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Aikido, Keri-waza

Book Summary:

Aikido, Keri-waza deals with a subject which is not commonplace in most aikido dojos; defensive techniques against kicks. This book aims at providing a basis of training in Keri-waza. Not only an explanation of techniques but also explaining how training can be structured to enable educational, safe and fun practice. Keri-waza will not only broaden the view of any aikidoka upon this great art, but can provide a starting point for the exploration of the exciting world of kicks. Training in these forms teaches aikidoka a new form of flexibility, endurance, limberness, balance, martial sense and movement. The book includes a brief historical overview of martial arts relevant to this field of study, a theoretical and technical introduction into training Keri-waza and includes a detailed explanation (with full-color photographs) of 42 techniques to Mae-geri (forward kick) and Mawashi-geri (roundhouse kick). 140 full-color pages including almost 400 photos. On-demand publishing by lulu.com. An identical issue, but completely in black/white photography, is also available.

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Review by: Clark Bateman

This new book (lulu.com 2008) is an interesting foray “outside the box” of conventional Aikido thinking. While Aikido is generally described as a defensive art, many from within and without have questioned its effectiveness in a realistic scenario. One reason for this is that the various attacks, and therefore the various defenses, contained in the typical Aikido syllabus are very limited in scope, especially if viewed from a realtime fighter’s perspective.

One obvious omission from most syllabi is the absence of training to defend against kicking techniques. Much of the opposition to such training is centered on the thinking that kicks are not good attacks from the standpoint of Aiki, because uke must give up so much balance to offer them. Most Aikido, from either side of the ball, is predicated on keeping feet on the floor. Also at issue is the question of whether Aikido training should evolve to include those areas of training that have not been included traditionally.

This book is a thought-provoking look at adaptation of core Aikido techniques for use in kick defense. There is a perfunctory and brief chapter with general historical information covering many aspects of budo, with following chapters devoted to concepts and technical descriptions. Considerable space is devoted to thoughtful rebuttal of the party line criticisms of kick defense training, and whether there is a place for it in Aikido.

The book is well written, well laid out and the photography is good. Many techniques are illustrated with sequential photos. The typeset is comfortable, and the printing and paper are of good quality. This is a print-on-demand title, currently available from lulu.com. Other outlets may develop, but it is early at this point. The current price from lulu.com is US$44.45 (plus shipping) for the full-color edition. That’s a bit pricey by comparison to other books of this scope, but another interesting thing, made possible by print-on-demand technology, is that a black and white edition is also available at US$18.69, plus shipping. That’s more like it… I have not seen a black/white edition, but based on what I see in the color version, I don’t think you’ll lose much if you choose the cheaper alternative.

Usually, when I review a new Aikido book, it is my sad duty to report that there is not much in the way of new information, but only a new presentation. That is not the case here, because just as kick defenses are not often seen in your neighborhood dojo, books with this much detail about the concept are very much new territory. Is it useful? Yes. Is it truly Aikido? Each reader will have to decide for himself (provided, of course, that you feel a decision has to be made).

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Review by: Abbas Kiani

A spontaneous reaction to Aikido, Keri-waza , the book by Mark Stokmans

Above all I am surprised in a good way by the aesthetics of the presentation of the book. (Aikido, Keri-waza by Mark Stokmans). Which is in itself an art of presentation. The foto’s do not only express the technique but also give a more poetic dimension to the subject matter.

It is pleasing to read and to look at. The historical information of the martial arts are well measured so that they do not tire at reading.

The technical aspect of keri-waza is not completely ignored by the professionals of the aikido, but it is not a part of everyday practices of our dojos either. This is the reason why I find this book very innovative as a whole. It is evident that the purists of this sport could show a resistance with regard to all novelty and change. Nevertheless I am convinced that it will not take a long time before keri-waza will be an integral part of aikido.

I will say that with full knowledge of the facts since I had the occasion to attend one of the trainings of Mark Stokmans in Utrecht (NL). The kicking techniques which are part of Uke’s work, are effective, but what is especially beautiful is to see the work of Tori in the counter-attack. The research of Mark is based on the latter. It shows the flexibility of the aikido which at any moment can neutralize the attacks of Uke regardless of they are made with the hands or feet. These techniques are so much more interesting because they are based on the basic techniques of the aikido (ikkyo, nikkyo, irimi…) and a lot of other techniques.

Aikido is just like others disciplines which evolved that one accepts or not and resisting its evolution is to go against the philosophy of the aikido since it is based on the opening of the spirit. To conclude I would say that this book can only bring an additional value to the aikido.

Through this text I would want to congratulate Mark Stokmans on his book on Aikido, keri-waza and to all persons that helped with the realisation of this book.

Written by

Abbas Kiani ,

12 ans aikido experience

15 years Taekwondo (1st dan)

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