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Ted Marr
01-06-2004, 10:54 AM
I want to solicit opinions from people on which other martial arts they think work best with Aikido. Are we searching to "fill holes" in our training, or are we looking for something similar but with a slightly different take on things that will "cross-pollinate"? Is it better to concentrate on one at a time, to deepen understanding, or should training be pursued concurrently to avoid too much "unlearning"? Do we study other martial arts for the same reasons we study aikido, or different ones?
Before leaping into this with both feet, let me say that we all know that there is this kind of ongoing question of whether it is "better" to just study Aikido, or whether we should train in other things as well. It's been beaten to death. So that's not what I'm asking to talk about.

01-06-2004, 12:04 PM
Hi Ted,

The word you're looking for is "complement" (note the e).

I've talked to a lot of people about this. Basically it boils down to finding what's right for you.

A couple of people I've talked with study one or another of the koryu (old school) sword arts. Both guys feel that the old sword arts and aikido work well together.

Others recommend tai-chi or a soft version of kung fu. One guy I trained with studied kung fu and showed me how he integrated the "sticky hands" exercise with aikido technique. It was pretty neat.

Kendo and aikido seem to go well together for a number of people, but care must be taken as the aikido weapons work and kendo are at odds on some details.

I personally studied tae kwon do for a while before aikido. There was a break of 15 years between the two arts for me, though. On the other hand a couple of other people in the dojo also studied TKD or another striking art before coming to aikido and we've all had similar experiences. We tend to have good strikes, and we all feel that aikido's blending is better than the blocking we learned in the other arts.

As always, you milage may vary. [:D]


Ted Marr
01-06-2004, 01:03 PM
on the spelling thing, the way I spelled compliment is a subtle betrayal of my bias. I'm pretty sure that that's the way it is spelled for the mathematical concept of what completes a set. That, or my old profs were as bad at spelling as I. Not that it matters much either way...

01-06-2004, 01:39 PM

That could be, mathemagicians are strange folk. :D

Still, in regular usage, a compliment is saying something nice to somebody, while a complement is something that completes another thing.

In any event, what's your situation, and what interests do you have in cross-training?

For example, I've been studying aikido for over four years now. I have no desire to study other empty hand arts, but I would love to study one of the koryu weapons arts or kendo. There's a dojo near me that offers SMR jo -- a koryu art, but their classes are on the same days as my aikido classes. The nearest kendo dojo to me is more than two hours away in Philly. So no cross training for me.

In any event, I travel about 40 minutes to my aikido dojo two to three times a week, so just the one art is a hefty time commitment.



01-06-2004, 02:23 PM
Great topic! Here's my 2 cents (that's 2.75 canadian for our friends in the great white north!).

If you are a purist of Aikido I would imagine that training in another 'hard' art like TaeKwonDo would be a no-no since the two are psychologially and spiritually at opposite ends of the spectrum.

Personally, I trained for a number of years in a hard style of ju jutsu and train at my old school when back in town and find that making the mental transition from "be kind to your enemy" to "finish him off or he may get back up and finish you" is tricky.

To take the Jack of All Trades master of none approach doesn't give you the strongest chance to be the best you can be at one given art (my preference). I've attended seminars in many different styles and I think I am a more complete martial artist having had that exposure but concentrating on one art is best in my opinion.

Though I truly love my Aikdo training, I'm glad I know how to box and throw a low kick.

I'm looking forward to the day that I am a proficient enough Aikidoka that I don't need to rely on those tools for self defense.


Chad Sloman
01-06-2004, 02:36 PM
My first and primary MA is aikido and always will be. I take Naginata because it's rare and fun and Japanese although it doesn't have any effect on my aikido at all. I started taking Yoshukai Karate last year because I wanted to learn how to punch and kick. It's a hard style and I don't totally agree with all of their philosophies but it's good exercise. I believe that they have excellent striking technique but are weak in the self-defence department. It is a fun change of pace though to do breaking and sparring.

Ted Marr
01-06-2004, 02:51 PM
drew- I was trying to shoot for a kind of "theoretical" discussion here, but since you ask... I started off in a mixed martial art, where I trained for about a year. Throwing, striking, and groundfighting were all considered neccessary components. I moved, and started Aikido a bit more than a year and a half ago.

