My theory about the practicality of Aikido

Mr. President

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[h=5]I'm gonna throw a theory out there and you tell me if it makes sense:

Because Aikido is strictly defensive and an Aikido move cannot be initiated unless there's an incoming threat, it seems that the only way Aikido can work is if the Aikidoka works extensively on cutting response time from the moment that a jab (for example) is launched until the moment you respond by moving out of the way. I was wondering if Aikidokas train just specifically on that, just on moving out of the way from very quick attacks, regardless of joint locks and throws.

Because if you response time isn't short enough, a skilled Muay Thai fighter, for instance, will demolish you with knees and jabs before you get a single joint lock on him.

Am I wrong?
[/h]
 

CuongNhuka

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Your mistake, aside from posting that entire thing in bold, is in assuming that Aikido was intended entirely for self defense.
 
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Mr. President

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Your mistake, aside from posting that entire thing in bold, is in assuming that Aikido was intended entirely for self defense.

As far as I know, it is the most defense oriented martial art out there. It doesn't have any kicks, punches, knees, elbows, headbutts or any other offensive weapon. But if there's something I'm missing, fill me in.
 

Cyriacus

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I dont need to be an Aikidoka to know that Aikido isnt hard to use offensively. If i always learn to use an elbow strike after blocking a punch, does this mean that im unable to hit someone with my elbow unless they try to punch me first?

As far as I know, it is the most defense oriented martial art out there. It doesn't have any kicks, punches, knees, elbows, headbutts or any other offensive weapon. But if there's something I'm missing, fill me in.

Try breaking stuff and putting people into positions from which you could do all those things. You dont need to take classes for a year to kick someone in the head if and when it becomes a valid option.
 

CuongNhuka

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As far as I know, it is the most defense oriented martial art out there. It doesn't have any kicks, punches, knees, elbows, headbutts or any other offensive weapon. But if there's something I'm missing, fill me in.

You're still focusing too much on combat. Do you think martial arts are only about combat and nothing else?
 

Instructor

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Well and I suspect a kick to an Aikidoka is little different than a punch. It's an extension of kinetic energy that get's trapped, blended and the projected on it's way.

In Hapkido we love kickers, they make it easy.
 

Xue Sheng

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I'm gonna throw a theory out there and you tell me if it makes sense:

Because Aikido is strictly defensive and an Aikido move cannot be initiated unless there's an incoming threat, it seems that the only way Aikido can work is if the Aikidoka works extensively on cutting response time from the moment that a jab (for example) is launched until the moment you respond by moving out of the way. I was wondering if Aikidokas train just specifically on that, just on moving out of the way from very quick attacks, regardless of joint locks and throws.

Because if you response time isn't short enough, a skilled Muay Thai fighter, for instance, will demolish you with knees and jabs before you get a single joint lock on him.

Am I wrong?

First, do you train Aikido; if not what do you train?

Second, if an Aikido move cannot be initiated unless there's an incoming threat.... then what is the issue? if no incoming threat then no threat exists, so why move at all. Are you asking about the pre-emptive strike capability of Aikido?
 

punisher73

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Aikido uses "atemit waza" (striking techniques) and Ueshiba in his book "Budo" even states that all technique (in reference to joint locks and throws) is preceded by atemi. In fact, if you look at the pictures in the book; you will see Ueshiba striking vital points as he does the techniques.

Secondly, "blending" does NOT mean you have to wait for the attack to be executed, or try for that specifc technique to unbalance the attacker (ie: trying for a jab). Aikido uses the concept of "irimi" or "entering". There was a time when Shioda Sensei was challenged by a boxer. Shioda stepped offline to avoid the boxer's jab altogether and move in and then grabbed onto the boxer's right arm and threw him with Shihonage.

The main problem is finding a school that emphasizes practical application along with the spiritual application. Too many focus on just the "harmony" and don't apply the techniques as they were designed (against an uncompliant attacker).
 

Touch Of Death

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I'm gonna throw a theory out there and you tell me if it makes sense:

Because Aikido is strictly defensive and an Aikido move cannot be initiated unless there's an incoming threat, it seems that the only way Aikido can work is if the Aikidoka works extensively on cutting response time from the moment that a jab (for example) is launched until the moment you respond by moving out of the way. I was wondering if Aikidokas train just specifically on that, just on moving out of the way from very quick attacks, regardless of joint locks and throws.

Because if you response time isn't short enough, a skilled Muay Thai fighter, for instance, will demolish you with knees and jabs before you get a single joint lock on him.

