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05-09-2002, 10:08 PM

I've yet to take an Aikido class, but have a fair background in Martial Arts. I've studied Karate for about 14 years. I studied Shinkendo, a sword art, for about 4 years and am currently studying Kuk Sool, a Korean art similar to Hapkido/Jujitsu.

I'm giving a lot of consideration to leaving Kuk Sool and beginning Aikido. One of the factors in my decision is an increasing belief that Kuk Sool is little more than Karate with joint locks and throws. There does not seem to be much integration between the striking aspects and the joint locking aspects.

This leads to my question regarding Aikido. From the books I've seen, it appears that Aikido is a very integrated art. The various aspects of it seem to build upon each other. There also seems to be an underlying core of precepts that the art follows.

Am I interpreting the books correctly? I know I should go to an Aikido dojo and observe, and I plan on doing that, but at this point in my martial arts development, I'm looking for more than just technique. My previous arts have provided me with "words" and in some instances the ability to construct some rudimentary "sentences" from those "words". I'm looking for an art that has the overall integration and curriculum to go beyond simple sentences.

Yeesh, I hope this makes sense. I look forward to everyone's thoughts.


05-09-2002, 10:15 PM
You should attend a few Aikido classes.

05-09-2002, 10:39 PM
Hi Dave, and welcome!:) Be forewarned, some of the 'neighborhoods' around here can at times be a bit rough:rolleyes: but in general we are friendly, although some of us are just plain confused:confused: ...

Sounds like you've done quite a bit of homework and thinking about this subject, let us know what you thought about the classes you visited...

05-10-2002, 08:13 AM
I don't know if there is such a thing as an 'integrated' martial art. All martial arts training is a simulation. Aikido is often different to other martial arts because the attacker is expected to give a committed (and often specified) attack, without thought to a the consequent technique which will be applied to them. As such it helps develop instantaneous reactions, with excellent speed, body-movement and timing. It also allows the application of potentially very dangerous techniques in a smooth, yet fast way. Other martial arts are often less able to develop this to the same extent. However they have the benefit of sparring, which teaches you to continue fighting even if you've had a bit of a knock, it adds some 'realism' although the punches usually don't hurt as much as they should (due to protection) and many techniques cannot be done gratuitously, since breakages occur. Even these no-holds-barred matches usually restrict attacks to the eyes and throat (which suggests these are great places to attack).

You may be dissapointed if you expect striking and throwing to be completly integrated in aikido. Although we have brief distracting strikes (atemis) the aim of most techniques is to finish the conflict very quickly, ideally with one technque.


Brian Vickery
05-10-2002, 08:43 AM
Originally posted by isshinryu88

... I studied Shinkendo, a sword art, for about 4 years...

Hello Dave,

Does the dojo where you studied Shinkendo also teach Aiki-Buken? (Obata Kaiso's version of aikido).

If so, you might consider giving that a try ...the years you've spent in Shinkendo will be put to use since both arts more than just complement each other, they're based on the same principles of movement. If you're interested, you can go to this website for more info:


Best of luck with your search!

05-10-2002, 09:37 AM
Thanks for the replies so far. A couple of things-

Regarding Ian's post and integration-

Sparring in my view is one of the more glaring examples of a lack of integration. Sparring is a useful tool, but sparring rarely looks like what most karate dojo spend a lot of their time on- kata and applications from the kata. Sparring is an artificial environment and is designed more with sporting interests in mind.

There's a great deal of debate in the Karate community over the usefulness of kata. It ranges from the Bruce Lee view of "Classical mess" to the pressure point community view of "Kata has everything". I feel kata is a tool that can be used to teach effective self-defense techniques, but so many schools focus on sparring that kata and applications become an afterthought. Many of these schools may as well just teach kickboxing.

So back to Aikido :)

From what I've seen in the books (my dojo trip will be in a coouple of weeks when my wife is done with classes and can come along) There does not seem to be that aspect of kata being divided from the principles and applications that it can teach.

Regarding Brian's post about Shinkendo-

The school I attended did not have an Aiki-Buken component. One of the contributing factors of my leaving Kuk Sool and joining the Aikido dojo is that I moved a couple of years ago and the trip to class (and where the Shinkendo was tuaght), is 80 miles round trip.

Once again thanks for your replies.


05-11-2002, 03:17 AM

Good question. From what I have been taught, integration plays a large part in aikido, and on many levels. On the physical plane, there is the mind-body integration that we all seek. This is established, and strengthened by training to control one's breathing. This is what could be said to be the "secret" to the power of aikido's techniques. There are many ways to incorporate this into one's training. First and foremost, it is important to seek out and ask permission to train under the proper individual - someone who knows about breath training, and has been taught it by direct transmission from a master of this art. It is not difficult to learn the exercises. It is difficult to practice them daily, pushing yourself to the next-higher level each time you practice. At the higher levels, I have even observed that true masters can control the breathing of their opponents.

Bruce Baker
05-13-2002, 06:18 AM
As someone who has had to modify from the roughness of karate to the entering and unbalancing of Aikido, I can honestly say, if you don't hurt yourself or your partner by overdoing it .... you are gonna love Aikido.

It is not going to get into the grappling aspect of some jujitsu, or allow the striking or kicking if the class is full of beginners, but learning to use the entire movement of your body, not just a piece of movement, and finding the simplicity of sword techniques transformed into manipulations or throws will be a lot of fun ... especially if you like to create more openings for what you have already learned or take throws into rolls.

I still find that nine out of ten people tense up when they first come to Aikido, or are shown the simple movements which you will practice in variations your entire life, but remember to listen to your teacher about making it easier to accept these movements into locks and it will also be easier to spot the openings to reverse these locks as time goes on. With training in other martial arts, remember to play nice with your training partners ... sometimes proficiency from a new guy throws off the old salts who usually use too much force when they are out done? There shouldn't be ego's but time heals all wounds, and wounds all heels.

The longer I do Aikido, the more people I find either from other arts, or cross training in other arts. It really is a gentle way to practice a lot of what you have learned in a much safer environment ... which will allow you a better quality of life because of the softer injurys of a longer period of time.



If you are not sure about one school, try a couple in your area if that is an option.

Not all teachers cover the same material in the same amount of time, but they do get to it eventually.