Company: Unique Videos
Tape Name: The Art of Aikido Volume 1
Tape Cost: $39.95
Length of Tape/Time: 58 minutes
Number of Moves/Techniques: About 30
Return Policy: Refund on damaged or defective tapes only
Experiences in dealing with this company: Good
The Instructor: Kensho Furuya
Company’s Address: 4201 W. Vanowen Place, Burbank, CA., 91505
Company’s Phone Number: 1-800-332-3330
Web Page:

Primary Grading Criteria:

1. Production/Tape Quality: 10
2. Instructors demonstrated skill level: 10
3. Comprehension Score/Immediate Understanding: 10
4. Degree to which this will make someone a better Martial Artist: 9
5. Score on delivery vs hype: 9
6. Degree to which we would recommend this product: 10
7. Wasted Time ( The higher the number, the less “ fluff” /repetition ): 9
8. Playback Score/Watching if over-and-over again: 9
9. Would I purchase more of this company’s products: 9
10. Overall grade based on cost vs. Value: 9

Grand Total: 94 %

Secondary Grading Criteria:

1. Beginners benefit: Good
2. Intermediate benefit: Good
3. Advanced benefit: Good
4. Time to benefit: Immediate for most of the material
5. The need to buy additional tapes to understand this one: None

Written Summary:

First off, I'm not an Aikido expert, and I apologize to those Aikido enthusiasts who read this, and find any errors in the description of this art, or it's techniques. However, being that much of this art came from jujitsu and the aiki arts, which I have studied, I put on my "beginners" cap and tried to view and grade this video from a beginners point of view.

This Aikido tape series, appears to be one of the most promising we've reviewed so far. This, the first of nine videos by Kensho Furuya, hits the mark, IMHO, and had the most profound impact on me, as far as introducing me to Aikido. Unlike another series we've seen, in which you can easily get lost, due to a lack of explanation, and poor production, I felt Mr. Furuya was extremely thorough, and not only explained things in superb detail, but also showed a lot of the common mistakes you might make, and how to avoid them. He teaches in what appears to be a very practical way. Mr. Furuya slowly builds and adds on to the various techniques shown on this tape, in a way that made alot of sense, and didn't confuse or lose me as a viewer.

Mr. Furuya starts the video out by going right into various techniques, instead of starting with some lengthy history of the art, which isn't why most of us buy videos. I wish tape companies would figure out that we can go to the library, for free, and get books that explain in extreme detail, the history of various martial arts. Tapes are typically fairly short, the cost is high, and why haven't most tape companies figured out that what consumers wants is TECHNIQUES AND INSTRUCTION FOR THEIR HARD EARNED DOLLAR. Don't try and eat up time on the tape by showing the same technique a dozen times, we all have rewind buttons for that, and don't allow someone to use up half the tape going into a 30 minute history of their art. Mr. Furuya's tape had a short, 5 minute history of Aikido, and to me, that's OK. And in some instances, a slightly longer history might be OK, especially in a multi tape series like this one.

Anyway, I know that sometimes I use these reviews as a forum to express my thoughts about what's wrong with the way many tapes are produced. Some costly tapes that we've reviewed have been only 20 minutes long, and to me, some of these afterwards leave me with a feeling that I've been overcharged for the instuctional value it gives me. Folks, on a 20 minute tape, I can guarantee you that I'm going to be alot more critical grading it, than I am a one or two hour tape. I try to review these tapes as if I just spent my money, and afterwards, how do I feel about spending that amount of money on this tape. In 20 minutes, for my money, I want to see ALOT of technique, and I don't want to see each technique repeated a dozen times, nor alot of babbling!

OK, enough rambling, back to this tape. Mr. Furuya does an excellent job by going right into some forward sliding techniques, he shows throws from these, and then builds on them by showing how one can add a turn to the slide, from which a whole different series of throws can be done. I believe he called some of these techniques Tenkan Kokyu Ho. Mr. Furuya has his arm out, allowing his uki to grab his wrist, as he does, he takes a step forward, to where he's beside his opponents lead leg (on the outside), then he turns, facing the same way as opponent. From this we are shown several different throws. Mr. Furuya, while showing these throws, goes into a clear detailed explanation about the particulars that make them work, and covers the common mistakes some make, and how to avoid them. I believe the other term he used to describe the forward entry to the side of ones opponent was Irimi. Along the way, Mr. Furuya shows some strikes that he says will help distract the opponent, while your applying these various techniques. This is a beautiful art and Mr. Furuya makes it look much simplier than it is.

Following this, we are given a brief 5 minute origin and history of Aikido. Then it's on to learning Irimi with a circular throw. I believe the term used to describe the next set of techniques was Kaiten-Nage. We are shown basically the same type of entry, but with some inner and outer turning, with several different throws and controls.

After this, principles of Aikido are explained, along with, the breaking of timing, power, and balance. And all through this tape, Mr. Furuya explains and demonstrates how one should keep oneself in a defensive position at all times. The techniques demonstrated, mainly the forward entry to the side of an opponent, Mr. Furuya explains and shows that if done properly, will leave you almost behind the opponent, where he's less likely to do you much harm.

In closing, there is a somewhat long, 20 minute exercise routine, that shows some unique warm up exercises I'd never seen, that one should do before beginning their Aikido workout. An interesting point made was that there's no counting during the exercises, and the explanation for that I found very interesting and made sense (you'll have to get the tape for the answer). On a shorter tape series, this long of an exercise section would've probably been viewed as a time waster, since it ate up almost half the tape. However, because this is a 9 tape series, if shown only on this tape, which we hope is the case, seemed important and wasn't looked at as a time waster.

If you purchased a couple of other Aikido tapes, and want a more indepth look at this art, and its techniques, you might want to give this tape series a try. I know it made me want to see what Volume 2 has to offer, and that's something another series didn't do.

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