Am I wrong?
First of all, all you need is momentum in your direction. If the fight is on, reaching for so much as a pencil is attack enough to work that against them; so, this whole strictly defensive nonsense is a selling point or at best a misunderstood saying. :)
 

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As far as I know, it is the most defense oriented martial art out there. It doesn't have any kicks, punches, knees, elbows, headbutts or any other offensive weapon. But if there's something I'm missing, fill me in.

Any style teaching throws, locks etc. has strikes. Aikido doesn't focus on striking but you have to know the basics or you can't practice the techniques responding to said strikes.

That being said, what is the point in being aggressive to someone that isn't throwing an attack to you or someone else?

To answer your original question, yes when learning Aikido you practice getting out of the way of an attack. In actual defense you aren't going to try and counter every move, so deflecting and moving are of course a focus. But that could be said of any martial art. My primary style is Krav Maga and it's the same there as well. Get out of the way and deal with the situation, the approach is obviously different but the goal is the same. Don't get hurt and get away from danger.
 
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Mr. President

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You're still focusing too much on combat. Do you think martial arts are only about combat and nothing else?

No, but that's the part I want to talk about.

First, do you train Aikido; if not what do you train?

I used to train in Okinawan Karate and Israeli Krav Maga, but unforeseen life circumstances made me put it aside, at least for now.

Second, if an Aikido move cannot be initiated unless there's an incoming threat.... then what is the issue?

I'm asking because I want to understand the nuts and bolts of Aikido. Every single martial arts enthusiast has heard about how Aikido is "not effective in real confrontations". I don't believe that's true. After all, the Tokyo metropolitan police department uses it routinely on the streets. Since it's not lethal, it helps them avoid "excessive force" lawsuits.

But, from what I understand by speaking with a one Aikido instructor who is in a city next to me, Aikido can only be effective if the Aikidoka's response time is incredibly quick. If not, skilled fighters will launch a barrage of strikes against you, pummeling you to the ground before you execute a single joint lock.

Only by getting out of the way of lightning quick and successive offensive attempts against you, can you recognize the perfect opportunity to blend with the attacker's motion in order to execute an Aikido technique to take him down.

The reason that response time is, IMHO, more important in Aikido than let's say kickboxing, is because implementation of Aikido techniques relies exclusively on a certain offensive move launched against the Aikidoka, while kickboxing has many ways for you to launch at attack yourself, not waiting for your opponent to strike.

Assuming what I'm saying has some merit, I want to know if in Aikido, it is common to practice just on response time, before you even get in to joint locking, grappling, limb manipulation and throws. Is it something they train on at all? Do they make the trainees move their body out of the way of lightning quick attacks from close range?
 

jks9199

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Aikido can be very effective in self defense. The Tokyo Riot Police still send a number of their officers to a dedicated, intense program at the Yoshinkan Aikido dojo, as far as I know.

Aikido does contain striking and techniques to enter an adversary; it's just got an underlying philosophy that's more about harmonizing than offense.

If you really want to know -- I suggest you look into actually taking a class or two, and speaking with actual practitioners. If you look around, you can find the less new-age approaches.
 

punisher73

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I'm asking because I want to understand the nuts and bolts of Aikido. Every single martial arts enthusiast has heard about how Aikido is "not effective in real confrontations". I don't believe that's true. After all, the Tokyo metropolitan police department uses it routinely on the streets. Since it's not lethal, it helps them avoid "excessive force" lawsuits.

But, from what I understand by speaking with a one Aikido instructor who is in a city next to me, Aikido can only be effective if the Aikidoka's response time is incredibly quick. If not, skilled fighters will launch a barrage of strikes against you, pummeling you to the ground before you execute a single joint lock.

Only by getting out of the way of lightning quick and successive offensive attempts against you, can you recognize the perfect opportunity to blend with the attacker's motion in order to execute an Aikido technique to take him down.

The reason that response time is, IMHO, more important in Aikido than let's say kickboxing, is because implementation of Aikido techniques relies exclusively on a certain offensive move launched against the Aikidoka, while kickboxing has many ways for you to launch at attack yourself, not waiting for your opponent to strike.

Assuming what I'm saying has some merit, I want to know if in Aikido, it is common to practice just on response time, before you even get in to joint locking, grappling, limb manipulation and throws. Is it something they train on at all? Do they make the trainees move their body out of the way of lightning quick attacks from close range?

As always it will vary from school to school and the individual applying it. As one Aikido master said (sorry can't remember the name) "Your aikido might not work, but mine works fine"

If your instructor is REACTING to the techniques and not fully understanding how to "blend" with the attacker and what that means physically/mentally/emotionally than I would agree that you need VERY fast reflexes. But, when you understand what Aikido is trying to do in reaching harmony, you will read the attack before it occurs to nullify it. Think of a person telegraphing their technique. Also, consider the difference between an attack in anger vs. a contest between two individuals and there is a big difference in how they happen.

