Reassessing Aikido in the Modern Age

JowGaWolf

Sr. Grandmaster
MT Mentor
Joined
Aug 3, 2015
Messages
14,037
Reaction score
5,960
"The higher the skill in martial arts, the more the risk of narrow mindedness. I have trained for over five decades, I am an expert, why bother with other ways and methods?"

This is a perfect example who why sparring is so crucial to understanding Martial Arts. This statement is a representation of what is said by people who don't spart. Those who do spar do not think this way. This is the same mentality of someone who only does kung Fu forms and never makes the same effort to learn how to apply forms.

I do not believe that a person can train and spar by using the applications and still walk away with this type of mentality. A person will not have this mentality if they do System A vs System B sparring. This attitude is the same one that Kung Fu Masters vs MMA dad. The kung fu masters came in with that perspective but they did not leave with it.

If the founder did other martial arts in which he was able to apply those techniques, then why would someone think they could understand Aikido without having to do the same thing? Aikido was built on his previous skill set and ability. He was not someone who was just sitting around doing nothing and decided to create Aikido out of thin air.

It makes no sense to expect to learn the same thing that the founder taught by only doing half of what's needed.
 

isshinryuronin

Master of Arts
Joined
Feb 28, 2019
Messages
1,902
Reaction score
2,082
If the founder did other martial arts in which he was able to apply those techniques, then why would someone think they could understand Aikido without having to do the same thing? Aikido was built on his previous skill set and ability. He was not someone who was just sitting around doing nothing and decided to create Aikido out of thin air.

It makes no sense to expect to learn the same thing that the founder taught by only doing half of what's needed.
A good insight into TMA. To understand it one must understand its roots, not just its current form. A missing root is often the cause of a technique not working well.
 

Kung Fu Wang

Sr. Grandmaster
MT Mentor
Joined
Sep 26, 2012
Messages
14,082
Reaction score
4,549
Location
Austin, Tx/Shell Beach, Ca
A missing root is often the cause of a technique not working well.
I don't understand why Aikido likes to control the wrist. This will give too much space between you and your opponent. SC, Judo, wrestling all like to control the elbow, shoulder, neck, head, spine, waist, knee, ankle, ...

Will this happen in Aikido? I don't think so. The issue is, when it happens, how does an Aikido guy deal with it?

dead_lock1.jpg


I also don't understand why Aikido does not integrate "leg skill" into their system. If you allow your opponent's leg/legs to be free, your opponent can move around more than you may like.

Leg skills are front cut, slant cut, inner hook, outer hook, sickle hook, leg break, horseback kick, leg lift, leg twist, outer leg twist, spring, shin bite, sweep, scoop, sticky lift, knee lift, leg seize, ...

It doesn't matter which MA system that you may train. If you pick up one of your opponent's legs and knock his rooting leg off the ground, your opponent will have no leg to stand. Is that just "common sense"?

 
Last edited:

isshinryuronin

Master of Arts
Joined
Feb 28, 2019
Messages
1,902
Reaction score
2,082
I don't understand why Aikido likes to control the wrist. This will give too much space between you and your opponent. SC, Judo, wrestling all like to control the elbow, shoulder, neck, head, spine, waist, knee, ankle, ...

I also don't understand why Aikido does not integrate "leg skill" into their system. If you allow your opponent's leg/legs to be free, your opponent can move around more than you may like.

Leg skills are front cut, slant cut, inner hook, outer hook, sickle hook, leg break, horseback kick, leg lift, leg twist, outer leg twist, spring, shin bite, sweep, scoop, sticky lift, knee lift, leg seize, ...
As I understand it (and I may be wrong) aikido is based on merging with and hyper-extending (leading) the opponent's own movement. By restricting or attacking the legs one is interfering with this movement, thus going against the art's basic strategy. I'll leave it to one who actually practices aikido to confirm my theory. As an Okinawan karate practitioner, I do employ "leg skills" to break balance as well as attack/damage them directly.
 

isshinryuronin

Master of Arts
Joined
Feb 28, 2019
Messages
1,902
Reaction score
2,082
What if you fight in a small space that your opponent cannot move around?
It looks like this may put aikido at a disadvantage, TKD as well to a degree. Short range techniques like knees, stomps, elbows, uppercuts, etc. are vital to any combat effective art.
 

