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crazylegsmurphy
05-16-2008, 03:46 AM
Hello Everyone,

I actually signed up for this forum a long time ago, but for some reason forgot to actually post my question.

I have been reading through the forum and I noticed a lot of "Does Aikido work in a real fight" type threads. Unfortunately my question is quite similar, but I figured I would be a little more specific in my questioning.

My goals are simple. I want to learn a martial art that will give me the confidence to defend myself, and others in any real world situation that may arise.

I used to take the train every day for college and I remember there were many times when situations would come up where I felt threatened. Sometimes they were hobos that would be drunk and crazy, trying to aggressively get money. Sometimes I would be going home late at night and some kids looking for trouble would be harassing other people.

I have also heard many stories from friends who were mugged walking home, or just thrust into a fight randomly because someone felt that is what they needed to do and it was simply a wrong place, wrong time situation.

Anyway, I am sure you all know of the various situations that can arise. The simple fact is that if you spend any time on websites such as youtube, or the like, you notice pretty quickly that real world fights are not at all similar to the controlled "dance" that we see in martial arts demo videos.

So for me, I am concerned that no matter what martial art I choose, I will find myself unable to successfully defend myself because I am sitting there trying to work out in my head what technique to use, while the other guy has hit me 8 times in a flailing wonder and knocked me out cold.

I know many of you will defend the martial art by saying, "In short...yes it's effective!" but I really am looking for more. I am looking for either real world experience, explanations as to how Aikido has advantages in similar situations to the ones I described, or a straight answer that it's not a good martial art of choice for real world application.

And at the risk of sounding rude, I realize that many of you consider one of the strengths of Aikido is to be able to avoid fights. While this may be true, I already know how to not get involved when something is happening to someone, I already know how to put my headphones in my ears and appear to not see that person getting accosted by that person on the train. I already know how to pay for a cab instead of walking the 4 blocks to the train station at night, but I'm getting really tired of living my life feeling that way.

Sorry for the lengthy first post, but I do appreciate you reading it and I look forward to your replies.

Thanks,

Jeff

justin
05-16-2008, 04:26 AM
First thing that springs to mind for me reading that is what a sad and scary sounding place you live in, I couldn’t live somewhere like that myself.

Regarding your question I have only ever trained in two martial arts I will let someone with more experience answer your concerns I am sure someone will come along soon enough.

dps
05-16-2008, 05:32 AM
Carry a shotgun.

David

Aristeia
05-16-2008, 05:33 AM
my advice - if it's confidence you want, train a live art (with full resistance sparring). This goes beyond "does it work". From what you've said if you trained aikido and got really good at it - even if your skills were such you could use it to defend yourself - until you actually found yourself doing so you would be second guessing yourself. You've already identified the gap between dojo training and brawling - so I feel you would always have doubts while training in an art that doesn't have live sparring. And it sounds like doubts are not what you're looking for. A live art will give you the confidence that you can apply your skills under pressure and chaos -sounds to me like that's what you're looking for.

For those that like to jump on this, please not I'm not addressing whether aikido works or not, simply the issue of confidence when someone sees dojo and street as different.

Mary Eastland
05-16-2008, 07:35 AM
Hi Jeff:

I think the answers you are looking for are better felt than written about. Why don't you try training for a while and then ask yourself how you feel?

Some things just can't be talked about. I needed to experience the art.

I can identify with how you feel. I have felt that way.

After training for many years...my mind, my eyes, my ears, my body and my spirit are open. I am not afraid.

Mary

rob_liberti
05-16-2008, 08:15 AM
Maybe read this site:http://www.nononsenseselfdefense.com/

Rob

aikilouis
05-16-2008, 08:54 AM
I was about to post that link. Good intro to see the difference between self defence and fighting.

philippe willaume
05-16-2008, 08:59 AM
Hello jeff
You are right what ever martial arts you choose you may well be unable to defend your self. You can get on a world class jumping horse if you do not know show jumping; you are not going to do too good.

