This post will seem like trolling, or a blatant insult to Aikido people, or what-have-you, but in honesty it isn't. Let me provide some background.
I love the 'idea' of Aikido. I walk past a lovely dojo full of competent instructors (http://aikidoofmadison.com/
) a few times every week, and I've wanted to join for a while now, but time and money have been an issue. As many of you know, it takes a long time to progress from level to level in Aikido, even with dedication and regular training, and that's good for a martial art.
I'm facing a dilemma, however, and that dilemma is that it is really hard to have faith in the techniques. In the situations where they are applied, it is obviously effective. Outside of the dojo, it starts to appear much less effective. This is probably something that's been mentioned around here before (in a few forums posts at least).
Many of the renowned Aikido guys do demonstrations, and what I see time and again is that their demo guys attack in unrealistic ways and in multiple vids perform the exact same attacks, often in the same sequence. Some examples:
Christian Tissier: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OXG57rOTE8I
More than half the "attacks" in this vid are like silly old spy movie "judo chops". No one ever gets attacked with a judo chop. Ever. No one ever has someone half-run at them with an open palm outstretched. Like Bas Rutten said: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-k_uumIQ1uk
Steven Seagal: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=herSynqVN3M
I like that Steven Seagal's stuff is usually faster, ergo much more like a real confrontation, but the attacks are still unrealistic and I notice in that almost all of his old demo vids he's demonstrating with the same guys -- guys who know the choreography of the demonstration and who have been with Seagal for at least a couple years.
So in a more realistic situation that isn't merely a demo, how does pure aikido stack up?
Here an MMA fighter doesn't do much to take the aikido master out of the fight:
Here's what I often see in "aikido vs whatever". The aikido guy begins with aikido moves, but then falls into kicks and punches like the taekwondo/karate/muai thai guy. (This happened a teeny bit in the previous vid) In this one, the half-arm man wins, but aikido is only part of it -- and his oppenent isn't all that good.
Part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pLqovX4G8Z0
Part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vwt9_G6VcME
Now, people might point to some MMA guy like Royce Gracie ( http://fr.truveo.com/aikido-vs-free-fight/id/3332018667
) and say, "Ah-ha! Aikido guy!" But, he's not really using anything you regularly see in a dojo. If anything, most of what he does is the same stuff wrestlers do, plus punches.
There are many demonstration vids showing how aikido is effective against kickboxing/karate/etc. but the only time it appears to have an advantage is in demonstration of how good it is, not real combat. This match is the exception (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YLmQ-Tci3bk
) but does not appear to be the Aikido taught at my local dojo.
Here's a quote from "callsignfuzzy" from an online conversation (which I wasn't a part of) regarding the effectiveness of Aikido and Hapkido:
"I don't think either are ineffective. In fact, two of the people I respect the most in martial arts have an Aikido background. Of course they both cross-train, have hazardous jobs (bouncer and troubled-teen manager), and both look at "flower-child" aikidoka as being unrealistic. I think the difference between these folks and a lot of aikidoka is that they have been in real, physical danger and train their technique appropriately. If you look at how the majority of Aikido, Hapkido, and similar systems are trained, you'll notice a lot of unrealistic training. There's a lot of, "grab my wrist and hold on for dear life, no matter what I do" kind of training. Fun fact: adult males are hardly ever subject to wrist grabs. Think about it. When was the last time you saw two guys squaring off in a bar fight, and one of them grabs the other's wrist? I've never seen it happen. I've asked an aikido forum what techniques they found the most useful, and despite the wealth of locks and throws, they only mentioned a handful of techniques."
I know there are techniques to counter kicks or punches, but some have proven to be completely useless in real combat. The rest don't appear to be used very often to any great degree of success. There are different flavors of Aikido, and, yes, some are "harder" and more competitive, but to say one flavor of Aikido would work here and maybe this one would work there kind of dismisses those other kinds of Aikido to wu-shu status, and where does that assessment leave the practitioners of those styles?
Before the dozens of "well why don't you come to our dojo and find out on the mat" comments, all I want is for someone out there to show me more than a couple real examples of where Aikido seriously shows its mettle and merit as an effective defensive art -- because I want
to respect it and even participate, given the opportunity, if it's more than hype. I've looked all over (notice the diversity of websites I've posted here), yet can't find anything showing Aikido lives up to its hype. I thought the Aikido community would be better able to provide some evidence if it exists. Also, as a side note and provided there's some evidence of Aikido's effectiveness as a martial art, how does the community feel about the style taught at my local dojo (http://aikidoofmadison.com/