View Full Version : Wrong Reflexes?

Please visit our sponsor:

12-09-2002, 10:27 AM
Our school is lucky enough to have a student who is an awesome nidan karate instructor. So, to help out the school, he teaches a few classes in between the aikido ones throughout the week. I hung around on Saturday after our Aikido class and decided to stay and try it. It was really cool, albeit different, and quite a workout. I did noticed that some of the excercises we did were geared toward learning a quick block/dodge then counterattack reaction, which I assume is common in more offensive arts. Anyway, what I am hesitant about is that if I continue the classes, I don't what to be fighting the urge to throw a punch during aikido practice, or in other words, trying to manage two different reactions to the same event. Has anyone had any problems with this, or am I just being paranoid? :freaky:

Thanks :)

12-09-2002, 01:11 PM

Being from Tohei's lineage too, I understand your dilemma. Before I made the transition to IAA aikido, I was Aikikai style.

I had a difficult transition from Ryukyu Kempo (now called Ryu-Te)to Aikido. I would see suki in uke's attack and want to take advantage of it in a more linear fashion. Soon, I found that recognizing these openings was a good thing, as long as I used the atemi as part of my Aikido and didn't stop my motion to "blast" uke with a punch.

But, I think in the long run its whether you feel it will be of value to you.

Happy training,

12-09-2002, 01:15 PM
Thanks for the reply, I'm glad to see I'm not the only one to have had difficulty with this. :)

12-09-2002, 09:06 PM
I did karate before I started aikido and it does cause me a few problems. Sometimes I mistakenly block uke's attack, and have to stop myself from striking them, when this happens I unfortuately tend to do it two or three times in a row before I manage to do the right technique. I've done lots of palm heel blocks and quite a few jodan uke's(high blocks)I have also unconciously slipped into one of my karate stances, usually neko ashi. Having said all that, it doesn't happen too frequently and I only find it mildly irritating and usually funny, my uke's often find it amusing, hmm don't know what sensei thinks. I'm still glad I did karate first and there are benefits from having done so. I'm having fewer problems as time goes by, and if I could afford to I would love to train in both arts.

Tim Griffiths
12-10-2002, 02:45 AM
...I did noticed that some of the excercises we did were geared toward learning a quick block/dodge then counterattack reaction, which I assume is common in more offensive arts. Anyway, what I am hesitant about is that if I continue the classes, I don't what to be fighting the urge to throw a punch during aikido practice, or in other words, trying to manage two different reactions to the same event. Has anyone had any problems with this, or am I just being paranoid? :freaky:

Thanks :)
I also do both aikido and karate.

There's nothing wrong with a desire to throw a punch, its the block/dodge reaction you need to avoid. Blocking is quite instinctive, and in aikido we need to move our butts out of the way. Training to block or twist out of the way of a strike isn't such a good idea, until the aikido body movement is well-ingrained (after, say, 5 million years).

The punch (or atemi) is of course also different - we tend to follow with the body rather than standing solidly while striking.

Tim (a different one)

Kevin Wilbanks
12-10-2002, 08:43 AM
I can't see how doing both would not mix you up - making your Aikido rigid and sluggish and/or your Karate soft and irresolute. People who come to Aikido with an intensive Karate/TKD background usually have the most difficulty relaxing, flowing, and moving from the hips/lower body instead of using arm strength and planted feet... moreso than people with no prior MA experience or experience in other sports, for instance. The two arts are based on almost diametrically opposed strategies, as outlined above. Personally, I don't like the aesthetics or strategy/tactics of Karate/TKD, anyway.

Depending upon what you are looking to get out of it, you could probably cross train in something else and get it in a way that might synergize with your Aikido, or at least not interfere. If you want to punch and kick, western boxing is more fluid and mobile - and they teach you to dodge, slip, and move out of the way of strikes (and it doesn't take "5 million years"). If you enjoy the solo form practice, Aikido has Jo kata, and there is always Tai Chi and other chinese arts with perhaps a more Aikido compatible movement style. For 'getting a workout', embarking on a well-designed regimen of resistance training and endurance intervals will bring results much faster and more safely than Karate - in general, one should get in shape prior to doing things like Aikido or Karate, not do them for the sake of getting in shape.

