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Uke4life
08-13-2002, 10:51 PM
Ok, this may sound a bit odd. I love aikido. I love the harmony that is put into it. Yet, for some time now I have been burdened with a heavy question. Does aikido really work?? I have a best friend whom is a black belt in a form of karate, and he is very good. And one day we talked about practicallity. I'm not to sure it would work in the real world. It works great in class, but that is with an uke that is willing to be thrown. Also, to be able to catch ones fist as it is racing towards ur head is a difficult task. So if anyone can calm my nerves about this, I would be most thankful. Actually when I consider all of this at times I consider quitting aikido. This hurts me, but if it is not real, why keep it up? Any replies would be most appreciated. :ai: :ki: :do:

PeterR
08-13-2002, 11:15 PM
Before I started Aikido I did full-contact Japanese boxing, followed by smattering of Karate and TKD. I don't count the Judo as a kid.

In the Japanese boxing there were aikido-like joint manipulations which caused me to look to train in an Aikido dojo but frankly what I saw was not that impressive. It took a while but I found a dojo where there is no question that what I'm learning works.

I could say stick with it but you know that wont remove the doubt in your mind. If it does it may just be that you have become delusional. Some time in your Aikido career you are going to have to do some cross-training (exploration).

Why don't you join your friend and train with him. If it means stopping Aikido for a bit so what - you've got a life time a head of you. If it means that you find something else that better suits your needs and questions - all the more power to you. Karate and Aikido are different enough that it should be fairly easy to train in both without conflict.

Shrouded
08-14-2002, 12:33 AM
I do a style of martial arts which contains aikido, but within the movements of other arts as well (Goshindo Jutsu-Atemi Ryu). I can tell you from experience that aikido is very effective, however, the combative version (i.e. defence on the streets) must be learnt through realistic training.

Aikido, in most dojos tends to be formal and traditional. This is great for competition and where there are rules, but where there are no rules, the combative element is missing. If you want to develop these skills, i would not recommend that you practise with a friend and simulate realistic situations - i.e. a guy charging you. Expand your mind and learn different ways so that eventually they can become automatic - a mind-mode called mushin (i think ive spelt it correctly).

Please note though, that of all the styles of martial arts, each one of them has weaknesses. taekwondo is difficult to do in a crowded nightclub, ju-jitsu is difficult against a boxer (not impossible, but difficult).

Good luck in your martial arts, and do not be discouraged...every traditional martial art today has come from a combative time and has therefore has a practical history.

Bronson
08-14-2002, 01:29 AM
Question:but if it is not real, why keep it up?

Answer:I love aikido.

Chris Li
08-14-2002, 02:40 AM
Ok, this may sound a bit odd. I love aikido. I love the harmony that is put into it. Yet, for some time now I have been burdened with a heavy question. Does aikido really work?? I have a best friend whom is a black belt in a form of karate, and he is very good. And one day we talked about practicallity. I'm not to sure it would work in the real world. It works great in class, but that is with an uke that is willing to be thrown. Also, to be able to catch ones fist as it is racing towards ur head is a difficult task. So if anyone can calm my nerves about this, I would be most thankful. Actually when I consider all of this at times I consider quitting aikido. This hurts me, but if it is not real, why keep it up? Any replies would be most appreciated. :ai: :ki: :do:
One of my instructors is a former prefectural champion in Kyokushinkai Karate (he has a nice picture of Mas Oyama awarding him the trophy). He eventually became discouraged with Karate and started Aikido - he always says that he thinks Aikido is the best for self-defense.

What I think is this - if you're a fighter and you do Aikido things will work well. If you're not then they probably won't - and the same thing goes whether you're studying Judo or Karate or whatever. Just learning a particular martial art won't make you a fighter. That doesn't mean that you can't learn to be a fighter, but just becoming proficient in a series of interesting body movements won't do it. I would say that you need to focus on mental strength and focus, attitude and tenacity.

Best,

Chris

ian
08-14-2002, 03:05 AM
I think it is very healthy to question your aikido. I also do a lot of swimming and have come to realise that the people who improve through training are those that constantly question what they are doing, and try to improve themselves. With swimming the target is easy; fast times. With aikido it is more difficult to assess your progress.

I have confidence in aikido 'cos it saved my life once. However, this does not mean the training you are doing is necessarily going to do the same. Find out why you think it is ineffective, and try to see how to cope with this. If your aim is 'self defence' do not be afraid of investigating other martial art or combat options (I did myself, but still find aikido the best general self-defence, though I continue to practise striking and some kicks).

Also, 'harder' style doesn't necessarily mean more effective. As mentioned above, the automatic reaction is an important part of aikido.

As far as catching punches goes - you don't need to catch a punch to do something like irimi-nage. Ideally you should not be thinking 'I'm going to do a technique'. Move off centre line, make contact with uke and then respond with whatever is appropriate to the contact and the movement. (I once had a session with a ju jitsu person, and found that they could never throw me 'cos they didn't respond to what I was doing, they just tried to do 'a technique', and each time this occured I found it very easy to do a complementary technqiue to them - and it only had to be very gentle since they were putting so much force in).

Ian

P.S. also don't be afraid of trying other aikido clubs, maybe your instructor is rubbish, or maybe you would just learn better from another instructor for a while (sometimes you need to learn from someone else before you realise what your own instructor is really trying to tell you).

isshinryu88
08-14-2002, 03:28 AM
Pretty much anyone with a sense of self-preservation wonders if Aikido or Karate or whatever will "work". But the problem, imo, is the definition of "work".

Too many people get stuck on the stuff they see in movies or read in books and "work" becomes the ability to pound someone into submission or place someone in a position where they are completely at the mercy of Aikido/Karate/whatever person.

