Light - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I've seen two bad reviews on this book because it is a little misleading. At first sight, it would seem to be a manual but it lacks specific instructions. The reason is because the possibilities are endless. They give you some examples to play with and the rest should come from your own training. If you want straight ground fighting, get a book on BJJ. These guys relate how Aikido itself can be an effective ground art using the principles and techniques we already know. They are extremely practical and I love their approach to combat and Aikido in general. They discuss how Aikido has been so watered down. We train with over-compliance, non-practical applications, etc. Aikido wouldn't have made it in Japan had it not been effective and I can see the goal of the authors is to get it back to that state. Train open-minded and effectively. There is a lack of instruction but this is absolutely a mind opening book and I think all practitioners should give it a read. Just know that it isn't a step-by-step manual but more of a discussion. Still, much can be learned from this book!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic work on Aikido waza in unconventional situations 26 Nov 2013
By paul zavislak - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This body of work by Damon Apodaca and Walther Von Krenner provides the practitioner of Aikido a way of looking at application of classical waza in unconventional ways. Apodaca Sensei and Von Krenner Sensei's technical proficiency and Mr. Von Krenner’s vast archives, recorded conversations, and direct training with O Sensei give further validation to their efforts. Aikido is a MARTIAL ART and not a physical expression of some quasi-religious celebration, as it has frequently devolved into with some practitioners. As a longtime Yudansha practitioner of Aikido, Aiki-Jujutsu and Jujutsu, I commend them on a fine effort to challenge the reader to ponder the possibilities presented in their work.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Important Aspect 20 Sep 2013
By Saud Al-Zaidi - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
This is arguably one of the best books I have read on Aikido so far but you have to have experience to be able to accept this book or an open mind. Now please the first thing you have to understand about this book its not a "how to" or a "manual" for ground fighting in Aikido it has a significant amount of techniques but not many. Nothing will replace training in the Dojo not even a book but its really important to learn as much as you can and books are better sources than the internet since its written out well and has actual references. This book for me was not a long read and not a very large book. You have to know that its hard to learn from pictures but they are good enough.

Now first I will start with the bad points I have about this book.

1-Not many techniques:

There is a really good reason they were not many techniques in the book since they picked the ones that were good enough to start with to learn the principles of Aikido. There are many videos out there for other good ground fighting techniques.


I got the the wrong impression when I first saw the book I thought it would be a manual which made me a bit sad when I flipped through the pages to get an idea of the techniques(see the pictures) before starting to read it, so that really annoyed me.


It mentions that there is a DVD that you can buy to see more ground techniques. Why wasn't it with the book? Why do I have to go and order it separately heck I wouldn't have minded paying extra. That was disappointing to me.

Now I will talk about the book and why I gave it 5/5 despite the negative points:

Some book has some good history lessons and I enjoyed them very much some of them lessons had so much logic behind them. Some techniques in this book you will be familiar with since you have seen them in Aikido and others you might have not seen since not many instructors teach it, you might have seen it in Judo or Jujutsu or Brazilian Jujutsu like Juji Gatame(arm bar) and other various techniques from a prone position on the ground. If you are a person that does Aikido and does not believe in doing Newaza(ground work/grappling) this book might change your mind and for people that already do Newaza this book will tell you why you should do Newaza in Aikido. I will put bullet points since it will make this short.

It will talk about things that I personally think that are extremely important in Aikido:

-The principles of Aikido:
In Aikido we are not trying to learn form, we are trying to learn the principles of Aikido by practicing form.

-Why do we do Suwari-Waza:
Suwari-Waza seems not logical but it is an important practice. If you can do a technique down there with ease it will help you increase your understanding of movement since its hard to move down there so it will you move correctly in Tachi-Waza.

-Why should we do Ne-Waza:
First thing your going to say "I am fighting a group I won't go down" well what if you did go down on the ground? What if he took you down with him? What are you going to do? I don't think that person will let you get up.

-Why is cross training important:
Many practitioners make Aikido look like the gem of martial arts you can do anything if you know Aikido so to prove that you have to cross train you have to be able to punch when you need to, kick when you have to, do an arm lock. If you don't train in these things you will never learn how to defend against those type of attacks. Please don't say its the Art of Peace we all no that but O-Sensei used to accept challenges and fight when needed to and he himself cross trained to create Aikido. Kenji Tomiki did Judo and Aikido. Nishio-Sensei has 8th Dan Aikido, 7th Dan Iaido, 6th Dan Judo and 5th Dan Karate-Do. My own instructor did Aikido, Judo and Kendo. You have to cross train to fill up the gaps. Aikido will teach you the principles that will be its goal it won't teach you how to punch or kick and some instructors don't teach how to use the Ken or Jo anymore they don't know how to use it.

-why modern Aikido has changed(from this you will understand why people criticize Aikido).

-Why attacks should be more real when a student becomes more advanced, why should more resistance should be added.

Well I can't remember more than this.

Its a good book that shocked me a lot since it had a lot of topics that were on my mind and topics that my instructors and other good instructors have discussed. It will shine a new bright light. Its a book that is really needed. If you do not understand why its important try getting pinned from a prone position, try to do a technique when someone is resisting you than you will understand. Aikido is a Martial Art and fore it to stay that way you have to train well. You have to get more resistance while doing a technique and you have to learn to defend yourself from all around whether its standing, on your knees, sitting or on your back.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A New Perspective 17 Sep 2013
By Budo - Published on
This book is great for any Aikidoka out there. I've read plenty of Aikido books and this one is up there in the top. It's mainly teaching students to be versatile and to follow O' Sensei by learning some variety rather than only sticking to what you're used to. Get out of your comfort zone and try new forms of Aikido. O' Sensei was constantly challenged by outsiders and this is what made him a great martial artist. We need our skills to be challenged in order to improve and this is what the book teaches. Read it!
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