Aikido not practical?

Josh

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I saw a class recently and I've seen a lot of video on Aikido.
I have to say that I'm confused. In all of the demonstrations I've seen all of the attacks seem to be insanely telegraphed. Then you see the man taking the almost funny looking unrealistic attack throw the attacker (and by throw, I mean the attacker helps himself get thrown) I also see a lot of grabbing of the wrist. Really? I've sparred with many Martial Artists but none have tried to grab my wrist. (mostly because they'd be asking for a knock-down)

My question is.. Is Aikido supposed to be a practical form of self defense?
If so, What am I missing?

I ask respectfully. I really want to know what's up with this?
 

Empty Hands

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I've sparred with Martial Artists but none have tried to grab my wrist. (mostly because they'd be asking for a knock-down)

I do sometimes. It's part of the EPAK freestyle techniques. A quick wrist strike/grab pulling the opponent off balance and into your punch/kick. I get a solid hit off it maybe 30-40% of the time. Haven't been taken down from it yet.
 
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Josh

Josh

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I do sometimes. It's part of the EPAK freestyle techniques. A quick wrist strike/grab pulling the opponent off balance and into your punch/kick. I get a solid hit off it maybe 30-40% of the time. Haven't been taken down from it yet.

Yeahh, but that's not really what I'm getting at. (also 30% of the time?)
They don't use it to get a punch/kick. and really, if you can catch someones wrist, they're not trying :wink2:

What I really want to know is what I'm missing.. Is this supposed to be a self-defense?
 

Empty Hands

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Yeahh, but that's not really what I'm getting at.

A low grab? I wouldn't usually try to do one of those, that is true. However, others may try it in certain circumstances - particularly if those others are males trying to control/entangle females without much respect for their ability to fight back. See also: hair grab.

(also 30% of the time?)

Sure. It's a quick move, and fairly effective. Even a re-grab won't stop the punch in time, and even that is difficult if you are properly pulling the opponent off balance. When it doesn't work for me, it is usually because my grip slips off a sweaty wrist, not because the opponent is countering.

The best counters I've seen are either a step through reverse combined with a re-grab, or sacrifice the hand for a moment to attack and throw your opponent off their intended attack.

There is a reason this move is the basis of the entire B series of EPAK freestyle techniques.

What I really want to know is what I'm missing.. Is this supposed to be a self-defense?

Like anything, it may not be of use in a particular situation, and will never be of use if it isn't practiced diligently under pressure. However, I can see the potential uses. Trained fighters won't fully charge you or throw haymakers out of the gate, but some will, and it is useful to learn those defenses. Training against grabs is also probably more useful for certain people, like women.

Perhaps it isn't the most immediately practical art you could put your efforts into, but I don't think it is worthless for defense.
 
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Josh

Josh

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Perhaps it isn't the most immediately practical art you could put your efforts into, but I don't think it is worthless for defense.


That's more or less what I was getting at. Thanks for clearing the issue up for me. And of course thanks for the reply.

Just, if we ever spar.. please don't try to grab my wrist and/or expect me to flip over like I got hit by a truck or something :wink2:
 

Brian King

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Hello Josh,
Not all Aikido is created equally nor are its practitioners of equal ability or understanding, same with any martial art or style. I have had great experiences working with many skilled Aikido-ka who I would trust at my side during any conflict as well as having great experiences working with Aikido-ka that could not defend themselves on the street much better than a person with no formal martial training.

I am no expert in Aikido but it is my understanding that the founder of Aikido had more in mind than purely the physical act of self defense while he created Aikido. There is much more to being a human than throwing a chop to the throat followed by a eye jab and leg break and not all conflicts can be resolved by such methods…(unfortunately so, I sometimes think.) Sometimes it is learning how not to ‘fight’ that is important, whether it is against yourself, or life’s challenges or that mugger in the closet.

Regarding the wrist grabs I am guessing that much of this comes from Aikido’s sword background, and a means of weapon retention (that is still applicable for those that carry arms). It is also a means to learn how to accept gracefully with and flow with an opponent’s energy. Also while I understand that you may not have faced wrist grabs it is my understanding that many females, seniors and others have had to face this form of initial attack, a fact I witnessed on more than one occasion in the past. I have used Aikido like locks and movements while working, not by having someone grab my wrist but by presenting them my wrist/arm in a manner that invited them to initiate and maintain contact with the limb allowing me to move to control position.

Anyway that is my experience.

Now a mini rants at no one in particular just feeling a little grouchy. I want to say first that I am guessing by reading Josh’s profile that this rant does not necessarily apply to him personally but I still wish to take the time to write it here.

