Thinking about Aikido

Discussion in 'General Martial Arts Discussion' started by Music Man, Dec 7, 2015.

  1. Music Man

    Music Man Valued Member

    I've been fascinated by Aikido for many many years. I've done a lot of research on it over the years as well. Of course the topic of "is it effective in a real street fight" is constantly being brought up. Most people say no, while a hardcore base says yes. What are your thoughts?

    I think the principles of Aikido are absolutely awesome. Redirecting someone's force and using it against them is very logical when it comes to self defense. But from what I've seen almost all of the Aikido schools do not teach it in a practical way.

    I remember going and watching a local Aikido class years ago because of my interest in the style. I was talking to the instructor about how what's most important to me is being able to handle myself in a real world street fight God forbid if that situation where to come about. The instructor immediately started making fun of me as being a guy who wants to fight in "mma fights". I told him that was definitely not the case but made him aware that if an mma guy does attack me on the street I actually wanted to be able to defend myself well against him and not get beat to death. Despite that negative experience I've still always been interested in Aikido.

    The main problems that I have with the style is it's lack of realistic training against realistic attacks. It's almost cult like environment in some of its dojos. And the lack of testing its own principles to see if they're actually effective.

    All these things said I still believe that Aikido, if taught effectively, could be an amazing form of self defense. The problem is that I've seen very few examples of it being taught effectively.

    Im not starting this thread to bash Aikido or anything like that. I would just like to know what experienced practitioners of Aikido actually think about what I've said.
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2015
  2. Pretty In Pink

    Pretty In Pink Valued Member MAP 2017 Gold Award

    Eh, basically get things like timing and distance down and you can use most martial arts effectively.

    For instance, 5 years mma + 1 year aikido > 1 year mma + 5 years aikido.

    I can use things like wing chun straight blasts and parries in sparring because I have timing and distance down.

    Do both.
  3. holyheadjch

    holyheadjch Valued Member

    If we're talking about your ability to fight, I think we can go further than that.

    1 year MMA > 5 years Aikido.

    But if you hate MMA and quit after 6 weeks (like most people do), then you're always better served by training in something you enjoy.
  4. Knee Rider

    Knee Rider Valued Member Supporter

    The majority of Aikido practice sucks combatively because its exponents train in a bubble and without suitable energy.

    Roy Dean, Dan ranking aikidoka has this to say:

    Can't really argue with it. I've tried Aikido in the past and what I saw was the antithesis of what I'd consider effective training.
  5. Antonius

    Antonius Valued Member

    Aikido is good in theory but horrible in practice. Best to be avoided unless you are already a grappler. Then I could see some benefits.
  6. aikiMac

    aikiMac aikido + boxing = very good Moderator Supporter

    Original aikido was as effective a fighting art as anything else. Unfortunately it came into prominence at the same time as the hippy movement -- the 60's and 70's. The principles of love and harmony in the original art got confused with, and then hijacked by, the hippy ideas of love and harmony. And now most aikido sucks when measured as a martial art.

    But there are still some good schools out there. Small in number, maybe, but they exist. When you find one you'll be all ":eek:" and ":jawdrop:" and you'll love it. :D
  7. SWC Sifu Ben

    SWC Sifu Ben I am the law

    Same for me actually. I understand wing chun and how to use it better because I did MMA and Muay Thai. I was only able to really find what was workable under high pressure from aikido when I did BJJ. I was even able to occasionally pull off some low percentage techniques like ryote mochi tenchinage but I could never rely on only aikido techniques. Aikido has it's good and it's bad. Personally I like many of the aikido techniques and principles but not the way they're applied; not the aikido package as a whole. It doesn't stand we.l on its own without supplementation or adaptation. My experience is in Yoshinkan so take that for what you will. This list is from my experience.

    Where aikido shines:
    • Weapon retention
    • Weapon defense (certain weapons)
    • Arresting techniques (for certain circumstances)
    • Defending/countering/stripping grips
    • Building good posture for the clinch
    • Building great movement/posture from the knees
    • Some pretty handy, high percentage techniques

