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08-25-2000, 07:29 AM
I am new to Aikido and martial arts in general. My dojo's style is kokikai. Generally speaking, how does kokikai differ from, say, aikikai or any of the other forms of aikido?

08-25-2000, 10:23 AM
This question in a public forum is particularly interesting to me because when I first started practicing aikido about five years ago I posted a reply to almost exactly the same question on the Usenet newsgroup rec.martial-arts.

The volume of flames, public and private, that I received in response to that posting turned me into an unrepentant lurker. To this day, I de-lurk only very rarely.

As I see it, there are two pretty much insurmountable difficulties in answering your question ("how does Kokikai compare with Aikikai and other styles of aikido?"):

1) Describing Kokikai aikido
2) Describing Aikikai aikido

The problem is that it's nearly impossible to characterize a style of aikido in a way that is satisfactory to most, or even many, practitioners of that style. If you watch high-ranking practitioners of any style of aikido, you'll see that each has a very personal style, and that they differ noticeably from each other. In some cases, you'll see high-ranking aikidoka of different styles who resemble each other more than aikidoka of their own styles. (Note that there are many aikidoka out there who will disagree with these assertions.)

I'll close with an example from my ill-begotten post of yore. I wrote something like: "XXX practitioners generally do YYY". The replies that I received ranged from "XXX practitioners certainly do not do YYY, and if you don't believe it come get on the mat with us and we'll prove it to you", to "Of course XXX practitioners do YYY, and if you don't believe this is effective come get on the mat with us and we'll prove it to you".

Who was right? Both of the respondents were right, and I was wrong. I can't characterize in a reasonable space (let alone a few sentences) what distinguishes my own style of aikido (which happens to be Kokikai), even less so someone else's style.

-Alvin Wen