Lastly, a quick story about Aikido's effectiveness. The city I live in has an Aikido instructor, who I have met and he is a very knowledgable instructor. Some of our deputies have trained with him. He had one student that had moved into the area, and went to every martial arts school and instructor that he could find (he had done this with every where he had lived as well) and would challenge them to a fight. This person beat every instructor from every type of style that he met until he showed up at the Aikido dojo and the instructor beat him very easily by staying out of his way until he saw his opening and then took him down.

It is quicker to learn boxing/kickboxing and easier to apply, but that doesn't mean that if you truely dedicate yourself in a good school that Aikido is not effective. There are just alot of non-effective students out there (and that goes for all MA's as well).
 

K-man

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I'm gonna throw a theory out there and you tell me if it makes sense:

Because Aikido is strictly defensive and an Aikido move cannot be initiated unless there's an incoming threat, it seems that the only way Aikido can work is if the Aikidoka works extensively on cutting response time from the moment that a jab (for example) is launched until the moment you respond by moving out of the way. I was wondering if Aikidokas train just specifically on that, just on moving out of the way from very quick attacks, regardless of joint locks and throws.

Aikido is often looked at as defensive but it doesn't have to be. I could initiate an attack, back fist to the head for example, that would elicit a response, raising the arm to protect. That response gives me your arm. But the main question is why would I want to attack first? I read recently of someone saying that you can have pretty much a perfect defence, but once you attack your defence is no longer in place. So, apart from a sport scenario, which aikido isn't, why would I attack first?

Next, let's look at response times. It depends how you train. Aikido teaching is no different here to karate. If you are watching the hands you will probably get hit, and often. If you are watching the total scene, we call it 'peripheral vision', and you are not tense, you rarely get hit and even if the punch arrives it will have lost power by virtue of your interception (not block). You talk of a jab which implies close range. Presumably, if I have allowed an aggressive person to get that close, I am at least aware of the possibility he intends to attack. So, from a jab you may move your head which is reflex, assuming your hands are up in a fence your hands again will protect by reflex, but you will not have time to step. But again, that is no different to karate or WC.


Because if you response time isn't short enough, a skilled Muay Thai fighter, for instance, will demolish you with knees and jabs before you get a single joint lock on him.

The assumption you are making is that I would want to 'get a joint lock on him'. Unless you were a LEO or working security, where you need control rather than destruction, why would anyone go for a lock as the first line defence. That makes no sense for any style of MA. As a Karate-ka I am likely to hit first and use a lock or hold once I have control of the situation. As an Aikido-ka it is no different. We train with atemi ALL the time. Mostly the atemi is ippon ken to a vital point. Often it is a knee to the head or an elbow. If you attack me, as an Aikido-ka, I will be deflecting your attack and 'gently' applying pressure to one of your sensitive areas with my fist before I threaten to break your arm. If you attack me as a Karate-ka I will do the same, except that my finishing technique will most likely be a kick to the ribs or head.

Am I wrong?

Yes, I think so. :)
So, no .. your theory doesn't make sense! :asian:
 
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If your instructor is REACTING to the techniques and not fully understanding how to "blend" with the attacker and what that means physically/mentally/emotionally than I would agree that you need VERY fast reflexes. But, when you understand what Aikido is trying to do in reaching harmony, you will read the attack before it occurs to nullify it.

Interesting. So you're saying the best Aikidokas are not the ones that react quickly, but the ones that know a specific attack is coming before the attacker thinks of launching it.

That's great in theory, and I'd imagine that if you're at that level, you'd be unbeatable. How can you theoretically beat someone who already knows how you're going to come at him?

But realistically, what percentage of Aikidokas reach that kind of level? I would think it would take at least 15-20 years of non-stop training. Most people who take up martial arts because of necessity, prefer a somewhat less extended learning curve.

Which also begs the question - If you're taking up martial arts because of necessity rather than a general desire to learn, should Aikido be the method you take up?

The city I live in has an Aikido instructor, who I have met and he is a very knowledgable instructor. Some of our deputies have trained with him. He had one student that had moved into the area, and went to every martial arts school and instructor that he could find (he had done this with every where he had lived as well) and would challenge them to a fight. This person beat every instructor from every type of style that he met until he showed up at the Aikido dojo and the instructor beat him very easily by staying out of his way until he saw his opening and then took him down.

That's a nice story, but I'd imagine you could replace the line "until he showed up at the Aikido dojo" with any method you want and get the "wow" effect. I'm not saying you're lying, but I am saying that anyone can make up that story. How can I possibly know whether or not it's true?

instructor beat him very easily by staying out of his way until he saw his opening and then took him down.

