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jxa127's Blog Blog Tools Rating: Rate This Blog
Creation Date: 02-09-2005 02:53 PM
jxa127
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Status: Public
Entries: 109
Comments: 18
Views: 144,769

In General Is aikido really a defensive martial art? Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #34 New 09-25-2003 10:34 AM
The answer depends on what one means by those terms. To me, offense means initiating a confrontation, starting the fight, or at least picking the fight. However, most people seem to use the term to refer to which party attacks first, or even if one can attack at all. When we practice as nage, we are almost always responding to an attack. So, we logically conclude that what we are learning are primarily defensive techniques.

Still, an observation from my wife really made me think. She doesn't study aikido and really doesn't know much about it. She came to my rank test in June to take pictures and document everyone's test. After the test, she started asking me a lot of questions about what she'd seen, but the funny thing was that she confused who was the attacker and who was being attacked.

I think what threw her off was that we often strike our attacker during our opening blending movement. Not only do we strike, but we often interrupt the initial attack and put ourselves in a better position than the attacker. The end result is that the attacker initiates the attack, but the responder strikes first.

Now is the person responding on the offense or the defense?

Like many dichotomies, trying to categorize aikido as either defensive or offensive is a futile exercise. After all, what's the difference between a do and a jutsu? Is aikido hard or soft? Is it internal or external? Compared to what?

It's natural when starting something new to want to categorize it and make it fit into a familiar mental framework. As I've gained more experience with aikido, I've been able to see how it doesn't fit into preexisting categories, but has become its own category. The distinctions and dichotomies have become a lot less important.
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