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12-19-2005, 12:40 PM
If you had to do a basic demonstration, what techniques would you use?

Or if you had to do a basic demonstration, what principles would you show and how would you give examples?

Would you incorporate weapons into your demo?

Just wondering how people would go about showing aikido in various ways.


12-19-2005, 01:22 PM
demonstration to who the public or people wanting to join the dojo think i would pitch the display different to who was watching ect

12-19-2005, 01:49 PM
Break it down by both if you'd like. Demos for public and demos for people wanting to join. What would you do different?


Mark Uttech
12-19-2005, 03:56 PM
You can keep it very simple with tenkan ho and irimi ho. Also, I saw one demonstration where the aikido group walked in shikko around the mat which was twenty by twenty feet. I didn't think that was a good idea because I thought that most in the audience would look at the shikko walking as something they 'could probably never do'. It is a good idea to avoid a flashy martial arts demonstration and instead opt for the very ordinary. Aikido has an amazing amount of techniques available, so it is perhaps best to focus on demonstrating principle, like getting off the line, weapon take aways, etc. A crowd pleaser is to finish with a randori, again keeping the techniques simple.

12-19-2005, 08:08 PM
Make sure you use "unlikel;y" people to demo- a small woman to demo some really gnarly technique, and Older person to demo ukemi,to show that everybody can do this. Even show people at different levels performing their level of the same technique- You could take something like shomenuchi ikkyo from a slow pin to a high breakfall...

Michael Meister
12-20-2005, 06:31 AM
It depends, what you want to do. If you like to interest people in doing Aikido, joining your dojo, show them what beginners do, and how it does evolve in the end. Basically that's what our demonstrations before a new beginners course are like. Of course you can try to show some of the principles of Aikido, as they are part of the techniques, but I don't think you'll be making much of a point there. That's a part of Aikido, you have to feel. But a good idea might be to show, how techniques can be adjusted to the ability of uke (for example kote gaeshi opened up, so ushiro ukemi gets possible in contrast to kote gaeshi with breakfall).
People like to see the tenchi nages, the weapons, breakfalls (who doesn't like a good show). But if you don't show them what the way to get there looks like, they get easily disappointed when they start practicing (some still will be anyway).

12-20-2005, 12:57 PM
Having small people throw big people is a great crowd-pleaser. If you have some senior kid students they will doubtless be happy to oblige, or you can pair up adults of different sizes.

I like to see demonstrations with weapons, but bokken and jo are rather exotic to many spectators--tanto or short baton seem more "real" to them. Ki Society has a taigi form which shows six defenses against tanto attacks in a sort of escalation ("Oh, you're attacking again? Well, how about *this*?") and works nicely at demos.

When we do kids' demos we show a bit of what a class is like, not just flashy stuff but solo exercises and the early steps of learning a throw--kids' demos are for prospective parents and kids, and we want them to see the broad picture. We also do human pyramids, just because everyone seems to like this (except assistant instructors like me, who end up on the bottom with all those sharp little knees digging into our kidneys....)

Something to bear in mind is that demos have the same adrenaline factor as tests, and if you do challenging techniques there is an increased risk of injury. It's best to pick material that is very familiar and solid, even if it is not quite the flashiest. Also, even if you practice in advance, people may forget the plan and get confused--it's just stage fright. Give the main organizer a written cheat sheet just in case.

Have fun!

Mary Kaye

12-20-2005, 07:06 PM
We usually start simple and build it up

12-21-2005, 01:51 AM
Lots of good tips here, ther is only one minor tip from my side: One thing we have found useful is to show a technique in regular speed first, then show it again in slow mo and then at regular speed again - we usually have a commentator who explains what is going on and that way the people who watch seem to see a difference between the shown techniques as opposed to a blur of lots of stuff that "all pretty much looks the same".

12-21-2005, 09:21 AM
Yes, lot of good tips. I've done demos in the past but it's been awhile. When I posted I was thinking about what to do for a demo and wondered what other people have done. I was thinking along the lines of starting with what beginner's do and showing how it evolves as one would progress in skill. Still not sure what I'm going to do since there is such a wide range of stuff to do.


12-21-2005, 09:39 AM
3 to 5 on one randori. Maybe add some weapon defences too. If you try to break it down and do techniques in slow motion it will end up like a seminar and most people will walk away. Keep it fast, loud and funny.

12-21-2005, 10:50 AM
I study Tomiki Aikido most likely Junana no hon kata(basic 17) would be my choice it contains Atemi waza(Striking)Hiji waza (Elbow)Tekubi waza(wrist)Uki waza(floating/leverage) techniques.
As far as principle goes my understanding is that Aikido techniques consists of three things posture movement and breaking balance Koryu Dai Yon Kata illustrates this beautifly. As far as weapons are concerned some maybe some sword to show that we are basically replicating various sword cuts with our hands in unarmed technique also maybe same self defense techniques from a knife attack.

