Friday, 24 August 2012

DVD review: Aikido to Jiu-Jitsu

Following on from my blog 'Compliancy breeds Complacency' I decided to invest in a dvd I recently discovered 'Aikido to Jiu-Jitsu'. The purpose of the dvd is to demonstrate how BJJ submission techniques as well as ground control through the guard and mount positions can be used as a defence against counters to Aikido techniques.

Six Aikido techniques are chosen along with corresponding BJJ techniques that form a logical progression from standing to ground. The Aikido techniques that are covered are:
1. Katate Tori Ikkyo
2. Katate Tori Nikyo
3. Katate Tori Sankyo
4. Katate Tori Shihonage
5. Katate Tori Kotegaeshi
6. Katate Tori Kaitennage

Each sequence of techniques is broken into four chapters labelled A-D - the Aikido technique (A), followed by its counter (B), followed by the BJJ technique/s (C) and lastly Aikido to BJJ demonstration (D). The sequences are put together to show a logical progression and highlight the principle of yielding that is at the heart of every form of Jujutsu whether Japanese or Brazilian. For example after Ikkyo has been countered (by rolling) the transition flows into controlling your opponent once more with your knee on their stomach, then from there into an arm bar, which if countered is then countered again by an omoplata shoulder lock (pictured).

The BJJ techniques used include arm lock, omoplata, rear naked choke, kimora, tri-pod leg sweep, foot lock and triangle choke as well as a few variations of chokes once you have control of your opponent's back. Every BJJ technique is demonstrated and explained by Gracie Barra 3rd Dan black belt and instructor Marcio Feitosa. Feitosa's demonstrations are clear and precise as he explains the mechanics of the technique step by step, as well as the reasoning for each component of the technique in order to secure the submission.

This dvd is a valuable learning resource for Aikidoka and Aiki-Jujutsuka alike. As our arts predominantly focus on incapacitating an attacker from standing it is useful to know how to transition into submission grappling if the technique failed and we found ourselves on the ground. Having been to a few ground fighting seminars I know that for these submission holds to become muscle memory they naturally require much practice. Cross-training in BJJ is a great idea if you have the time and money, however if not then trying to persuade your sensei to allow some time in your dojo to experiment with submission grappling or practising with friends is essential.

My only criticism of this dvd is that it is clearly aimed at cross-training for the Aikidoka rather than mutually between Aikidoka and BJJ practitioners. The Aikido techniques demonstrated by Derek Nakagawa (4th Dan) contain no instruction or explanation and so would be of little help to any BJJ practitioners. All the instruction comes from Feitosa making it a one-sided instructional dvd. This obviously is of great use to the Aikidoka but to the layman or BJJ practitioner watching this dvd it does make Aikido look quite weak. As each Aikido technique is countered without any explanation of how the technique is supposed to work it does leave gaps. Primarily, Aiki techniques work on the basis of off-balancing your opponent; once their posture is broken strength is negated and by creating circular motion it is harder to resist the technique. Failing to implement these principles the techniques can be resisted through strength or superior agility. 

Overall this dvd is of more value to the Aikidoka than BJJ practitioner but is a great instructional dvd with clearly defined and well demonstrated steps to submitting your opponent. At the end of the day the objective of all Jujutsu/Jiu-Jitsu is the compliancy of your opponent. Submission holds are designed to make your attacker submit (comply) or in extreme cases break limbs/choke unconscious. If wrist locks or throws don't produce compliance or are countered then the the Jujutsuka may need to resort to other submission holds found within the BJJ syllabus.

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