PDA

View Full Version : Aikido no good for self defense??


Please visit our sponsor:
 

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


Dissipate
09-17-2004, 11:13 AM
I've been cruising some martial arts forums over at bullshido.com, and In most of the threads on Aikido there I've seen people call it a "weak" art. Basically, they imply that Aikido is impractical for self defense. Even the co-founder of bullshido.com said that Aikido is ****. The people on the bullshido forums seem to be into Muay Thai and BJJ.

Anyways, I plan on joining my local dojo, not for self defense but because the classes look like a lot of fun.

However, I would like to know if there is any truth to what these guys are saying. I'm talking about the higher levels of Aikido, I know it takes years to master the techniques. But once you do master them is Aikido still impractical for self defense?

DaveO
09-17-2004, 11:29 AM
Oh Lord no; not again. :freaky: :freaky:
(LOL!)
Hello Steven, and welcome to the Aikiweb! :) :) :)
Steve; don't ask a Porsche owner if you should buy a Ferarri. :)
Aikido is entirely defensive in nature - it has no structure for attack. MMAers point to this as proof of its weakness and unsuitability for defense.

What place attack has in defense; I don't know. :rolleyes:

What they're missing is that while aikido is defensive; it is not passive. Nor is it gentle if applied in crisis. (Or at least, not always.) It is extremely effective for defense; but it is not effective for fighting. The point of aikido is not to fight; but to put the attacker in a position where he cannot continue his attack.

For additional info; I suggest you read this page (http://www.nononsenseselfdefense.com/MAandSD.htm). It deals with Martial arts as applied to defense from an objective viewpoint. Read it; then make up your own mind. :)

Cheers!

Greg Jennings
09-17-2004, 11:34 AM
<snip>Aikido is entirely defensive in nature - it has no structure for attack. <snip>
If you mean initiating techniques, that would not be true of all aikido. Some schools of aikido practice all three classes of initiative (go no sen, sen no sen and sen sen no sen).

FWIW,

DaveO
09-17-2004, 11:40 AM
Initiative yes; attack no. :)
That's how I define the difference between passive and active defense. :)

SeiserL
09-17-2004, 11:42 AM
Why to you think they call it "Bull"shido?

I am sorry their training and ability did not make it effective for them. That is a satement about their ability, not the art.

Greg Jennings
09-17-2004, 11:50 AM
Initiative yes; attack no. :)
That's how I define the difference between passive and active defense. :)
Could you enlighten me? Here is a scenario:
o Really big guy is standing there in an aggressive posture.
o He's telling you that he's going to clobber you and do it up brown.
o You seize the initiative, stick tegatana in his face, he blocks, you do a nice nikyo ura, drive him to the ground without seriously injuring him.
o You then execute a hasty retreat.

In you book, is that attack or initiative?

Best,

DaveO
09-17-2004, 12:06 PM
Hi Greg. :)
Good question - the line can be pretty hazy; can't it?
In that specific scenario; I'd call it an attack. This is because the opponent (the great big guy) is standing in an agressive posture (of which of course there are many kinds; the spicific posture could be important as well) saying he's gonna whup your ass.
This is still in the 'warmup' phase of the encounter; the defensive situation has not yet occurred. Should you let tegatana fly; (whether as atemi or simplyto provoke a response); both legally and realistically you've started it; therefore it's an attack. (Legally; you've become the attacker; therefore the one breaking the law.) :)

If on the other hand the agressor does become the attacker (IOW he launches his attack); actively defending means to take the initiative and lead his attack into a position you can deal with. For instance; in the case you mentioned if the attacker starts moving with intent and then you launch tegatana; it's active defense.
:)

Greg Jennings
09-17-2004, 12:35 PM
Every martial art (3 now) that I've practiced advocated something close to what you're saying.

In some jurisdictions, though, depending on 1: "Reasonable man" and 2: "Fighting words", the defender isn't breaking the law. It's close, though.

In my jurisdiction, if the attacker is threatening you bodily harm and "a reasonable man" would be afraid for his physical welfare or those less capable in his charge (e.g., his kids), the defender can initiate and defend it legally.

I'm not advocating cracking on some guy standing there just mouthing off. OTOH, there is no way I'll let a guy that appears to be serious crack on me. I'll do *something* to sieze the initiative.

FWIW,

Dissipate
09-17-2004, 12:47 PM
Dave,

I understand that Aikido is defensive in nature. In fact, that is why I want to train in it. I was just wondering, if I happen to stick with Aikido and I progress far enough, if at some point I will be effective in stopping an attacker. On the street, in a bar, anywhere. I'm not even talking about well trained attackers, basically just a Joe Palooka type.

gibsonsensei
09-17-2004, 12:51 PM
Dave this is where you are wrong! He has made a threat to do bodily harm to you. He has already broken the law. Simple assault by threat due to his size and at minimum disturbing the peace. Legally he is the attacker.