12-21-2005, 10:59 AM
I study Tomiki Aikido most likely Junana no hon kata(basic 17) would be my choice it contains Atemi waza(Striking)Hiji waza (Elbow)Tekubi waza(wrist)Uki waza(floating/leverage) techniques.
As far as principle goes my understanding is that Aikido techniques consists of three things posture movement and breaking balance Koryu Dai Yon Kata illustrates this beautifly. As far as weapons are concerned some maybe some sword to show that we are basically replicating various sword cuts with our hands in unarmed technique also maybe same self defense techniques from a knife attack.

Wow, haven't really heard someone mention Junana no hon kata in awhile. :) I used to study in the Jiyushinkai. I know I've done some of the Koryu dai yon kata, but can't remember any of it. I barely remember anything from the san kata.


12-22-2005, 09:48 AM
Do you practice a different style now? From the experience you had of Junana no hon did you find it gave you a good foundation in priciple and make it easier to perform techniques in accord with the method of the new style?

12-22-2005, 10:32 AM
Yes, I practice in the Chudokai now. Affiliated with Yoshinkan Aikido. And, most definitely yes, the foundation I received in the Jiyushinkai helped and made it easier to learn the new techniques. And while the two styles are significantly different in their approach, the underlying principles are the same. :) For example: Kuzushi, Tsukuri, and Kake equate to Keep One Point, Relax Completely, Extend Ki, and Keep Weight Underside. The wording is different but when taught, they are the same principles.


12-22-2005, 06:35 PM
I think you guys who study different styles in earnest, and without prejudice, and then meld the useful principles of each are the future of Aikido. Blending occurs on may different levels. Good show.

12-23-2005, 07:24 AM
I think you guys who study different styles in earnest, and without prejudice, and then meld the useful principles of each are the future of Aikido. Blending occurs on may different levels. Good show.

I don't know about being the future of Aikido. Kind of a scary thought when I'm in that picture. :) But, seriously, it was an eye opener when I started a different style. I knew there were other ways of doing things in Aikido, but until I actually started practicing them, I never realized how vastly different they could be. Now that my eyes have been opened, I see short clips of demonstrations and I realize that there are still other styles out there with vastly different approaches. And I wonder if I have time enough left to learn some more of them. :)


12-23-2005, 08:57 AM
I'm with you brother Mark it's not about the future of Aikido but what it is. As a beginner I once asked my Sensei why are there different styles? She was a direct student of Tomiki Sensei and said she asked him the same question he abruptly cut here off and said "There is only one Aikido." Now nearly 7 years later and with the rank of NiDan I understand that Tomiki Sensei was talking about principle and with this understanding look to all styles /methods with great love and respect. Although outwardly a method or technique may appear different the core principles are always the same if they arent how could one be doing Aikido? Another simple way that I see it is like all the differeent styles/schools are in a circle looking to its centre with the aim of arriving at that "centre".


Christopher Creutzig
05-01-2008, 03:28 AM
If you had to do a basic demonstration, what techniques would you use?

Big ones. A nikyo where you only move your hands about two inches may be what you prefer to practice (although personally, I don't), but no-one will see you doing anything.

As others have noted, a progress from "softer" techniques to more advanced techniques, speed, and style may be a good idea. Don't force uke into a breakfall on the first shiho nage you demonstrate - unless, of course, that is how you practice this technique all the time.

We usually (i.e., every few years, when there is a reason for a demo) start the same way we start our training (sans warm-up), by bowing and doing a few rolling exercises. What seems to work well is to show the attack first without nage moving away, it makes understanding the movement much easier.

We also tend to combine lots of techniques where the average spectator has the feeling of knowing why something has happened (such as ai hanmi katate dori - ikkyo, yokomen uchi - shiho nage, or chudan tsuki - kokyu nage, short form) with techniques that look much stranger, such as a nikkyo against grapping a jo. (May look easy to a trained eye, but I've heard a number of people wondering what just happened.) Also, spectacular falls like koshi nage or other breakfalls I would place into the later stages.

Would you incorporate weapons into your demo?

Unless time is really short: Definitely. Weapons are part of our training, so if we wish to demonstrate our training, we should include weapons. Although I must admit we don't use them as much in training as I'd like and for demos, it's sometimes reasonable to use weapons hardly ever seen in our dojo, such a short baton or baseball bat to get one possible reason for a yokomen strike across.

Personally, I wouldn't use weapons that look too real. Some people use blunt metal knifes for demos, and while it looks much more spectacular than standard wooden tanto, I'm not sure I want to give the impression we practice with live blades.

Just my 0.02.


Eric Webber
05-01-2008, 08:20 PM
If you had to do a basic demonstration, what techniques would you use?

6th kyu techniques performed at a yudansha level explained in no-kyu verrbage. Yes weapons, yes randori, yes kumitachi.

05-05-2008, 09:00 AM
I would have always loved a demo started in suwari waza. Some things in the background that suggest a Japan scenario, with a rack holding bokken's and jo's, and 2 Aikidoka in seiza, one in front of the other, drinking some tea. All of the sudden one of the two attacks the other and there starts a little suwari waza between the 2. After a little while another couple of people come in and do a little bit of hanmi handachi. After that the Aikidoka's can go and get the weapons to do a little bit of weapons.
All this is not taking too long, just a visual demo while someone on the side explain to the people what Aikido is, it's origin and the relation with weapon...nothing too long, just a very short intro.