I do not know how many times I have read comments and opinions from people that formed their opinion from viewing video, watching those you tube links or watching a class from the side lines. Those opinions are worth the effort that was put into forming them…not much I say. Get into the class and feel for yourself! If you have doubts, no matter whether self doubts or doubts about a technique or doubts about an instructor’s ability, voice them, confront your doubts honestly and then form an opinion. Don’t think you will fly like you have been hit by a truck then by all means let the instructor know, sign the waiver and give them a good honest attack and deal with the consequences gracefully. A broken arm or torn ligaments and tendons is a small price to pay and by the same token an instructor or technique failing is good for both you and the instructor to experience. Curiosity is a great God given tool if harnessed toward betterment. Speaking from honest experience and consequences, living with honest experiences and consequences, in my opinion helps us form better questions as we seek to discover more.

Warmest regards
Brian King
 

ejaazi

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Hey Josh,

You should have asked this in the Aikido section. But to answer your questions, I will tell you this: The reason why you see people falling the way they do, is because they are receiving the technique in order to avoid serious injury. If you don't allow yourself to receive the technique, you will really get hurt. The injuries you sustain are far worse than just getting a black eye or a bruised rib.

As for the wrist grab, this is more or less an excercise. It has to do with learning proper connection and better understanding the intentions of the attacker. I know that you would never be attacked in this manner, but this form of training brings about a better understanding of dealing with your attacker. This may not make sense to you, but all I can say is that you would have to train in Aikido in order to really understand it. As with all martial arts that have seemingly meaningless excercises, you have to continue to train in order to understand, because verbal explanations often times do not really answer the question or give you true understanding.

As for self defense, well, that depends on the person. Not everyone who does karate or kung fu can defend themselves against all attackers. It all depends on the practitioner. I took kung fu for 7 years before I started Aikido, and even then, I had my doubts about my ability to defend myself. Now I feel more confident, but that's just me. Keep training and always keep an open mind, no matter which art you choose to study.
 

Hand Sword

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From what I know, the wrist grabbing is a staring point. Aikido relies on timing and blending with an attacker's force. This takes a lot of practice and time. It's much harder than it sounds. So, they start with wrist grabbing and work outward. As for practical, I know a few Aikidoka that I wouldn't mess with and would gladly have on my side when it goes down.
 

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I'm not a fan of aikido but I'm sure the likes of osensei and shioda were very capable aikidoka however I have a book called angry white pyjamas in which a guy writes of his experiences going through the 1 year riot police course at the Yoshinkan aikido honbu in japan. During his time there Gozo Shioda passed away and a bunch of the higher ranks (5th dan or above) went to the wake and got drunk. They went out and ended up getting into a fight and from all accounts no aikido was used, it was just a punch up which I think is kind of strange. Perhaps it isn't that effective.

Cheers
Sam:asian:
 

Hand Sword

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It wasn't used, therefore not tested, so you assume that it's not practical? That's kind of strange in itself. The truth (no pun intended) is that if you have the mind set to train an art in self defense terms, it can be effective. I know a few street effective Aikidoka. Believe me having worked with them and seen them in action, there's nothing "not practical" about them.

In the end, if anyone doubts it, find a dojo, go in and challenge the senior students and draw your own conclusions. The same stuff was said about Karate and Kung Fu back in the day too.
 

theletch1

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You can read this thread or this thread for some great info on your question. There are as many different reasons for studying aikido as there are for doing anything else in life. It really boils down to the why and how of your training. If I train simply for a hobby without looking deeply enough into the technique to find the true SD application of a principle then aikido (nor any art) isn't effective for self defense. I tend to train with a very practical mindset and teach the same way. Are there holes in aikido? Sure. Are there holes in every other art? Certainly. Your question isn't a new one for aikido, or any art for that matter. I've known kenpoist that trained with a mindset of getting a workout that couldn't use their art for SD for crap. I've also seen kenpoist that could truly hurt you. Same with bujinkan, judo, hapkido. It's the mindset. You just have to remember a couple of things about aikido practice:
1: you see a good deal of wrist grabbing for reasons laid out in Ejaazi's post.
2: many aikido schools don't teach technique so much as principle and it's up to the aikido-ka to apply it to the different attacks.
3: videos on youtube and such only show certain aspects of what the individual poster is attempting to put out there about their art.
4: aikido is very much about redirection of energy, either into a throw or a lock. Redirection and pain compliance doesn't really show too well on video.

Brian's mini rant is spot on. It blows my mind that folks will watch youtube videos and conclude that an entire art is useless. I'm not so sure I'd challenge someone in their school (it just isn't done anymore) to check out the effectiveness of an art but asking politely to take part in a class wouldn't hurt at all. Draw from all of your previous martial arts experience after that class to see how it would fit into your SD scenario. Truth is that aikido is no more suited to every one than any other art is.
 

morph4me

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I saw a class recently and I've seen a lot of video on Aikido.
I have to say that I'm confused. In all of the demonstrations I've seen all of the attacks seem to be insanely telegraphed. Then you see the man taking the almost funny looking unrealistic attack throw the attacker (and by throw, I mean the attacker helps himself get thrown) I also see a lot of grabbing of the wrist. Really? I've sparred with many Martial Artists but none have tried to grab my wrist. (mostly because they'd be asking for a knock-down)

My question is.. Is Aikido supposed to be a practical form of self defense?
If so, What am I missing?