Someone grabs me and I start a technique. They let go because they wonder what the heck I am up to. Did Aikido work? Yes, I'm no longer being grabbed. The fact that they are not now squirming on the ground as I control them or have had their head taken off from an Irimi nage is beside the point.

If I maintain a proper distance from my attacker, and concentrate only on maintaining that disatnce, he's not going to hit me and I win. It doesn't matter if I do a technique, as long as I don't get hit.

This is where Aikido has an advantage over the striking arts. I've studied Karate for 14 years. The responses to attacks I learned involve physical contact. Block and punch. Maybe something a little fancier involving some movement, but generally there's going to be direct ation taken. This is where empty hand arts get into trouble because there's always someone faster or some technique that is just quicker than the block. The philosophy of most striking arts of countering the attack with another attack sets the defender up for failure at some point. AIkido's philosophy of harmonizing with an attacker gives the Aikido person a wider range of responses.

Dave

Nathan Pereira
08-14-2002, 04:08 AM
Give up Aikido as a self defence art......

That is if you doubt its effectiveness. As has been said a thousand times on this forum "AIKIDO" works, yours may not but the art is sound. It may not always be taught in an effective way but that is something else.

If you feel that what you are learning does not meet your expectations than do something else that you feel does and only practice Aikido for the "love" of it. If you don't feel it works then it won't. I KNOW it works and I have always said that the day I feel it doesn't I'll give it up.

For me [nearly]all the "traditional" martial arts work. I know guys from across the entire martial arts spectrum that are awesome fighters and have proven themselves and THEIR understanding of their art to be effective. I've seen it work. If it is within you to defend yourself well then the art you practice is irrelevant. Believe me there are as many people that think Karate is too stiff and rigid to be an effective self defence, taekwondo is limited and has too much kicking, many kung fu's are too flowery but I could give real life examples of each of these where they have been used to devastating effect on the street.

I think it takes a long time in Aikido for the people to undestand it works and how/why it works, a lot longer than other arts but that is the beauty of it,that is why people practice it for a life time as it takes so long to see what your not yet seeing or will maybe never see in Aikido.

N

Nathan Pereira
08-14-2002, 04:22 AM
Sorry I forgot to add that I also know people that are complete pants at all the arts I mentioned even ones considered "deadly" so again this has nothing to do with the art. MA are like anything else some people are good at it and some aren't. If Bruce Lee had done Oragami[sp] he would have been just as much a hard ass.

Jason Tonks
08-14-2002, 04:33 AM
Hello there Arno. It's good that you are questioning what you are learning, after all blind faith can be dangerous. My own personal opinion is that some Aikido as it is taught today in certain dojos would not work. This may upset certain practioners but I believe there are people now who no longer practice Aikido in a martial sense. People don't run round your fingers or fly off your toes in the street. This is an extreme example of things that I and people that I train with have witnessed but undoubtedly put certain people off Aikido. There is no doubt you get what you train for and your dojo must reflect your aspirations. My own view is that to be able to use your Aikido to "defend yourself" you must be practicing a positive traditional style which you must always practice with martial intent and correct spirit at all times. Your dojo may be the right one for you but there's no harm in visiting other dojos. Don't try and catch any punches. At full speed it'll never happen. You must be of the mind to go in and take the Uke/attacker out, whether you git hit or not. Anyway that's enough of my rambling.

All the best in your training and as my Gran would say, stick at it!

Jason T

Genex
08-14-2002, 06:51 AM
Oh no another disbeleiver! wheres the convert priest when you need him?

the way we train is to move out of the way, tenkan, block, grab, push, breakfall you name it, if you dont move you'll get a punch, or a smack or posibly thrown about.

This is good because it increases speed, hand eye coordination, and general reaction time (btw if sensei sees you 'keeping on your toes' he/she will kill you) you will find yourself more alert more aware of things around you (not to the point of paranoia) and generaly have faster reactions, i've found i'm better at computer games too, must be the hand eye co-ordination heh.

seriously tho, if your training with a m8 get some mai tai gloves or sommat and train 'ard yes thats 'ard not hard thank you

you'll soon move out the way cause if ya dont you'll know about it ;)

pete

Uke4life
08-14-2002, 07:26 AM
I'm sorry. I did forget to mention that I did leave my dojo for two years. In those two years I have trained in Tae Kwon Do and Karate. Since then I have kinda developed my own style of fighting combining all of my training. Now I train independently with my friend, the black belt. We have sparring sessions, and in those sessions I don't see the use of Aikido. I hate to say that. I am currently thinking about going back to my Aikido dojo for the work out and the fact that I believe it is a beutiful art. I believe I will go back and give it another chance. Hopefully my doubts will be cleared up. Thanks for the replies. Train safely.

Bruce Baker
08-14-2002, 07:35 AM
Is Aikido real?

Yep.

You need to get out and practice integrating other skills. Once you have been beaten black and blue, you will appreciate the way other arts can integrate into Aikido. Many teachers do not cover the cross training they pursue, or other arts they have trained in while teaching Aikido.

SeiserL
08-14-2002, 10:23 AM
Its worth it to me. Its real to me. Its effective to me.

By listening to other's doubt you have allowed them to take your center and unbalance you. Shows you how powerful the mind is. Its mental Aikido and you are the uke. Take back your center and balance, suit up, and train.

Until again,

Lynn

Cyrijl
08-14-2002, 10:54 AM
whether or not aikido is worth it, is up to you...i have recently left my dojo after only a month. i can't stand the people at all, not most, but some. But aikido as an art is real and can be effective. Not only for moving and running away, for nice navel contemplation, and growing flowers, but for real combat. The key is finding the right dojo where that is more of the focus.

