on 26 May 2013
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.
Being written by 3 authors there are several styles of writing prevalent in the text and this does become quite tiresome at times. Granted this is a minor thing but 1 author has chosen to use 'he or she', 'him or her' instead of just picking a gender. It made for extremely frustrating reading on occasion.
I can honestly say that I would never use the ground fighting techniques that are shown in the images because they strike me as dangerous, not to uke but to nage. I can't comment on the written ones because I haven't tried them.
There are 2 very good counter technques in the book though, 1 for Shiho Nage and the other for Irimi Nage and both of these work extremely well. I would note though that the Shiho Nage counter only works if you perform it in the style of most aikikai students. If you actually finish the technique by completing the turn then the counter simply doesn't work.