View Full Version : Poll: In your opinion, what ratio of "martial" and "art" is aikido?

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05-09-2004, 08:01 PM
AikiWeb Poll for the week of May 9, 2004:

In your opinion, what ratio of "martial" and "art" is aikido?

I don't do aikido
100% martial, 0% art
90% martial, 10% art
80% martial, 20% art
70% martial, 30% art
60% martial, 40% art
50% martial, 50% art
40% martial, 60% art
30% martial, 70 % art
20% martial, 80% art
10% martial, 90% art
0% martial, 100% art

Here are the current results (http://www.aikiweb.com/polls/results.html?poll_id=219).

Chuck Clark
05-09-2004, 10:11 PM
Hey! I get to go first again. As usual though, I'm not with the program...

Aikido is 100% martial and 100% art and 100% Michi. At least the way I strive to practice it...

05-09-2004, 10:26 PM
I did not answer the poll for the same reason. There was no none and all of the above.

05-10-2004, 03:18 AM
I also have not voted although the 50/50 option probably conforms closest with what I have in mind although I kind of feel that it puts a distinction on where the artfullness ends and the martial begins.

I am of the opinion that Aikido is artfull not because the movements are pretty to look at but because they are efficient. Aikido is artful in the same way that a high quality knife is beautiful or a well engineered pistol is pleasing (Glock 17, Browning HP, Colt 1911 ;) )

Ofcourse you could compare it to something like a katana if your a japanophile, a katana is beautiful because it's shape is simple, well designed and efficient.

05-10-2004, 05:02 AM
if 100/100 had been there I would have chosen that option as well, because taking either the martial or the art out of aikido leaves you with 0%.

the art is the expression of self, the martial is the medium for that expression.

I think the variable in the equation is the 'self' that is being expressed.

05-10-2004, 06:05 AM

I also agree 100%/100% ...
being back is as if I never left.
I think I will stay with Aikido for ever!!!

Ian Rogers
05-10-2004, 08:33 AM
Dear All

Yes, the question is a bit meaningless, like getting a can of red paint and asking "What percentage is red and what percentage is paint?"

Best wishes

Peter Goldsbury
05-10-2004, 08:53 AM
Dear All

Yes, the question is a bit meaningless, like getting a can of red paint and asking "What percentage is red and what percentage is paint?"

Best wishes

I have never voted in any aikido forum and I do not propose to start now.

However, Ian, I have a question.

Where do you practise in Nottingham? I myself was born in Radcliffe and recently saw that there was aikido in Bingham Sport Centre. When I lived in Radcliffe, before coming to Japan, the only aikido taught was in Leicester.

Since this post is totally off-topic, please feel free to PM or e-mail me. I come back to Nottingham regularly, since my family once lived in Radclife (they now live in Stathern). So I would welcome the chance to train locally when I am home.

Best regards,

05-10-2004, 09:28 AM
I put 50/50 - equal martial / art. So far I see others have the same sense that the two really can't be separated so it is not 1/2 art & 1/2 martial. It really is 100/100 since there is no distinction between true martial/art on the most fundamental level.

05-10-2004, 11:37 AM
Yes, the question is a bit meaningless, like getting a can of red paint and asking "What percentage is red and what percentage is paint?"
Good thought!

-- Jun

05-10-2004, 03:04 PM
Hi to all Aikidokas here!…. I think in Aikido we can develop together a martial technique, an art, a physical practice, a spiritual path and many other aspects in live. Our task is to identify which of those aspects are most important for us. Aikido has many faces and I believe those items can coexist without any problem.

05-10-2004, 09:32 PM
IMHO the most artistic arts are martial, it is the beauty of effectivness. It is 100% artistic because it is 100% martial.

05-11-2004, 12:30 AM
hi, to everyone. for me Aikido is 100/100 and that's it. Nothing more, nothing less.

05-11-2004, 06:22 PM
I came here to say what everyone else already has...you cannot separate the martial and the art, it is all or nothing.

William Westdyke
05-11-2004, 07:10 PM
I guess I'm gonna be the nail that sticks its head up. I voted 80% art, 20% martial. Basically, I took a guess at how many people I know who do aikido. Then I took out the people I though might get into some kind of physical fight in the future. From those I removed the people I figured would freak out in a fight and forget everything they learned. I figure, at the most, about 1 in 5 people I know will ever use their aikido martially. To take another point of view, I looked at the average shodans I know from the 2 places I've practiced over the years. Again, I'm just guessing, but thinking about the aikido "moves" they know, compared to the "moves" that would actually work against another experienced martial artist and I think the 80/20 ratio works well.

Don't get me wrong, I love aikido and think it can be very affective. I just feel that most of the stuff we practice day to day is just "art" or "dancing."

Here come the hammers. <GRIN>

05-13-2004, 06:21 PM
I wouldn't call myself a hammer, maybe "chisel" would be more apt...

Maybe the question here is less one of content and more one of causality. Certainly, the "martial" and the "art" in Aikido feed off each other, in kind of the same way chickens lay eggs that hatch chickens that lay eggs, etc.

This still doesn't answer the question of which comes first. As I'm only 1st kyu and have been training for 3 years (summers excluded), I don't know what Aikido looks like from the great heights of a 3rd or 5th or 7th degree blackbelt. That said, I think the martial tends to precede the spiritual, at least initially. I do not intend to say that the spiritual stuff (mumbo jumbo I've heard some call it) is unimportant; in fact, I would say that without it the martial aspects don't really work all that well. At the same time, there is no way anyone can experience the spirit of aiki without training long enough to become comfortable with the basic physical or martial movements.

So, I would say the ratio of martial to spiritual varies according to the length of time spent training. Hypothetically, you could say that up until shodan the aikidoka focuses primarily on the martial: if you can get the technique to "work" without injuring yourself or uke, you've got something. After a few more dan rankings, the purely "martial" begins increasingly to feel like child's play and you start focusing more and more on the spiritual aspects of the art.

So, if my theory is correct, it'd be 90% martial 10% spiritual for beginners, 10% martial and 90% spiritual for shihan, and somewhere in between for everyone else.

Yours in ukemi,


05-14-2004, 11:09 AM
We suppose that aikido is a "martial art" by definition:
martial art

Any of several Asian arts of combat or self-defense, such as aikido, karate, judo, or tae kwon do, usually practiced as sport. Often used in the plural.

(Nice to know that aikido represents 25% of the examples given in dictionary.reference's definition)

If aikido is a martial art, then what percentage is martial art "martial" and what percentage "art?" My answer is 70% martial and 30% art; martial being seven letters and art having three.

Neil Mick
05-14-2004, 02:48 PM
I hate these uncategorizable types of questions! :)

Which Aikido are we talking about? Federation? ASU? Ki-Society? Mine; yours; Jun's; O Sensei's?

Aikido = 5.28xMartial + 3.6xDance - xy/2r

(where x = distractions from training, measured in units of time; and y = % of caloric intake, of fatty foods for that week. r = the ratio of years' training to your goals) :D

05-15-2004, 04:32 AM
I'm not training for any upcoming fights, and I've not been in any serious altercations where my life depended in Aikido since I started training here in Japan. So.....0% martial, 50% art, and 50% an excuse to drink.