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AikiWeb System 12-15-2002 12:01 AM

AikiWeb Poll for the week of December 15, 2002:

Is aikido violent?
  • I don't do aikido
  • Yes
  • No
Here are the current results.

mike lee 12-15-2002 05:57 AM

Aikido is never violent Ś but I am.

jaxonbrown 12-15-2002 06:24 AM

no. violence only comes from passion. no passion or emotion means no 'violence'.

Bruce Baker 12-15-2002 08:15 AM

In the present form of teaching and practice Aikido is not violent.

There is the capacity to be violent with exteme predjudice ... but most of us keep that in our back pocket as we practice.

Mike Lee ... my mommy says not to play with you, you are too mean!

It took a few minute for me to compose myself after reading your post ... it totally left me helpless with laughter, good one.

Williamross77 12-15-2002 10:24 AM

It's all in your mind Mike...

SeiserL 12-15-2002 10:26 AM

IMHO, Aikido is non-violent, but people can be. Especially if they are filled with pain, fear, and ignorance.

Until again,


Brian H 12-15-2002 11:30 AM


Jaxon Brown (jaxonbrown) wrote:
no. violence only comes from passion. no passion or emotion means no 'violence'.

A sociopath would likely not feel much or any emotion or passion, but still use great violence to achieve a goal. So, yes there is "passionless violence." Sociopaths aren't "non-violent," they just don't give a crap about the consequence of there actions.

To me, Aikido fully recognizes its violent nature. Both uke and nage focus there practice on finding ways to avoid harm amid violence. The net result can be an extremely violent confrontation, but no harm, both on the attack and defense.

In the first month of study, I learned all sorts of things that could readily be used to harm or kill another. However, I do not study Aikido to make these techniques more deadly or dangerous. Instead, I study to make them more effective. The windows of opportunity created by my technique get larger and the need to harm an attacker in order to survive likewise diminishes.

Someone snapped a photo of me being thrown once. The throw was a completely routine exercise in ukemi and while it was a "cool" throw, I thought little of it. After class, my friend showed me the picture on the screen of his camera and I was shocked to see myself inverted and flying through the air.

Is that violence?

No, not really, but only because I was among friends who wished me no harm.

JW 12-15-2002 12:41 PM

I am I mistaken or mislead, or was the art of Aikido founded as a way of non-violence?
I thought the O-sensei quote was:

"Aikido is non-violence."

Of course this idea as much as any other is subject to the inevitable cultural spiral of semantic re-digestion into alternative definitions and stuff, but how can 35-or-so years bring this much change (over 25% say aikido is violent)?
Or are people in this world not ready for non-violence?


DaveO 12-15-2002 03:48 PM

In my opinion, Aikido is a tool, not in itself violent, but capable of being used for violence. Given the circumstances, one can use Aikido in a non-violent way, i.e. to tenkan past an attacker and out of his range, or in a violent way, i.e. using kaitenage to drop him forcefully on his head - a potentially fatal technique.

So, Aikido in itself is not violent, but one can use it for violence if one chooses.

mattholmes 12-15-2002 05:39 PM

I think any method or system for teaching has to be somewhat artificial. Probably this is the same for Aikido. I think Aikido, as a way to become in harmony with the universe, is not violent. However, I think the physical techniques practiced in dojo could be characterized as violent. For me, it's this paradox that makes training interesting.

YEME 12-15-2002 06:15 PM

its not the product, its the end user.

Mr. P 12-15-2002 11:15 PM

IMHO, A´kido contains what you want.

It can be violent when you're filled by fear and anger. I practiced once while I was full of frustration :disgust: . All that I remember is my friends saying : "Ouch ! What has he just eat ?!"
I was simply scaring them :eek: .

It can be practiced softly and calmly. I remember when I first practice with my sense´. I hit as hard and as fast as I could, but (it make me shy :blush: ) I was never able to touch him. It was like punching water.
After all, power is you could surely break your enemy but you don't.

I think a (good) a´kidoist is a mirror of his (her) enemy. If the enemy is violent, he would suffer his own violence. If the enemy is non-violent, he would suffer nothing because I don't see why I'd fight with him :p .

I know it's like playing words :confused: but I think A´kido can be violent. I voted it was not because its goal is to make peace :ai: ...

REK 12-16-2002 06:48 AM

Aikido is never violent-- but I am.

Its not the product, its the end user.

Aikido is a tool.

Guns don't kill people, people kill people.

Are people in this world not ready for non-violence? -- Our species is not capable of universal non-violence.

MikeE 12-16-2002 09:10 AM

I like to think that any "violence" in Aikido is wrought upon the attacker by the intesity and voracity of their attack.

What the attacker puts into it, is what they get back. (Very Karma-ish)

In Aiki,

bogglefreak20 12-16-2002 12:49 PM

Aikido, as I understand it, is in it's heart a non-violent art (I ommit the word "martial" consciously). Violence, however, has become a part of some schools, that claim to teach so-called "real-life" Aikido. I'm referring to a dojo in my country, not to dojos outside Slovenia - I have no intention of insulting anyone (feel free to comment, anyway).

The sensei at this particular dojo used to train in the dojo I'm currently visiting, got to 3. kyu, didn't manage to brake the wall of relaxation, hence quit, gave himself the rank of master nad started teaching something that can at best be described street-fighting. I don't mean to criticise, but would like to hear your coments on the subject.

Personaly I regret that a fine art like Aikido has to suffer such unwanted, unnecessary and arbitrary modifications.

With respect to Aikidoka around the world,


Williamross77 12-16-2002 02:59 PM

I would leave the Dojo imediately unless you want to learn his "art" which only HE is a master of.. sounds scarry to me...

but hey it's a free country "i think" and if people like it who's to say, but if you want Aikido, even practice at the lowest level with kyu ranks is still preferable to a class of free for all street tactics with no KI principles.