I ask respectfully. I really want to know what's up with this?

You're missing the body movement, the connection between the attacker and the defender, the timing, the relaxation, the unbalancing of the attacker, and alot of the principles that make the art effective, the difference between the excercise that teaches the principles and the application of those principles in a SD situation. Like the blind men and the elephant, you're seeing one part and coming to a conclusion about the whole animal.

If you aren't trained in falling and you don't know how to respond when a joint lock is applied quickly, it's not very likely that you'll find an aikidoka who will be willing to show you how effective the techniques could be. The best advice I can give you is find a qualified insructor and check it out for yourself, but make sure his focus is the same as yours ie. self defense vs. self improvement or spirtual development or whatever, you may be surprised.
 

samurai69

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=59oSI8F15Kw&eurl=

i think this sort of clip doesnt really put aikido in a good light

where as

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gOlPBpMPZ3g&eurl= is a little better in showing the more practical side of aikido


and here is a clip of tohei my sensais sensai
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KvPveJMjW6s&eurl=


three very differnt looks to and ways of performing aikido techniques


here is a clip of daito ryu aikijutsu, the pre cursor to O sensais aikido http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XXngXtMdWrk&eurl= again with very few wrist grabs


the base teaching of aikido starts with katate tori (wrist grab) it then progresses in various stges through to punches and chops, all of which i see regularly in street fights...............the haymaker or hook punch etc

aikido as a self defence style works well, but you have to train long and hard to reach those levels, its no easy fix ffrom a self defence point of view

when i teach a basic short course self defence course i can garantee there is nothing even resembling aikido in there

aikido= finite motor skills
self defence=gross motor skills


.
 

samurai69

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and a clip of Hapkido, which is closer too, to the way aikido would have gone if o sensai had not changed it as he aged, and now his sons have only taken the part they were taught

O sensais aikido changed to suit his age and his change in moral standings, his sons only saw a part of it and stuck closely to, only, the part they saw

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0yZihj8Fi98&eurl=
 

JadecloudAlchemist

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When I first visited an Aikido dojo and worked with the students I felt similar to how you feel Josh. I was used to Uke being able to perform the technique like in Jujutsu. The students in the Aikikai school I visited would try the technique and they could not do it if I resisted (my partner was 2 kyu). When I did do Randori with the teacher I resisted and he put me down. To me the proof is in the Pudding go in there on the mat and work with a student( one that is high up) If they can not pull it off work with the teacher. There are alot of good schools in Martial arts and the way to find out which one is bad or good is the Pudding.
 
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Josh

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Thanks for all of the replies. Luckily for me, my brother (also an aikido skeptic...skeptics run in my family haha) knows an Aikidoka who has been training in the art for upwards of 10 years. He said he's willing to spar with/show me some technique. I'm really interested to see what happens when I don't flow with his throws like one poster said.
I want to see if I do get a broken rib/ torn muscle. I find sparing with someone aggressively to be a good way to see an art in action. So that's what I'm going to do.
 

Xue Sheng

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I saw a class recently and I've seen a lot of video on Aikido.
I have to say that I'm confused. In all of the demonstrations I've seen all of the attacks seem to be insanely telegraphed. Then you see the man taking the almost funny looking unrealistic attack throw the attacker (and by throw, I mean the attacker helps himself get thrown) I also see a lot of grabbing of the wrist. Really? I've sparred with many Martial Artists but none have tried to grab my wrist. (mostly because they'd be asking for a knock-down)

My question is.. Is Aikido supposed to be a practical form of self defense?
If so, What am I missing?

I ask respectfully. I really want to know what's up with this?

Way back in the Stone Age I use to spar some Aikido people and I will admit I was beginning to wonder how effective is this really. I was not having much problem controlling them and they were having all sort of trouble doing anything to me.

Then one day a woman joined our little sparing group and we sparred. She was about half my size and I did know she was an Aikido person. I approached this like every other Aikido person I had sparred. Long story short I got locked and slammed to the ground... more than once and it was VERY cool…painful…but cool

I was incredibly impressed and I then realized it was not the style it was the person and how they trained that style.

I have had a great respect for aikido ever since.

I find sparing with someone aggressively to be a good way to see an art in action. So that's what I'm going to do.

As for the match you are to have, if the person is as good as the lady I sparred :EG: You to will soon understand the ways of Aikido and its efficiency at causing others pain :asian:
 
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Josh

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My brothers friend is a male. 30 years old and pretty average build. So he has an age advantage/disadvantage depending of how you look at it.
(Me being 21). He agreed to show me some and spar under the conditions that no matter how it turns out that I don't base his art on this one session . As for wrapping my wrists.. *scoff scoff*.. I'm looking to OWN. I'm usually not into winning/losing in a aggressive sparring session.. but he's on this holier than thou "u do not know teh ki" "i am older thus I am better" mentality..and I hate that.
 
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