View Full Version : Aikido is becoming a western martial art.

Please visit our sponsor:

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

10-12-2003, 08:40 AM
If, for some reason, either natural disaster, or manmade, Japan ceased to exist, would Aikido become a western martial art?

There are many sides to this thought, as it considers the theoretical side of moving the center, plus the present mindset of some practitioners who try to separate and isolate Aikido as purely Japanese, and then there the is me, a dreamer who see's the thoughts being translated into all language and cultures as the thoughts behind the practice become adapted to each culture.

I know some of you visit other discussion forums on the internet, so please give those who have not commented on this subject before a chance to post their own ideas on this subject ... you know?

10-12-2003, 10:50 AM
I know some of you visit other discussion forums on the internet, so please give those who have not commented on this subject before a chance to post their own ideas on this subject ... you know?
Wasn't/isn't this being beaten to death on the Aikido Journal forum?

IMHO, cut the roots from the plant and the plant will die.

10-12-2003, 12:23 PM
I must disagree -- aikido is a reflection of the universe, the "what is". I don't think this is a 'western' or 'southeastern' art. It's part of everything that exists.


10-13-2003, 10:18 PM
No, I don't think so. Aikido and aikido philosophy is very distinctly eastern and distinctly japanese (as opposed to chinese/ other asian). Aikido is not just a series of moves, but also training us for how we react, what's appropriate, and logical for a situation.

Think about our methods of training. Kata practice is all throughout japanese society. Even driving schools here teach by kata method (don't get me started on driving here).

Anyways, I think that a certain amount of understanding of eastern thinking is necessary to make aikido more than just physical activity. I'm not saying we have to turn japanese or start spouting Yoda like quips, but I don't ever see aikido becoming a purely "western" thing.


p.s.- after reading this I started wondering: how exactly do we define eastern and western? What attributes do you all think of?

10-14-2003, 04:08 PM
No one person, group, or nation owns aikido. It's not the techniques that matter -- aikido is a philosophy, a "way", not just a self-defense mechanism.

Sounds to me like aikido shouldn't even be in the States or Europe. The founder knew he wouldn't live forever, so knowing he was going to die eventually, he gave us aikido knowing it would not last after it spread around the world.

That's too bad, I like practicing the art and doing my best to adhere to the principles. We should probably switch to American Kenpo... oops, wait... Ed Parker is no longer with us either. ;)


John Boswell
10-15-2003, 09:38 AM
Well, first of all... I think this is a silly topic to get all "tangled up" in, regardless of ones opinion.

That said, Aikido is Japanese. Aikido is from O'Sensei who was Japanese and if all of Japan were to slip and fall into the ocean tomorrow... Aikido would STILL go on being OF O'Sensei and OF Japan.

This is kinda like saying," What if the National Archives building in Washington D.C. burned down and we no long had the original Constitution or the Declaration of Independence.... would the United States cease to be or revert to being a British colony?"

What IS... IS. You can't unmake Aikido. Then... if you really wanna get deep, ya... go look how is really is "Way" of Harmony, etc. So many different tangents to go down that way.

In summary: No. It would never and will never become a "western art." Someone might SAY it is or that it will, but that doesn't make them right, now does it?

10-15-2003, 11:51 AM
Ueshiba is purported to have said 'aikido is a flower which just happened to blossom in Japan' Possibly he said this to promote it abroad!

I'd agree with Philip, aikido is a set of principles which are universal. Fair enough the dress is Japanese and it was created by a Japanese person. However the techniques cannot be considered solely Japanese (similar techniques developed in western martial arts e.g. greco-roman wrestling)

Also, Kata method? Western dancing schools have 'kata method'. And what strikes me about aikido is it's AVOIDANCE of kata method (except in weapon work).

Also the philsophy of aikido as espoused by Ueshiba is not what most aikidoka follow. I'd say to a large extent people are influenced by eastern philosophy (e.g. zen), which has some relationship with aikido. However, although it never became popular traditional (greek) philsophical thought there were philsophers and artists who espoused spontaneity and what the chinese would call wu wei (e.g. the Roman Philospher Marcus Aurelius). Although the philsophy is characteristically eastern, it is no way restricted to the east (in fact the main growth area in Christianity is now the far east).

I think to a large extent aikido has already become a western martial art:

- there are large (paid) classes open for all (as opposed to the 'traditional' master/servant role of instruction)

- many of the top instructors are in the west

- The use of hakama in mnay dojos is up to personal choice.

We also have to remember that Japan has been strongly influenced by the west. I think Lynn was right - this argument is rather futile! (so why did I bother?)


10-15-2003, 11:57 AM
P.S. I have recently purchased a very interesting book on herbal remedies (by the swiss bloke Vogel). Although eastern traditional medicine has helped stimulate research into our own traditional methods, they actually seem to have developed in similar ways (except the herbs can be found here instead of having to trek to China!)

I think the large perceived difference we often see between east and west is a function of the more recent change from feudal societies in the east in comparison to the more established capitalist democracies of the west. We have lost a lot of our martial arts techniques and folk law in the mists of time ('cos drugs companies don't make big bucks out of medicine you can get in your garden!) - though some reconstruction is now occuring.


10-15-2003, 09:42 PM
Well, first of all... I think this is a silly topic to get all "tangled up" in, regardless of ones opinion.
Yeah, but sometimes it's fun and/or interesting to see how ya handle it. ;)