For the first time: an aikido book that focuses on the attack techniques. Although aikido is a purely defensive martial art, attack techniques need to be practiced so that the training partners can exercise the defense against them.
It's easy to forget in regular aikido training. We all know that the aikido technique is the defense, not the attack, so that's what we focus on. But without skilled attacks, the aikido defense doesn't need to be skilled, so there's a risk it will not be, no matter how much we train. For your aikido skills to increase, your attacking skills must improve accordingly. That's what I had in mind when writing this book.
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Respect for Other Martial Arts
As far as I've seen, the aikido literature ignores the attacks completely, as if irrelevant to aikido training. Nothing could be more wrong. The attack and the defense are linked. The improvement of one demands the equal improvement of the other.
Also, we need to understand how skilled attacks are done, if we are to understand why the aikido techniques are the way they are. They are responses to the attacks - like a duet, not a solo performance.
I think that the key to good attack techniques in aikido is to study how they're done in the other martial arts, the ones with attacks on their curriculum.
For aikido it's particularly rewarding and relevant to study other budo, the traditional japanese martial arts. Strikes and kicks are karatedo specialities, grips are learned well in judo, sword attacks in kendo and iaido, and so on. This approach to the attacks deepens your understanding of the budo elements in aikido, which are quite fundamental.
By studying the attack techniques the way they've been refined in other budo, we learn why aikido looks the way it does.
This book presents all the attacks practiced in aikido - grips as well as strikes, punches, and kicks. Also attacks with sword, stick, and knife are included. Each of these attack techniques is examined in depth, with lots of advice and pointers for beginners as well as advanced aikido students.
The book also contains commented lists of all possible combinations of attack and defense techniques. A dictionary of the aikido terminology is included, too.
Table of Contents
Here is the book's table of contents:
Tori and uke 10
Tables of techniques 14
Attack basics 17
Empty mind 17
Unbendable arm 24
KOGEKI - attacks in aikido 37
Aihanmi relation 39
Aihanmi katatedori 39
Gyakuhanmi relation 51
Gyakuhanmi katatedori 51
Katadori menuchi 60
Kata katatedori 62
Ushiro relation 67
Ushiro ryotedori 69
Ushiro ryokatadori 70
Ushiro ryosodedori 75
Ushiro ryohijidori 76
Strikes from behind 77
Tables of the aikido techniques and attacks 119
General principles 121
Tori principles 123
Uke principles 125
Lists of techniques 129
Tachiwaza mae (standing, attacks from the front) 129
Tachiwaza ushiro (standing, attacks from the rear) 135
Suwariwaza (tori and uke sitting) 139
Hanmi handachiwaza (tori sitting, uke standing) 143
Tantodori (defense against knife) 149
Tachidori (defense against sword) 153
Jodori (defense against staff) 159
Kaeshiwaza (counter techniques) 163
Henkawaza (changed techniques) 167
Renzokuwaza (consecutive techniques) 171
Glossary of aikido terms 173
Foreword of the Book
Aikido is full of paradoxes. It is a peaceful martial art, which is in itself a seemingly impossible contradiction. But the principles and solutions of aikido actually make it true. Another paradox is that aikido really consists solely of defense techniques, but it is essential to learn attacks in order to master that defense.
Of course, the attacker is always the loser in aikido practice. We take turns attacking, so that our training partners can exercise the defenses. The goal of the training, though, is the defense. Learning how to attack is only sort of a side-effect.
Nonetheless, if you want to increase your skills in the aikido defense techniques, you must also improve your attack technique skills accordingly. They depend on one another. It is by experiencing advanced attacks that you are able to develop an advanced defense.
And when you have reached a fundamental understanding of attacks and the principles behind them, you will find the way to an aikido that transforms the attacker-defender polarity into a flow of forces, a dance of sorts, where the pair is so united that it seems like a solo. Thatís when aikido becomes really enchanting.
There are many books about aikido, but as far as I know this is the first one about the attack techniques used in aikido practice. It is intended to work as a manual for beginners, as well as a useful tool for the advanced students.
As for my understanding of attacks in aikido, I am in debt to several prominent aikido teachers. Three come immediately to mind: Toshikazu Ichimura, who was my first Japanese teacher, always insisted on full-powered and focused attacks, Shoji Nishio was a master of precision in everything, with vast experience gathered from many budo arts, and Nobuyoshi Tamura creates a koan riddle each time he grabs my wrist.
I am also grateful to my dojo members Tomas Ohlsson and Jonas Dahlqvist, who assisted in the photo sessions, and to training partners as well as photographers at my seminars in Sweden, the Czech Republic, and Germany.
Here are two short chapters from the book, as Acrobat PDF files in computer screen resolution (72 DPI):
I started to practice aikido in 1972, when I was 18 years old. Now, I'm 6 dan Aikikai Shihan, former Vice Chairman of the International Aikido Federation, member of the Swedish Aikikai Grading Committee, and President of the Swedish Budo & Martial Arts Federation. I teach aikido and iaido at the dojo Enighet in Malmo, Sweden, and at seminars in Sweden and other European countries.
Outside the dojo I'm a writer and historian of ideas. I've written a number of books in Swedish and English, both fiction and non-fiction. Among the latter are books about aikido and aikibatto, a guide to the life force qi, and a Life Energy Encyclopedia. I've also published a translation and commentary of the Chinese classic Tao Te Ching. In the history of ideas I study the thought patterns of creation myths, as well as Aristotle's Poetics.
My previous aikido books are Aikido Principles and Aikibatto: Sword Exercises for Aikido Students.
If you want to buy the book, you can do so at most Internet bookstores, such as Amazon and the like. Here are links to the book on Amazon US and Amazon UK. Use the latter if you are European - then you get the book cheaper and quicker. Otherwise, you may want to buy it at Amazon US. Well, you find it at every Amazon store.
Now also a Kindle ebook:
Attacks in Aikido
How to do Kogeki, the Attack Techniques
by Stefan Stenudd
Arriba Publ., 2008, 2009
Paperback, 190 pages