View Full Version : Aikido - 1 year later

Please visit our sponsor:

AikiWeb Sponsored Links - Place your Aikido link here for only $10!

07-07-2003, 02:50 AM
I started doing Aikido about this time last year after going through a phase of life during which I was a very unhappy person. I am still somewhat unhappy but atleast now I have the self confidence and perspective to realise what I need to work on and how to go about doing it.

After diligently doing Aikido, on average 3 times a week and grading once to 6th kyu I have gained some insight into Aikido and martial arts in general. My personal insights would ofcourse be completely different than what other people get out of it and I dont claim to have any kind of absolute truth about anything, just personal subjective experience.

I realised that I am impatient with myself and my progress in Aikido, I wanted to be good at it, or atleast be able to use it realisticaly after 1 year.

I learned that Aikido is effective as a form of self defence when you maintain *all* the principles *at the same time* not just one or two at a time but all of them. I still dont know how to apply all of them but I'm sure it will come with time. As a martial artist I need to work on this.

I learned that in the kind of school-ground-rough-housing that most non serious fights (and some serious fights) devolve into the attacks are not commited enough and the ma-ai is too small to do Aikido, luckily though you are in little danger if the fight is not serious. As a martial artist I need to work on this.

I learned that kicking is a usefull and valid form of offence/defence and that I am not fast enough to evade kicks, at our dojo we also dont do nearly enough kick defenses and kicking atemi. I am not talking about flashy round-house kicks and such, merely touching your opponents leading knee with your foot is sometimes enough to disrupt their attack. As a martial artist I need to work on this.

Despite Aikido's shortcomings, exagerated by my inexperience, I will keep doing it but I will probably start cross-training in a ne-waza school (probably judo) for the close quarters rough-housing aspect I need to work on and as for the kicking, the russian martial art - Systema looks realy good from the video clips I got of it, its just sad that there are no certified instructors in South Africa.

Systema videos:
(I recommend clips 6, 7, 8 and 10)

Tim Griffiths
07-07-2003, 10:03 AM
I learned that in the kind of school-ground-rough-housing that most non serious fights (and some serious fights) devolve into the attacks are not commited enough and the ma-ai is too small to do Aikido, luckily though you are in little danger if the fight is not serious
Big disagreement from me. Most importantly, all fights are serious. Being pushed over can still result in broken bones or death. Secondly, aikido works just fine at smaller distances. Its more compact and faster, but almost easier than with a regular ma-ai. It can seem harder from a 1-year perspective, because its not practiced regularly in most dojos. Thirdly, and importantly, you don't need a committed attack for a technique to work! To begin aikido, maybe, and for 1-touch throws, etc. But for most basic techniques, its not needed. I don't know if I've ever had a properly committed attack in a real fight - and aikido works just fine.

Congratulations on sticking with it for a year. If you're worried about its limitations, why not ask a senior student (with say, 15-20 years experience) about 'realistic' fights?

Train well,


Kyri Honigh
07-07-2003, 03:02 PM

well practising an intricate art like Aikido, requires more than a year to use "realistically", and also to wich extent?

It's true: kicking in most dojo's isn't practised too often, because you need very good ukemi to assume the role of uke.As for atemi using the feet..When fighting it should come natural acting in the best way possible, if its kicking the knees that would work, then you should do it.Yet by kicking you unbalance yourself, so in Aikido mostly it wouldnt be a favorable option.

I'd just like to tell you give aikido more time, if you want you could cross train in order to fill the holes. But it would be best if you train in other arts while still having aikido as your core art.And personally I think its early for you to cross train.

Michael Neal
07-07-2003, 03:19 PM
Definately try Judo, it has given me much more confidence in my Aikido.

If you are insecure there is probably good reason for it, you should not wait for 15-20 years of Aikido to begin to feel like it will work for you. I have no doubts about the effectiveness of Aikido but I realise that it has shotcoming and it takes a long time to learn.

Judo will helps remove your personal doubts about grappling and roughhousing so you focus more on learning Aikido without those kinds of distractions. Judo will also help a lot with many Aikido throws and with the whole principle of off-balancing your opponent.

An added bonus of Judo will be that some of the more senoir aikidoka that like to play a little rough with the beginners will become a little weary when practicing with you :)

07-08-2003, 01:18 AM
Wynand, your observations are great, just wait until you have a crisis of faith. ;)

Sometimes we forget easily that our training is mostly our responsibility. Our senseis do the best they can, but we need to be there to strive in filling whatever gaps we have.

If I have a problem with how a technique is done or a 'gap' in my own training, I ask sensei in private or outside class if it's worth the effort. What I expect is a legitimate 'adult' answer with sound reasoning (which I always get). "Because" will not bake the cake. (Aren't I a peach??) :)

You may want to try this approach outside of class with your teachers, maybe starting with your immediate higher-ups. Ask them for ideas or one-on-one bits to help fill any voids you have. When all else fails, post here for a million different answers. :)


C. Emerson
07-08-2003, 10:48 AM
Ah, Wynand mature for your years. Your on the right track. Aikido is Aikido and thats it. If you are interested in being well rounded, getting experience in other martial arts is what you need.

I would tell anyone regardless of there style. Tradition and street are two different animals, don't confuse the two. Theres no way Aikido can prepare you for the ground our striking. All though it can prepare you as an expert in other areas.

That is why people that fight in the MMA train specifically to what they are going to do in the ring. There is only one way of training for maximum efficiency. The majority of your technique training has to be sport specific or your not addressing the specific needs of what your going to do. Not being prepared.

If you played in the NFL would you train yourself in basketball or baseball. Then expect to go into your first game in the NFL and be sharp. If you say yes, some coachs in the NFL would be interested in knowing your point of view.