Why Aikido is so difficult

Manny

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I have a hate/love relationship with aikido, I really love to see aikido into action but it's so diffcult to me comprehend and or adhere to it's principles and these drives me crazy!

Don't know if it's about to empty the cup principle or what but Aikido really amazes me and would like to learn it buu feel the techs to intrincate that desmoralize me a lot.

Manny
 

oftheherd1

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Hang in there Manny. I never felt so uncoordinated in my life as when I began studying Hapkido. It all comes together after a while.
 

Spinedoc

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It's difficult because it is very different from other martial arts. The movements are circular, and flowing....like water. It's also difficult because tension and strength don't work. It is completely natural to tense your muscles when fighting, but aikido doesn't work like that. It needs to be loose, relaxed.......this is difficult.
 
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Manny

Manny

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I will try it again and will try to bring another mind set, the classes I went in the past where advanced ones, it seems the classes I'm going will have begginers too and I hope so, the aikido sensei told me afther one year of practicing I will begon to cordinate the techs, so well yes Aiki is a different animal from my striking foundation.

It will be nice to achieve certain level in aikido to be eficient in long distance (TKD) and short distences (aikido).

Manny
 

Drose427

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For any striker, going to a Grappling style will take work. There are just many more variables than what we're used to, so many things need to come together properly its insanely frustrating.

I had the same problems learning the first two takedowns we learn in my school, because they're so unnatural. But they teach you everything you need to know about takedowns. (Leverage, position, etc.

Its definitely going to be a struggle for a little while. But when it clicks, it clicks
 

drop bear

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There is a lot to it. You have to do the technique. Then you have to do it right. Then you have to do it for their body shape. Then you have to do it at the right time and then you have to do it pretty fast.

look it took me a year or so to get a functional double leg. I would drill it ok. But could not make it work live.
Because they take advantage of my sloppy technique and defend it.

Judo seems to be less forgiving as to make that work, your timing has to be very precise. And akido would be less forgiving again.

which is why i apply armlocks like a wrestler. But that is not going to help you.

I would be happy with one good one in a hundred to start with.
 

jezr74

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Stick with it Manny, I'm in 1st year of Hapkido, and the basic techs are only starting to feel right maybe 3 in 10 applications. But it feels good when it hits. For me, the draw is king.
 

Spinedoc

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The biggest thing is.RELAX色宇his the thing new students struggle the most with. There is so much to think about, foot work, hanmi, maai, speed, balance, and control.

The secret to aikido is actually quite simple, you are trying to unbalance your opponent while maintaining perfect balance yourself.

Achieving that.well, that's not so simple.
 

Argus

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For the life of me, I still can't figure out shomen-uchi...
 

Instructor

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I can't say much about Aikido but Hapkido is very counter intuitive. What you would naturally do is usually wrong in Hapkido so at first it feels extremely awkward. But once you get the hang of it you won't want to do things any other way.
 

K-man

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I can't say much about Aikido but Hapkido is very counter intuitive. What you would naturally do is usually wrong in Hapkido so at first it feels extremely awkward. But once you get the hang of it you won't want to do things any other way.
I think this probably goes closest to answering Manny's question. Especially for males, power and strength is the 'go to' in any confrontation. In aikido if you go to strength your technique will fail. All movements rely on moving your opponent the opposite direction to the direction you want to take him. So much is counter intuitive.
 

drop bear

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I think this probably goes closest to answering Manny's question. Especially for males, power and strength is the 'go to' in any confrontation. In aikido if you go to strength your technique will fail. All movements rely on moving your opponent the opposite direction to the direction you want to take him. So much is counter intuitive.

And that is why you are paying the money and dedicating the time.. If these things were something you could just pick up naturally then there would be no need for the training.

New people are supposed to be bad at this
 

Jenna

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I have a hate/love relationship with aikido, I really love to see aikido into action but it's so diffcult to me comprehend and or adhere to it's principles and these drives me crazy!

Don't know if it's about to empty the cup principle or what but Aikido really amazes me and would like to learn it buu feel the techs to intrincate that desmoralize me a lot.

Manny

Manny, You might find that Aikido amazes you only the way a big kid riding a bicycle might have amazed you as a child before you could do it your self.

It is fine to ride with Aikido "training wheels" in the beginning.

FEEL your way through the movements slowly as you are doing. You might fumble around and feel maybe awkward and but that is exactly as it should be, as it is when you first ride that bicycle.

As all here have justly said, stick to it and it will surely lose its big Aiki secrets that seems hidden to you just now.

I would say only one thing it would be to TRUST your self that the movements ARE in you - you just need to ALLOW them to come out:)
 

jim777

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For the life of me, I still can't figure out shomen-uchi...

Shomenuchi what exactly? Do you mean Shomenuchi ikkyo? You typically learn irimi and tenkan when you start Aikido, but shomenuchi itself is an overhead strike applied by the uke, it is not in itself a defensive technique.
 

