View Full Version : Is Aikido Really Effective?

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Paul Davis
01-29-2009, 08:17 AM
Hello everyone. My name is Paul Davis. I have been interested in learning Aikido for some time now. I live in the Macon, Ga. area and can't seem to find a dojo anywhere near here. Does anyone know of one?? Also, (and I'm sure you've heard this before), is Aikido REALLY effective in a "street fight" situation?? I have heard both pros and cons. With my job, I travel a lot, and sometimes have to go into "bad" neighborhoods. I have never studied martial arts in any form, so would it be a good style for me? I am not as limber as I once was (from various injuries). I look forward to your responses.


Paul Davis
02-01-2009, 09:14 AM
I posted an introduction into the room a few days ago, and while there have been over 100 views, not one response. Am I to believe there is not one person out there willing to say hello? I ask this only because of another posting where someone introduced himself (after my posting), and at this writing he has had 4 responses wishing him well. I was honestly hoping there was someone out there who could make a suggestion as to where I might study Aikido close to my home and also answer the question I put on my post about the effectiveness of Aikido in a street fight situation.

I do look forward to your responses. I am also sorry if this seems like I'm "crying", I am just concerned that maybe I said something in my intro that was not taken right. If so, I apologize.


Kristina Morris
02-01-2009, 10:20 AM
Welcome Paul,

Maybe I can offer some insight on the postings. When aiki web was first started, everyone received every single post in their personal email at home. I used to get hundreds of emails. It was a lot to keep up with. Over time, and since I logged off in 2001 and have now returned, the format has obviously changed to handle the traffic. So, it looks as if Jun has subdivided the posts into categories to make it easier for folks to tune in to what interests them most.

I suggest you post your Aikido-related questions as a "new thread" or new post and you will probably get a response. As far as not being welcomed, give it some time. Otherwise jump into a discussion with both feet introduce yourself that way.
Give it a try.


02-01-2009, 12:38 PM
Hi Paul ... I am new to Aikido as well. I was introduced to it by a friend of mine (September 2008) who had been studying and practicing Aikido in my home town for about 3 years. Although I can not respond to your question about dojo's (as I am Canadian and not located anywhere near you) .. I can respond to the street fight thing.

My friend from aikido was in bar and had someone wanting to start a fight. Ofcourse he did not want to fight and tried everything to get out of it but they kept pursuing it. He soon realized that he would actually have to fight in order to get himself and his wife out of this situation. He was able to take on 3 guys and get away. Keep in mind however, that this was against unarmed men and he was a reasonable distance from his car (safety) and could flee.

Aikido is effective in subdueing ppl and re-directing them. I don't know about being in a bad neighbourhood and facing assailants with weapons. Also, aikido is an art. It definately takes time and patience in order to achieve some level of mastery. So if you have the time and want to learn to use aikido then I say go for it!!!

I absolutely love training and love the challenge. I train with men only (as there are no females in my dojo for lack of interest). I hope you find a dojo in your area. Welcome to Aikiweb ...

Take care Paul :)


Randy Sexton
02-01-2009, 01:00 PM
LOOKING at the post is often our way to say hi !
and we tend to WRITE to answer a specific question that we may have knowledge of or insight to.
By the way, I don't know any guys in Macon, GA but check the yellow pages and Google the internet for Aikido dojo near you.
Also, do a new post
"Any Aikido Dojo near Macon, Ga"
You'll get a response real quickly.
Welcome to the mat!

02-01-2009, 02:42 PM

02-01-2009, 03:24 PM
Sorry for not making you more welcome! The question about whether aikido is effective is, probably unbeknownst to you, quite a loaded one, and the subject of much merry debate on the boards. Aikido will, like most martial arts, give you more confidence and physical ability. Like other arts, though, it's not mastered in a short time, and mostly holds what you bring to it. Having frequented bad neighbourhoods in Baltimore, Madrid, and New York, I can say that what has kept me from harm was an open, confident, and friendly manner - and I think that practising aikido does help one to foster those things. But those, too, are probably skills learned over a long term. I would recommend a dojo in any art where you felt that you could develop those things, aikido above all (of course!). I don't know Georgia, unfortunately... I hope you can find a nice place to train! :)

02-01-2009, 04:51 PM
Greetings Mr Davis,

Aikido is an effective martial art for everyday street application.
Sadly, while most think that they are training for the street or the PC "reality-based" moniker...most are not.