I find that may of the aikdo student forget that O Sensei was killing people before his whole cosmological awakening. He trained hard, tortured students, beat people up...he knew how to fight hard and effectively...

Some students when asked about effective aikido or technique, always say "Well O sensei did this, that and the other thing" WHO CARES? You are not O Sensei...every person must find aikido in themselves and for themselves...if you love the art..keep doing it...most likely you will never have to fight and aikido will have still benefitted you...

wanderingwriath
08-14-2002, 12:47 PM
I have to agree with points from both Jason Tonks and Bruce Baker. Jason, I agree that a lot of dojos are practicing Aikido that isn't meant to be truly martial. Bruce, I believe you're right about some sensei's not discussing their own cross training history. Aikido CAN be effective. My first sensei was a bouncer in a fairly rough establishment for over ten years and he spent a good deal of that time training in not only Aikido, but also Kali. His hands were so fast and coordinated from that training that at times I literally couldn't see the atemi coming. Someone mentioned Bruce Lee earlier. Bruce Lee was a bad ass not because of his philosophy of Jeet Kune Do, but because the man trained six hours a day, seven days a week.

What I'm trying to say is train hard, train realistically, and you will see the effectiveness of Aikido in yourself.

isshinryu88
08-14-2002, 01:53 PM
I'm sorry. I did forget to mention that I did leave my dojo for two years. In those two years I have trained in Tae Kwon Do and Karate. Since then I have kinda developed my own style of fighting combining all of my training. Now I train independently with my friend, the black belt. We have sparring sessions, and in those sessions I don't see the use of Aikido. I hate to say that. I am currently thinking about going back to my Aikido dojo for the work out and the fact that I believe it is a beutiful art. I believe I will go back and give it another chance. Hopefully my doubts will be cleared up. Thanks for the replies. Train safely.
I think that this is part of your problem. Aikido, Karate and other non-sporting martial arts weren't designed for sparring. If you've taken Karate and Tae Kwon Do, you likely know a few kata. Does your sparring ever look like one of the kata? I know mine hasn't despite my efforts. Just about any sparring match you see involving the striking arts ends up in every style pretty much looking the same. Tae Kwon Do people might kick more often and Karate people punch more often, but everything just kind of devolves into backfists and roundhouse kicks since those techniques score best. If you are trying for realism, then everything begins looking like boxing or wrestling.

My experience in Aikido is limited and my knowledge of the foundations of Aikido is not very deep, so I'm not sure how well my following statements will apply. My belief is that martial arts were designed to deal with the random putz who wants to do you harm. This fellow may have some street training, and be very skilled at what they do, but they typically don't have a deep martial arts background. They lack the self-discipline and other core attributes needed to make a long time journey in a martial art. The fact that they are initiating an attack to do you harm or take your wallet or whatever places them at a disadvantage. The defender has an infinite number of potential responses. The attacker has already limited himself to only a few choices.

Martial arts are designed to deal with this kind of attacker. But like I said in my first post, you can't get caught up in defining "work" as them lying on the ground unconscious. Much of what makes martial arts work is mental. Being able to maintain your compusure, identify the opening and take advantage of that opening in whatever way you (or your martial arts training) chooses. If all you do is dodge around screaming help like a banshee until they decide to go on to greener pastures, Aikido worked. If you are more experienced and capable and decide to take advantage of the opening in his attack you've spotted since he keeps doing the same thing over and over, Aikido worked there as well. Or you look at him and think "Dang, he's good" and see no obvious openings and decide to work on the screaming bit.

Dave

PeterR
08-14-2002, 06:26 PM
You are starting to sound like a troll.

Generally speaking if your TKD and Karate is giving you no idea as to the use of Aikido techniques then they are limiting not the Aikido.

I train with advanced students of all three (20+ years) including a 2x TKD olympic team member. For them Aikido is very real.

Your own style? Exactly how much total experience do you have?
I'm sorry. I did forget to mention that I did leave my dojo for two years. In those two years I have trained in Tae Kwon Do and Karate. Since then I have kinda developed my own style of fighting combining all of my training. Now I train independently with my friend, the black belt. We have sparring sessions, and in those sessions I don't see the use of Aikido. I hate to say that. I am currently thinking about going back to my Aikido dojo for the work out and the fact that I believe it is a beutiful art. I believe I will go back and give it another chance. Hopefully my doubts will be cleared up. Thanks for the replies. Train safely.

Kevin Leavitt
08-14-2002, 07:48 PM
Studied karate 10 years. Sparring in full controlled full contact...10 minutes of hitting and kicking to subdue my opponent.

Studing aikido 5 years now...same situation...5 seconds.

Works for me....period.

Bronson
08-15-2002, 02:29 AM
Don't know if this is relevant but it's a story I want to tell :p

I used to do european medieval armored/armed combat. Full armor, full speed, full contact, compeletly unchoreographed. Two or more people trying to hit each other with power while not getting hit themselves.

I was fighting a guy who had been my principle teacher in polearm. He didn't know I had been taking aikido for almost a year (he had moved and we rarely saw each other). Just after we started he told me to "stop it". "Stop what?" I said. "I don't know...whatever it is you're doing. I don't like it so stop it." "You move different, and I don't know how to deal with it." Then I hit him in the face. Of course in our next go around he seemed to quickly learn how to "deal with it" and proceeded to trounce me :D

Anyway, that was my first indication that aikido was working for me.

