View Full Version : WWE stealing Aikido?

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Bruce Baker
09-23-2002, 01:46 PM
Like many fathers, I try to stay interested in what my children are watching, and we tend to share the World Wrestling Entertainment events, in which some of it is staged and some of it is a script gone terribly wrong.

Over the past two years, as youger wrestlers are comeing into the scene, I have been seeing more judo, and Aikido throws, escapes, and holds being integrated into the program.

If you don't know that professional wrestling is done with a general script, and the rest is left up to the wrestlers to get the job done as well as entertain the audience, you do now.

Are they stealing Aikido and turning it into a sideshow, or are the movements seen on the television merely shadows of Aikido practice?

I don't know how much judo, karate, or Aikido these people have been exposed to, but many of the spectacular throws across the ring are a lot like the Aikido we practice on the mat.

Have you seen this stealing of Aikido too?

09-23-2002, 02:43 PM
Well, Steven Seagal borrowed aikido for his early films, and many people (including me) became aware of the art because of this. Aikido didnīt change to fit the cinematic style of Seagal and I think pro wrestling will not harm or demean the art. Lastly, who am I to argue with Steve Austin and the Undertaker?

09-23-2002, 02:48 PM
Okay, Have you seen the MTV show "Tough Enough". It is sort of a WWE version of Survivor where the top two finishers get a WWE contract. I'm not a fan of professional wrestling but something caught me attention while watching the show. The instructor, Al Snow, would tell the students that you have to work together with your partner and that your not always fighting with the opponents. Also that you have to be considerate of your opponents body. These all seemed like similar concepts we have in Aikido ukemi. The cooperativeness and consideration for you partner seem to be similarities. Despite the similarites, I wouldn't call it Aikido.

As far as the shows themselves. I can't stand the really bad acting and male soap operaness to sit through one whole hour. So I really don't know about any of the moves they actually perform in a real show versus a made for T.V. training session (Tough Enough).

I think there is an old thread somewhere here on the similarties between Aikido and the then WWF. Someone mentioned that some of the earlier wrestlers trained in aikido. But most also said they wouldn't call either aikido. I wouldn't get in one of those rings and just do aikido either.

Stealing aikido? Or are you just seeing similiarities in regards to taking ukemi or "bumps" as they like to call breakfalls.

09-23-2002, 05:02 PM
How can they steal something that no one owns?

09-23-2002, 09:25 PM
Well I know 'Bad News Brown'(Allen Coage), a WWF wrestler in the 80s, won the 1976 Olympic Bronze Medal in judo. I'm sure that there are(have been) other Martial Arts practitioners in wrestling who've incorporated their art(s) into the show.

Kevin Leavitt
09-23-2002, 09:35 PM
Aikido is a training methodology and a philosophy, also known as the "art of peace".

In action, it uses the mechanics of natural motion to demonstrate the "DO" or the "WAY" of AIKI.

There are only so many spheres and dynamics the body can move in...therefore, done correctly, (technique that is)...it will manifest itself and "look" like the same things you practice in the "dojo".

However, I would not call any technique "aikido" since without the "DO" philosophy behind it...it really is not "AIKIDO".

That does not mean that it is impossible for someone in the WWF to be using the "DO"...it can manifest itself in many strange ways!

Anat Amitay
09-24-2002, 02:43 AM
Hi all!

I sat and read the above with a smile.

I don't believe anyone was stealing anything for all kinds of reasons-

1. I liked what MikeE said- one cannot steal something that isn't property or owned by another.

2. Aikido is quite a young MA. think about it, O Sensei was alive until 1969 and he was the founder. He built the aikido on techniques he knew from all the different MA's he studied during his life and he did many things, so would you consider him 'stealing' fromthe other MA's?

3. I noticed that many senseis that have done another MA before aikido, their teaching is effected also by their former MA or the other way around- they teach another MA and it is effected from their aikido.

There is no line to say where a certain MA starts or endsbecause all are influenced by hundereds of years of combat and self defence, changing abit as they go along (look just how O Senseis aikido changed from the early years to his style in his later years).

I guess that people learn to use and take advantage of whatever technique works and is useful in their MA or sports.

