From the article: "Don Draeger said, "Uyeshiba's aikido is a highly weakened form of hand-to-hand combat. Aikido is essentially noncombative in nature. Further, the omission of atemi (strikes) from its techniques removes aikido from the category of practical hand-to-hand combat styles." "
That quotation, from Donn Draeger's Modern Bujutsu & Budo
(1974), is both incomplete and taken out of context.
At p. 144, as part of an entire chapter devoted to aikido, Draeger began a discussion of some differences between Morihei Ueshiba's aikido and Sokaku Takeda's aikijujutsu (the discussion continued on p. 161, the intervening pages containing only photographs):
"There is no conflict between the practical use of Ueshiba's aiki-do and his philosophy of love for human beings when it is understood that Ueshiba intended aiki-do to remove all thoughts of aggression from people's minds. All techniques are applied without any thought of defeating or injuring an aggressor. Ueshiba rejects the concept of kobo-itchi that underlies all classical bujutsu; this concept asserts that, in combat, attack and defense are one and the same thing, and which of the two receives priority depends entirely on the situation. Ueshiba substitutes instead the concept of absolute go no sen
, a defensive initiative. Through application of this concept Ueshiba's aiki-do becomes purely defensive in nature, a response to aggressive actions, and this fact makes it theoretically impossible for two exponents who abide by this concept to attack each other.
"Ueshiba's aiki-do is not a system of conflict with an aggressor, but rather the means by which a state of ai
, or harmony, is established between the adept of aiki-do and his antagonist. Only after an aggressor has launched his attack does the defender become physically active. He does so first by avoiding the attack, then blending with it so as to use the attacker's own force to overcome him. An assailant is literally led to his own destruction. Leading is accomplished by use of ki, which is ‘extended' by the exponent of aiki-do and joined harmoniously to the ki of the attacker. A great sensitivity to the attacker's state of mind and his direction of movement must be developed, for until the exponent can ‘read' the attacker's mind and recognize the direction in which he is applying his forces, the exponent cannot harmonize (ai) with him and lead the attacker to realize the folly of his actions. If an attacker is injured in assault against an expert exponent of aiki-do, the attacker has literally injured himself.
"In sharp contrast to Ueshiba's spiritually oriented aiki-do is Sokaku's traditional aiki-jujutsu, the primary purpose of which is to provide a method of hand-to-hand combat. Sokaku's aiki-jujutsu is based on a technical essence that enables the exponent to apply severe measures against an assailant. Ample use is made of atemi
, or blows directed against anatomical weaknesses; and atemi always precede the seizure and subduing of an assailant. Physical strength, economically used (ju no ri) in conjunction with technique, is desirable and greatly respected by all exponents of aiki-jujutsu. The classical [p. 161] method of instruction—master to disciple on a personal basis—characterizes the teaching method of the traditional sect. This conservative method of teaching guarantees a high degree of technical excellence in disciples that is unobtainable when disciples are taught by the mass-class method; at the same time, of course, it greatly limits the number of disciples.
"In view of the nature of Sokaku's aiki-jujutsu, Ueshiba's aiki-do is a highly weakened form of hand-to-hand combat. Aiki-do is essentially noncombative in nature because it does not function according to the concept of kobo-itchi; further, the omission of atemi from its techniques removes aiki-do from the category of practical hand-to-hand combat styles. Taught through group-instruction methods, aiki-do has for its purpose the development of a healthy mind and body together with a wholesome spirit. All exponents of aiki-do aim to live in harmony with themselves and with those around them. Thus, when the idea of combat is dismissed from mind, Ueshiba's aiki-do is an outstanding system of discipline for the pursuance of those spiritual and sociological aims it has made its own. Sokaku himself viewed aiki-do somewhat more mundanely than Ueshiba: ‘Aiki-do is to adjust your movement to that of the opponent, and to defeat him by making use of his power imposed through the smooth circle movement. It is much like an elegant dance of the old days.'"
Draeger then talks about some of O Sensei's disciples:
"Kishomaru, a mild-mannered man, succeeded the elder Ueshiba on the latter's death in 1969. Aiki-do for Kishomaru is not a jutsu form concerned with combative effect but follows the classical concept of do. There is no carnival hocus-pocus in Kishomaru's interpretation of ki, or in his performance of aiki-do in general; in fact, he deplores the actions of those who sometimes use this approach to popularize aiki-do, ‘Aiki is a natural flow,' says Kishomaru, ‘in which human beings unite through adjusting to the circle [cycle of nature]. This exercise leads to self-protection and self-perfection.' Not [p. 162] all of the elder Ueshiba's disciples follow precisely his kind of aiki-do, and many have established their own distinctive styles in which the emphasis on ki is greatly reduced. The foremost innovators of Ueshiba's aiki-do are Shioda, Tomiki, Hirai, and Inoue. Shioda's Yoshin aiki-do is oriented towards combat and closely approximates the traditional sect of aiki-jujutsu in regard to technique, though its spiritual purpose is attuned to that of Ueshiba's. Tomiki style aiki-do is a system of physical education that contains practical elements of self-defense and is practiced competitively. Hirai's Korindo aiki-do is concerned with self-defense. The Inoue system is called Shinwa taido
, a blend of self-defense and sport…."
Except for the page numbers, all spelling, brackets and italics (or lack of italics) are as in the original.