However you still have to do everything in your power not to make the first physical attack or you will blow your self defense plea right out the window. Now it doesn't matter if he threw the first blow or you did, both of you can still be charged with simple assault or disturbing the peace pending on the laws where you are from.( I am speaking from the laws in Mississippi ). If it is simple assault a misdemeanor charge which is a charge less than a felony provided that no law enforcement officer has seen the crime take place the burdon of charging the attacker is on you. This puts you in a bad position if you have assaulted him because he can charge you. If you both charge each other its up to you and your lawyer to prove you were defending yourself.

In this case you have chosen to strike first but only to subdue your attacker long enough to make an escape. The fact that he is so much bigger than you makes you afraid for your life and you only attacked out of fear for your well being. Then you escape after the moment he has been subdued with Nikyo ura which caused very little injury if any to him.

This is a very good argument for your defense. You used a minimal amount of force to escape what is potentially a deadly encounter.

Richard Cardwell
09-17-2004, 01:20 PM
To go back to the question. Yes, plenty of people's aikido is excellent for self-defense. The old maxim is, it's about the artist rather than the art. If you want to reduce your opponest to a red mush, aikido isn't for you (unless it'll calm you down a bit first). There is aikido which is excellent for the mind (I won't get into anything else abstract), there is aikido which is excellent for self-defense (when combined with some talent on the practitioner's behalf; I believe that's always a prerequisite) and there is aikido which does both.

I really think, though, that if you want to learn a martial art purely for self-defense, there are dedicated self-defense classes, many of which are of great quality and efficacy. Aikido's fairly slow-burning as far as learning goes- one certainly isn't as "effective" after six months' training as someone who'd spent the time doing something totally self-defense orientated. But in terms of what it brings to the table, I'd far rather have it than an equivalent amount of military close-combat training, etc.

I think I'll leave this to the older and wiser types ;) Apologies if I've unwittingly ruffled any feathers.

I tend to think of Bullshido as the more rough-and-ready end of the Baffling and Bad Budo fora at E-Budo.

Dissipate
09-17-2004, 01:40 PM
To go back to the question. Yes, plenty of people's aikido is excellent for self-defense. The old maxim is, it's about the artist rather than the art. If you want to reduce your opponest to a red mush, aikido isn't for you (unless it'll calm you down a bit first). There is aikido which is excellent for the mind (I won't get into anything else abstract), there is aikido which is excellent for self-defense (when combined with some talent on the practitioner's behalf; I believe that's always a prerequisite) and there is aikido which does both.

I really think, though, that if you want to learn a martial art purely for self-defense, there are dedicated self-defense classes, many of which are of great quality and efficacy. Aikido's fairly slow-burning as far as learning goes- one certainly isn't as "effective" after six months' training as someone who'd spent the time doing something totally self-defense orientated. But in terms of what it brings to the table, I'd far rather have it than an equivalent amount of military close-combat training, etc.

I think I'll leave this to the older and wiser types ;) Apologies if I've unwittingly ruffled any feathers.

I tend to think of Bullshido as the more rough-and-ready end of the Baffling and Bad Budo fora at E-Budo.

Thanks, that's all I really needed to know. No, self-defense is not the primary element I want out of Aikido.

jester
09-17-2004, 02:08 PM
Aikido is entirely defensive in nature - it has no structure for attack.

sen-sen no sen, means you anticipate an attack, then attack first (hit the other guy first). To me this is an offensive move, but I guess that can be argued, but I see many ways that aikido can be used for attacking.

billybob
09-17-2004, 02:27 PM
years ago my buddy (now aikido sandan) was joking with our judo/jujitsu instructor about a bullet hole in one of the dojo's windows (hey, tampa's a rough town). my buddy said - i see that none of your students was hit when the shooting occurred. the old judoka replied "we did better still, we weren't even here when it happened"

that is self defense.

billybob

shihonage
09-17-2004, 02:32 PM
years ago my buddy (now aikido sandan) was joking with our judo/jujitsu instructor about a bullet hole in one of the dojo's windows (hey, tampa's a rough town). my buddy said - i see that none of your students was hit when the shooting occurred. the old judoka replied "we did better still, we weren't even here when it happened"

that is self defense.


How is it self-defense when the Judoka's students weren't even aware of the attack ?
It's just a cute story, one amongst many who pretend to be deep and have some relation to the subject - while in fact they aren't and don't.

Charles Hill
09-17-2004, 07:47 PM
Hi,

Two responses to this thread.

1. Half of what we do on the mat is attacking someone. You`d think that if we spent so much time practicing attacks, we would get good at it. I never understood this "Aikido is only a defensive art" thing. Does that mean if you practice for an hour, you have done aikido for only 30 minutes?

2. If one were seriously interested in self defense, studying aikido or any combative art would be way down on the list of things to do. Well before learning to punch or take a punch, someone interested in serious self defense would be studying: how criminals set up victims, their own personal psychology, a victim`s mentality and how not to have it, and etc. I also would add that one should seriously consider their own psychological issues that motivate them to study a combat art before doing more practical things such as eating a healthy diet, getting exercise, taking a defensive driving course,etc, things that will really promote a long life. Okumura Shihan had a very long warm up period before keiko at the Aikikai Honbu. He said that that was the real self defense.

Charles Hill

Aikidoiain
09-18-2004, 05:25 AM
I have no formal qualifications in Aikido.

