Aikido IS Self Defense
I've been doing a lot of reading lately about O Sensei and his teachings, and also some things he did to play with peoples minds. But the most common thing asked is, "Is Aikido a real Self Defense MA?" I know, cause I too asked this question to my Sensei. Well here's my take on it...it's long, but interesting...
In Aikido we are taught strikes, which relate to the movements of the sword...but they don't really count as punches do they? We are not taught kicks, and very rarely are we taught how to "Defend" against them. With this is mind...we don't do any hitting do we? We do atemi, but does that really count? So ...we learn to defend against all of these....is that itself not a "Self Defense"?
When O Sensei did his traveling, he was once ambushed by 4 or five guys with wooden guns...little to say that they all went flying through the air, and never attacked him again. When he trained, he always told his students to punch, or kick him, or do what they can...and they ALWAYS went into the air...doesn't that make it a "Self Defense" MA? Aikido was taught to the Japanese military and is still taught to there police officers....but in the military it is taught to "Kill or be Killed"...doesn't that make it an effect art?
I guess the ultimate question is...if O Sensei was still alive ...would you attack him?
So many of us Aikidoka question the art and it's effectiveness...why? I know I know you all are going to say, "You're not supposed to fight" or "If you wanted to learn to fight take TKD" but I honestly don't think none of you took, or take Aikido because it's good for your body...and you will pay X amount to recieve this body conditioning alone. If that was the case I'd tell you to take Yoga.
Well...tell me what you think on this subject...I'd love to sit and pick ya'lls brains...
IMHO, a lot of people do not necessarily train with self-defense in mind. Aikido is flexible enough to be good exercise and an opportunity of self-transformation. It may take longer to become good at self-defense in Aikido, but it sure is possible. many of us at The Tenshinkai Aikikai Dojo in Westminster, CA have belts in other forms of martial arts. We train pretty hard and get a sense that yes we could use it. Several already have. I guess it all depends on why and how you train. And yes, there are actually several more reality based systems that have a great background and foundation in Aikido.
Nidan Tenshinkai Aikido
Lucaylucay Kali JKD
Re: Aikido IS Self Defense
To me, 'Self Defense' is a strategy, philosophy and mind-set, which includes many factors: awareness, avoidance, verbal de-escalations skills, and as a LAST resort, physical force.
There are many definitions of self defense, but the one I follow is: "I'll do whatever I have to do to get home safe!" If my awareness & avoidance skills are up, I won't be an easy target. If I do get in a confrontation with somebody, I'll use my verbal skills to try and talk my way out of it. If the situations turns physical, I'll employ my aikido skills to get me home with as little damage to myself as I possibily can.
So, I do see aikido as being a 'part' of the self defense equation, but it's not all enclusive ...it's just a tool in my toolbox, hopefully one I'll never have to use!
Just my slant on this!
As to teaching police officers. The more I think about it the more I think Aikido is extremely well-suited for police officers. Having to protect a gun isn't all that different from having to protect a sword on a gross level. Some of our techniques are ideally suited for control as well.
However, Aikido was created in a cultural and historical vacuum. The MA community has evolved since O'Sensei's time and two of those areas are kicking and grappling. Whether the typical guy on the street will attack that way is tough to say but I've seen films of guys kicking on the street so I'd say that deserves more attention than most of us give it.
As to the rest of it, I'll agree with Brian.
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