Effectiveness of Aikido in a combat situation
I know this issue has been buried to death. However I wanted to get your opinion on some ideas of mine. In a previous post I asked for advice on finding good Aikido schools in the Maryland area. Thanks for all the wonderful replies I have received from such a terrific community of practitioners and teachers. I have only had some introductory classes in Aikido years ago, so my experience with it on a physical level is limited. I have, however been involved in the Martial Arts since I was 12 and now I am 33 years of age. I have always kept an open mind towards the various martial arts styles based on the early exposure I had to the concepts and philosophy of Bruce Lee's Jeet Kune Do. I have been involved with traditional martial arts as well as more modern reality based styles. The conclusions that I have come up with is that many people want to train to protect themselves but few have ever really needed to demonstrate those skills they work so hard to perfect. Also by the very nature of studying how to deal with true combat (definition meaning that the result can leave someone dead or maimed, definition excluding local bar fight to prove how tough you are) you realize how serious physical confrontation is that you do your best to avoid it. It is my belief that O'sensei grew old enough to realize that most people will never need the type of combat skill soldiers need. That is why the techniques he taught his students evolved during the years into less "lethal" methods with dealing with an aggressor. Anyone who has seen a lot of fighting knows that the only constant in fighting is that anything can happen and you can't prepare for everything. Having been in very limited amounts of confrontations I have discovered one simple concept. Avoidance. 90% of all fights are avoidable. Combat situations like muggings where the assailant intends to kill the victim, rapes, and other criminal activity can possibly avoided that percentage of the time with awareness. The point I am trying to make here is that first we have to identify the definition of types of physical confrontation and then we have to really honestly ask ourselves whether or not we are committed to avoiding it. Violence is serious business, needles to say, MMA training is great for sport but without the awareness training, and clear definition of what type of violence you are training for it is just as susceptible to any of the flaws that traditional Martial arts is criticized for. To sum this up I chose Aikido because spiritually it is a vehicle for greater enlightenment. But BJJ, and other arts can be as well if I choose it to be. It is up to the individual. There really are no great Martial Arts, there are great Martial Artists. But even they are not defined by how many people they killed or defended themselves against, but how many people they influenced. With the spiritual base of Aikido, especially in the latter years of O'sensei's life you can influence so many more people with the love and lifestyle that Aikido has the potential to promote then you can with all the fists thrown. Love and harmony with the universe is something that you can practice no matter how old you get. This is why I chose Aikido.