Kung Fu Wang

Sr. Grandmaster
MT Mentor
Joined
Sep 26, 2012
Messages
14,082
Reaction score
4,549
Location
Austin, Tx/Shell Beach, Ca
It looks like this may put aikido at a disadvantage, TKD as well to a degree. Short range techniques like knees, stomps, elbows, uppercuts, etc. are vital to any combat effective art.
MA training is used to solve problems. If a MA system can only solve a small set of problems, there may be some issues there.
 

Flying Crane

Sr. Grandmaster
Joined
Sep 21, 2005
Messages
15,249
Reaction score
4,956
Location
San Francisco
It looks like this may put aikido at a disadvantage, TKD as well to a degree. Short range techniques like knees, stomps, elbows, uppercuts, etc. are vital to any combat effective art.
I would say that anyone, of any style, for whom training is about the techniques, might find some difficulty with combat within a limited space. In contrast, anyone who sees martial training as a set of principles of movement, and the techniques are merely examples of the principles in action, is far less likely to find such combat troubling.

In the roughly one year of casual aikido training that I have done so far, I can think of all kinds of things that would work quite well in limited-space combat. Aikido is not all big movement with the body while trying to whip someone about the perimeter of the room by the wrist. All kinds of elbow, shoulder, and body pins in there as well. Could be some leg pins too but in my short tenure I have not seen them yet. I do not see having a background in aikido as a disadvantage at all.
 

O'Malley

Black Belt
Joined
Jan 3, 2013
Messages
615
Reaction score
527
As I understand it (and I may be wrong) aikido is based on merging with and hyper-extending (leading) the opponent's own movement. By restricting or attacking the legs one is interfering with this movement, thus going against the art's basic strategy. I'll leave it to one who actually practices aikido to confirm my theory. As an Okinawan karate practitioner, I do employ "leg skills" to break balance as well as attack/damage them directly.
Relying on the opponent simply charging in one direction (or off-balancing themselves) is a remarkably ineffective strategy. It's even difficult for the opponent to obtain the required momentum unless he attacks from way out of range. And, obviously, a trained opponent will never over-commit that way. I don't think any art that revolves around that strategy would have reached aikido's status (especially with, say, the military of a country actively preparing an expansionist military campaign).

Aikido can have "leg skills". It can even have artillery: the art does not have a finite curriculum. That being said, it's possible that the lack of emphasis on leg skills comes from its close links to Japanese jujutsu and, most of all, sumo, where bringing your hips closer to the opponent exposes your mawashi/belt.
Here is the concern. Which is more important? Combat effective, or stick to basic strategy?

What if you fight in a small space that your opponent cannot move around?
There are movements for which you don't need a lot of space.



But of course if you're in a really tight space you can just hit them from close range:


 
OP
Instructor

Instructor

Master of Arts
Supporting Member
Joined
Feb 18, 2012
Messages
1,644
Reaction score
556
Location
Knoxville, TN
In the book Aikido in Everyday Life (Terry Dobson and Victor Miller) It says that relationship is a consideration. "What is the relationship between you and the person attacking you? It seems like an obvious point, but why then are most homicides between friends? If either participant in the struggle stopped and realized that he was fighting a friend or lover (and acknowledged all that that entails) the statistics on homicide would change radically."

In my life at least a few martial engagements were with friends, family, etc. Anyone else experience this, did it change the math on how you dealt with the situation?
 

Bill Mattocks

Sr. Grandmaster
MTS Alumni
Joined
Feb 8, 2009
Messages
15,660
Reaction score
4,519
Location
Michigan
We are in the age of the internet and combat sports have the spotlight.
Indeed. But they still dig holes with shovels. I guess I'm a contrarian. I don't think people throw fists and feet differently now than they did in olden times. If a system worked then, it works now. I don't particularly care what's fashionable.