As well For pedagogic purpose you do need the choreography as much as you do need pressure testing.
Live sparing is only going to get you good at live sparing; just like from work is going to you good at choreography.

In a way the usual arguments you will ear as to why MMA, TMA, combat sport aikido, RLSD are good for self defence are all valid arguments.
Paradoxically the arguments as why they are not good at self defence are equally valid.
Confidence wise it does not matter what art you do what matter is that you perceive it as effective.

My advice for what it is worth is take a martial arts, and attend several self defence courses
You will find that the technical content is highly variable in quality and usually tend to focus on cases that prove that particular take on self defence right.
That being said it is gives you opportunity to see potential scenarios and then train at the dojo with some friend and ask you teacher.
If you can practice with other art martial artist once and a while.

phil

Jorge Garcia
05-16-2008, 10:01 AM
[QUOTE=Jeff Walker;206571]Hello Everyone,

"My goals are simple. I want to learn a martial art that will give me the confidence to defend myself, and others in any real world situation that may arise. "

Here is your problem Jeff. While all martial arts aren't equal and neither are all instructors, in the end, it is going to be you against someone else and those are the variables no one can predict. If your attacker has the ability of Mike Tyson and you are Howdy Dudy, you will be finished in short order, no matter what art you take. You can never predict the ability of your attacker. There are guys that could attack you now that you might be able to take. Buster Douglas beat Mike Tyson and when he did it, there were tons of variables including who had taken over Tyson's career and where Douglas was in his life that day. He might not have beat Tyson on any other day. The question itself demonstrates assumptions that are wrong and don't see this picture completely. I couldn't even know if Aikido will help you because there are so many different kinds of Aikido and so many different levels of teachers and you couldn't know either unless you did enough styles and had enough arts to be able to compare. I vote for the shotgun. If you have time, practice something 4 days a week for the rest of youre life and the percentages will run in your favor but keep the shotgun nearby.
Jorge

philippe willaume
05-16-2008, 10:10 AM
[QUOTE=Jeff Walker;206571]Hello Everyone,

"My goals are simple. I want to learn a martial art that will give me the confidence to defend myself, and others in any real world situation that may arise. "

Here is your problem Jeff. While all martial arts aren't equal and neither are all instructors, in the end, it is going to be you against someone else and those are the variables no one can predict. If your attacker has the ability of Mike Tyson and you are Howdy Dudy, you will be finished in short order, no matter what art you take. You can never predict the ability of your attacker. There are guys that could attack you now that you might be able to take. Buster Douglas beat Mike Tyson and when he did it, there were tons of variables including who had taken over Tyson's career and where Douglas was in his life that day. He might not have beat Tyson on any other day. The question itself demonstrates assumptions that are wrong and don't see this picture completely. I couldn't even know if Aikido will help you because there are so many different kinds of Aikido and so many different levels of teachers and you couldn't know either unless you did enough styles and had enough arts to be able to compare. I vote for the shotgun. If you have time, practice something 4 days a week for the rest of youre life and the percentages will run in your favor but keep the shotgun nearby.
Jorge

The hiatus is that in most civilized places of the planet, caring a shotgun will be taken as intent to use. (I.E a willing preparation) which unfortunately will sink you self-defence defence quicker than the US navy at pearl harbour.

phil

Jorge Garcia
05-16-2008, 10:30 AM
[QUOTE=Jorge Garcia;206597]

The hiatus is that in most civilized places of the planet, caring a shotgun will be taken as intent to use. (I.E a willing preparation) which unfortunately will sink you self-defence defence quicker than the US navy at pearl harbour.

phil

I know. It's humor but you did need to say it because Jeff might be on his way to the gun store!
Jorge

John Matsushima
05-16-2008, 10:58 AM
Maybe read this site:http://www.nononsenseselfdefense.com/

Rob

I thought that was a good link. I would like to mention a few points, which I believe are Aikido's strengths with regards to self-defense based on that website.