I used to teach Self-Defense before I became housebound. I included a lot of Psychology in my teaching (I have formally studied Psychology). You need to see into the mind of the attacker and learn about "attack scenarios" also. You need to have a good knowledge of Human Behaviour as well, especially, how people react in confrontational situations - including yourself.

I'm not teaching any more. I only taught my friends the basic rules, based on my own real life experience (for what it's worth). I'd listen to the other other guys' advice before mine.

Thanks.
Iain. - :ki:

aikidoka- jalta
09-18-2004, 06:19 AM
allow me to respond on youre question from my perspective, or my point of view, and hope that i convince you.
When people say that AIKIDO is a weak master, i beleive that they know nothing about the art. because aikido my friend is not concerned only in techniques, and how to apply the technique. while in kick boxing or muway - thai with all respect to the two diferrent schools, there is no philosophy or spiritual ideologies, any way, the real purpose of Aikido, according to the founder, was to make and to preserve peace, to make the world more beautiful and peaceful. let me ask you a question what is youre concept of budo??. as aikidoka evry day we use aikido, not necessarly against physical attacks, but as you deal with youre every day problems. at the end i dont beleive that any type of martial art is no good for self defense. the problem is not in the martial art but it is in the person whose practicing it.

DaveO
09-18-2004, 09:22 AM
Hi again. :)
Just to respond to a couple comments. :)
If one were seriously interested in self defense, studying aikido or any combative art would be way down on the list of things to do. Well before learning to punch or take a punch, someone interested in serious self defense would be studying: how criminals set up victims, their own personal psychology, a victim`s mentality and how not to have it, and etc.
Yes; exactly! Your best bet in self defense is to put yourself in a position where you will not be attacked. In order for a situation to descend into violence; several steps have to occur; each step being a point where the defender can take steps to avoid the conflict. To be fair; these steps can occur is a very short period of time and a person must be aware of his surroundings in order to apply counters nevertheless; if a situation does degenerate into violence; that means essentially the defender failed all previous possibilities at avoiding the conflict.
That said; when studying aikido for self defense; we are studying what to do if it does turn violent. (Keep in mind street violence is not the only use for defensive aikido; there are many benevolent reasons for its use as well. As Ms. Shifflet describes in her books; a big boy with developmental problems or a drunk uncle at a party may require gentle physical control now and then.)
And to my way of thinking; while we study the defensive aspects to assist in the physical conflict; we study the rest of aikido - the 'spiritual' aspect, IOW - for ourselves; for reasons other than conflict - which helps to avoid the conflict in the first place. :)

Half of what we do on the mat is attacking someone. You`d think that if we spent so much time practicing attacks, we would get good at it. I never understood this "Aikido is only a defensive art" thing. Does that mean if you practice for an hour, you have done aikido for only 30 minutes?
The 'attacks' used in aikido are meant to teach nage to move against attacks from a given direction - IOW; to deal with an attack vector. They're not valuable as real-life attacks; try a shomenuchi on 'the street' and see what happens. ;)

Dave this is where you are wrong! He has made a threat to do bodily harm to you. He has already broken the law. Simple assault by threat due to his size and at minimum disturbing the peace. Legally he is the attacker.
Er.... no. Sorry. :) The laws differ from place to place; but in most States and Canada; what he has done is given a threat - he has not comitted an attack. There is not as yet a physical need to defend; in fact if you were to do so not only would you be giving the cops a very good reason to charge you with the assault; you'd most likely be playing right into the antagonist's hands - by saying these things he's trying to provoke an attack to give himself justification for fighting.

However you still have to do everything in your power not to make the first physical attack or you will blow your self defense plea right out the window. Now it doesn't matter if he threw the first blow or you did, both of you can still be charged with simple assault or disturbing the peace pending on the laws where you are from.( I am speaking from the laws in Mississippi ). If it is simple assault a misdemeanor charge which is a charge less than a felony provided that no law enforcement officer has seen the crime take place the burdon of charging the attacker is on you. This puts you in a bad position if you have assaulted him because he can charge you. If you both charge each other its up to you and your lawyer to prove you were defending yourself.
Yah - right on. This is one of the reasons why fighting for self defense is such a sticky problem. You're going to be dealing with the cops and the courts afterward; it is entirely possible that the guy that was actually comitting the assault in the first place can come off looking like a poor little angel in court; while you are painted as the violent criminal. It happens - a lot.

In this case you have chosen to strike first but only to subdue your attacker long enough to make an escape. The fact that he is so much bigger than you makes you afraid for your life and you only attacked out of fear for your well being. Then you escape after the moment he has been subdued with Nikyo ura which caused very little injury if any to him.
FWIW; I agree completely. But as far as the courts are concerned; hitting first then running away is still hitting first. :) Again; I stress that depends largely on what the laws are in your area; and what precedence the courts have in such cases. I personally wouldn't want to risk it. :)
Cheers!

gstevens
09-18-2004, 09:57 AM
The 'attacks' used in aikido are meant to teach nage to move against attacks from a given direction - IOW; to deal with an attack vector. They're not valuable as real-life attacks; try a shomenuchi on 'the street' and see what happens. ;)


All The time, however not knowing the good Japanese words for it they call it an overhand beer bottle to the head..... ;)

Most fights that I have seen, not a huge number but a few, seem to start with someone grabing the other person. There are a lot of the "attacks" that we learn in Aikido that do mimic real "street" attacks. Yokaman is definately a beer bottle up side the head, or a punch to land on the ear. It probably will not come as a hand edge, but the vector and the reply are the same.