"Then get in the octagon and prove it" is the usual response I get from the MMA bros. Yeah, no. That's not why I train. I know they don't 'get it'. That's also not my problem.
 
OP
Instructor

Instructor

Master of Arts
Supporting Member
Joined
Feb 18, 2012
Messages
1,644
Reaction score
556
Location
Knoxville, TN
Indeed. But they still dig holes with shovels. I guess I'm a contrarian. I don't think people throw fists and feet differently now than they did in olden times. If a system worked then, it works now. I don't particularly care what's fashionable.

"Then get in the octagon and prove it" is the usual response I get from the MMA bros. Yeah, no. That's not why I train. I know they don't 'get it'. That's also not my problem.
I agree. In my opinion most martial arts are for civil situations between ordinary people in the real world.
 

Bill Mattocks

Sr. Grandmaster
MTS Alumni
Joined
Feb 8, 2009
Messages
15,660
Reaction score
4,519
Location
Michigan
I agree. In my opinion most martial arts are for civil situations between ordinary people in the real world.
It is my understanding that Okinawan martial arts were developed and adopted by people wishing to be able to travel from village to village without being beaten and robbed by bandits. As time passed and certain techniques tended to be effective, they were codified and taught. This seems reasonable and understandable to me. No one has managed to convince me that 21st century thugs throw punches differently than 18th century thugs.

I understand that guns and their proliferation and indiscriminate use have changed the notion of self-defense to some extent. But as I am unable (and unwilling) to devote thousands of hours to training myself to perform effective knife and gun disarms, I instead use my abilities to detect and avoid to the extent possible places, times, and situations where such things would be most likely to occur.

That may prove to be my undoing - anyone can be caught out and placed in grave jeopardy and wish they had indeed taken that time to train. Such is life. You pay your money and you take your chances.
 

drop bear

Sr. Grandmaster
Joined
Feb 23, 2014
Messages
23,371
Reaction score
8,109
Relying on the opponent simply charging in one direction (or off-balancing themselves) is a remarkably ineffective strategy. It's even difficult for the opponent to obtain the required momentum unless he attacks from way out of range. And, obviously, a trained opponent will never over-commit that way. I don't think any art that revolves around that strategy would have reached aikido's status (especially with, say, the military of a country actively preparing an expansionist military campaign).

Aikido can have "leg skills". It can even have artillery: the art does not have a finite curriculum. That being said, it's possible that the lack of emphasis on leg skills comes from its close links to Japanese jujutsu and, most of all, sumo, where bringing your hips closer to the opponent exposes your mawashi/belt.

There are movements for which you don't need a lot of space.



But of course if you're in a really tight space you can just hit them from close range:


Baiting people in to over extending takes a lot of back of house.

That most people don't do.
 

drop bear

Sr. Grandmaster
Joined
Feb 23, 2014
Messages
23,371
Reaction score
8,109
I agree. In my opinion most martial arts are for civil situations between ordinary people in the real world.

Not really. Military and police are moving towards a MMA style combat sport these days.

And they have been very resistant to that for ages.
 

drop bear

Sr. Grandmaster
Joined
Feb 23, 2014
Messages
23,371
Reaction score
8,109
Indeed. But they still dig holes with shovels. I guess I'm a contrarian. I don't think people throw fists and feet differently now than they did in olden times. If a system worked then, it works now. I don't particularly care what's fashionable.

"Then get in the octagon and prove it" is the usual response I get from the MMA bros. Yeah, no. That's not why I train. I know they don't 'get it'. That's also not my problem.

The thing is. MMA is a very different beast than what once worked in the UFC.

It is not a product of fashion so much as a product of technology. In that we can access elite level training from anywhere in the world.

And there are levels to fighting.

Superior communication was the super secret.
 
Top