Aikido resolves an attack in 3 seconds or less
Aikido techniques are for use against serious attacks
Aikido techniques are not designed for sport, because there are no competitions or sparring matches(mostly)
Aikido has training against multiple attackers
Aikido techniques are simple and versatile; for example, there is no "fighting stance", there are only 17 basic techniques which are applicable in many, many variations.


Just my opinion, but if fear and a lack of confidence is keeping you alive, then maybe you should stick with what's working for you. Learning a martial art to give you confidence might get you into situations you might otherwise have avoided.

ChrisHein
05-16-2008, 11:06 AM
If you are armed your major worry will be, "can someone take this away from me". Aikido offers many answers to this question. After that you need to start training it against someone who is actually trying to take your weapon from you.

rob_liberti
05-16-2008, 11:37 AM
I actually disagree with this one because it is very level dependant:

Aikido techniques are simple and versatile; for example, there is no "fighting stance", there are only 17 basic techniques which are applicable in many, many variations.

Initially maybe. In my experience, they don't work on anyone with any real skill attacking yout while you are at the level of thinking there are techniques. At a certain point, I think there are basically no techniques at all - let alone 17.

I think there is a point in aikido when there must be a fighting stance to be effective until you are good enough to maintain the various intention(s) devoid of proper structure.

Rob

Buck
05-16-2008, 08:40 PM
If you want confidence, be it with a shot gun, to an Irimi-nage confidence comes with practice, and lots of it. Practice builds confidence, and so does actual fighting builds confidence. That I think is the keystone. Plus what Phil and Jorge said. No great words of wisdom, I hope it is useful to you.

Mark Uttech
05-16-2008, 09:50 PM
Aikido is a path, a way of life; so it is more than a self-defense course. Systema, the russian martial art, focuses on the intuitions for self-defense that we already have. Buddhism teaches midnfulness, which is kind of martial arts before martial arts. I guess I am trying to say that you have to choose a path and commit yourself to it, and though that sounds simple, it isn't.

In gassho,

Mark

dps
05-16-2008, 10:12 PM
If there is an immediate problem with your personal safety, learning a martial art is not going to help you now. If you can, move, it you can't, get a gun. Get one legally and go to training to learn how and when to use it. Then let everyone know you got a gun.

An alarm customer of mine lived on the east side of Youngstown, Ohio. A very bad neighborhood with a very high crime rate due to drug trafficking. One day while I was working on her alarm I suggested additional security. She said she did not need anymore because once a week in the evening she would go out on her front porch and shoot her .45 caliber hand gun just to let everyone in hearing distance know she was still there and still had a gun so they better leave her alone. She never had a problem.

Learning a martial art whether eastern or western will take a long time to be proficient to where you might be able to defend yourself. start now and don't quit.

David

crazylegsmurphy
05-16-2008, 10:50 PM
Hey Guys,

Thanks for the replies so far. I will answer them shortly, but I just wanted to add that up here in Canada you can't carry a firearm in public unless you're like a police officer or something of the sort.

Anyway, please keep the replies coming, I'll address them as soon as I can.

Thanks,

Jeff

Leon Aman
05-16-2008, 11:38 PM
My goals are simple. I want to learn a martial art that will give me the confidence to defend myself, and others in any real world situation that may arise.


Hi jeff,

IMO Try Kick Boxing and cross train it with combat or yoshinkan aikido. Train devotedly with dedication and you will build confidence.

Leon

mwpowell
05-17-2008, 01:00 AM
Just my opinion, but if fear and a lack of confidence is keeping you alive, then maybe you should stick with what's working for you. Learning a martial art to give you confidence might get you into situations you might otherwise have avoided.

While I understand what you're saying, I will respectfully disagree. Living in fear and without self-confidence may keep you alive, but it's a miserable, self-loathing existence. I was a scrawny child / teen & this is exactly how I lived.

