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Old 11-22-2005, 09:04 PM   #11
6th Kyu For Life
Dojo: Oberlin Aikikai, Oberlin Ohio. Utah Aikikai, Salt Lake City, Utah.
Location: Oberlin, Ohio
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 59
Re: Aikido And Self- Defense

"People say 'Aikido doesn't work.' I say 'No, aikido works. Your aikido doesn't work .'"
- Hiroshi Ikeda

Actually, I think the real problem is terminology. The phrase "self-defense" does not accurately describe aikido. Aikido is not defensive, nor is it offensive. I would argue that aikido transcends the concepts of "defense" and "offense," but at the same time includes both. In other words, aikido lies not in Uke or in Nage, but in both. In any technique, both uke and nage are at some points "on offense" and at other points "on defense," but the whole technique is aikido, not just the defensive part.

On another more philosophical/religious note, the idea of having a self to defend is problematic as well. A fundamental tenet of Buddhism is that we have no self (anatman) to begin with. Therefore, what "self" is there to defend? This is a valid point of view because many aikido practicioners, not only O-sensei were and are Buddhist. However, this is a gross oversimplification of this Buddhist doctrine, but it's been on my mind lately...

Of course, this does not negate the martial applicability of aikido. Seeing Aikido as self defense is not entirely inaccurate, because if you get good at Aikido, yes, you will be able to defend your self if need be. But I think that it's better to talk about aikdo as "martial arts" rather than "self-defense."

Tom Newhall
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