I once wrote about someone who was doing aikido and iceskateing, he said that the aikido has greatly improved his skating, so is that stealing?! ;)

train and enjoy,


mike lee
09-24-2002, 08:04 AM

One thing I like about the WWF is that it doesn't claim to be someting it isn't. It doesn't claim to have any relation to martial arts or a :do: . It doesn't even pretend to be moral.

Just about everyone above the age of 10 years old realizes that the entire event is staged entertainment.

Nevertheless, I think that one would have to admit that the athleticism of some of the "wrestlers" is reaching quite an amazing level these days.

The history of "professional" wrestling is quite interesting. I've read a bit about it in "Black Belt" magazine. It started with a guy in Florida in the 1940s, I believe. He incorporated forms of jujitsu. If memory serves, I think he was Japanese.

In the 1950s, pro wrestling was quite rough. There was occassionaly some acting involved, but that was a minor part of the plot. Those guys were tough as nails and MEAN!

One of the products of that era was a man named Gene LaBelle. Although a fairly old gentleman these days, I heard Steven Seagal took a lesson or two from Mr. LaBelle. Story says Gene choked Steven out. (I'm sure they were just practicing. ;) ) LaBelle reportedly knows over 1,000 wrestling holds, and is well versed in judo and jujitsu.

The beef I have with UFC is that they claim to be serious martial artists, but they hold their competitions in some sort of blood-thirsty, futuristic circus atmosphere that demonstrates nothing of the appropriate martial arts spirit, and more resembling the WWF, which freely admits it's a circus.

P.S. I have a confession to make -- I was once hot for "China." :D

09-24-2002, 08:42 AM
Yep, the aikido technques have pretty much been used before in Grrek wrestling, though maybe the movement is somewhat different. Wrestling seems an ideal place to use aikido techniques to fantastic effect since they look so beautiful.


09-24-2002, 09:38 AM
I remember Hulk Hogan had a wicked irimi nage. It was called a clothesline. :)

Hulkamania's gonna run wild on you!

Bruce Baker
09-24-2002, 10:24 AM
Look carefully at the Old School Walk the Rope hold the Undertaker uses, it should look familiar. And the choke slam? Check out the angle and direction of its movements.

James Trueman
09-24-2002, 01:06 PM
What is Aikido? If anyone can give me a fully inclusive, comprehensive definition then I will know what is being stolen. As Kevin Leavitt suggests, there are only so many ways to work the body - ultimately Aikido is one mans interpretation of how to do that, created from his many years in budo. All arts can be sourced back to an era when the vital components of the now disected arts were together. Therefore what is being stolen, Aikido?, something before? or nothing as the right to train belongs to us all.

Conversely, in response to MikeE and contradicting myself, is there an issue of intellectual property here? ideas and techniques manifested in physical forms and thereby does someone own something - but how is it proved?

Bruce Baker
09-25-2002, 12:22 PM
My insight to seeing the same movement we use in aikido practice being implimented in World Wrestling Entertainment may or may not have been from my letters to the former WWF and why they didn't employ more aikido in their wrestling format?

That was about two years ago.

About six years ago, I was scouted to become a wrestler by the McMahons, Triple H, Stephanie and her mother, and even the Undertaker came in to the store to see if I was bad enough to join the WWF. But being 42 years old, and supporting a family I was too old, and too far gone to leave a paying job for a start at the bottom traveling around the country, setting up the ring gig while waiting to be paid ... couldn't do it.

So, although I blew my big chance, I did support my family and maintain my role as father.

It is with regret that I couldn't pursue the rough and tumble life that give me joy, but now with Aikido practice, my violent behavior is a bit calmer, and seeing the progress of entertainment wrestling rise another notch to include many valid judo, jujitsu, and Aikido movements gives me even greater pleasure. It indicates that although many of the movements are choreographed, they can be adapted to many various situations ... even entertainment wrestling.

About the stealing .... it was meant in the spirit of goodnatured ribbing about movements that are universal, labeled in simularity, and really belonging to us all.

But damn, I wish I had been in a better monetary position, and 10 years younger, I might have given it a go. I guess I must accept the accolaids of being scouted by some of the main players and superstars of todays wrestling, even though I was "over the hill."