Self defense is more than the defense of ones body in the face of a physical attack though. How many ways are you attacked everyday ways that never involve anyone touching you.

Guy
:-)

Shane Mokry
09-23-2004, 08:31 PM
I know I'm late coming into this one but for some reason I just can't let this one sit.

First of all, I agree with Greg again. (That makes twice today) :) Defense by nature is always LATE! Most victims of voilence are covered with "defense wounds" at their autopsy. :dead: If you are moving first, at least you know when the attack is coming. IMO your psyche should always be set in attack mode. This does not have to be violent. It just means that your intent should be to take over your opponent's/partner's center...even with just a touch. My teacher says if you don't want your partner to touch you touch him first. :D

Second, the truth is, you have to be vulnerable to be dangerous. This is the nature of our practice. What was almost a good gyaku game ate can become tai otoshi in the blink of an eye...and vice versa. Giving up to this vulnerability during training to develop good solid timing and technique is difficult enough with people you trust much less with a thug that wants to cut your head off as you walk out the bar with his girlfriend. Eventually you realize that outside of the dojo, most people don't know what to do with your center when you hand it to them! But then again, most people are too afraid to do it. :blush:

Finally, yes, Aikido is a very effective form of "self defense". Or should I say self preservation. But not because of the superiority of the techniques. It's because of the principles that get instilled in your mind and body by practicing the techniques. Also, training fosters a certain awareness about other's intent that is hard to develop anywhere else. For some reason, which I don't fully understand yet, it is very difficult, if not impossible to hide your insides when you are sticking your hands in someone's face. Picking up on these "vibes" during class translates to feeling and seeing specific danger and malice toward you in the world.... and goodwill for that matter. Again, choosing to listen to the cues and act is another story. Learning to trust your intuition is the key. For me, seeing deceitful intent is easy. Deciding what to do when I recognize it has been very difficult. Probably cost me a job or two and several relationships. You win some you lose some...but you have to do SOMETHING!

Shane

P.S. I'll never reply to an "Is Aikido good for self defense" post ever again.....not here anyway :D ...Just practice

Infamousapa
09-24-2004, 12:50 AM
I studied Aikido for 3 months and found myself going back to muay thai..I think bruce lee said it best in TAO OF JEET KUNE DO "worse still,super mental power and spiritual this and spiritual that are desperately incorporated until these practitioners drift further and further into mystery and abstraction.All such things are futile attempts to arrest and fix ther ever-changing movements in combat and to dissect and analyze them like a corpse.When you get down to it,real combat is not fixed and is very much alive.The fancy mess (a form of paralysis) solidifies and conditions wha was once fluid,and when you look at it realistically,it is nothing but a blind devotion to the systematic uselessness of practicing routines or stunts that lead nowhere.When real feeling occure,such as anger or fear,can the stylist express himself with the classical method,or is he merely listening to his own screams and yells?

I dont know about you guys,but it seems like this quote was aimed towards aikido practioners.

shihonage
09-24-2004, 01:10 AM
I studied Aikido for 3 months and found myself going back to muay thai..I think bruce lee said it best in TAO OF JEET KUNE DO "worse still,super mental power and spiritual this and spiritual that are desperately incorporated until these practitioners drift further and further into mystery and abstraction.All such things are futile attempts to arrest and fix ther ever-changing movements in combat and to dissect and analyze them like a corpse.When you get down to it,real combat is not fixed and is very much alive.The fancy mess (a form of paralysis) solidifies and conditions wha was once fluid,and when you look at it realistically,it is nothing but a blind devotion to the systematic uselessness of practicing routines or stunts that lead nowhere.When real feeling occure,such as anger or fear,can the stylist express himself with the classical method,or is he merely listening to his own screams and yells?

I dont know about you guys,but it seems like this quote was aimed towards aikido practioners.

What you're describing sounds more like something about classical forms of Karate, with fixed katas and strikes that hit the air and carry no power.

Aikido's movement is based on solid physical principles, and it _only_ works when it is live, adaptive, unrestricted, and encompasses common sense.

Within 3 months you are still learning how to do static, as opposed to dynamic, techniques with no real power or intent, and are incapable of dynamic ukemi, so no one is either attacking or throwing you all too seriously.

I'm sorry to hear that the learning curve was too slow for your liking - hey, to each their own.

batemanb
09-24-2004, 01:26 AM
I've been cruising some martial arts forums over at bullshido.com, and In most of the threads on Aikido there I've seen people call it a "weak" art. Basically, they imply that Aikido is impractical for self defense. Even the co-founder of bullshido.com said that Aikido is ****. The people on the bullshido forums seem to be into Muay Thai and BJJ.