Bronson,

p.s. I also almost nailed an opponent with kotegeashi while doing renaissance period fencing (you get to move in circles and use both hands)

mike lee
08-15-2002, 04:35 AM
When teaching an aikido class, I think it would be helpful if, after teaching the many basic movements that we learn for training purposes, if instructors would include one or two "practical" applications. It can help the students to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Take, for example, shomen-uchi ikkyo. Now have the students lunge for a choke hold and use the same type of ikkyo. Suddenly there becomes a sense of reality and usefullness to the standard movement that we learn almost mindlessly, day after day. Women seem to respond especially well to this kind of training.

Another example would be to take a move commonly seen in Ultimate Fighting competition -- the tackle or leg take-down. One aikido defence is to simply move sideways while blocking one of the attacker's forearms and execute a kaiten-nage. If the attack is fast and committed, a linear throw is very effective.

I was amazed at how fast the students picked this stuff up. I think part of the reason was that their basic training was solid, but it was also because they believed that what I was showing them was practical and useful for real-life applications. :ai: :ki:

Sam
08-15-2002, 06:42 AM
I think that this is part of your problem. Aikido, Karate and other non-sporting martial arts weren't designed for sparring. If you've taken Karate and Tae Kwon Do, you likely know a few kata. Does your sparring ever look like one of the kata? I know mine hasn't despite my efforts. Just about any sparring match you see involving the striking arts ends up in every style pretty much looking the same. Tae Kwon Do people might kick more often and Karate people punch more often, but everything just kind of devolves into backfists and roundhouse kicks since those techniques score best. If you are trying for realism, then everything begins looking like boxing or wrestling.

Dave
As a practitioner of karate I find these type of generalisations rather worrying. Many karate kata contain strikes and throws you just wouldn't want to do during sparring or suit only particular situations. If you can find somebody who can show you these applications....

Devolving into Roundhouses and backfists? I disagree - I like to think I have a much broader range.

On a more general note, if you doubt what you are learning rather than yourself, perhaps it should not be 'train with more realism' or 'train harder' but to find an instructor with convincing aikido and the teaching skills to match.

wanderingwriath
08-15-2002, 12:06 PM
From the rookie......

I may be wrong, but maybe a little scenario training wouldn't be too far out of order here. Try some training in your everyday clothes, with shoes on (it makes a difference friends) and see if that helps. Make up a little scenario: walking to your car after dark, sitting at your local pub or the bleachers of some relative's baseball game. I hear soccer and hockey parents are gettin pretty wild these days. :)

mike lee
08-15-2002, 12:36 PM
I recently hung out with one of my young female students after class. We went back to her apartment so she could shower and change clothes.

She said she had a new job at a sushi bar and she now arrives home very late -- at around 2am. She said the area around her apartment is dark and she feels afraid.

So, as we walked up to the building, we began looking for all of the places an attacker could hide. We basically cased the joint. I told her to always keep her head up and be aware, even if she was exhasted. I told her to look up, not down, as she ascended the stairs.

I also told her to keep her keys in her hand, with the longest, sharpest key pointing out between her index finger and her middle finger. Now the keys can serve as a weapon, and she wouldn't have to fumble for them when she reaches her apartment door.

The whole object of the game here is to see any potential attacker before he gets too close, and to always be ready for anything, but to remain calm and not fearful.

An ounce of awareness can be worth a pound of techniques.

Uke4life
08-15-2002, 05:20 PM
Firstly, "sounding like a troll", I do find that rather offending, and extremely uncalled for. Also, I have about 4 years martial art training "experience" in which I have combined all my knowledge of the matter, and tried to place it together for working better with my body. So, I would just like to say I am overwhelmed that you would go that far into name calling. Also, to the gentleman that asked if katas ever came into play into my sparring matches, and the answer is yes it has. Katas not only teach technique, but also get your body comfortable with the movements so when time comes they do them quickly, and with stunning effect. To the gentle man suggesting the "real life" training, I believe that is a good idea and will now begin to work with that. Thank you all for your replies, and train safe!!

sceptoor
08-15-2002, 09:42 PM
Pretty much anyone with a sense of self-preservation wonders if Aikido or Karate or whatever will "work". But the problem, imo, is the definition of "work".

Too many people get stuck on the stuff they see in movies or read in books and "work" becomes the ability to pound someone into submission or place someone in a position where they are completely at the mercy of Aikido/Karate/whatever person.

Someone grabs me and I start a technique. They let go because they wonder what the heck I am up to. Did Aikido work? Yes, I'm no longer being grabbed. The fact that they are not now squirming on the ground as I control them or have had their head taken off from an Irimi nage is beside the point.

If I maintain a proper distance from my attacker, and concentrate only on maintaining that disatnce, he's not going to hit me and I win. It doesn't matter if I do a technique, as long as I don't get hit.

This is where Aikido has an advantage over the striking arts. I've studied Karate for 14 years. The responses to attacks I learned involve physical contact. Block and punch. Maybe something a little fancier involving some movement, but generally there's going to be direct ation taken. This is where empty hand arts get into trouble because there's always someone faster or some technique that is just quicker than the block. The philosophy of most striking arts of countering the attack with another attack sets the defender up for failure at some point. AIkido's philosophy of harmonizing with an attacker gives the Aikido person a wider range of responses.

Dave
I strongly agree and that basically sums it up. Here's my favorite part----"Did Aikido work? Yes, I'm no longer being grabbed. The fact that they are not now squirming on the ground as I control them or have had their head taken off from an Irimi nage is beside the point."

Thank you for a post very well put.

Tomlad
08-23-2002, 09:24 AM
Hi Arno,

I'm replying to your original post because I went through the same. It was partly why I left Aikido and took up Wing Chun. "An art that can turn you in to a better fighter within 6-12 months." Needless to say I am back practising Aikido. Here are some thoughts for you...........