Since I'm an exceptionally lucky dog, the University in my area has multiple martial arts classes and clubs going on at any given time, including Aikido, BJJ, Hapkido, Tai Chi, Tang Soo Do, and TKD.

If I had time, sufficient money, and an indestructable body, I would probably be doing them all. As it is, I don't, so I've been taking only Aikido. However, for the next month or two, my teacher is not doing Aikido, so I'm left with this great big field of options. If I really like what I try, I might try to train in both concurrently.

I'm currently leaning towards BJJ just because I really liked groundfighting before, and because most of the striking that seems to be going on is focused more on flash, or scoring points than it is on self defense or generating really good power. But my decision led me to a number of questions, so I figured I'd throw 'em out there and see what people have to say.

01-06-2004, 03:06 PM
Is it me or does it seem like aikido training opens up the door of possibilities regarding other arts? In this thread and others it seems to me, many of us (that means me) have a need to do something other than just aikido. During my 15 plus years of karate I never even thought about doing anything else until I hit that wall. As far as aikido goes, I am nowhere near hitting that wall but I am always trying to find ways to make my aikido better - whatever that means.

Now back to our sponsor - good question Ted.

In other threads I stated that the study of other things like tai chi, yoga, iaido, and fitness components are an attempt to crosstrain (there's that bad word again) or enhance my primary path which is aikido. Ted, I take it your concept of "works well with..." means there is an integration of arts yet not necessarily similar to aikido?

For me that would be boxing. Above all else boxing has taught me to relax under pressure. Knowing that the person on the other side of the ring has the sole purpose to inflict some serious pain on me and has trained specifically with me in mind tests my confidence and poise. I put this above an actual street fight because most street fighters don't train to fight everyday and usually rely on power and speed. I have also done kickboxing but the difference to me is that the level of competition in boxing is much higher. The footwork, inside fighting, and other technical skills are surely beneficial but knowing how to relax when getting hit with serious intentions is a skill we don't practice in the dojo.

Jeanne Shepard
01-06-2004, 08:04 PM
I really like Chi Gong, but that's just because it makes me fee well.


01-06-2004, 09:25 PM
Best compliment? "My, you have very manly, muscular hairy legs." How's that? :)

If you're talking about unarmed disciplines, I would think boxing (mentioned by Asim), Muay Thai, Kyokushin, or any other art where you pummel each other under full contact conditions would be good for getting you used to giving and receiving hits. Once you get a little of that under your belt, I'm sure you'll notice some things you may have missed during aikido practice.

BJJ, or any other type of wrassling, is another obvious complement. You have to at least get used to being on the ground and realizing how much trouble you could get into while on the ground. You also get an idea of how fast you can get taken down, which is always useful.

When you get older and creakier, and all that rolling and pummeling is taking too much of a toll, practice a weapon art. You're going to need weapons to equalize things when ya get older. :) And a Chinese internal art wouldn't be bad, just so you can try to look more distinguished and so much above all that rolling and pummeling.

Just my half-baked opinion without benefit of caffeine. Whatever you do, have fun with it.

01-07-2004, 05:50 PM
I think it depends on what you want to get from the other art to compliment the aikido. If it is striking (atemi-one of my favs), then I'd suggest an art with some circularity in their philosophy-kempo, hapkido or some of the Kung Fu arts more circular. If it's weapons-then kendo, kenjutsu or any of the sword arts will help with footwork, maai, etc. If you want to explore other locking pinning and throwing arts then jujitsu/aikijitsu will be closer in philosophy. I personally started out in Shotokan and then did some Tae Kwan Do with some Kajukempo and Kung Fu (student of Kam Yuen-David Carradine's sifu) guys working out with us. I then did some Tai Chi and Kali. These seemed to compliment aikido well in terms of circularity, energy, etc. I think a good way would be to analyze what you need to work on or want to explore in more depth, and if you can't get it in aikido, then find an art that provides it.

01-07-2004, 05:51 PM

If you are into pressure points/atemi-kyusho jitsu/tuite (Okinawan karate) is a good one.