Thalib 12-16-2002 03:11 PM

Miha Sinkovec-san, your story has many similarities with my country and with many martial arts within my country.

Especially after all those mixed martial art competitions started entering the scene, a lot of people here wanted quick fixes to be a master. Makes me sad sometimes.

diesel 12-16-2002 03:20 PM

Merriam Webster:

1 a : exertion of physical force so as to injure or abuse (as in effecting illegal entry into a house) b : an instance of violent treatment or procedure

2 : injury by or as if by distortion, infringement, or profanation : OUTRAGE

3 a : intense, turbulent, or furious and often destructive action or force <the violence of the storm> b : vehement feeling or expression : FERVOR; also : an instance of such action or feeling c : a clashing or jarring quality : DISCORDANCE

4 : undue alteration (as of wording or sense in editing a text)

By the merriam webster defination I would probaly say no. We are using force to not injure or abuse our attacker. But.. I'll pose this.. O'Sensei said Aikido is 90% atemi, 10% technique.

Is atemi violent? A punch to the jaw, a strike to the wrist to deflect a punch, a shihonage to redirect a beer bottle from a shomen. Your definition of violence vs my definition of violence. I think we also see this between different styles of aikido.

Here is the way I interpret aikido. Aikido is the art of peace. You cannot have peace without violence. Yin and yang.

By redirecting aiki in attacks, we are being violent. But we are hopefully taking out opponent to a point where he is subdued without us having to break him. Leading to a not as violent end to the situation.

My .02.



Bryant Pierpont 12-16-2002 06:25 PM

IMHO, Aikido is controlled violence. One cannot throw another to the ground and not see it as a violent act. However, done in aiki, we stop the violent act of an aggressor by using controlled force/violence and (in a perfect world), no one is injured.

JW 12-16-2002 06:49 PM

Now I see why O-sensei was sad that "nobody was following his aikido."

The question was not whether you are violent or whether the skills you learn in aikido class allow you to do violence.
The question was "is aikido violent."

Fortunately as long as the techniques of the art of aikido are transmitted the way they were intended (and it seems this IS currently the case most of the time, from what I've seen), then Ueshiba's message is still alive. I hope it survives long enough.

Within the constraints of the medium (interaction of people in a physical conflict in which all but one intend to hurt the target) of this art, aikido completely embodies non-violence. Atemi is not an excuse for violent attacks and throwing and pinning are NOT violent, considering that to do aikido throws and pins you have to pass up the opportunnity to really destroy the uke..

Bronson 12-16-2002 11:03 PM

Is a hammer violent?


JW 12-17-2002 01:04 AM


Bronson Diffin (Bronson) wrote:
Is a hammer violent?


Aikido is not a tool, it's a philosophy, a way of human interaction, and an artistic system of expression. It's not something you use--it's a way to follow.

I've always liked your sig quote. I thought you would agree that aikido encourages and teaches how to choose non-violence.

Bronson 12-17-2002 01:30 AM


I thought you would agree that aikido encourages and teaches how to choose non-violence.
I do. I also like how it offers me the ability to be decidely violent...IF I SO CHOOSE.

Aikido is not a tool, it's a philosophy, a way of human interaction, and an artistic system of expression. It's not something you use--it's a way to follow.
To be quite honest I don't see the difference. A philosophy is a tool to help you live your life the way you choose. Dance is a system of artistic expression and I would say that dancing is a dancer's tool for expressing themselves...same with aikido. As for the way, I feel that what I study isn't nearly as important as how I study it. I feel that the benefits of deep, intense study can be had by studying just about anything...deeply and intently. I choose aikido, other choose tai chi, or calligraphy, or dance, or karate....these are then the tools that are used to follow the way.

I really think we agree on this we just choose to use different words (tools) to express it. I still stand by my hammer analogy though. A hammer can be used to build low cost housing or a baby's crib. It can also be used to smash someone's head in. In the end it's the intent of the person wielding the hammer that's important.

Oh well, it's late and I'm rambling :)


JW 12-17-2002 02:13 AM

I understand what you mean about the hammer. The reason I disagree is that I think that a way is different than a tool.

A spoon is a kitchen tool. A style of cooking, which could be described in a book and practiced in lots of kitchens around the world, is an art. Lets say the style of cooking happens to be a way of making cakes. Then somebody posts on cakeweb forums "is our way a way of making pasta?" Well a good cake maker may make a great lasagna if he uses lasagna stuff instead of cake stuff, but so what--he has ceased to practice cake-waza. He is off on his own, using well-refined skills do something that is not cake making.

Aikido is how to resolve conflict in the LEAST damaging way possible. This is the OPPOSITE of violence. If you choose to unnecessarily pound someone out of malice, then you are NOT doing aikido--I don't care how much it looks like any aikido technique.

"Aikido is non-violence" and "aikido is the manifestation of love" cannot describe a simple tool--they describe a way of thinking and a way of feeling. In this way of thinking, violence is the enemy.

aikilouis 12-17-2002 03:32 AM

Aikido is the transformation of violence into peace. The opponent has a hostile intention, and wants to use violent ways (smashing your head, for ex.) to achieve his goal. The accomplished aikidoka does not oppose his own strength to his adversary's. He attracts him to guide him "softly" to a situation where violence will not be of any use (pinned by ikkyo, for ex.) and where he will have to give up his initial intention and to relax.

IMHO, Aikido is not a tool, because a tool does not transform its user : it just serves his purpose regardless of his ethical value. On the contrary Aikido is a philosophy of mind and body, and brings the practitioner to reconsider his ways and reasons of acting (ethics) towards non-violence.

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