Mephisto

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It's difficult because it is very different from other martial arts. The movements are circular, and flowing....like water. It's also difficult because tension and strength don't work. It is completely natural to tense your muscles when fighting, but aikido doesn't work like that. It needs to be loose, relaxed.......this is difficult.
You make a good point, but I'd also add that relaxation at the proper time is key to many if not all martial arts. Even in boxing relaxation is very important for good technique. However, with boxing a tense fighter can still throw a punch, but it might be inefficient, and being tense will reduce mobility or cause you to tire quickly. Relaxation under stress is counterintuitive and unnatural for many people which is why I think it's important to train under stress.
 

Argus

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Shomenuchi what exactly? Do you mean Shomenuchi ikkyo? You typically learn irimi and tenkan when you start Aikido, but shomenuchi itself is an overhead strike applied by the uke, it is not in itself a defensive technique.

Yes, sorry -- I was referring to shomen uchi ikkyou.

The difficulty for me with Aikido is the "set nature" of the techniques and lack of flow (at least in the early stages. Which is entirely understandable, as you can't really flow before you have the basic techniques down, and there's a lot to get squared away).

But, regardless of the art, I always find "set drills" and "set responses" to be a bit awkward. There are so many small factors that can dictate a different response. The distance or timing might be slightly off. "Uke" might feed you the attack in an awkward way, or at a slightly different angle. You might step slightly wide, narrow, short, or long. This kind of thing leads to different circumstances, and different energies, which require different responses. And this isn't just due to the incompetence of the teacher, or the students, as I've heard people use that excuse to write it off before. I've noticed it in every school, and every martial art that I've studied. It's just the nature of the activity that it can be very hard to replicate everything "correctly," and that can lead to people "forcing a technique" to work in a way that is a tad awkward.

Of course, this could just be me. And in some cases, I really don't understand what the technique is trying to teach me. I'll use shomen uchi ikkyou as an example:

The way it was taught to me is that as Uke raises his arm to attack, I enter with irimi to his inside, and catch underneath his elbow from the outside and do the technique. Now, this is really counter intuitive, because I'm moving to the inside, while taking his elbow from the outside. This often causes uke to spin the wrong way, or simply results in me not having the structure to stop his attack because my arm is extended over the centerline. It would make much more sense to me if you moved to the outside to perform the technique. But, I'm sure that the technique is trying to teach me something, and that I'm just not getting it. So I just keep doing it "wrong" in hopes that I will figure it out eventually.

In this case, I'm not sure who's fault it is; if I'm doing something wrong, or uke is. It works sometimes, but more often than not something else happens. It could be physical factors too, as I train with people much larger than myself; on this technique in particular, I find that sometimes I can hardly reach the points I'm supposed to catch uke's arm, besides all of the other issues I pointed out.

Of course, I can flow with the energy that Uke gives me and I give him, and sometimes go into a different technique when things "mess up", but that's more a product of my training in other martial arts than my Aikido training. And of course, I'm doing the technique "wrong" in that case, or merely failed to create the correct circumstances and energy for it to occur. So I generally refrain from that and try to figure out what I did "wrong," but I do feel that, if I had only trained Aikido, perhaps I would not have the ability to flow in the same way, but would rather have a more static and rigid view on things.

So, basically, I feel that it is the lack of dynamic training and "flow" exercises are what make Aikido hard to understand and really get a feel for, especially given its focus on using/blending with an opponent's energy. At least, this is my impression from my very limited experience. I've only been at this for about 4 months now.
 
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K-man

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The way it was taught to me is that as Uke raises his arm to attack, I enter with irimi to his inside, and catch underneath his elbow from the outside and do the technique. Now, this is really counter intuitive, because I'm moving to the inside, while taking his elbow from the outside. This often causes uke to spin the wrong way, or simply results in me not having the structure to stop his attack because my arm is extended over the centerline. It would make much more sense to me if you moved to the outside to perform the technique. But, I'm sure that the technique is trying to teach me something, and that I'm just not getting it. So I just keep doing it "wrong" in hopes that I will figure it out eventually.

In this case, I'm not sure who's fault it is; if I'm doing something wrong, or uke is. It works sometimes, but more often than not something else happens. It could be physical factors too, as I train with people much larger than myself; on this technique in particular, I find that sometimes I can hardly reach the points I'm supposed to catch uke's arm, besides all of the other issues I pointed out.

Of course, I can flow with the energy that Uke gives me and I give him, and sometimes go into a different technique when things "mess up", but that's more a product of my training in other martial arts than my Aikido training. And of course, I'm doing the technique "wrong" in that case, or merely failed to create the correct circumstances and energy for it to occur. So I generally refrain from that and try to figure out what I did "wrong," but I do feel that, if I had only trained Aikido, perhaps I would not have the ability to flow in the same way, but would rather have a more static and rigid view on things.