12-10-2002, 12:10 PM

I think you are drawing too tight of lines. Albeit, the Korean and Taiwan arts tend to be foot oriented, remember that most karate styles embrace a go (hard) and ju (soft) aspect, and also use both linear and circular movement.

Different people can absorb different things. And there is no reason not to try out different arts to see if they add to your Aikido.

Kevin Wilbanks
12-10-2002, 01:29 PM
Different people can absorb different things. And there is no reason not to try out different arts to see if they add to your Aikido.
Actually, there are plenty of reasons, I've mentioned but a few. To say there is no reason is simply wrong. It all depends upon one's goals and capabilities. If you enjoy both activities and can keep most aspects reasonably separate during practice that's one thing, but if you want to ingrain responses into your body to the point that they become instantaneous, unconscious near-reflexes, I think you're going to run into difficulties.

Many discourage cross training in multiple arts until a certain amount of proficiency is attained in the first one - the whole 'chasing two rabbits at once' thing. This might not apply to some - say, if you're interested in quickly becoming 'street-ready' or going into NHB stuff, or, on the other hand, if you're merely a recreational dabbler. However, if you're looking for depth, mastery and budo-oriented goals, I think it's something to consider. You only have so much time and energy. Going for breadth necessitates sacrificing depth, to some extent.

In terms of K/TKD people, I was speaking on the basis of having practiced with at least a couple dozen of them over the years. I've even seen a few highly ranked Aikidoka who were also higly ranked in Karate, and their style seemed more muscular, effortful, abrupt, etc... than other teachers I've seen. I'm not a master of anything except perhaps oxy-acetylene welding myself, but these are my observations.

12-10-2002, 03:18 PM

I can understand your point of view.

I also have trained with a myriad of high ranking aikidoka who have or do study other arts. If you take an 8th dan in Aikido who's style has a muscular tinge to it...that may just be your perception, or it may be muscular. Many times powerful ki can't be discerned from muscular strength.

As for people coming from Karate or TKD, I agree they do try to muscle techniques. But, then so does any person new to Aikido. Just because they trained in other "hard" arts doesn't mean they are predisposed or immediately fall into the category of having to be retaught everything.

One last thing. If your training for "budo oriented goals" I think it is wise to be versed in the attacks offered by other styles. This will make you a wiser more effective budoka. And probably would improve the depth of your training.

I do agree a newbie should concentrate on one art until there is some level of proficiency before dabbling. I think this is more important to keeping the arts separated (in one's mind) and free from each other, so as to eliminate the Eastern Taco approach (mish-mash of techniques) that are prevalent in cross-training styles.

12-10-2002, 04:51 PM

What is a "cross-training style"?



12-10-2002, 10:00 PM

A good example would be the Shinbudo style taught at my schools by other instructors. It combines aspects of Tang Soo Do, Judo, Danzan Ryu, and Brazilian Jiu-jitsu to creat a "comprehensive fighting style".

They do not call it a martial art, but a system that takes only the "effective techniques" and leaves the rest.

It's interesting to say the least. I did it for 5 years just because of the high emphasis on BJJ.

In Aiki,

12-14-2002, 09:48 AM
I came to Aikido from a 'bashing' background, At first confusing, I learned to keep them separate. They can, and do, integrate by themselves now when I give them permission. Just train.

Until again,


Bruce Baker
12-14-2002, 04:17 PM
I love that "they intergrate when I give them permission", Lynn. That was exactly paired down, right to the point!

That is the truly the goal of learning more than one martial art, and seeing how they have more grey areas than exact lines that separate the distinctiveness with which we expect from hearing a martial art being named.


John S Costello
01-30-2006, 02:31 PM
I just visted the dojo of Robert Bryner sensei (6th dan aikido, 7th dan Ryu Te) and I have to say that I wouldn't call his technique muscley at all. It felt like he could go back and forth between very focussed karate and very focussed aikido without any change in energy. And he has amazing mastery of atemi.

I guess it helps that he is very much in the tradition of Nishio sensei, who apparently had some karate background; and that Ryu Te seems to have a comprehensive curriculum including joint locks and throws.

And it helps that he's been doing budo pretty much continuously for 50 years. It was pretty amazing.