If you search out the previous threads, there seems to be a bifurcated view of what Aikido really is is conceptually , as well as mechanically.

I will go as far as to state that it is not a religion or a cult. The spiritual gain is TOTALLY on an individual basis. It teaches the ability to administer due discipline upon the practicioner, as well as the recipient.

As a career LEO, the applications on the street are vast. Aikido is an art that LEO's can gain respect through selective application and appropriate force.

BJJ, Judo and whatever discipline that gets thrown into the mix, have their appropriate application at the right time. However, if you solely rely on Aikido, you may be short changing your training. This thought is ambiguous, as atemi is not just a distraction, but an actual strike...not a feigned motion that does not affect a certain response.

If you initiate an action, meet it as it occurs or respond slightly behind, you are within the principles and theory of Aikido. Some are of the opinion that this is not true and violates the dogma of Aikido. Ueshiba was a warrior and a prideful individual, so do not be mislead by those that say that compassion for the attacker is a priority. You can not show compassion at any level, until you able to take a life at the proper time. Only after being able to validate and understand that concept, will you be able to show compassion.

Just my opinion, good luck in your search.

Train well,


02-01-2009, 04:58 PM
Hello again, Mr. Davis,

QUIT YOUR CRYING !..just kidding :D

There is a Dojo Search within this site, try there.

Train well,


Paul Davis
02-01-2009, 07:54 PM
Thanks so much guys. I am happy to be a part of this forum and DO plan on including Aikido (some how, some way I will find a dojo) and incorporate others styles as well (as per advice given here).

You guys are the best.


"If you get confused, listen to the music play"

Kevin Leavitt
02-02-2009, 03:41 PM
Welcome! I highly recommend spending sometime reading "Aikido and Effectiveness" post and threads here on Aikiweb. This topic has been talked about much over the years here on Aikiweb. (one of my favorite subjects).

Russ Q
02-02-2009, 04:47 PM
Hi Paul,

A subject talked/typed to death. Below is George Leydard Sensei's most recent take on this undying subject. All me present students have read it and all students joining my dojo will get it in their start up package....

"This is one of those discussions that seems never to get resolved. So I will make my once a year contribution to it.

Aikido, as an art created by Morihei Ueshiba, has nothing to do with combat. It is not about self defense in a conventional sense although some level of defensive capability should be a by-product of good training.

Aikido is an art that was created as a "michi" or "path" which focuses primarily on the study of "connection" and "integration". It is designed to gradually remove the sense of separateness from each other and our environment we all have. It does so by striving for technique using "aiki" rather than mere physical force.

The requirement of relaxation, both mental and physical, needed to execute technique on this level is, for many people, quite transformative. Aiki requires a willingness to "connect". Most Aikido is done by people who do not really wish to connect.

The "fighters" wish to win, to defeat, to maintain their separateness by overcoming the "enemy", whoever that is. Generally, these folks have technique characterized by a lot of strength and tension.

The "spiritual" folks go to the other extreme and, despite their assertion that Aikido is about "conflict resolution", simply remove all conflict from the practice. Their practice is generally characterized by non-existent attacks, lots of graceful movement with little content, and, surprisingly, no real connection at all, just avoidance.

In my opinion, both of these archetypal groups are fundamentally motivated by fear at the heart of things. Aikido practice is fundamentally about transforming our fearful natures into something else. It is about attaining an internal balance, both mental and physical which allows one to let the world in rather than hold it away. The more one relaxes, the more one can develop that internal balance, the more the stresses of the world simply pass through one without taking hold, without causing damage, and without creating that need to push back which causes so much pain and destruction in our world.

Too many people try to reshape our art in their own image. They try to make Aikido into something that supports their own predisposition rather than requiring that they themselves change.

The fact that Aikido, as art of personal transformation, has a martial paradigm as its methodology does not mean that it was intended to be about fighting at all. It is no more about fighting or combat than kenjutsu. No one does kenjutsu thinking he is preparing for combat with swords in any practical sense. No one sits around and discusses whether mixed martial arts are superior to kenjutsu or whether kenjutsu works in the "real world" as opposed to some ill defined "unreal world". It is true that, for anyone involved in combat as a professional, the study of the principles of kenjutsu can be applied but it requires some translation into modern combat reality (like guns).