The basic moves in Aikido are too slow but let's not forget that if your level of Aikido is Uke grabbing your arm, then you will only cope with a similar street situation but your attacker won't keep hold of your wrist! So this is next to useless. Plus some of the moves are far too complicated, but these would not be used in a real life attack.

When you are skilled at Aikido (perhaps you already are), you can then make your Aikido smaller and more devastating.

I totally believe that Aikido can be affective but you need to be extremely competent at the art and it won't prevent you from getting hurt. It may keep you alive! Most arts are the same, with strengths and weaknesses. If you want to have a good all round set of skills then you need to be good at boxing, kicking and the floor arts such as judo and wrestling. How many lives do you need?

Let's face it. The reason most people take up a martial art is so that they can defend themselves against the maniac on the street that wants to stomp on your head. A simple punch up in a pub is something quite different.

The maniac will usually have only half a dozen well honed tricks up his sleeve but they are tried and tested. You may be down on the ground and unconscious within 10 seconds and then it's up to your attacker what they do with you.

I feel that it is not a martial art that let's most people down, it is either the fact that the maniac intimidates them to such a degree that they freeze or simply dare not fight back, or they have been deceived into thinking it's safe and then hit with a surprise attack. By the time you know about it, it's too late.

So how will Aikido help? Firstly, the confidence you will gain will make you appear less like a victim to the potential attacker. If you are walking along with your head down, hands in pockets, look inwardly, this says "Easy Target". However, with a martial art and a little confidence you can be more aware of your surroundings (giving you vital seconds warning of any attack) and have your hands free to help you. For every second after that attack you have a greater chance of beating your opponent.

Try reading some of Geoff Thompson's books on street fighting and dealing with adrenalin dumps. No martial art will prepare you to deal with a screaming lunatic in front of you.

Having several friends who are black belts at various arts they all give the same advice. Stick to your chosen art if you like the dojo and the instructor and do not look elsewhere until you have at least achieved black belt.

morex
08-23-2002, 10:53 AM
Hey Arno.

Well, Aikido is as real as you want to make it. And oh yeah... it is very effective, but is not a combat system. It is a Martial Art, but if what you want is a combat art, the go to ninjutsu or hapkido.

Now, I've seen Aikido work very effective on street, And you know what? That's exactly what we train for: so that we can defend ourselves and to make our lives better, not to punch and kick.

Just give Aikido some time and all your doubts will disapear.

DGLinden
08-23-2002, 02:50 PM
Uke4life,

Okay, the long and short of it is yes. It works. As a nidan (about a hundred years ago) there was an incident, which, if you will share your e-mail I will discuss privately, I proved to myself and a seriously angry individual that it does. Also was there when my best friend, an aikido shihan who will remain nameless, took out a mugger. Faith, young friend. It works so much better than you can ever imagine...

TheProdigy
08-23-2002, 05:22 PM
Yes indeed, it is effective. I say this, though really I shouldn't, for I haven't obtained the rank or seen in person any live situation of it being effective. The question of whether it's effective or not has been answered by many individuals. In my local dojo, we have several students from TKD and a few with other backgrounds in arts like karate and such. My instructor has 20yr TKD, and now 20 in aikido... he's amazing. Another student whose proven it to many people (himself included), has 8yrs karate followed by 5 in aikido. He's talked about when he questioned it and him proving to himself by sparring, or defending against attacks from other martial artists. But, in any case these are just stories. The convincing can only come from your experience.

There are tons of people who've had it proven to them, whether they're the attacker, or the nage. My best recommendation is to find a good dojo, which a teacher who can not only vouch for it, but show and explain why it works. In my style, this is of the most importance. When we train, we have the attacker give the best attack and resistance possible, and learn how to overcome this. When you find that you can throw guys who are even bigger than yourself, who are truly resisting their best, you do gain some confidence. Not only in yourself, but the art as well.

The best advice I can give is to explore. Always question whether or not this technique or that will and can work. Some techniques are their just for practice, to learn an idea. Others are solid and proven. The teacher should be able to distiguish and demonstrate both.

There are dojos not so strong. It may not be the that the teacher is bad, or the style... but perhaps an idea or 2 may not be as strong as it could be. I would suggest visiting other dojos, and finding one that convinces you.

Good luck on your journey...

Ben_t_shodan
08-27-2002, 10:18 PM
I love aikido. I love the harmony that is put into it.
If you liked to fish but couldn’t eat the fish, would you still fish just to throw it back?

Your Uke

Ben

memyselfandi
08-27-2002, 10:33 PM
Hells no :disgust: , thats just cruel. And don't give me that poop about the hook not hurting the fish :dead: you can't really believe that...unless of course you have scientific proof, in which case just ignore me :D

PS - I know you didn't mean it literally :p

Marty
08-28-2002, 01:46 AM
I have not read all of the post so if I am repeating anything I am sorry but your quote is "It is not the destination, but the journey." I just thought that was interesting since your problem is that the destination of Aikido (effectiveness) might not be sound (in your mind). but on the other hand you love to train in Aikido (the journey) kinda thought that was funny.

I could tell you stories of how effective Aikido is but it really does not matter what I think. The only way you will see that it is effective is to train. Find it yourself.

p.s. I have found as a note if you are sparing with a person you are trying to win trying to score pts. trying to defeat him trying to take advantage, there for you are not truly doing Aikido. It might be easier if you just think of getting out of the way and not of beating him.

Uke4life
09-01-2002, 12:58 PM
Well, to answer your question, I know my quote kinda sums up what I should do. My friend, the black belt, pointed to my quote ad said "There your answer is". I just suppose I would like my journey to be more fruitful. By this I mean for it to be more productive by me doing my absolute best in bettering myself, i.e. doing an art that is more productive. Well, enough of my ramblings, I'm off. Train safe.

