Why

Xue Sheng

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I was reading this article by Stanley Pranin

And I came to this bit

Why Aikido?
This brings us to a perfectly reasonable question. Why study aikido and not something of more immediate applicability to incidents of urban violence like the use of firearms or street fighting skills? Depending on ones circumstances, it may indeed be a good idea to practice other disciplines. There are certainly strong arguments for the benefits of cross-training.

Why do you train Aikido?
 

dancingalone

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I had a phase in my youth where I became hung up on martial art classifications and I thought soft, 'internal' styles were superior. I floated in and out of tai chi chuan and ba qua, picking up a few things, but not enough for the experiences to have been meaningful in my permanent practice of MA. Then I tried aikido on a whim.

The Japanese language and dojo culture resonated with me and one of the sempai in the class was awfully pretty. :) So I stuck around, eventually earning a shodan with my first instructor. And now that pretty girl is both my aikido instructor and my wife.

I continue to study aikido aside from the familial connection is because it is a complementary path to my main martial art of karate. The added practice in locks and pins improves my physical sensitivity and makes me more efficient at things like blending to avoid a punch. Some other elements like parries have also greatly improved.
 

Manny

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I had a phase in my youth where I became hung up on martial art classifications and I thought soft, 'internal' styles were superior. I floated in and out of tai chi chuan and ba qua, picking up a few things, but not enough for the experiences to have been meaningful in my permanent practice of MA. Then I tried aikido on a whim.

The Japanese language and dojo culture resonated with me and one of the sempai in the class was awfully pretty. :) So I stuck around, eventually earning a shodan with my first instructor. And now that pretty girl is both my aikido instructor and my wife.

I continue to study aikido aside from the familial connection is because it is a complementary path to my main martial art of karate. The added practice in locks and pins improves my physical sensitivity and makes me more efficient at things like blending to avoid a punch. Some other elements like parries have also greatly improved.

Very nice explanation sir. And congratulations for keeping the girl now your wife.

Like you in some point I think aikido can benefitial to my TKD as it does to your karate.

Manny
 

Slipper

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I started Aikido at the urging of my husband as he was concerned for my physical safety. He didn't care what martial art I took, as long as I did something. I knew very little about Aikido prior to joining and I'm sure it showed. It wasn't easy, but I knew that if I quit, I would have to find another place and start the joining process all over. So, I stayed and eventually fell in love with Aikido.

I love the physical nature of it. I love being thrown and rolling on the mat. I'm always sore when I leave and I always wake up the next morning feeling like I had a full body massage the day before. I feel great. I feel calm and at peace with myself and daily annoyances. I enjoy working with the guys in my dojo and I trust them.

If I'm bothered or upset by something, I can ask for someone to practice a lot of attacks with me until I'm so tired I can't even remember why I was upset to begin with. By contrast, if I'm in a contemplative or quiet mood, I enjoy being uke with someone who is new and struggling to learn things. I find the much slower and giving pace suits me on those nights.

I see myself growing, not so much in terms of rank and belt level, but in other ways; not just physically. I take time to reflect on situations rather than having knee-jerk reactions. I've learned a lot about male/female friendships and trusting. Practically, I have learned a great deal about self-defense as the guys in my dojo occasionally like to show me things other than Aikido. I feel confident with myself and comfortable in my skin.

Though I didn't necessarily choose Aikido, to some extent, Aikido chose me. I can see myself studying other arts to complement what I learn in Aikido (for example, I'd love to learn ground work and grappling), but I don't ever see myself quitting.
 

K-man

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Why do you train Aikido?
For me aikido is a real challenge. Not in the physical sense as now that I'm a bit older I use more smart than physical anyway. Aikido supplements many other styles of MAs, especially karate. But it is the mind games that keep me going back. Why do some moves work sometimes and not other times, when your thinking is not quite right? The karate guys I train aikido with refer to aikido as 'the thinking martial artist's martial art'.
 

Victor Smith

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When I think on Aikido I like the original use a atemi (and IMO their atemi is not superior to karate striking) to stop an opponent's moementum giving time to project or lock up the opponent.

Most of the Aikido components can be overlaid with karate kata motions (Chinto is a wealth of technique in that regards).

If one develops higher level of skill they might move so well the atemi strikes are unnecessary.

The books Usheiba Sensei wrote in the 30's clearly showed the Atemi. After WWII ( and perhaps a direct result of atomic bombings ) he no longer saw Aikido as strictly martial, dropped the atemi and moved the art into spiritual directions. When the English speaking Aikido stylists in Japan published the Usheiba books several decades ago, the Japanese instructors in Europe refused to let their students by them because their aikido had moved away from atemi.

I'm not an aikido stylist, but a lot of our studies include martial aikido drills to understand the movement application potential in karate kata.
 

Aikikitty

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Why do you train Aikido?

I've posted before about why and how I got into Aikido. The short, short version for newer people is that my mom and I were told that it is a good art for learning to control the other person WITHOUT hurting them. That sounded perfect for our situation with my down syndrome/mentally ill brother, who we sometimes needed to control without hurting him or getting ourselves hurt. Punching or kicking him was not an option, plus pain would cause him to become further enraged and dangerous. I love how all the same techniques can be both gentle, but firm, or completely devastating.