Aikido is the same. The fact that Aikido contains techniques that it shares in common with arts concerned with developing combat capability allows some to mistake the purpose of the art. I taught for many years a system of police defensive tactics to law enforcement and security personnel based on Aikido principles and techniques. It was not Aikido, it was Aikido based.

On the other hand, taking the "martial" out of the art results in an art which is really just a dance. Now dance is great. But dance is essentially a cooperative enterprise. It does require connection but it does not require an understanding of the energetics of connection which are crucial to the martial application of technique. I do not believe that dance is a form of practice that is primarily focused on transforming the individual's fearful nature and I do believe that about Aikido.

Aikido is like a big Koan. It requires the ability to hold opposites at the same time and bring them together. Most people simply try to pursue one side of the other, never trying to bring the opposites into balance. Yet, balance is what the whole practice is about.

Aikido is a form of Budo. If the Budo is left out of Aikido it is nothing but a form of interesting aerobic movement done by like minded individuals in a social club called a dojo.

But focus on combat, constant tailoring of the practice to attain some level of practical fighting skill in preparation for some future confrontation with an as yet not encountered enemy simply misses the whole point of Aikido. Aikido is about not having an enemy. It is about reaching an understanding that there is no enemy apart from oneself. O-Sensei repeatedly stated that there is simply no separation between us and it is a misunderstanding of that fact that causes violence. He also stated that if one is in the state of ignorance, one is defeated before he even attacks. The practice is about understanding that there "is no spoon" so to speak.

I see very little discussion that indicates that many folks are pursuing a practice of the art which would eventually result in an understanding of that kind of connection. If folks are so worried about combat, find an art which is designed for combat. Don't try to devolve an art which is so much more than than into something far more limited.

Ok, that should hold me for 2009 on the subject. It's not that I suspect that this topic will go away but it would be nice to see it go to a back page once in a while. It doesn't bode well for the art that these discussions seem to get, by far, the most attention and participation.


George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
Aikido Eastside "

Good luck with your training,


02-02-2009, 06:09 PM
As always, insightful commentary by George. That's definitely a keeper... In fact, it should probably be a sticky somewhere, to serve as a constant reminder to noobs and the not-so-noob.

02-02-2009, 07:34 PM
Concur...I asked Jun to consider it a few hours ago. :)


William Hazen

John Furgerson III
02-02-2009, 09:54 PM
Many moons ago I studied Aikido and now I'm just getting back into it here in Mexico City. I found a dojo that I like so I'm starting again this week.
Years ago when I was practicing Aikido back in the States, there were two incidences where I used some things on a fellow co-worker.
It was just play of course, but effective. Allow me to explain. I had been doing Aikido for about three years and was used to ukes getting out of the way and knowing how to take falls. So one day I was sitting in a room with my co-workers and one lady came over to me (teasing) and put her hand in my face.
I was sitting down and I just grabbed her wrist and she went down fast. Again, this wasn't a real life situation, just someone playing around. But she went down fast and bruised her knee because she had never been trained to fall. The other situation was at work also. A friend was running for me (just kidding) and I put my hand in his face and he immediately fell backwards.
I feel that these two things showed me that Aikido does and can work in real life, and learning to fall good and take care of yourself as an uke is a VERY important part of Aikido training.

Just my two cents worth.

Tony Wagstaffe
02-03-2009, 01:29 PM
Hello everyone. My name is Paul Davis. I have been interested in learning Aikido for some time now. I live in the Macon, Ga. area and can't seem to find a dojo anywhere near here. Does anyone know of one?? Also, (and I'm sure you've heard this before), is Aikido REALLY effective in a "street fight" situation?? I have heard both pros and cons. With my job, I travel a lot, and sometimes have to go into "bad" neighborhoods. I have never studied martial arts in any form, so would it be a good style for me? I am not as limber as I once was (from various injuries). I look forward to your responses.


As with any and anything....... any discipline or fighting defensive art is only as good as the person who practises it....... have fun!