Re: How effective is aikido in self defense?
I had an interesting "effectiveness" experience on the weekend. I was at the beach with my dog and this guy got super mad at me. He was screaming and running at me trying to grab me and hit me. Every time I tried to walk away he ran at me from behind and tried to take me out. For over half an hour my dog and I walked down the beach while this clearly disturbed individual attacked me over and over again.
The funny thing was, I remained completely calm and blended with his every move. I didn't retaliate or try to hurt him, I just redirected every punch and grab. Sometimes he fell down and sometimes he just got pushed away. I never really locked any joints on him or tried to pin him, I just kept swooshing him off me by doing tai-sabaki and the occasional kokyunage.
By the time we got back to the car, he was really, really mad. I squatted down and said to him, "Let's not fight anymore. I'm second-degree black belt in aikido -- you're not going to be able to hurt me." Still red-faced but somewhat appeased, he climbed into the back seat and allowed me to strap him into his car seat. He fell asleep on the way to the bakery, but when we got there he woke up and I bought him a cookie.
It was like the whole thing never happened. Aikido is frikkin' amazing.