Anyways, I plan on joining my local dojo, not for self defense but because the classes look like a lot of fun.

However, I would like to know if there is any truth to what these guys are saying. I'm talking about the higher levels of Aikido, I know it takes years to master the techniques. But once you do master them is Aikido still impractical for self defense?

I posted this link in another thread this week. It's a very nice article, the second part covers some of your worries but read the whole thing.

http://www.iwama-ryu.se/page/154/160

regards

Bryan

shihonage
09-24-2004, 01:55 AM
I posted this link in another thread this week. It's a very nice article, the second part covers some of your worries but read the whole thing.

http://www.iwama-ryu.se/page/154/160

regards

Bryan

I'm sure, when a 16 year old stoned prick with an attitude takes a swing at Mr. Moberg outside of a downtown McDonalds, he is going to stop him with his disarming smile and then put him to sleep by reading him an abstract 2 hour lecture largely consisting of words like "contemplate" and "hitherto".

happysod
09-24-2004, 02:15 AM
Aleksey, behave, every true aikidoka can calm entire raging mobs with but a smile and a merry quip as anyone who reads the internet knows...

xuzen
09-24-2004, 02:31 AM
Bryan,

Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful article. Especially the part on the bokken strike.

Once upon a time, I went to a posh chinese restaurant in some uptown area. At the entrance was two very plain looking vase. It was if i recall purple in colour. There was no marking, and no additional drawing or art of any sort whatsoever on it. Despite its simplicity, the restauraneur decided to display these two vases at the entrance. Through further scrutiny, I discovered that the vase has perfect symmetry and are of very fine handywork. Its surface is flawlessly smooth without any dent or crevices.

I admired the two vase for a rather long period of time. I thought, vase is a practical thing, it is used to hold flower. However the owner decided to display it as it is. It was to him good enough as a piece of art.

I too admire aikido in the same anology. It's functional form is solely for combat. However, after much scrutiny and admiration (long time practitioner), I, similarly like the restaurant owner, see aikido as it is, a practical thing that is just as good as an art.

Sorry folks, this post is slightly out of topic, it was in reference to Bryan's article, and not so much on the effectiveness of aikido.

Boon.

p/s To shihonage, who knows, maybe smiling and showing aiki attitude may deter some stoned 16 y/o junkies from being an aggressor? But then I am only speculating...

PeterR
09-24-2004, 02:31 AM
Aleksey, behave, every true aikidoka can calm entire raging mobs with but a smile and a merry quip as anyone who reads the internet knows...
I'm depressed - try as I might I just can't mange a merry quip.

I found the article full of pretentious assumptions but of course I would.

batemanb
09-24-2004, 02:59 AM
I'm sure, when a 16 year old stoned prick with an attitude takes a swing at Mr. Moberg outside of a downtown McDonalds, he is going to stop him with his disarming smile and then put him to sleep by reading him an abstract 2 hour lecture largely consisting of words like "contemplate" and "hitherto".

You didn't like the article huh :) .Personally, I think he has some valid points.

I know when I apply a technique during practice, I can inflict pain, but I choose not to if I can. Just because I choose not to doesn't mean I can't, won't or don't if the situation requires it.

Fortunately I've never been involved in a fight outside of the dojo (at least not since high school, which was long before I started practicing), so I can't answer whether my technique will work in that situation or not, and to be honest, I have no need nor desire to find out. In the event that a situation does happen, I'll do the best I can to resolve it amicably first.


Regards

Bryan

Tamarack
09-24-2004, 03:20 AM
Well, my first line of self-defence would be to choose not to train with Aleksey!

Aikido definately deals with conflict! A little "verbal aikido" has saved me hours of potential argument.

shihonage
09-24-2004, 04:10 AM
Well, my first line of self-defence would be to choose not to train with Aleksey!


May I ask why ?

thomas_dixon
09-24-2004, 04:55 AM
I'm sure people who've never even studied Aikido can attest to it's effectiveness in battle.

Dyusan
09-24-2004, 05:49 AM
Sensei always said, "Don't be there." :ai: :ki: :do:

Matt Molloy
09-24-2004, 05:50 AM
Basically, they imply that Aikido is impractical for self defense.

AAARRRRGGHHH!!!!

Yes of course it's impractical for self defense. The fact that we may be able to pick people up and slam them into the ground far harder than they could ever be punched means that we just do a rather nice form of new age dancing. Of course it's better to take a punch on the arm than get the hell out of the way like we do. Go and practice punching and kicking and forget about all those locks and holds, it's better to go to court and defend smashing a face in than to merely have locked someone up and walked them away to calm down. Rant....Rave....Rant.....

Sorry, need more coffee.

Whilst I appreciate that everyone has doubts occasionally I just can't abide these threads.

Even the co-founder of bullshido.com said that Aikido is ****.

Everybody's got one. Hmmm. What could it be?

The people on the bullshido forums seem to be into Muay Thai and BJJ.

From sincere practitioners of Muay Thai (which I've practiced) and BJJ (which I haven't) I have heard nothing but respect for Aikido. My suspicion is that many people on the boards don't actually practice but act as cheerleaders for whatever the flavour of the month in NHB et al is at the moment.

