AIKIDO AND SELF- DEFENSE
The most controversial subject of discussion regarding Aikido is its effectiveness as a method of self-defense. Usually people with experience in other martial arts, or with no experience at all, consider that Aikido is not effective, and that its techniques and principles wouldn't be useful in a real confrontation.
Who's to blame for this wide-spread but inaccurate point of view? Unfortunately, aikidokas themselves. We can't deny that even many aikidokas consider that Aikido wasn't actually created for self-defense, but only as a way to develop inner peace, love, harmony. One can see how this mistaken point of view reflects in their techniques, making them weak and ineffective, with no martial essence whatsoever. It is obvious that anyone (looking for a reliable self-defense martial) who has experienced Aikido through this so called "masters", will come to the conclusion that Aikido is a mere dance; therefore, ineffective and useless.
It is true that Aikido, as any DO (path), is meant to develop inner peace, a calm mind, and a peaceful spirit, but these inner aspects of the art, should not come into conflict with the effectiveness of its techniques, on the contrary, these inner aspects are fundamental for such effectiveness when self-defense is required. A calm mind and a peaceful spirit are indispensable to correctly perform any technique and successfully dealing with an aggression.
Aikido techniques are not magical, nor use mystical powers. Aikido techniques are based upon body mechanics and laws of physics. They take advantage of the momentum and power generated by an aggressor in his/her intention to harm us. Aikido uses different angles for creating openings, thus avoiding a direct confrontation; circular movements and leverage to the joints to redirect the attack, dissipate the energy, and disrupt his/her balance; and Atemis (strikes) to the attacker weak body points. All these movements and strategies are designed to defend one self from an opponent, or several opponents, of even superior size and strength.
Aikido techniques were designed by O'sensei Morihei Ueshiba to achieve total control over the aggressor(s) with smooth, fluid, stable, and centered movements, using the less necessary amount of strength and causing the less necessary harm on the attacker, but total control over the attacker(s) is the main goal. It is important to understand that the "less necessary harm on the attacker" doesn't mean that you never hurt anybody. It means that you cause the minimum amount of damage necessary to achieve total control over the attacker(s), and in some occasions, the minimum amount of damage necessary may result in a broken nose, arm, or worse. Obviously, when training, sensei and students must work in a safe manner to avoid injuries.
Denying this martial aspect of Aikido is a mistake. Centering the practice of Aikido only as a way of inner development, almost like a religious experience, is wrong. Negating Aikido's purpose as a martial art of self-defense is just unacceptable.
Aikido must be understood and practice for what it is: an effective, non-competitive martial art of self-defense.
article publised at: http://martialartsandfitness.typepad.com/martialarts/
Instructor Aikido Goshin Dojo
at Anta's Fitness & Self-Defense