Kyri Honigh
01-07-2004, 06:18 PM

I as a beginning aikidoka, I am just a 3rd kyu student, am looking forward to practising Brazillian Jiu Jitsu. It is said by may martial artist that u can benefit from it. I also read an interesting interview of an aikidoka ( a well known japanese guy, forgot his name), who practised many martial arts. He said that BJJ was the most important addition for him.

I too believe in adding BJJ. Number 1 Good self defense, most fights and up on the ground, where BJJ is superior. Number 2 You will learn powerful chokes and holds applicable from almost any position. And it's good fun! In BJJ you also try to abstain from using too much strenght, they also keep their center of gravity low...really low eheheh. They call it base i believe. But whatever your choice, go for it. But don't quit aikido!

01-07-2004, 06:23 PM
on the spelling thing, the way I spelled compliment is a subtle betrayal of my bias. I'm pretty sure that that's the way it is spelled for the mathematical concept of what completes a set. That, or my old profs were as bad at spelling as I. Not that it matters much either way...
I can't get up off the floor. You guys crack me up! Ha ha ha!

Blend, blend.


Lyle Bogin
01-09-2004, 12:42 PM
As many as possible.

01-28-2004, 08:01 AM
I know, bad me for resurrecting an old thread, but another useful aspect of training in another art has just recently hit me square in the face. Re-learning how to be a student and taking instruction from someone else again and accepting what was being taught in the right way.

Scenario, I've been doing a small bit of tai-chi for 3-4 years now (minimal, only once/week class with some self-training). Yesterday, one of the longer-term student was practicing with me for pushing hands (very basic form of it).

Now I have "bad" habits in tai-chi which do stem from my aikido, but when they started trying to teach me the "martial aspect" of what we were doing, I did start to turn off as their martial experience was highly theoretical to say the least and what they were saying had limited applicability. However, I was inadvertently doing myself a disservice as buried in one of the long talks was a useful point of view on a counter.

So, to cut my long diatribe short, I'd suggest doing another ma (of any type) just for the wake up call of having to learn again. Going to another aikido style/dojo just doesn't have as good an effect.

Ron Tisdale
01-28-2004, 08:36 AM
I also read an interesting interview of an aikidoka ( a well known japanese guy, forgot his name), who practised many martial arts.
Most likely Mits Yamashita Sensei. If you do a google search on his name you can find a rather good article he wrote on his cross-training.


01-29-2004, 10:44 AM
I have taken Karate and Hapkido before finding Aikido. I can't say Aikido is the best, but it is the best for me. The past few years I have been doing a little Yi Li Kung Fu and find it very helpful. The 'sticky hands' training really helps out. I can make my Atemi more effective knowing how to punch and strike better. A little spotting (pressure points) also helps my Aikido. Most of the senior belts at my school study another art, or have studied another art. We always say, 'It helps my Aikido.' Curious it's not the other way around.

02-04-2004, 12:39 PM
I've found that training in Aikido has helped my Shotokan karate. Although I haven't been training in Aikido for very long I've also found that karate is helping my Aikido, even though the two arts are very different physically.

I'd say a grappling art such as BJJ or traditional JJ would work well with Aikido. Striking arts would too, especially if atemi is your 'thing' but several primarily striking arts have opposing philosophies to Aikido.

Jesse Lee
02-04-2004, 05:47 PM
I have been cross-training in BJJ for almost three years now. Started it to get a perspective on one of the original roots of Aikido. Aikido and BJJ complement each other very nicely for me.

If I had time I would take Kendo or Iaido, as another window into aikido's roots.

I would like to try kickboxing, for the reasons stated above. I am too wary of straight-up boxing, given all the info out there about serious, long-term head injuries resulting from all that repeated pounding on the noggin.

Used to train in TKD and Tung Su Do and do not miss those arts particularly.

Jeanine Perron
02-16-2004, 07:56 PM
I have found Pa Kua very helpful in my training of Aikido. I have a TKD background but the Pa Kua, with its circular motions, seems to help the flow of getting out of the way of the attacker. IMO, Aikido and Pa Kua can be applied controllably, soft or hard. The outcome can be more dangerous for the attacker if the Nage feels really threatened.