Jermaine Alley
09-11-2002, 02:20 AM
I think that aikido is extremely effective. I had my times when i questioned whether or not i could pull off certain techniques when the time called for them...that time came and went.

My training now consists of trying to perfect my basics over and over again. If you couldn't pull of a response (realistic) when you were working out with your karate friend, maybe you need to step back and refocus onthe basics. Since your karate friend..is a friend..try to maximize your experience by having him or her test your grain.

Remember when it comes to trying to make this stuff work, you have to concentrate on off balancing...if that doesn't work by itself, you might want to throw in atemi. Now it is my humble opinion that atemi, doesn't always have to be a preemptive strike. It can be anything that "closes the mind of the attacker"...for me,being a police officer, that atemi usally comesin the form of OC or mace, or this expandable baton that i happen to be wearing.

In essence..go back to the basics of off balancing, atemi, deflection, entering or going tenkan, or just getting the hell out of the way....when it comes to making this stuff work.

Also remember that everyone of these over 3,000 techinques doesn't work on everyone all the time in every situations. If you remember that, you will be more prepared to deal with a host of different attacks. If this technique doesn't work, turn and twist and do something else.

Be flexible when it comes to your studies and making them work.

:circle: :square: :triangle:

jermaine

opherdonchin
09-11-2002, 10:46 AM
I like to say (when I allow myself to say stuff in class): if someone isn't falling, you can't MAKE them fell; if someone is falling, you don't have to throw them. AiKiDo works when you manage to change your view so you can SEE that the other person is actually falling already.

Chuck Clark
09-11-2002, 11:15 AM
Opher,

Well said and true! If you're ever in the Phoenix/Tempe area, please stop in and visit.

Regards,

opherdonchin
09-11-2002, 11:17 AM
It would be an honor.

aikigreg
09-11-2002, 11:56 AM
Does it work, I dunno. Quick, somebody throw a kick at me and let's see! :)

Seriously - I've got belt rankings in 3 other MA's and I've been doing aiki for 6. You can train formally with lots of tenkan and beautiful flowy movements. In a street situation it's probably be a LOT of irimi - quick direct responses.

It works. You need to train hard as others have said, and do lots of randori, but in time I bet you'll come to feel confident in it.

Uke4life
09-11-2002, 09:43 PM
Thanks and I agree, keep posting you guys I like to hear opinions. Train safe.

s. zangrilli
09-14-2002, 05:22 PM
Question:

Answer: I don't see any female respondents here so,i'm going to add my two cents . i resently began wondering if aikido was going to be effective for me in a real attack. My instuctor has recently introduced "realistic & aggresive" attacks. It didn't matter how I moved or what I did I was completly overwhelmed (swarmed might be a better word) by male partners who out weighed me by at lest 100 lbs. Not only was I unable to deal effectivly with the attack, I panicked and found myself swinging at anybody who came close to me because I was terrified. Including my sensei when he came up behind me. I finaly collapsed in tears, totally humilliated by the experiance.

While I hold the rank of shodan, I don't by any means consider that to be an expert level. It is my opion that it takes many years of training to able to deal with the mainac on the street who is going to overwhelm you no matter what. At 47 i don't have that much time

nic an fhilidh
09-15-2002, 08:23 AM
Just curious ... how "realistic" is an attack where you are swarmed by people who outweigh you by 100 lbs? I mean, such an attack could happen, but the vast majority of street attacks I read about are straightforward muggings, carjackings etc. involving two attackers at the most.

s. zangrilli
09-15-2002, 12:59 PM
Just curious ... how "realistic" is an attack where you are swarmed by people who outweigh you by 100 lbs? I mean, such an attack could happen, but the vast majority of street attacks I read about are straightforward muggings, carjackings etc. involving two attackers at the most.
It was a one on one, but it was full power and anything I did was completly resisted. I was just overpowered by the "attacker".:freaky:

Brian H
09-15-2002, 04:17 PM
Can you move off the line, take an opponents (hey- we are not on the mat here) center, rob him of his balance and throw him with an atemi or four stuck in there somewhere?

That is real.

Aikido is real, maybe someday my Aikido will be too :) . Until then I will be happy if I can move off the line and just not be where the blow falls.

s. zangrilli
09-15-2002, 10:14 PM
Moving off the line assumes that the attacker is going to move in a straight line right past you. Realistly, an attacker will follow where you move to. I have not been effective in robbing the balance of big burly men who aut weigh me by 100 lbs. They are very stiff and difficult to move regardless of the laws of physics. It's a lot like trying to do an irimi on an oak tree. you just bounce off.

mike lee
09-16-2002, 04:00 AM
Unless you're talking about the Ents, oak trees don't attack.

If you try to do irimi-nage on someone who is strong (or aikido wise) and hasn't attacked first, it will be very difficult to do anything except maybe shoot them -- unless you know the force (above san dan?) and take them by surprise.

I don't really know how this "moving off the line" started (a miss-translation from Koichi Tohei?), but if you try that in the street, you'll be lucky to survive.

I've been taught to never ever move off the line -- but to control the line -- become the line.

Opps. Now another one of my secrets is out!

-- More words count less.

Brian H
09-16-2002, 06:11 AM
I don't know what the hang up with big uke is. If he were alive today, I would tower over O'Sensei. Could I just have my way with him? I really doubt it.

Kevin Leavitt
09-16-2002, 10:27 AM
I have found that we watch sensei do technique...then we try to replicate it...literally.

I have found that you have to modify technique based on differences of size and height.

For years I spent watching my teachers whose hara was fairly in line with Uke...If you watch Saotome sensei he does not have to move much to break uke's center since his hara is typically several inches lower than most of his uke...therefore, he can do technique without bendind knees much.