Belated welcome to Aikiweb. Hope you like Aikido. I know that there must be some reason why I keep dragging myself off to the dojo and coming back exhausted, wringing wet with a big smile on my face and I hope you find the same. :D

Cheers,

Matt.

George S. Ledyard
09-24-2004, 08:02 AM
No, Aikido is quite useless as "Self defense"... in fact one could say that the Founder specifically designed Aikido to be the opposite of "Self" defense.

Aikido is a form of misogi. The more it is sincerely practiced the more tenuous your hold on your old "Self" becomes. I would say that Aikido is intended to be "not defending the Self". Practice should lead to the destruction of the "Self" in the sense of our old notions of what that is. As a form of Budo it should be about losing the desire to defend the "Self".

So let's stop worrying about this silly issue of whether Aikido can be used for fighting... it certainly can be but so what? The world has a lot of fighting styles. It didn't need another one. The perception that we need to "defend the Self" so to speak is one of the causes of great heartache for human kind. Let's use our Aikido training to get beyond this limited way of thinking. Let's ask ourselves what insecurity or fear produces this obsession with self defense in the first place.

Greg Jennings
09-24-2004, 08:05 AM
Sensei always said, "Don't be there." :ai: :ki: :do:
That's nice. It's something that works most of the time. But sometimes trouble comes to you.

The only physical altercation I've had in my adult life was when I was fueling up my truck in a good part of town. Things went from situation normal to violence in the blink of an eye.

Best regards,

Matt Molloy
09-24-2004, 08:40 AM
No, Aikido is quite useless as "Self defense"... in fact one could say that the Founder specifically designed Aikido to be the opposite of "Self" defense.

Aikido is a form of misogi. The more it is sincerely practiced the more tenuous your hold on your old "Self" becomes. I would say that Aikido is intended to be "not defending the Self". Practice should lead to the destruction of the "Self" in the sense of our old notions of what that is. As a form of Budo it should be about losing the desire to defend the "Self".

So let's stop worrying about this silly issue of whether Aikido can be used for fighting... it certainly can be but so what? The world has a lot of fighting styles. It didn't need another one. The perception that we need to "defend the Self" so to speak is one of the causes of great heartache for human kind. Let's use our Aikido training to get beyond this limited way of thinking. Let's ask ourselves what insecurity or fear produces this obsession with self defense in the first place.

Alright, so you just had to be the voice of philosophical reason. :D

Seriously, thanks for the superb post. I would only add that all styles, Karate, Shaolin Kung Fu, Muay Thai, even boxing have elements of musogi in them but they don't seem to generate half the doubts in the effectiveness of their techniques that seem to plague the boards of Aikido websites.

Perhaps it is because this aspect is so emphasised in Aikido that people start to have the doubts and so miss out on the musogi because of these and don't work quite so hard because they are missing out on the musogi and so the techniques don't work because they aren't working so hard and so have doubts because their techniques don't work............

I don't know but it seems that a lot of people leap towards the "do" these days and neglect the "jutsu" which, whilst laudable, seems to wind up in the spiral described above whereas if they just practiced the "jutsu" assiduously they would find the "do" waiting within.

Hope the above makes sense and thanks again for a thought provoking post.

*goes and gets cup of tea.*

Cheers,

Matt.

Beau
09-24-2004, 08:46 AM
Hello all,
It seems as if there have been alot of posts lately about the effectiveness of Aikido as a method of self defense. What suprises me is how most of the responses make it seem silly for a beginner to ask this question. Aikido is advertised and defined as a martial art. No one has a problem with someone going to a car dealership and asking about the quality of their cars, why should it be any different when someone asks about the martial effectiveness of Aikido?
Any book that someone picks up at the bookstore will without a doubt have stories about the extreme martial prowess of Aikido's masters. Its unfair and confusing to beginners to dance around the subject of purpose of Aikido Training. (Note the difference between Aikido's purpose, and the purpose of training) O'Sensei was no doubt sending a message of peace and love, but his fame and following came directly from his physical abilities.

Again just my 1/50th of a dollar =0),
Beau

shihonage
09-24-2004, 01:07 PM
So let's stop worrying about this silly issue of whether Aikido can be used for fighting... it certainly can be but so what? The world has a lot of fighting styles. It didn't need another one. The perception that we need to "defend the Self" so to speak is one of the causes of great heartache for human kind. Let's use our Aikido training to get beyond this limited way of thinking. Let's ask ourselves what insecurity or fear produces this obsession with self defense in the first place.

That is all good and well, but we live in a world where violence is becoming more and more commonplace.
Given how we spend a large chunk of our lives studying one martial art (or at least one_main_ martial art), and if it happens to be Aikido, it should also work in those very real situations.

I agree that a fight can be "transcended" and "avoided" and all that stuff. I myself have been able to do the infamous "smiling adaptable yet immoveable Aikidoka" thing to deter three guys from fighting with me.
Thats because I was able to "expand" and be empathic and calm without yielding - at those times.

