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10-21-2004, 04:10 PM
ok im new to Aikido and I did some research on it before i started is it true that Aikido was orginaly Offensive? (i read that it was froced to be changed to defensive?

Is this true?

(sorry if this was posted some place else) (im just lazy) (sorry for spellign errors also!)

10-21-2004, 09:07 PM
Aikido is and always has been an offensive martial art.

I believe that the misconception that it is defensive is based upon the views of people who have watched Aikido but never experienced it. Strikes and changing your distance with respect to uke are both valid ways to initiate attacks - which would make it offensive.

Even worse. A couple of months ago a couple of guys showed up at my dojo before class. I am actually not sure why they came. They asked me the times of the classes and the cost and then said something like "Aikido isn't really a martial art, so I don't think we're interested."

I invited them stay and watch or to come and try anytime and reassured them that it was definitely a martial art. Then they left. It was all over in a few minutes, but it really points out some of the misconceptions that people have about Aikido.

10-21-2004, 09:20 PM
Aikido was a combat system designed in pre-war Japan. It encompass offensive and defensive techniques just like any good martial art system that is able to survive the test of time. Some aikifruitie and New Age practitioner may have by design or not deemphasized the offensive nature of this art...


10-21-2004, 09:21 PM
It also comes from Ueshiba M. saying there is no offense in Aikido although when I read the interview where it comes from (albeit in translation) the context was there is no offense or defense - they are one and the same.

This gels perfectly with the Aikido I know.

10-21-2004, 09:50 PM
Hi Peter,

I'd have to see the article to see about the context but I don't think the idea of there being no offense as well as no defense would bother me or be contrary to any of my training if its within or about a technique. A technique requires two people and within that technique the two involved are just parts of the same whole. No offense/defense within it.

What doesn't work for me is the concept that all we do is stand there until someone else does something and then react to it. That way of thinking really bothers me. A technique must be initiated and always waiting to see how you are attacked (or letting someone else initiate) would be the height of hubris.

10-21-2004, 10:17 PM
The particular article can be found on Aikido Journal - it is an interview with Ueshiba M. and talks about sen and sen no sen. Perhaps someone else can find it - a little busy at the moment.

My understanding is that he was referring to the lack of either a defensive or offensive posture. What Shodokan folks describe with the phrase Mushin Mugamae. Although go no sen (reactive) and sen no sen (seizing the initiative) describe various procedures - at one point they become irrelevant.

The first technique in Ueshiba M.'s book Budo has Tori initiating the technique - attacking first. This same technique is the first one in Shodokan's Koryu Goshin no kata (Old forms of self defense).

Most Aikido training revolves around Go no sen but although useful it is limiting in the end. If all you do is reactive training then you will remain at a very low level of Aikido. Expand the training and you at least have a chance to progress.

10-21-2004, 10:42 PM
I think I remember the article...or at least one like it.

I agree with you that go no sen is self-limiting. And sen no sen is much more interesting. And sometimes you just want to hit someone to start the technique. Which was basically my point, just not quite as eloquent as you put it <g>

Charles Hill
10-22-2004, 12:09 AM
I also remembering reading an interview in which M Ueshiba says that Aikido is defensive. K Ueshiba was also present and answered some questions. My feeling is that this was partly done so as to explain differences between Aikido and the other popular martial arts. I don`t feel that this was a definitive answer to a serious question. I think it is important to remember (Peter and Micheal might agree with me) that Japanese people, generally, treat things in a case by case situation. Where we from the west might think a lie is a lie, to Japanese thinking, there would be nothing wrong with telling a non-practicing newspaper reporter that Aikido is defensive, and then turn around and teach students in a different manner.

Charles Hill

10-22-2004, 12:16 AM
Hi Charles - I'll have to look at the interview again - it was the one done jointly with Ueshiba K.

When I read it I got the distinct impression that many people took the easy way out and jumped on a short phrase rather than understanding the context of what was being talked about.

If someone doesn't beat me to it - I will find the article latter on this evening.

And yes you are right about the difference between what is and what is said.

10-22-2004, 12:47 AM
Hi Charles,

Good point on the context of the words...to whom and when. I've seen that many a time.

10-22-2004, 02:23 AM
The Article (http://www.aikidojournal.com/article.php?articleID=98)

The two relevant portions of the article are.

B: Then, in that sense, there is aiki in judo, too, since in judo you synchronize yourself with the rhythm of your opponent. If he pulls, you push; if he pushes, you pull. You move him according to this principle and make him lose his balance and then apply your technique.

O-Sensei: In aikido, there is absolutely no attack. To attack means that the spirit has already lost. We adhere to the principle of absolute non-resistance, that is to say, we do not oppose the attacker. Thus, there is no opponent in aikido. The victory in aikido is masakatsu agatsu (correct victory, self-victory); since you win over everything in accordance with the mission of heaven, you possess absolute strength.

Here he says there is no attack.

B: Does that mean go no sen? (This term refers to a late response to an attack.)

O-Sensei: Absolutely not. It is not a question of either sensen no sen or sen no sen. If I were to try to verbalize it I would say that you control your opponent without trying to control him. That is, the state of continuous victory. There isn't any question of winning over or losing to an opponent. In this sense, there is no opponent in aikido. Even if you have an opponent, he becomes a part of you, a partner you control only.

And here, immediately after, he says there is no defense (reactive technique).

I interpret the two passages together to mean that in Aikido both are one and the same. You can not characterize it as one or the other.

10-22-2004, 03:23 AM

This is the article I remember. I interpret this to mean that technique is harmony with your "partner" and that the key phrase is "control your partner without trying to control him".

I remember thinking that this just means that you do it unconsciously (subconsiously) - anyway that you are just so darn good that it happens naturally and there is no resistance. So...if you don't consciously attack or consciously defend but it all comes together with you controlling your opponent then its Aikido.

--Michael "Resistance is Futile" Stuempel :)

10-22-2004, 03:37 AM
I just remembered something that Chida Sensei (Yoshinkan Hombu head instructor) did to me one day.

He was teaching a class and I was the designated assistant for that class, so I got used as uke throughout the class. I missed a cue for where I was supposed to stand to attack him during one explanation...I went to the wrong side of him or something.

Anyway...he just touched me and did something and I ended up standing in the exact right spot he wanted. I had absolutely no idea how I got there and I didn't feel a thing. I was just suddenly standing where he wanted me to be without consciously getting there. There was certainly no attack from my side or from his side, but he put me where he wanted me to be without me doing anything. He was definately in control of me.

I've taken uke for Chida Sensei a million times, but this "putting me in place" was the thing that has impressed me the most about anything I've seen or felt him do. I remember coming off the mats and talking to the other foreign instructors about how cool it was.