Me on the other hand, I find that I sometimes must go almost to me knees in order to get hara lower than uke's sometimes.

The point is...you cannot always apply technique literally, explore and find what works for you. If you are wrong, sensei will show you. Principle is what matters.

My old instructor (Bob) used to say...if uke goes high, you go low...nothing wrong with doing irimi nage to his legs if he is big and wants to hold a high strong posture! (Brian, you know what I am talking about!! :))

rgfox5
09-17-2002, 01:43 PM
My favorite quote on this subject:

Ikeda sensei (Boulder Aikikai) was teaching at the DC Summer Camp in July, and said "Some people ask, does aikido work or not? I can only tell you, my aikido works. Does yours work, I'm not sure. That's up to you."

Rich

Roy Dean
09-18-2002, 06:57 PM
Sheila, thank you for sharing your experience. I'm sure if more people practiced "realistic" and aggressive attacks, they would find out their responses aren't quite as good as they imagined them to be.

Size and strength do matter. A lot. More than people believe or want to believe.

Every art has the potential to be effective. Techniques are somewhat important. Training method is far more important. Attributes are also far more important (i.e. sensitivity, timing, power, explosiveness, endurance, killer instinct, etc) than the techniques you employ. Without attributes, the movements we call techniques are empty and ineffective.

Aikido CAN work. But the training methods employed at most schools don't lend themselves to street effectiveness, as they mainly develop certain attributes (namely sensitivity and timing) while neglecting many many others. Against a skilled or athletic opponent... I daresay the aikidoka would not fare well.

Kevin Leavitt
09-18-2002, 07:21 PM
Roy,

depends on the Aikidoka, but agree with many of your points. Size does matter. As a big guy I can afford to make many more mistakes and can compensate for the much more than someone of equal skill and smaller size/weight.

There are many dimensions to fighting skills...they are all important, size, skill, experience, and situation dictate which ones a fighter may weight heavier than another.

Some of the dimensions are: size, strength, agility, speed, stamina, reflex, flexibility (mental and physical), adaptability..etc. It really depends on many factors.

A point I like to make frequently is that you do not use "aikido" to fight anymore than you use "karate", judo, or any other style....you use yourself and a multitude of things you have learned over the years.

IMHO, it is nearly impossible to train for street effectiveness...the permutations of "situations" are much to great to develop a set of default techniques that will work everytime. I have trained that way, and I personally believe that in the long run, you are setting yourself up for a very limited skill set.

Aikido in most dojos is set up to teach you the underlying principles, if you understand the principles, you can adapt technique to fit the situation, you develop a better/wider base of experience training this way.

It will seem like it will take you longer to develop your skills, but in reality, it only takes a couple of years to surpass people who train for "situations" or "technique" type training.

All that said, from my experiences aikido does not do a good job of mentally conditioning you to deal with a fight and the emotions that happen in a "real" situation. I recommend seriously that if you really want to learn "street smarts"....that you do spend some time with a good hard/external dojo to gain this experience. Be warned though, I personally developed some very, very bad habits that are taking me years to "undo" through aikido..."unlearning" is what I call it.

Bottom line, there are trade offs studying either way!

Good luck.

mike lee
09-19-2002, 04:42 AM
Size and strength do matter. A lot. More than people believe or want to believe.

Nonsense. I can do the same waza with the smallest person in the class, and the biggest guy in the class (who outweighs me by 80lbs.) I use exactly the same amount of strength (very little), and make only slight adjustments for height.

In fact, I generally find that working with bigger, stronger people to be easier than short people with a low hara.

Siz and power should be respected -- not feared.

Roy Dean
09-19-2002, 12:31 PM
Kevin,

Good post. I agree with many of your points as well.

Mike,

Although you may be able to do the same waza with people of varying sizes, I must ask: Are they resisting? Do they ever catch their balance and attack again? Do they ever attack with "unconventional" techniques such as jabs or bear hugs?

In sports and martial endeavors where resistance is encouraged (boxing, wrestling, Judo, etc), why do you think they have weight classes?

In a recent BJJ tournament, there were several competitors that weighed over 400 pounds. Do you still think you could apply your techniques with the same amount of strength? Do you think you would find it easier?

If you're still unconvinced, I encourage you to check out the recent mixed martial arts event called PRIDE Shockwave. On the card, you will see Bob Sapp vs. Rodrigo Nogueira. Although technically superior, Nogueira absorbed a tremendous amount of punishment from Sapp, who outweighed him by 150 pounds of muscle. Nogueira won in heroic fashion, but the myth that size and strength don't matter was shattered forever by this fight alone.

Roy

Erik
09-19-2002, 01:35 PM
In sports and martial endeavors where resistance is encouraged (boxing, wrestling, Judo, etc), why do you think they have weight classes?

In a recent BJJ tournament, there were several competitors that weighed over 400 pounds. Do you still think you could apply your techniques with the same amount of strength? Do you think you would find it easier?
Just as an aside, I recently wandered down to the local Judo school to take a look around. The Sensei was approximately 6' 2" and at least 250 pounds. Honestly, he was probably closer to 300 pounds and while some of it was in the midsection much of it seemed to be located in the shoulders and neck area. My only thought was you've got to be kidding and I'm 6' and a respectably solid 200 pounds. I'm going to throw a guy that size?

I dunno, maybe if I fought really dirty, or didn't engage him the way he wanted, but then it's Judo and they have these rules and with those I'd pretty much have no chance.

paw
09-19-2002, 01:46 PM
****** a brief tangent

Erik,
I dunno, maybe if I fought really dirty, or didn't engage him the way he wanted, but then it's Judo and they have these rules and with those I'd pretty much have no chance.