From there I would go to a more classical demo (including a demo with beginners, so not to scare who might be interested in the art), not forgetting that in the crowd there is various kind of people so adding also attacks that might attract the younger "hot heads" like kicks and jabs.

05-05-2008, 10:45 AM
If you are doing a demo to recruit new people, It seems to work well for us to have a beginner's class after the demo and to invite spectators to take off their shoes and try it. Then we have some snacks aftewards to talk to people one-on-one.

If you can get spectators involved during the demo that could be good too. Smaller people throwing larger is good to show people they can do it. Whatever you do, it will be impressive to people. Don't take too much time because it's important to get people involved and they may lose their concentration and leave if it goes on too long.

Stefan Stenudd
05-07-2008, 07:46 PM
I have often found that the audience at a demonstration gets the most fascinated with the soft and silent mae ukemi falling. That amazes them, sometimes to the extent that they hardly notice the rest of the demo.

It is important to decide why you do the demo. If it is to get new beginners, don't scare them off by doing too many very dramatic techniques. If the spectators are very impressed, that usually means they think that they could never learn it.
Also, don't be too serious about it all.
I try to show the audience that we have fun training aikido.

Another thing: people in the audience don't see much difference between pinning techniques, or one technique done against different attack forms, or different jo kata, or partner sword exercises.
Try to make a variation that even those with no knowledge of aikido can perceive - such as suwariwaza, several attackers, different weapons, defense against them, and so on.
Think of the whole demo as a story line, preferably building up to a crescendo, but at least changing significantly from the beginning to the end.
And don't try to show it all. People will just be confused if they see too much.

05-14-2008, 03:02 PM
One thing I would try to clear up at the very begging is Ukemi.

I showed a video of Christian Tissier to my dad the other day from you tube...(the recent 2008 demo) and it seemed that he thought it looked cool, but fake. (though it could be that he was soley referring to some Hungarian Aikido clips I showed him.)

Point is, that is what a lot of people think...that somone taps you and then that person just drops down for no reason.

The concept that both sides are learning isnt immediate - people are used to one sided training...i.e., "a" beats "b"s brains out - end of story.

So when they see Aikido they dont realize that Ukemi is self defense in and of itself, and that if people dont take ukemi, although it might not look as pretty, someones joint will probably be out of place.

That seems to be key.

And this concept would ride in with the teachings you give to new students...basically explaining that this stuff takes time to do properly and so it may seem somewhat ineffective at the beginning.

My instructor told my wife something when I first joined, he said most people quit after 4-6 months when they get the basic techniques, as they dont believe they could ever make it effective for them...or in other words that it would take way to long (years) before it would be of any use.

I can see that...I have past my 6 months. I see the structure of Aikido and understand its basic strengths & weaknesses for where I am currently at. But with patience and practice, I see people like my instructor and realize that it is indeed a pretty cool 'sport'/art.

Now will I stick it out, or will I eventually drop out as well? (who knows...I currently enjoy it)
In the end, it doesnt matter how long someone sticks it out in Aikido or anything else.
Each person has a point they want to achieve & reach and it is what is good for them.
Not everyone has to go to the lengths of someone like S. Seagal to get something, which benefits them, out of Aikido. - thats really the point with anything...that is if I was able to make the point. :D

So in summary - again when you see these people doing flying ukemi...if your younger you think its magic...if your older you think its a bunch of stunt men. Somehow strike the balance by clearly expressing what it is they will see, and indeed that people are trying to protect their joints from being relocated to the opposite extremities of their body. ;)

Weapons...I dont know...suppose it wouldnt hurt to show bokken - after all people claim that "no one attacks that way" when referring to shomen uchi...it would be good to show the history behind why the art looks how it does.

Also, weapon wise you may want to show bo/jo (?) as some people like to carry sticks. (I do...keeps the dogs away when I walk out here in the country.) :)

And lastly, knife Im sure will attract some.
I know that two of our 2nd kyus left and now practice Russian knife attacks with each other...they want practicality. (we practically never practice knife attacks at our dojo...well, that could change at any moment, we have done bo/jo (?) 2 lessons in a row, and we havent touched it in what seems ages :)



05-14-2008, 03:50 PM
You could always throw in some practical application demonstrations. Here's some of the ones I like:

- Hanmi handachi techniques with nage sitting in a desk chair (or for something more humorous, try a toilet!).
- Shomenuchi iriminage with uke wielding a broken beer bottle.
- Slipping on something slick and showing how good ukemi can help prevent broken bones.
- The gun in the back or knife in the face defenses are always thought provoking.
- "Encouraging" an intoxicated friend to get up and moving using sankyo. (actually did that for real a couple weeks back..worked great!)

However I agree that randori at the end serves the same purpose as the grand finale in a fireworks show. :D