The key is to build self-confidence such that one is able to CHOOSE how to react to any given situation. Whether the choice is fight or flight, it must be because that was the better of the two available options.

But if / when the choice is to run away, you need to know deep down inside that you did so because it was the right option...NOT because you were scared. I think that is the essence of true self-confidence.

My 0.02...

aikilouis
05-17-2008, 02:38 AM
You can also get a dog. They can be very dissuasive.

KIT
05-17-2008, 07:41 AM
I thought that was a good link. I would like to mention a few points, which I believe are Aikido's strengths with regards to self-defense based on that website.


Aikido resolves an attack in 3 seconds or less
Aikido techniques are for use against serious attacks
Aikido techniques are not designed for sport, because there are no competitions or sparring matches(mostly)
Aikido has training against multiple attackers
Aikido techniques are simple and versatile; for example, there is no "fighting stance", there are only 17 basic techniques which are applicable in many, many variations.


Just my opinion, but if fear and a lack of confidence is keeping you alive, then maybe you should stick with what's working for you. Learning a martial art to give you confidence might get you into situations you might otherwise have avoided.

Not to be the fly in the ointment, but each of these points above is based on a training platform that is unrealistic for real world self defense situations, and with cooperative attackers.

That does not by any means negate elements of aikido properly integrated with other self defense skills, but it does confuse training for the real thing.

For a better link re-self defense and personal protection, join

http://www.totalprotectioninteractive.com

Take a while to read and digest what is written there. Then make your decision.

Kevin Leavitt
05-17-2008, 08:34 AM
Confidence also comes from a process of education, growth and maturation that leads to an elilmination of fear of the unknown.

you can practice martial arts over and over or be the best shot and be able to do alot of cool technical things, and be armed to the hilt and still live in fear or ignorance.

There is a base of "over confidence" or "false confidence" that can be acheived through training as well. (Delusion).

So I think it is all a catch 22 when you get down to it. A catch 22 it which in the end, you have to apply education and training with common sense and proper perspective (whatever that may be).

This is the definition of budo to me.

Good link Kit look forward to looking through it.

dalen7
05-17-2008, 10:35 AM
Well you have a newbie here gonna pitch his 2 cents. ;)

Been doing this since last May - Aikido, not giving 2 cents... that is a life long effort. :D

I have a few different points so I will try to break it up to make it easier to navigate and read through.

1) For the most part, any martial art probably is effective against someone who has not trained in a martial art. - you will be surprised at how uncoordinated you are when you first start Aikdio, or probably any art for that matter.

1a) most of the world hasnt learned a fighting sport...there are a lot of dabblers who get their white belt and think they can kick butt now. ;)
But the coordination was not developed - nor the speed, etc.

2) Once you pick a martial art and you become a black belt, the question is "can I beat another belt" - well this isnt real world anymore. The chances of you happening upon a black belt hobo (as you mentioned) are highly unlikely.

2a) MMA (mixed martial art) claims to be the best, taking from all areas...but put it against krav maga (from a trained Israeli solider - or any mixed art from any special forces) and you will be dead.

This is the point, martial arts dont teach you to go for the kill...so arguing the best depends on situation I suppose.

Look at boxing...try doing aikido in a boxing ring...first you need to get rid of the gloves...

2b) so looking at the above you now realize that martial arts have their strengths in a given setting. If you want the art that is as lethal as Krav Maga and as soft as TAi Chi - where you have the 'master of the universe control' over how you 'work' your opponent...you aint gonna find it.

You will only find that in inner peace - yes, you said you dont want to know this, etc. - but it is as it is. And this is not a promotion for Aikido...path of peace is an internal thing and understanding the human condition thing. (of which I can only point to Eckhart Tolle for more info on this...preferably his audio books)

3) I took aikido, well one reason, is because almost every attack that has happened to me has been of the wrestling, joint moving type of attack. - people generally dont go up and punch you...well maybe it depends on where you hang out.