Edwin Neal
01-30-2006, 02:43 PM
i think study of as many arts as possible only enhances you appreciation for all MA... i find aikido in nearly everything i have studied... and i find aspects that sharpen my aikido skill and that should be included any way... most aikidoka just don't know how to atemi... oh we know what it is but a little technique in how to strike (properly) in a variety of meaningful ways only enhances your waza...

Michael O'Brien
02-02-2006, 07:22 PM
There have been several good points brought up on this already so I won't try to quote everybody and just said "good comments".

I come from a strong MA training background before having the opportunity to train in Aikido including a black belt in Tae Kwon Do earned back in the early 90's. Beyond that there is some Shotokan, Kenpo, Tang Soo Do, Goshin Jitsu, and a smattering of others thrown in.

I started training in other MA specifically to find something to offset my TKD. TKD is full of powerful kicks, strong blocks, and decent hand techniques, especially at higher ranks, but I found overall the hand techniques and close in fighting to be lacking.

Although I am young in Aikido journey it is already helping me become a better martial artist overall. Yes, there are times I still want to block a technique as opposed to blend with it, but that's ok. Steve Sensei who teaches our morning intermediate class also have a black belt in TKD and we often discuss the ability to exploit openings created with your Aikido to put a punch or an elbow into a technique as you working with your uke. The concept of using no more force than necessary is excellent and are words I live by. However, I personally like knowing that I have the knowledge and skills to apply as much force as necessary no matter how much that force may be.

All this said leads me to saying ultimately I think training in other martial arts is an excellent idea. No art I have ever studied is perfect, in my opinion, so I like to learn what as many arts as possible have to offer me.

02-03-2006, 12:43 AM
I to come from a fairly wide background when it comes to M A's. I have dabbled in JKD, BJJ, MMA, Escrima, Boxing, and there have been a few more. The reason I started Aikido was because I want to learn an art the wasn't about injuring your opponent.

I have found many times during training points at which my MMA skills wanted to take over, usually as soon as I see an opening. I believe this is a good thing as it proves I still have that knowledge but I don't use it.

In regards to reaction time and learning two different methods to approach a situation (one art or the other) it doesn't really affect the Aikido training the thought goes through your head but you don't act on it and this doesn't seem to slow reaction time down. That is only my experience though.

Cheers :)

Alec Corper
02-03-2006, 02:47 AM
IMHO the only real problem is that most dojos have aprescribed manner of learning that is appropriate for the mixed levels os students attending the same class. If you were to train with others with a similar mixed MA background and create an agreed to framework for practice then you would naturally discover what blends and switch from one to another until you discovered your natural art. Of course the instructors biases factor into this, many only talk about atemi but do not teach it. Those without experience in striking arts often use fists to hard targets when a palm to a soft target would be more natural. Or people try to graft a karate style punch into the middle of a flowing movement disrupting the actual dynamic present. Nishio Sensei's newly published book actually gives a range of atemi for different techniques, unusual for an Aikido book, but nevertheless demonstrating as he did in all his Aikido that all your experience can ultimately be a part of your Aikido, but there needs to be time and circumstance for it to happen.
regards, Alec

02-03-2006, 07:04 AM
I did Judo before taking up aikido and I have a struggle to remember to roll rather than breakfall. The problem is remembering to let go of Uke so they can roll. :)
Judo and aikido do have some similarities and that does make learning some things easier.

02-03-2006, 11:35 AM
In response to the original question, I want to clarify what (hopefully) all of us are thinking, but not saying: Blocking is OK, doing something else is OK. In the context of aikido training, you want to avoid using non-aikido technique; you pay to train aikido, so practice aikido. Accidents happen and everyone with fighting experience probably has a story where they reverted to previous experience (much to the suprise of their partner) during training. Don't let that discourage you from cross-training, but realize that your comprehension of each martial art is very important to your overall progress.

02-06-2006, 01:58 PM
I think it's great that you're cross training! :) Learning karate will definately help your atemi and it will also help your fellow students practicing against stronger attacks. I think the key to keeping them separate is your mind set. You might try this; when you're doing karate, keep your mouth shut (don't clinch though) and take shorter breaths. :straightf When you practice aikido, take a deep breaths and have a big smile on your face!! :D I have found it very hard to do karate or judo with a big smile on my face, but aikido works well with this!