Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Rory meditates on aikido gripping

This is the third in a series of reviews on Rory Miller's excellent new book, Meditations on Violence. The previous reviews can be found here and here.
I really ought to try harder to find something to gripe about in this book just so I won't seem like some sort of kool-aid drinking Rory Miller sycophant when I tell you that you really, really need to buy this book. Hmmm... Let's see... How about this... RE: adrenaline response:

Blood is pooled in the internal organs, pulled away from the limbs. Your legs and arms may feel weak and cold and clumsy. You may not be able to feel your fingers and you will not be able to use some "fine motor skills," the precision grips and strikes necessary for some styles such as Aikido... (p59)

While I know that the author is only using aikido as an example, and that the aikido that the author has seen might make use of complex gripping skills. And while I completely agree with his premise that fine motor skills go to pot during a conflict, I still have to complain about the use of aikido gripping as the example. We just ain't like that.
There are no complex gripping skills involved in aikido. Any grip that is used is obtained by simply closing the hand on whatever it happens to be touching. If the grip that you get is different from the "classical form" of the thing - it really doesn't matter that much.
But you know, that's digging pretty deep into a really great book for a really tiny glitch. The use of that particular example doesn't change anything about this book. The author is still exactly right in describing this phenomenon as important and I still highly recommend that you buy the book and read it for yourself (over and over). It is simply that indispensable in the education of a martial artist.


  1. I think that yonkyo is a good example of an Aikido "precision grip" that you rarely see elsewhere.

  2. Yonkyo is a great example of a technique that you can do with a simple grip anywhere on the forearm.

  3. Ok,ok you got me.
    I just ordered a copy from your link. Looks good, thanks,

  4. Great, DR! I don't see any way you could possibly be disapointed with this book. It is so full of practical strategic info. In fact, this is the perfect "concept book" like you were talking about on your blog some time back...


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