Chin Na In Ground Fighting: Principles, Theory and Submission Holds for All Martial Styles by Al Arsenault and Joe Faulise is a very comprehensive and thorough look at the Chinese art of controlling and seizing, Chin Na, aimed at ground fighting. It is a very good text for any martial artist wanting to learn and improve in this area of martial art. With plenty of photographs, and detailed analysis of the principles behind the techniques, this is much more than just a picture book of a few techniques, and one that complements the other joint locking and Chin Na resources that are available.
The three hundred and fifty page book is well organized. Part one, general concepts is divided into chapters focusing on general history and principles, science of technique, pressure points of the fourteen meridians, body tools and vulnerable points. Part two continues with joint locks and has chapters on controlling the arm, controlling the leg, controlling the head/neck and body, and finally a short chapter on fighting sequences. There is also a good glossary of martial art terms and a glossary of medical terms.
While this book is applicable and useful for martial artists of any style, it is written about a Chinese discipline, and therefore, it contains the Chinese terminology and focuses on the Chinese concepts found in Chin Na. This includes pressure points and meridians found in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Many of the charts and diagrams found in the chapter that focuses on these are similar to those found in other TCM texts. I do feel the authors do a good job on this chapter, as well as the one on history and the science of technique in that they give enough for the purposes of this book, but not too much, or as in depth as you would find in a TCM text book. I also felt the body tool and vulnerable points chapter did a good job of describing the various areas of the body and and how to use them, or exploit them.
The joint locking chapters focus on locks on the ground. Obviously, if you are familiar with performing locks standing, from an art such as Hapkido or others, you will easily understand the principles behind the locks that the authors explain and demonstrate. Even if you are new to locks, the authors do a good job in making it easy to learn from this book. Of course, you will need to take the book to the gym with a training partner to try them out to actually learn all the techniques.
There are many black and white pictures that accompany the descriptions, and while they are clear, sometimes they are a bit small to see some of the detail I’d like to have shown, especially for beginners who are learning these for maybe the first time. Sometimes it is difficult to see just exactly what is being done in the pictures.
I also liked that after the chapters showing the locks and holds, there was a short chapter on fighting sequences. It is short, there are only fourteen different sequences, but the purpose is to get you thinking about how you would use the various techniques in situations, and I think it is enough to get the reader thinking and exploring with a training partner on ways to use what is taught in this book.
This really is a very good book to add to your martial art library. If you are wanting to learn how to incorporate Chinese Chin Na principles and techniques in ground fighting, this is a reference to have.