The Aikidoist makes that decision.

But if attacked, I would still use my kicks. As a woman, I would like that extra length.


02-28-2004, 05:03 PM
I like this question. A professor here (Bennington College) named Milford Graves is a highly accomplished aikidoist and martial artist. He had traveled the world including Asia and Africa and has learned a number of techniques from varying traditions in addition to aikido he has studied kung fu and qi gong and maintains that the best fighting style for someone should come from more than one tradition, and should be the unigue product of each individual. This is also one of Bruce Lee's baliefs and was one of the fundamental principals of the martial art that he taught, which interestingly enough was a derivitive of kung fu, western boxing, fencing and several other fighting arts.

Me, I did some karate and boxing when I was a kid, and have found that backgroud to be of substantial use in learning aikido (it provides a good frame of reference). Now, I have been rock climbing for a while. And while not a martial art, it parrallels the martial arts in many ways. It requires a budo mind, at least a third of climbling is mental, it requires extreme presence of mind from the moment you tie onto the rope to the moment you reach the ground again, without it it is impossible to reach the end of a route. in climbing even a split second of poor focus can put your life at risk. Similarly, in aikido (and at least several other martial arts as well as qi gong and yoga) there is great importance placed on awareness of your center and letting movement flow from it. Climbing is the same.

I think essentially all of these endevours are the same, they put us in deeper contact with our minds and bodies and help break down the seperation between the two. they help us understand our potential and how to break through the self imposed limitations that prevent us from being who each one of us is at our deepest level (our spirit). The difference between all of them is simply how they go about teaching this. Maybe others don't share this belief, but aikido is less about fighting an opponent than it is about fighting the things within ourselves that hold us back.

Luis Orozco
03-25-2004, 04:25 AM
Well, I don't know if it's "the best" as such (best for what? :confused: ), but I practice capoeira besides aikido. It has given me strength, flexibility and physical fitness that I didn't have with aikido alone, but at the same time some of the aikido footwork (think tai-sabaki and esquiva), the body positioning (maai and such) and the calmed and centered mental state can be very useful in capoeira.

It also keeps with my philosophy of being as happy and harmonious as possible and not beat the crap out of anyone :D even if possible. That you learn to do acrobatics besides ukemi :freaky: is of course a plus.

Anyone else has tried this combination?


Josh Bisker
03-25-2004, 08:16 AM
Does anyone have a background in gymnastics? I know that Gleason Sensei was a near-olympic level gymnist in his younger days, and I'm sure that its conditioning helped his progress in Aikido (although I don't know the degree to which it was involved; I haven't heard him say anything much about it). It seems like the respective skills and foci are very different, but that each could be aided by a study of the other. I mean, gynists learn some neat crap, and their bodies are super-fit, and know how to move.

Dance too. Does anyone have a background (or current focus) in dance that has helped their aikido? Van Damme (and yes, i'm sure we all have derisive things to say about Van Damme) was a dancer for a long time before doing any martial arts stuff, which is why he can jump like eight times his own height and do impressive hollywood kicks.

Is anyone complementing their aikido with other physical non-martial stuff like this?

Mark Uttech
03-25-2004, 11:39 AM
I have found that buddhism has helped my christianity. This cross training thing appears to be an american phenomenan, americans want "more! more! more!" and then they cheat themselves and end up with nothing, not even a guest appearance on the Oprah Winfrey show.

03-25-2004, 02:19 PM
Is anyone complementing their aikido with other physical non-martial stuff like this?
Maybe these guys?

(teaser: le parkour clip with martial artsy bits at the beginning and end)



03-25-2004, 02:21 PM
I have found that buddhism has helped my christianity. This cross training thing appears to be an american phenomenan, americans want "more! more! more!" and then they cheat themselves and end up with nothing, not even a guest appearance on the Oprah Winfrey show.
Not quite sure what your point was here. If I understand it correctly, it doesn't seem to be exactly on topic either. Can you be a bit more specific?


Josh Bisker
03-25-2004, 05:29 PM