In one fight I left the guy bloody after kicking and punching his nose - I tried to 'gently' put in end to the fight, but didnt know techniques, so mother nature kicked in...

Now that I know Aikido I have an option...although in reality joints being moved out of place can hurt more and longer than a bloody nose.

3a) appearances, I suppose that is the point - most people dont go around kicking or hitting as they feel they are more prone to get in trouble with the law - no matter who started it...as bloody noses do look worse than a twisted finger that hurts for more than a year. ;)

4) It has to do with you and your energy level...I was not much on the wrestling, touchy kind of sports...I liked keeping my distance and punching...but have adapted to Aikido.

Go with what you like.

5) As for hobos and crazy people, act the act and the rest will follow. I have gotten rid of people in more than one occasion by acting crazy. - once when someone at night came and demanded money from me and my pregnant wife...(but again, Im a thespian...that is actor...by nature)...and the dude left.
Also another time someone did something similar and I acted real pissed and went to my pocket for something and he ran like hell. (He and some other guys.)

You know there is a class that teaches people how to walk at night...if you project confidence your less likely to be mugged...or so the ratings show...and that has been my experience. - I have, alone, walked in some rough areas and actually chatted with people who would probably otherwise wanted to harm me if I showed fear. - the 'pain body' feeds of that kind of thing.

Hey, this has to be real though, or your screwed...people can sense a fake. See if you can start feeling how others feel around you...there is an exchange of energy, and no this is mystical mumbo jumbo..more like advanced physics, so dont ask me to explain. :D

conclusion...
So many of us have this idea from child hood - mystifying martial arts...and it all boils down to experience.

6) Does aikido look fake - some may think it looks mystical how you can toss someone...the fact is both sides are practicing flowing. If one side resist, there is that possibility that they will be in for extreme pain...hey, I have been in extreme pain a few times in my short time practicing... you have to be careful when practicing stuff like this.

7) And what about knife and gun attacks...their are chances you could get out of this...saw some videos by a police dude who did aikido on you tube...

the fact is, lets hope this never happens...or that you never get in that situation. It sounded as if it was o.k. for you to keep out of these things, but now that you want to go and help others...yes, do that as you can...but be careful in actively seeking violent situations. - you attract that which you focus on. Again, sounds mystical, but life has shown me to an extent that there is something to it. ;)

Peace

dAlen

Michael Douglas
05-18-2008, 03:42 PM
1) For the most part, any martial art probably is effective against someone who has not trained in a martial art. - you will be surprised at how uncoordinated you are when you first start Aikdio, or probably any art for that matter.

Let me disagree with this first.
I think it is a widely-held belief and I think it is nonesense.
I'd go so far as to say that some training in martial arts (not all) can severely damage one's natural combat ability.

Ryan Sanford
05-18-2008, 09:25 PM
I'd go so far as to say that some training in martial arts (not all) can severely damage one's natural combat ability.

I'd be interested in hearing why you believe that. I'm not certain that I agree, perhaps you could explain that statement?

I went to the dojo because I wanted to learn cool self-defense moves. I kept coming back because it was so darn fun!
Hope you find what works best for you.

rob_liberti
05-18-2008, 10:29 PM
Some people teach delusion - primarily because many people are looking to buy that. I've seen 9 year old black belts convinced they can handle themselves in a fight with a grown man. False confidence can do a disservice. That poor kid may stand up to a bully who has been in many real fights and get the beating of his life.

Rob

mathewjgano
05-19-2008, 12:23 AM
My goals are simple. I want to learn a martial art that will give me the confidence to defend myself, and others in any real world situation that may arise.
I wouldn't look at a particular art as much as a particular school. Generally speaking, any martial art can be effective, but not everyone learns/teaches/understands them the same. In my opinion, proper self-defense is less about the particular art than the skills of the people you train with.