My mom and I didn't know anything about Aikido when we first walked in the dojo and were worried about the time it takes to get proficient. That was back in 2000 and I've really come to love the art for itself! I'm never bored as there is always some new concept or subtlety to discover. It's taught me to both relax and become more aggressive (I was a door mat before). I love the concept of using the attackers momentum against them and hopefully eventually getting to the skill level where it doesn't matter what uke does--push, pull, grab, punch, kick, switch attack part way through--and I can just "go with it" and switch the technique half way through if need be to control them, like my sensei can. :) Or "guide them quickly to the earth" if need be. :D We do use atemi in our class, btw. My sensei and the other students have become my extended family and I can't describe how special it was for me to see them all come to my wedding last year. Unfortunately, my mom stopped coming to class with me 2 years ago, but she really enjoyed it and the members of the group. I feel really blessed to have been led to the right art that suites "me". :)

Robyn
 

dbell

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I started Aikido 39 years ago a week from this coming Saturday because my Sensei said it was time to add to my Judo training (he also started me in Kendo at the same time). Over the last 39 years, I have grown more and more into the art of Aikido and continue to practice and train in it, having received my 8th Dan December of 2008 over a long testing period.

I feel the art helps me keep focused during events around me, and should they escalate into something I am confident that the skills I have learned in Aikido will allow me to prevail, or at least walk away in OK shape.

The art is beautiful, and if done right helps you in many aspects of life.
 

K-man

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When I think on Aikido I like the original use a atemi (and IMO their atemi is not superior to karate striking) to stop an opponent's moementum giving time to project or lock up the opponent.

Most of the Aikido components can be overlaid with karate kata motions (Chinto is a wealth of technique in that regards).

If one develops higher level of skill they might move so well the atemi strikes are unnecessary.

The books Usheiba Sensei wrote in the 30's clearly showed the Atemi. After WWII ( and perhaps a direct result of atomic bombings ) he no longer saw Aikido as strictly martial, dropped the atemi and moved the art into spiritual directions. When the English speaking Aikido stylists in Japan published the Usheiba books several decades ago, the Japanese instructors in Europe refused to let their students by them because their aikido had moved away from atemi.

I'm not an aikido stylist, but a lot of our studies include martial aikido drills to understand the movement application potential in karate kata.
The advantage of a karate background is that you can recognise the opportunity for atemi. If you look at the aikido masters who were with Ueshiba Sensei through the early development of Aikido, their styles are much harder. Yoseikan Aikido, Yoshinkan Aikido and Tomiki Aikido would be examples. This reinforces what you said about the early books.
To my mind the unrecognised champion and giant of aikido is Koichi Tohei Sensei. I have read a lot about him and have read some of his books. He tried to teach the type of Aikido that Ueshiba Sensei had developed using Ki. A disagreement developed over the proper role of ki development in regular aikido training. For whatever reason a number of his fellow instructor's and Kisshomaru Ueshiba were opposed to this. He was senior instructor but five years after Ueshiba's death he left the organisation and founded the Ki-Society. This is far softer than the earlier styles. My instructor can nullify attacks without the atemi. His teacher also. Their Aikido is firmly based on Tohei's principles.
 

Marc Abrams

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I started off in Karate and spent a very long time doing "hard arts" and fighting sports. I became good at ending fights and in the process, became someone who I did not intend to become. I became an effective and violent person when confronted. Aikido has been a transformational process for me in a manner that has allowed me to become a more compassionate, connected person, while at the same time, actually becoming more effective at protecting and defending myself. I now teach this magnificent art because of it is a powerful transformation tool that can help us change so that we can make our world and the world around us less violent and safe.

I now also train with Kenji Ushiro Sensei. He teaches Shindo Ryu. It is an Okinawan style of bujutsu that represents his level of Ki development. This person represents this higher level of positive, personal transformation through positive Ki. The beauty of it, is that it is in a karate/bujutsu form. These two arts so beautifully connect that I am making my cake and eating it to!


Marc Abrams
 

Victor Smith

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I understand, everything being equal, an individual with a high skill level can neutralize and attack without atemi, and likely should be the long term goal of training, but think about the 1930's.

Usheiba's art came from Daito Ryu, an art designed to break an attacker (my vastly simplified suggestion). He was teaching in a Japan that was militarized marching to war. He understood how long deep training took and I'm sure consistent with the Daito Ryu origins used and taught the atemi as the logical answer for students that might be using their training without deep skills.

After WWII, no longer teaching in a militarized society, Usheiba could move to a different direction. Obviously those from pre WWII training were most comfortable keeping their art to the way they were taught.

For everyone, they either remained true to their original teachings, or true to Usheiba's later directions. There isn't a simple answer as all of their answers came from Ushieba at differetn times.

Personally I use the aiki training I've recieved as introductory study to prepare my students to then enter the deeper study of karate kata application potential. I teach form a moral perspective we don't train to damage each other, and levels of our potential remain very light then use kata practice to use full force potential without injuring a partner.

But we also work to undestand that we must continually evaluate what is necessary and perhaps the most humane anwer is striking so hard and logically there is no need for further response.

Unfortunately it's an infinite scale requiring infinite understanding.

keep trying.
 

tempus

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I went to a NGA demo and thought it looked cool. People being thrown thru the air. Tapping at the pain they were in. It was also very different from the TKD I had taken as teenager. Going on 9 years of training now and still enjoying it, and still moving slow the day after some intense training nights :)

-Gary
 
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