    Where aikido in general falls down:
    • Unrealistic, uncommon, and generally exaggerated attacks with no intent to actually hit anyone. It's all very fed even when done with high energy.
    • Many all-or-nothing techniques where if the opponent doesn't break fall or move right you have to snap something or abandon the technique
    • Tends to assume techniques will work meaning many schools don't teach transitions between techniques until higher levels, if at all
    • Doesn't "build a better bad guy." Unlike boxing where when your opponent gets better you get a better boxer to practice against, when your fellow aikido get better you don't get people better at striking or grappling to practice against because that's not the art's focus.
    • Some pretty useless, overly complex, and low percentage techniques
    • Aiki bunnies who are focused on harmonizing their ki and blending with uke instead of having viable martial skills. At that point take up knitting. That way there's no conflict with uke at all.
    • Many if not most of the entries don't work against uncommitted attacks. If the opponent doesn't overextend you need to have other techniques to engage them with from a striking system. Aikido techniques therefore tend to being incidental techniques of opportunity.
    • Tends to only focus on attacks from the hands

    I could go on. I still use many aikido techniques so I can't say the training wasn't valuable but it was the resistant grappling and striking I did during my transition away from aikido that actually allowed me to apply its techniques.
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2015
  8. makotokai

    makotokai Valued Member


    Like all Arts there are good and bad Dojos. Find one that emphasises principles over techniques,in particular maintaining those principles against powerful, spirited attackers.

    The principle of redirecting an attackers force is often mis-interpreted by lots of Dojos. Read some of Koyo's threads here on the effectiveness of Aikido.

    Traditionally most Aikidokas came to the art already Dan grades in others, so already knew how to strike. Many clubs ignore that simple fact, preferring to believe that there are no strikes in Aikido or worse still that they can simply add in strikes. Ignoring the fact that they have no power or accuracy.

    Aikido looks to strike through the persons intention to attack, in Glasgow that means hit first and keep going to the fight is finished. Like it or not that is difficult to replicate in the dojo regardless of the art. Going full pelt in Mauy Thai for instance still isn't the same as a street fight.

    Again all we can hope to do is develop a few strong principles which will stand up when the rubber hits the road. A good dojo will provide you with these.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 7, 2015
  9. Prizewriter

    Prizewriter Moved on

    There are a lot of good points here. All I will add is that not all Aikido is created equal. Shodokan/Tomiki Aikido regularly spar and have competitions:

    It's certainly a step above most other Aikido I've seen in terms of being applied against resistance. The ruleset is restrictive and doesn't reflect real combat of course, but you could apply that argument (to varying degrees) against any marital art that spars.
  10. makotokai

    makotokai Valued Member

  11. rne02

    rne02 Valued Member

    Aikido isn't designed for civilian violence. Does that mean there aren't people who can make it work, no. But if you want to train Aikido, then train Aikido, if you want to train specifically to deal with civilian violence, then why not train specifically to deal with civilian violence?
  12. Hannibal

    Hannibal Cry HAVOC and let slip the Dogs of War!!! Supporter

    What is it designed for then?

    If you say "military and police" then no...just no
  13. rne02

    rne02 Valued Member

    Isn't it derived from Aiki0jutsu arts used on the battlefield by samuria, and it's heavily influenced I believe by sword arts/ken-jutsu. Either way it's clearly not specifically designed for civilian violence as a) it doesn't train against the top ten HAOV and B) the atmei have been removed.
  14. philosoraptor

    philosoraptor carnivore in a top hat Supporter

    Doesn't it strike you as more difficult to control a crazed samurai in armor than it is to disable a drunk frat boy?
  15. rne02

    rne02 Valued Member

    I am saying that the enemies are different, the environments are different, the goals are different, and the rules of engagement you are bound by are different, and the types of attacks you are likely to encounter are different. Therefore your training needs to be different.

    By your logic taking table tennis lessons is a good way to prepare for the US Open, to an outsider it's the same, just hitting hitting a ball over a net with a bat. The reality is they are completely different ball games. It's the same with martial arts and self defence. Skill in one does not automatically mean skill in the other.
  16. philosoraptor

    philosoraptor carnivore in a top hat Supporter

    More like "Training for the US open won't prepare you for the neighborhood tennis match." If you genuinely think that training to take out an armored, trained and equipped warrior won't help you take out a drunken frat boy, welllllll maybe you need to reexamine your training.
  17. rne02

    rne02 Valued Member

    I didn't say it wouldn't help I said it is not specifically designed to deal with civilian violence.
  18. David Harrison

    David Harrison MAPper without portfolio

    Didn't the last Samurai die half a century before Aikido was created?
  19. Dean Winchester

    Dean Winchester Valued Member

    Since when did atemi get removed from Aikido?

    Besides Aikido is rather different from battlefield arts or pretty much anything that could be regarded as "Samurai".
  20. philosoraptor

    philosoraptor carnivore in a top hat Supporter

    Hammer's not designed to crush skulls but it does the job just fine.

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