So for me, I am concerned that no matter what martial art I choose, I will find myself unable to successfully defend myself because I am sitting there trying to work out in my head what technique to use, while the other guy has hit me 8 times in a flailing wonder and knocked me out cold.
I think this is a great insight into the nature of formalized training. In a fight there is not much, if any, time to think. It's mostly just awareness and action...as I understand it anyway. You're right: it doesn't matter what art you practice, you have to internalize it so the skills are second nature.

And at the risk of sounding rude, I realize that many of you consider one of the strengths of Aikido is to be able to avoid fights.
I've often said this very same thing, but I've been corrected. In retrospect, "avoiding" might not be the right idea and I'm reminded of a saying (which I'm sure I'm butchering): "when the enemy comes to your door, go to greet him."

I already know how to pay for a cab instead of walking the 4 blocks to the train station at night, but I'm getting really tired of living my life feeling that way.
I dig what you're saying, but if you live or work or must otherwise pass through an area which has a relatively large number of criminal types, there is little you can do about it. It's frustrating and it sure as hell is humbling. I grew up in an area that really isn't so bad compared to many places, but we have lots of meth here and the ghetto fabulous wannabe lifestyle is in full effect (I know at least two guys in prison for murder). I don't care how good any single fighter is: if they go into some places, they will lose...and that even goes for my relatively soft neck of the woods. When you're on someone else's turf you're at an automatic disadvantage.
As I see it the strengths of Aikido depend too heavily on where you're learning it. Comparing it then with other arts becomes even more difficult to nail down. I hope others will correct me where they see fit, but for the sake of argument:
Aikido is great for illustrating the power of flowing in accordance with the actions of our attackers; of kaeshiwaza (reversals); and of ukemi (moving while in a weaker position). As far as I can tell, these are the most practical lessons I've been given.

mathewjgano
05-19-2008, 03:09 PM
...that is to say: I think the "evasion" of Aikido is supposed to be a positive, assertive action...an avoid the front door to come in through the side entrance kind of thing. It's not exclusive to Aikido. I'd wager very little, if anything, is. "Nothing new under the sun," as they say.
There seems to be a pretty assertive consensus that Aikido in general is lacking the practical side of the martial arts. There also seems to be a pretty strong consensus that people have found styles of it which have proven sufficient in the same regard. My experience is that "wrestling" or grappling styles are more difficult to deal with over time, but one great strike will end things in the blink of an eye, so I train a little for both. In addition to hitting my 90-pound heavy bag, in my Aikido training (when I get to train) I learn quite a bit about how to be in a strong position and how to lock up some joints or tip people over who are advancing at you. This is true for the three styles I've experienced, though each did it a little differently. At my primary dojo we have makiwara to practice striking against if we want. I'm not sure of the striking practice of any other style though. I think it varies from dojo to dojo a bit.
If you want an art that is going to give you confidence in a violent situation you probably should know what it's like to be in one. A well-rounded kickboxing school or MMA style training is probably pretty good at simulating a particular kind of violence...maybe what you want is a "Self Defense" class which focuses on specific situation responses? That seems more suited for what you described.
I can't say enough good things about Aikido (ask my annoyed friends). It's highly dynamic and fascinating to me. Anyone who wants to learn complex coordinated movements geared toward self defense should at least get a taste of Aikido at some point in their training. Still, if confidence around physically aggressive people is what you're looking for, you probably want something that will give you more experience with high levels of aggression. It was always difficult for me to say "no" to aggressive pan-handlers until I went to Cambodia and had to say no to kids missing limbs from landmines (giving them food is more "aiki"). Get in a ring with a well-trained fighter and the average threatening person begins to look a little less threatening...and while it's certainly true overconfidence is deadly, it's also true that confidence is itself powerfully liberating.
Good luck,
Matt

heathererandolph
05-19-2008, 09:02 PM
Aikido teaches how to avoid attack and that can be useful. Any fighting is dangerous because It's very difficult to know if your attacker is carrying a concealed weapon. I'm wondering if you secretly want to get into a fight? If so get over it or try a martial art with sparring.