Yeah. That's basically what I said before, when I wrote "Only by getting out of the way of lightning quick and successive offensive attempts against you, can you recognize the perfect opportunity to blend with the attacker's motion in order to execute an Aikido technique to take him down."

I could initiate an attack, back fist to the head for example, that would elicit a response, raising the arm to protect. That response gives me your arm.

Does it? Just because someone raises his arm near his face doesn't mean you get grab it. It takes less than a second.

I read recently of someone saying that you can have pretty much a perfect defence, but once you attack your defence is no longer in place. So, apart from a sport scenario, which aikido isn't, why would I attack first?

Who says you should? I was just asking what kind of training in Aikido is there to focus on reducing response time to an incoming attack or successive attacks.
 

K-man

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Interesting. So you're saying the best Aikidokas are not the ones that react quickly, but the ones that know a specific attack is coming before the attacker thinks of launching it.

That's great in theory, and I'd imagine that if you're at that level, you'd be unbeatable. How can you theoretically beat someone who already knows how you're going to come at him?

​That is not what Punisher said. He said, "you will read the attack before it occurs to nullify it." That is not the same as .. "So you're saying the best Aikidokas are not the ones that react quickly, but the ones that know a specific attack is coming before the attacker thinks of launching it."

But realistically, what percentage of Aikidokas reach that kind of level? I would think it would take at least 15-20 years of non-stop training. Most people who take up martial arts because of necessity, prefer a somewhat less extended learning curve.

To become proficient in Aikido certainly takes time, but 15-20 years sounds a little excessive. Ten years should do it. But that wasn't part of the OP. if you want RBSD in a hurry, do something like KM or Muay Thai.


Which also begs the question - If you're taking up martial arts because of necessity rather than a general desire to learn, should Aikido be the method you take up?

Possibly not.

Yeah. That's basically what I said before, when I wrote "Only by getting out of the way of lightning quick and successive offensive attempts against you, can you recognize the perfect opportunity to blend with the attacker's motion in order to execute an Aikido technique to take him down."

Did you read my earlier response? If you trained Okinawan Karate you would understand what I wrote about close range and reflex response.

Just because someone raises his arm near his face doesn't mean you get grab it. It takes less than a second.

I suppose it depends on your skill set. The capture of the arm occurs at the same time as the atemi.

Who says you should? (This is in response to my saying why should I attack first?)

Your OP stated "Aikido is strictly defensive and an Aikido move cannot be initiated unless there's an incoming threat." That is not correct and I gave you one example of an attacking move that I might use in either Karate or Aikido. My preferred option in both styles is to respond to a committed attack, not attack first.

I was just asking what kind of training in Aikido is there to focus on reducing response time to an incoming attack or successive attacks.
There is no training in Aikido to reduce response times. I'm not sure that is even possible. I repeat what Punisher posted.

"when you understand what Aikido is trying to do in reaching harmony, you will read the attack before it occurs to nullify it."

That doesn't mean reading minds, it means reading body language. Same as for any martial art. :asian:
 

Flying Crane

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I think that if Mr. President has doubts about aikido, then he shouldn't train aikido. He should train in something else that he believes more strongly in. I'm trying to understand the purpose of this thread, and it escapes me.
 

Xue Sheng

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I think that if Mr. President has doubts about aikido, then he shouldn't train aikido. He should train in something else that he believes more strongly in. I'm trying to understand the purpose of this thread, and it escapes me.

I agree...but I have a theory too.... that this thread is not so much about fact finding as it is style bashing
 

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Let me preface by saying I enjoy aikido very much, particularly how well the concepts and techniques blend with and enhance my Kenpo.

I think an inherent problem with aikido is that Ueshiba came to it after decades of practice in an art that was not so harmonious. It seems that often, some who practice aikido are starting at the end rather than the beginning.

I trained one man in particular who was an aikido black belt. Prior to Kenpo, it was his only martial art. His aikido was poor and ineffective. Another that I trained had trained in aikido as well, under the same instructor, but he had trained in judo first. His aikido was clean, crisp, and effective, and by the time he reached black belt in Kenpo, it was difficult to find the line between the 3 styles.

Two men, same instructor, same art, completely different understanding and application of that art.

I have been to seminars and watched black belts under the seminar instructor with the same problems; some are effective and appear to be able to make their techniques devastating, and others of similar rank just...can't.

I can say that of most styles, though, even my own.

It reminds me of Tai Chi. If you don't come in with an understanding of combat application, you may never get it without the right instructor.


Dave Hopper
 
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