Aikido has "rules" as well. Sure, they aren't formalized and codified like the IJF has done with judo, but there are still expected ways to behave in every aikido dojo on the planet. I would imagine that if you pin someone and then honestly try to gouge their eyes out being expelled from the dojo will probably be the least of your worries.

Or am I off base?

Regards,

Paul

****** and back to our topic

opherdonchin
09-19-2002, 01:53 PM
AiKiDo has conventions, not rules. That's the difference between spelling them out and not spelling them out. The conventions are there for instructional purposes (to my mind) at least as much as they are there for the sake of safety. You can lay aside particular conventions at any time if you (and your partner) are interested in learning what happens when you do that. It won't necessarily stop it from being AiKiDo (again, to my mind).

The easy way to see the difference is that in any competition fighting sport, you allow yourself to do certain things because you know certain counters are not legal. You have to because you need to use every advantage you've got and so you use the rules to your advantage. In AiKiDo this way of thinking doesn't make sense. What advantage to I get out of ignoring specific possible counters? Perhaps I want to do so for instructional purposes, but I'm not trying to beat anybody so I've got no percentage in ignoring certain realities.

paw
09-19-2002, 02:30 PM
Opher,
You can lay aside particular conventions at any time if you (and your partner) are interested in learning what happens when you do that. It won't necessarily stop it from being AiKiDo (again, to my mind).

The same is true of judo. The IJF rules are conventions in same sense you are using the word. You can lay them aside and compete under different rules (conventions) if you like. For example, Kosen judo is still judo, but vastly different rules. And judo players have done very well in ADCC events, another set of rules (conventions).
The easy way to see the difference is that in any competition fighting sport, you allow yourself to do certain things because you know certain counters are not legal.

If your point is that the context dictates the response, well of course. Judo players in MMA events adopt strategies that are more applicable in that environment. The same is true of self-defense applications. The techniques and principles of judo remain the same. So in my mind, what you're discussing now is strategy, which is something different.... Or have I missed your point?

Regards,

Paul

Erik
09-19-2002, 02:36 PM
Aikido has "rules" as well. Sure, they aren't formalized and codified like the IJF has done with judo, but there are still expected ways to behave in every aikido dojo on the planet. I would imagine that if you pin someone and then honestly try to gouge their eyes out being expelled from the dojo will probably be the least of your worries.

Or am I off base?

I agree with this. I was thinking about adding that to my earlier post but went with a bit of brevity for a change.

In all fairness, even with rules off (and from behind with a big stick and 3 friends) plus changing the context of a confrontation a guy that size is no trivial matter. No matter how good the relative skill levels.

opherdonchin
09-19-2002, 02:39 PM
No, Paul, I think your point is well taken. It seems to me like you are making a distinction between Judo as an art and Judo as a competitive sport.

You are saying a judoka uses the rules (which I still think are different than conventions) of competition as part of his instructional technique, in some sense using competition as a way of learning more about the art. This makes perfect sense to me, and I hadn't really thought about it that way.

I guess I still think there is a fundamental difference between an art that takes competition seroiusly (and trains for it) and one that eschews competition. Even if these are just different training strategies towards the same ultimate end, they are certainly very different training strategies. It seems like the difference would play out in what is ultimately learned.

Mel Barker
09-19-2002, 11:04 PM
Humm, this is beginning to remind me of my mother telling what would happen in a gun fight. I somehow didn't think she'd actually studied to topic, but she sure had some strong opinions.

mike lee
09-21-2002, 11:09 AM
Roy. In response to your questions:

Although you may be able to do the same waza with people of varying sizes, I must ask: Are they resisting?

A: They could, but they may get hurt.

Do they ever catch their balance and attack again?

A: They could, but then I would continue using aikido waza.

Do they ever attack with “unconventional” techniques such as jabs or bear hugs?

A: They could, but then I would continue using aikido waza.

In sports and martial endeavors where resistance is encouraged (boxing, wrestling, Judo, etc), why do you think they have weight classes?

A: Because some people are heavier.

In a recent BJJ tournament, there were several competitors that weighed over 400 pounds. Do you still think you could apply your techniques with the same amount of strength?

A: Yes. I would have no choice.

Do you think you would find it easier?

A: Possibly. It would depend on his skill-level.

If you're still unconvinced ...

A: Unconvinced of what?

... I encourage you to check out the recent mixed martial arts event called PRIDE Shockwave. On the card, you will see Bob Sapp vs. Rodrigo Nogueira. Although technically superior, Nogueira absorbed a tremendous amount of punishment from Sapp, who outweighed him by 150 pounds of muscle. Nogueira won in heroic fashion, but the myth that size and strength don't matter was shattered forever by this fight alone.

A: I never said size didn't matter. In my previous post I said that size and strength should be respected, not feared.

In ancient China there was a man named Kwan Kong who swung a weapon that was so large and heavy that it took five ordinary men just to lift it. He killed over 2,000 warriors on his own. His enemies finally gave up trying to kill him using conventional martial arts. Instead, they had a lovely young lady plop some poison in his tea. End of story.

P.S. I'm looking for an old friend named Mel Flannigan, attorney at law. Does anyone know her? She's a University of Wisconsin graduate and aikidoist.

mike lee
09-21-2002, 11:34 AM
Although you may be able to do the same waza with people of varying sizes, I must ask: Are they resisting?

A: They could, but they may get hurt.

I always ask attackers to grab or strike me with full force, provided they can maintain control over their own bodies. This is to prevent injury. In aikido, a strong and forceful attack makes the waza more effective. The most difficult person to practice with is a wet noodle.