‘Kokyu nage’, the term given to a range of important Aikido techniques, is commonly translated from the Japanese as ‘Breath throw’. However, the word ‘Kokyu’ can also be translated as ‘Work in harmony with’. In fact both interpretations describe Kokyu nage techniques, since they depend on a delicate combination of correct breath control, precise body movement, minimal physical contact and perfect timing. Consequently, the effective execution of Kokyu nage techniques represents a high level of skill in Aikido. This book examines over sixty Kokyu nage techniques from various holding and striking attacks, with hundreds of step-by-step illustrations that include detailed annotations. The breadth of coverage of this important class of Aikido techniques means that this book can be used to great advantage by beginner and advanced student alike.
The jo , an approximately four foot long wooden stave, is a rather innocuous weapon, its versatility and effectiveness not immediately apparent. However, in the right hands it can be used to devastating effect as Miyamoto Musashi the very famous Japanese swordsman discovered in a match with Musō Gonnosuke Katsuyoshi, another famous martial artist. If the account is to be believed, Katsuyoshi beat Musashi using only a jo, the only time Musashi was defeated; true or not, the jo is still regarded as a formidable weapon.
The use of the jo features in most Aikido dojos. It is important in its own right as a weapon of offence and defence, but perhaps just as importantly as a supplement to Aikido unarmed training. Aiki-jo training reinforces tai sabaki, reaction speed, distance awareness and many other basic principles of Aikido practice. Moreover, jo suburi and jo kata forms of practice are performed solo, without the need for a training partner.
In this volume we provide illustrated guidance to six forms of Aiki-jo training:
• Part 1 deals with preliminary exercises to loosen the body and become familiar with handling the jo.
• In Part 2 we describe over 20 forms of jo suburi, that is basic exercises for attack and defence.
• Part 3 builds on Part 2 by presenting three commonly practised jo kata that incorporate suburi in continuous sequences.
• Partner practice in Part 4 shows techniques where uke, wielding the jo, attacks tori who disarms and throws or pins uke. This form of practice is termed jo dori.
• In Part 5, jo waza, tori throws or immobilises uke using the jo.
• Finally in Part 6 tori and uke, both wielding a jo, are shown performing paired exercises, that is kumijo, before demonstrating a continuous sequence of mutual attacks and defences.
Aiki-jo forms are all beneficial to basic unarmed Aikido training, but they are much more than that; they also enrich the Aikido training experience, making it as exciting as it is enjoyable.
Over the course of Aikido training, a student will inevitably encounter many difficulties. For instance, practice partners may be ‘difficult’ or even deliberately obstructive, advice from senior students or teachers might be contradictory, practice principles may seem to be incomprehensible or unattainable, confidence in instructors may be questioned, and so on.
Following the same general format as “Aikido, Iron Balls and Elbow Power”, “Aikido Body, Mind and Spirit” explores a range of these problems and questions from the point of view of a student training with a fictional Aikido master instructor called Alex Essani. The conversations between Ian, the student, and Alex Essani, the teacher, are inventions that serve to examine training principles, practices and problems.
In this book Ian is introduced first to further ideas regarding Aikido practice in the dojo, building on the lessons he learned in “Aikido, Iron Balls and Elbow Power“. Subsequently he is encouraged to explore rather less pragmatic ideas relating to mind and spirit.
A bilingual Russian/English edition of this book (ISBN numbers 590599949X and 9785905999499) published by Typographia Naooka Rossiskoi Academy naook, 154 pages, is also available.
Publisher: Koteikan Press
Publication Year: 2012
ASIN (Kindle): B009EV9KT8
Available Bindings: Paperback, Bilingual Paperback, Kindle
Following the same pictorial format as its sister book, ‘Essential Aikido‘, ‘Progressive Aikido‘ presents a wide range of techniques and training methods to extend the Aikido practitioner’s repertoire. The techniques are shown as sequences of photographs of key positions, where necessary each one annotated to improve the reader’s understanding of tori’s actions. The book is in eight parts covering Tachi Waza, Hanmi handachi Waza, Suwari Waza, Kaeshi Waza, Kanren Waza, Renzoku Waza, Ninin dori and Jiyu Waza.
This book has been divided into 2 volumes and released as Kindle publications.
From the Publisher: A fully illustrated handbook of information about the practice of Aikido, a Japanese martial art. Presented in four parts, everything that a beginner needs to know is contained in this book, explained and illustrated. In Parts 1 and 2 the author explains how to sit correctly, how to behave properly in the dojo, how to stretch, how to roll, how to perform breathing exercises, and so on. But for experienced practitioners and instructors, as well as beginners, Parts 3 and 4, which cover body movement and basic techniques, it also details a rational, systematic method for studying basic Aikido forms.
Alex Essani, the Aikido teacher and practitioner, whose thoughts about the practice of Aikido are expressed in this book, does not actually exist – he is a fictitious character invented by the author as a means of exploring ideas.
However, the training philosophy and methods attributed to Alex Essani are definitely not fictitious: they are based on the author’s personal experiences with real Aikido instructors, in particular his current sensei, and on many years of practising, studying and teaching Aikido. The conversations between the two main characters, Alex Essani and his student Ian, are inventions used to illustrate an important principle or concept.
In this second edition of the book formerly titled “Iron Balls and Elbow Power”, the author has revised or extended many of the original chapters, and added seventeen new chapters and a completely new Part 3 which describes a range of commonly practiced Aikido techniques.
Publisher: Koteikan Press or Brancepeth Computer Publications
This is a book of attitudes and training techniques, more toward the philosophy of Aikido, rather than the physical. The author makes use of fictitious characters in the descriptions of training with ideal (and less-than-ideal) attitudes. This book has been subsequently (2010) re-edited and released as Iron Balls and Elbow Power: The Teachings of Alex Essani.