But it does not work in ALL circumstances, and we are flawed human beings who are not always capable of feeling 'big enough" to encompass the attacker.
And the attacker... is not always capable of feeling _anything_.
When a person is on PCP or the like, good luck with avoidance.

Sometimes shit hits the fan - and Aikido must work.

Maybe this larger conception of "self" that Aikido teaches us came from the world where we "came from", but in this world, Aikido, while certainly keeping some heads in the sky, should keep its feet firmly on the ground.
I believe that with Aikido it's possible to have the cake and eat it too.


Its unfair and confusing to beginners to dance around the subject of purpose of Aikido Training. (Note the difference between Aikido's purpose, and the purpose of training) O'Sensei was no doubt sending a message of peace and love, but his fame and following came directly from his physical abilities.


Check out the English-translated version of "Aikido Shugyo" book by Gozo Shioda.
It has several fight stories, along with being in general very down to Earth and addressing most of the questions that arise about Aikido in these forums.

W^2
09-24-2004, 02:43 PM
Hello All,

Generally speaking, you will receive from any Endeavour whatever you applied to it - your worldviews, preconceptions, attitudes, etc. Necessarily, this will vary from person to person, and hopefully we grow and change in the process.

A lot of the discussions revolving around the 'real effectiveness' of this technique or that martial art are put forth by individuals who are at the physical level of study or understanding -- in this case it would be in Aikido. I think what Sensei Ledyard implied was that the real effectiveness of Aikido - and many other things - cannot be quantitatively understood in only physical terms. You might as well study a paradox because you're trying to understand in one dimension (or linear terms), what can only be experienced in many dimensions (non-linear terms).

I also study Muay Thai; in fact I recently attended the Pacific Northwest Muay Thai Camp in Oregon. I constantly apply the same principles I learned in Aikido while practicing and teaching Muay Thai. The obvious outward differences between the two are the physical techniques and in this regard - possessing the ability to do a great deal of physical harm to someone - the physical techniques of Muay Thai have a shorter learning curve for most. Those at a physical level of awareness may equate this to 'martial effectiveness'.

The question really is: what is effective self-defense to you?

My definition of effective self-defense is to never have to physically defend myself at all and in this regard Aikido has been quite effective in my life.

Regards,

Ward

Infamousapa
09-24-2004, 02:55 PM
Since we are still on the subject,I wanted to add one more quote form Bruce Lee's TAO OF JEET KUNE DO that i am pretty certain is aimed towards Aikido and it practitioners..
"WHEN,IN A SPLIT SECOND,YOUR LIFE IS THREATENED,DO YOU SAY,(LET ME MAKE SURE MY HAND IS ON MY HIP,AND MY STYLE IS THE STYLE)?..WHEN YOUR LIFE IS IN DANGER,DO YOU ARGUE ABOUT THE METHOD YOU WILL ADHERE TO WHILE SAVING YOURSELF?WHY THE DUALITY?
this part really seems to point towards Aikido "A SO CALLED MARTIAL ARTIST IS THE RESULT OF THREE THOUSAND YEARS OF PROPAGANDA AND CONDITIONING.!!!!!!!!!!!!WHY DO INDIVIDUALS DEPEND ON THOUSANDS OF YEARS OF PROPAGANDA?THEY MAY PREACH "SOFTNESS"AS THE IDEAL TO "FIRMNESS" BUT WHEN WHAT IS HITS,WHAT HAPPENS?IDEALS,PRINCIPLES,THE WHAT SHOULD BE...LEADS TO HYPOCRISY.

This clearly looks like it is aimed towards Aikido...Enough said...

shihonage
09-24-2004, 03:03 PM
Since we are still on the subject,I wanted to add one more quote form Bruce Lee's TAO OF JEET KUNE DO that i am pretty certain is aimed towards Aikido and it practitioners..
"WHEN,IN A SPLIT SECOND,YOUR LIFE IS THREATENED,DO YOU SAY,(LET ME MAKE SURE MY HAND IS ON MY HIP,AND MY STYLE IS THE STYLE)?..WHEN YOUR LIFE IS IN DANGER,DO YOU ARGUE ABOUT THE METHOD YOU WILL ADHERE TO WHILE SAVING YOURSELF?WHY THE DUALITY?
this part really seems to point towards Aikido "A SO CALLED MARTIAL ARTIST IS THE RESULT OF THREE THOUSAND YEARS OF PROPAGANDA AND CONDITIONING.!!!!!!!!!!!!WHY DO INDIVIDUALS DEPEND ON THOUSANDS OF YEARS OF PROPAGANDA?THEY MAY PREACH "SOFTNESS"AS THE IDEAL TO "FIRMNESS" BUT WHEN WHAT IS HITS,WHAT HAPPENS?IDEALS,PRINCIPLES,THE WHAT SHOULD BE...LEADS TO HYPOCRISY.

This clearly looks like it is aimed towards Aikido...Enough said...

Someone up Tony's dosage... he seems to be having seizures again.