Any fool can talk tough, but always have the means to back up who and what you are.

Aikido, the gentle art. ( along with a few dirty tricks, just in case)

Greg Jennings
09-25-2002, 03:46 PM
Like many fathers, I try to stay interested in what my children are watching, and we tend to share the World Wrestling Entertainment events, <snip>
Except to say I'm speechless, I'm speechless.


Tadhg Bird
09-26-2002, 12:11 AM
Not too long ago the ties between Big Time Rasslin' and Aikido was discussed. At one point it was being used as an analogy for Taigi competitions. (Choregraphed moves designed to look good)

And when you look at it, they are NOT trying to hurt each other. Its a show. Think of what they do as Exterme Ukemi.

I think I was 12 when I was told Pro Wrestling was "fake". To me its a destruction of a childhood myth akin to finding out that there is no Santa Claus. (Actually I still kind of believe in Santa Claus....)

Smooth Roads,

-- Tadhg

mike lee
09-26-2002, 06:00 AM
Conversely, in response to MikeE and contradicting myself, is there an issue of intellectual property here? ideas and techniques manifested in physical forms and thereby does someone own something - but how is it proved?

It appears that such issues are already being raised. Following are excerpts from a recent AP, Beijing wire release:


The monks of Shaolin Temple want the world to back off a little. And they're not the sort of monks you want to make angry.

The Buddhist temple whose name was made famous by dozens of kung fu movies is fighting -- and not with its hands and feet -- to protect the Shaolin trademark from encroachment by marketers with dollar signs in their eyes.

"It is our unshirkable historical responsibility to protect and rejuvenate the culture of "Shaolin," said Shi Yongxin, the abbot of Shaolin Temple, quoted by the official Xinhua News Agency.

In recent months, the temple in central China has been making efforts to register "Shaolin" and "Shaolin Temple" as trademarks with the country's General Administration for Industry and Commerce, Xinhua said.

It has also set up a firm, Henan Shaolin Temple Industrial Development Co, to safeguard the temple's name and ban its "abusive use" in commercial activities, the agency said.

A survey by the China Trademark and Patent Affairs Agency in 11 countries and regions on five continents showed that 117 items had been registered with the name Shaolin, all without consulting the temple.

In China, more than 100 businesses, including automobiles, furniture, foods, spirits and medicine, are using a Shaolin trademark.

Registration of Shaolin Temple as a trademark overseas has also been stepped up, Xinhua said. "It is in the benefit of Shaolin Temple for protecting trademarks internationally," Shi was quoted as saying.

Shaolin Temple, built in 496, is the birthplace of Shaolin Boxing, a unique combination of Buddhist and Chinese martial arts.

P.S. One has to wonder how much longer it will be until people will start patenting martial-arts training methods and techniques.

Alan Drysdale
09-26-2002, 12:27 PM
James Truman asked: "What is Aikido?" I think a definition has to include the philosophy (defensive), history (descended from O Sensei's art - except for styles using the same name but coming from a different source), and technical repetoire (using "aiki" - which I think of as blending with the attacker's energy to bring about his downfall). So are wrestlers using aikido? I can see them meeting the second and third items, but not the first.

Bruce Baker
09-29-2002, 09:43 AM
Is there really a difference between stealing or borrowing when we learn something we can not give back?

Oh, I borrowed a technique I saw you do, but I am done with it, so I'll give it back now.

Never happen. Not possible.

As far as the Shaolin temple, I don't know if there is a moral ground to using a symbol defining a group, sect, or an identifiable people ... other than highway robbery by the means of business and registration within international business communities, I don't think there is a legal recourse other than going through each court system to legally fix trademark theft.

There are very few techniques that do not hand and body movement of sword, stick, or hand to hand variations of those weapons, but each art has simular dance steps done to different music in different time and rythym.

My point?

There are some real spectacular throws for judo, jujitsu, and with Aikido's big circles they are even more entertaining to the eye. How many of them are starting to become the spectacle of Entertainment, and how many of them are found in actual defense or offensive fighting exhibitions?