So, basically, I feel that it is the lack of dynamic training and "flow" exercises are what make Aikido hard to understand and really get a feel for, especially given its focus on using/blending with an opponent's energy. At least, this is my impression from my very limited experience. I've only been at this for about 4 months now.
Argus, Shomen Uchi Ikkyo is, as you may be aware, 'number one' technique. It contains several important principles and it can take years to perfect. Learning the physical movement is easy but using it against resistance takes a lot longer. People here will recognise me as a slow learner, but it took me over seven years to make it work against total resistance. I know very few people that can make it work properly.

So what principles am I saying are in ikkyo? As you pointed out the first part is irimi, entering without clashing. (You questioned moving inside when you might move outside. Well the tenkan version does that. It is the irimi version that moves in.) That is a lot harder than most people imagine. If you stop the attack with the hand under the elbow your technique will fail. At this point it is a redirection up, in and moving to the side all at the same time. Basically the principle here is attacking your partner's centre, because by taking his centre you are able to roll his arm over without using force.

The next part is really difficult. How do you get his arm down without pulling or pushing? Tohei tells us keep weight underside and that is the principle you are training here. It takes a long time to perfect even though it sounds simple. It is achieved by applying the principle you practise when performing tyno henko, extending one way while moving the opposite way. We call it 'Tohei's exercise'. The takedown is similar but utilises the principle just listed plus it uses broken timing.


In this video you get to see both irimi and tenkan versions. I'm not sure that this is being performed against resistance though. He is attacking Uke before Uke can strike. Great if it happens that way. In reality it is much more likely to be the descending strike and if the strike is directed at the clavicle it's not going to work anyway. Shomen uchi is shomen uchi, coming to the side like that is more like yokomen and requires a different technique to perform ikkyo.
 

Spinedoc

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Argus, Shomen Uchi Ikkyo is, as you may be aware, 'number one' technique. It contains several important principles and it can take years to perfect. Learning the physical movement is easy but using it against resistance takes a lot longer. People here will recognise me as a slow learner, but it took me over seven years to make it work against total resistance. I know very few people that can make it work properly.

So what principles am I saying are in ikkyo? As you pointed out the first part is irimi, entering without clashing. (You questioned moving inside when you might move outside. Well the tenkan version does that. It is the irimi version that moves in.) That is a lot harder than most people imagine. If you stop the attack with the hand under the elbow your technique will fail. At this point it is a redirection up, in and moving to the side all at the same time. Basically the principle here is attacking your partner's centre, because by taking his centre you are able to roll his arm over without using force.

The next part is really difficult. How do you get his arm down without pulling or pushing? Tohei tells us keep weight underside and that is the principle you are training here. It takes a long time to perfect even though it sounds simple. It is achieved by applying the principle you practise when performing tyno henko, extending one way while moving the opposite way. We call it 'Tohei's exercise'. The takedown is similar but utilises the principle just listed plus it uses broken timing.


In this video you get to see both irimi and tenkan versions. I'm not sure that this is being performed against resistance though. He is attacking Uke before Uke can strike. Great if it happens that way. In reality it is much more likely to be the descending strike and if the strike is directed at the clavicle it's not going to work anyway. Shomen uchi is shomen uchi, coming to the side like that is more like yokomen and requires a different technique to perform ikkyo.


K Man, I was always taught that for shomenuchi ikkyo to work, you needed to get the shomen strike at the apex, in other words, you needed to be raising your hand at almost the same time as uke. If you cannot, then you need to do a different technique, such as shomenuchi iriminage, kotegaeshi, kaitenage, etc.

My 4th and 5th digits on my left hand are still tingling today after practice last night. Me and another senior student were working on ryokatedori nikyo, and we were being.shall we say, quite aggressive with a lot of resistance匈 have bruises on my chest from where he was grabbing me, and my left hand is still宇ingling..LOL.
 

K-man

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K Man, I was always taught that for shomenuchi ikkyo to work, you needed to get the shomen strike at the apex, in other words, you needed to be raising your hand at almost the same time as uke. If you cannot, then you need to do a different technique, such as shomenuchi iriminage, kotegaeshi, kaitenage, etc.

My 4th and 5th digits on my left hand are still tingling today after practice last night. Me and another senior student were working on ryokatedori nikyo, and we were being.shall we say, quite aggressive with a lot of resistance匈 have bruises on my chest from where he was grabbing me, and my left hand is still宇ingling..LOL.
Ok, Houston, we have a problem.

We train shomen uchi ikkyo from when you are about to get hit. In real life you are unlikely to have that massive lift up, and if the arm is already up as he moves in you haven't got that option anyway. As I said, for me this is the most difficult technique in Aikido. It has four points of potential resistance and if you use the slightest amount of strength it will be stopped at any one of those places. We train the same movement for shomen uchi nikyo and sankyo. Shomen uchi yonkyo and gokyo take a different grip.

This is a better example of the technique ..


BTW why the bruises? Aikido is the gentle art, isn't it? Just don't tell Hanzou there is contact. :D
 
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