W^2
09-24-2004, 03:12 PM
Hello Tony,

Guru Dan Inosanto, who I spoke with at the Camp, would beg to differ with your interpretation -- Si Gung Lee was referring to forms in general. To quote Guro Inosanto:

"People are still trying to define Jeet Kune Do in terms of distinct style, i.e. Bruce Lee’s Gung-Fu, Bruce Lee’s Karate, Bruce Lee’s Kick-Boxing or Bruce Lee’s Street Fighting. To label Jeet Kune Do as Bruce Lee’s martial art is to miss completely its meaning; its concepts simply cannot be confined within a system. To understand this, a martial artist must transcend the duality of the "for" and "against" and reach one unity that is without distinction. The understanding of Jeet Kune Do is a direct intuition of this unity. Truth cannot be perceived until we have come to full understanding of our potential and ourselves. According to Lee, knowledge in the martial arts ultimately means self-knowledge."-- Guro Dan Inosanto

Regards,

Ward

Matt Molloy
09-25-2004, 03:08 AM
I believe that with Aikido it's possible to have the cake and eat it too.

Thanks Aleksey for managing to put the point far more succinctly than I could.

Cheers,

Matt.

Jeanne Shepard
09-25-2004, 06:43 PM
"Lifes hard, but life's harder when you're dumb."


Awareness is always good.

Jeanne :p

JasonFDeLucia
09-25-2004, 07:24 PM
If you mean initiating techniques, that would not be true of all aikido. Some schools of aikido practice all three classes of initiative (go no sen, sen no sen and sen sen no sen).

FWIW,
''when pulled ,enter, when pushed ,turn ,when dealing with agression in it's most brutal form act first.there is no question in killing ,and the best defense is offense .that doesn't mean that you should go around being offensive ,but gentle as lambs if you know attack is immanent you go first .this is a truely spiritual act .we don't ever want this time to come so we pray for peace,but be prepared.aikido has a most leathal combination of strike to throw to pin most of which will not be effective unless you act first .

Infamousapa
09-25-2004, 11:00 PM
''when pulled ,enter, when pushed ,turn ,when dealing with agression in it's most brutal form act first.there is no question in killing ,and the best defense is offense .that doesn't mean that you should go around being offensive ,but gentle as lambs if you know attack is immanent you go first .this is a truely spiritual act .we don't ever want this time to come so we pray for peace,but be prepared.aikido has a most leathal combination of strike to throw to pin most of which will not be effective unless you act first .
I would say the best offense is defense..

deepsoup
09-26-2004, 01:18 AM
"Lifes hard, but life's harder when you're dumb."
Or:
"If you're gonna be dumb, you gotta be tough."
Sean
x

JasonFDeLucia
09-26-2004, 06:00 PM
I would say the best offense is defense..
where attack is imminent this attitude will hurt you ,though when there is a chance to soothe aggression with gentleness it should be seized.

vanstretch
09-26-2004, 09:00 PM
Sensei Ledyard on the "Self" post makes a great point. I interpret that to mean that to focus in the breath(in the moment),there is no "you". There is the technique occurring with out the ego of a "you" involved. And this may also clarify what Lee wrote about in the JKD text also. The dullard who merely follows without testing nor questioning limits is doomed to be one of many sheep. You can see them daily on your drive to work. Thats my take, see ya in the jungle!

Infamousapa
09-27-2004, 12:07 AM
Sensei Ledyard on the "Self" post makes a great point. I interpret that to mean that to focus in the breath(in the moment),there is no "you". There is the technique occurring with out the ego of a "you" involved. And this may also clarify what Lee wrote about in the JKD text also. The dullard who merely follows without testing nor questioning limits is doomed to be one of many sheep. You can see them daily on your drive to work. Thats my take, see ya in the jungle!
Daniel V,
To be on the real,I have no clue as to what you are saying..SORRY.

vanstretch
09-27-2004, 03:03 PM
Sorry... is a sign of weakness, dont be. Just read critcally, and try to think about what is said as opposed to only offering rebuttal. As in a promotion test, if you screw up on technique, and by facial expression alone,everyone will know it-you let them know it. Just move on and learn from your experience. I mean this respectfully Tony. My post was to dovetail into George's insight of the idea of a "self"and going for the ridding of that so the technique is in the forefront. Not a "me". Bruce Lee's the Tao of JKD makes this point and it absolutely makes sense, on paper and in the third dimension.

JasonFDeLucia
09-27-2004, 07:15 PM
daniel vanhee wrote:
Sensei Ledyard on the "Self" post makes a great point. I interpret that to mean that to focus in the breath(in the moment),there is no "you". There is the technique occurring with out the ego of a "you" involved. And this may also clarify what Lee wrote about in the JKD text also. The dullard who merely follows without testing nor questioning limits is doomed to be one of many sheep. You can see them daily on your drive to work. Thats my take, see ya in the jungle!

.

Daniel V,
To be on the real,I have no clue as to what you are saying..SORRY.
tony ,i think what mr.vanhee is talking about is consistent with the fact that bruce lee and many others had strong interest in what people like j krishnamurti espoused.that listening defiles self centered thought ,the main obstacle to pristine action .and listening to your own breath would fundamentally bring you to a dimension beyond thought which would make your actions better.thoughts that arise should be observed with indifference and pass by.no happy no sad no trying no not trying.