Is Aikido A Martial Art?

Discussion in 'Aikido' started by mdgee, Oct 21, 2014.

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  1. mdgee

    mdgee Valued Member

    Don't shoot the messenger. I just read a great article on and want to share it with any Aikido practitioners and enthusiasts. It's written by a man who has been studying Aikido since 1957. That's probably longer then most of us have been alive so he probably has more knowledge about what is real and what is watered down. More so then the rest of us, right? It is a very good read and will definitely help with weeding out the bad schools.
  2. Rebel Wado

    Rebel Wado Valued Member

    I was simply going to answer "YES" to your topic question. :woo:

    Interesting article, I only skimmed through it, but saw a lot of things I would agree with.
  3. LemonSloth

    LemonSloth Laugh and grow fat!

    Same here.

    Not sure what else there is to say though.
  4. Chris Banks

    Chris Banks Valued Member

    There is alot of Aikido out there which is just as described in the article.

    My teacher was from the era talked about and trained with all the sensei's mentioned, he then took that spirtit into his teaching and passed it on to us.

    There are still clubs out there which try and keep the martial side of the art alive and well, but you do need to look hard! :mad:
  5. Anth

    Anth Daft. Supporter

    Another one that was ready to just jump on the title, perhaps like the little guy in the article, but it turned out to be quite interesting and I have to agree. I know my time in aikido was brief (three and a half years) but I experienced similar things. Whereas the author calls it "Harry Potter aikido", we'd generally call them "Aiki Bunnies" or whatever, but I've been on the recieving end of well respected instructors who didn't want to train with me as I "didn't train properly" - ie I didn't tap out from a technique that I couldn't feel - and far more people than I can remember that weren't happy with it being alien to me to attack unbalanced after a decade of karate.

    Thankfully I was a member of MAP when Koyo Sensei was still with us when I started aikido and the organisation got the seal of approval (a koyo photo).
  6. 47MartialMan

    47MartialMan Valued Member

    I don't quite understand
  7. Anth

    Anth Daft. Supporter

    If you needed to know anything aiki, you'd ask Koyo. If he didn't have anything bad to say about someone, they were good enough to train with. If koyo had a photo to demonstrate the point, it was even better (and the amount of photos that he posted was incredible).
  8. Chris Banks

    Chris Banks Valued Member

    Here's a nice example!

    Attached Files:

  9. Chris Banks

    Chris Banks Valued Member


    Attached Files:

  10. Giovanni

    Giovanni Well-Known Member Supporter

    i find it distasteful when i read something from some older generation talking about how everything was so much better then than now. it's nonsense. aikido can be, and is, a very tough martial art. it doesn't take long to find a good dojo either.

    but interestingly, one of the points in the article that was maybe hidden in plain sight....old aikido dojos were full of judoka. so i think what this cat is saying is to cross-train. which we already know. :)

    break my finger. lol. oh that morihei.
  11. holyheadjch

    holyheadjch Valued Member

    He is giving multiple concrete examples of that watering down. And he still trains today. This isn't some guy who 'retired' 20 years ago judging it from the outside - he's on the inside comparing what he learned 40 years ago to what making schools of aikido teach today.

    He hits pretty much all of the big criticisms that the martial arts community levels at aikido and is saying 'it wasn't always this way'.
  12. Giovanni

    Giovanni Well-Known Member Supporter

    was it really different then?

    i still think it smacks of the pining for those "good ol' days" which were never really there to begin with.

    first of all, i have a hard time thinking anyone in the "martial arts community" that was actually interested in learning to fight with their bare hands would only do aikido--then or now. as i mentioned previously, the original aikidoka were all judoka. that fact alone makes the original aikidoka tougher than most of the world's population. i think his over-arching point is that "tough guys" or "real fighters" would not do aikido now. well...duh. tough guys and gals should start with judo. then move on from there into boxing or wrestling or muay thai or bjj, maybe even a little aikido. 1886 called and someone should tell the sensei that. hell, the ancient olympic games called for that matter.

    one of his examples was all the hard physical training they did in the dojo. that doesn't impress me at all. i'm 43, i work out all the time. and no, i don't do wrist pushup...because they're bad for my wrists. i do yoga, and run, and calisthenics (with proper form :)) and lots of other things. there is an expectation in the current climate that one should be in shape if one wants to be a fighter. and we've come a long way in diet and physical exercise since then. and no, if i'm paying to do aikido, i don't want class time being taken up with pushups. and i feel the same way about my bjj gym.

    i think this is a good discussion to have, i really do, but i just think his comments are misguided. maybe there's some "truth" in there, but it's all very subjective. just my opinion. not to belabor the point, but i think that yes, there is a responsibility on the user, it's not just the "martial art".

    and also a little "rose colored glasses" syndrome happening.
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2014
  13. Pretty In Pink

    Pretty In Pink Moved on MAP 2017 Gold Award

    Judo is so watered down from the original now though.
  14. mdgee

    mdgee Valued Member

    Giovanni, I guess since none of us were there we don't have anything to truly make a comparison of what we may or may not have experienced compared to the author. Sure, most of us can identify a lot of crap or an unhelpful instructor that we simply don't click with but, can you identify Aikido that is traditional and in line with what was originally created vs. a lot of the flowing styles of Aikido that look like a dance? That's what the author is really saying. I think he's trying to point out that the Aikido he trained in is a real martial art. Didn't you take away something similar from the article?
  15. Giovanni

    Giovanni Well-Known Member Supporter

    not if you do bjj. :whistle:
  16. Giovanni

    Giovanni Well-Known Member Supporter

    define "real martial art" mdgee.
  17. David Harrison

    David Harrison MAPper without portfolio

    I think it has nothing to do with Aikido, per se, but any teaching method whereby an expectation of result is culturally expected. You see the same in some Systema off-shoots nowadays.

    I think this is what the author was basically getting at.

    Not too sure about the story of the teacher carrying a knife to hand to attackers though... not sure I'd want to follow that guy...
  18. aikiwolfie

    aikiwolfie ... Supporter

    Yes Aikido is a martial art. The fact that some people have a poor understanding or choose to practice without conviction and spirit doesn't change that.

    The article also seems to be taking a clear swipe at the Ki Aikido Ken Williams Sensei teaches. Both teachers have a history. Not that I would know all the details.
  19. David Harrison

    David Harrison MAPper without portfolio

    It's not just about conviction and spirit.

    If the worst that will happen to you is eight guys putting their hands on your shoulders in a pseudo-aggressive way, and you've never been taught how to strike someone decisively, there is no way in hell you will have a chance against people who actually want to cause you damage.
  20. mdgee

    mdgee Valued Member

    aikiwolfie, yes, he does seem to poke as a specific instructor but Ken didn't invent Ki Aikido, right?
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