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Old 12-12-2000, 12:36 PM   #70
Dojo: Boulder Aikikai
Location: Denver, CO
Join Date: Dec 2000
Posts: 11
Circle What Aikido Lacks...

joeysola wrote: one has been willing to admit that aikido has limitations. All martial arts have their strengths and weaknesses...
I agree wholeheartedly with your opinion... I believe that aikido promotes the idea that everything will be revealed if you just train hard. This IMHO, is simply not true. There are some bad aikido teachers. If you manage to get one, you can't help but learn crappy aikido no matter how much you train...

As to strengths and weaknesses, of course there are many weaknesses in aikido. Now in the dojos I've trained at, here are the major weaknesses as I see them:

1. There is no practice of complex attacks with vigor -- for example, one might attack with their weight over the back foot, left foot forward, grabbing uke's wrist with the right hand... In another instance, he might hook his front foot behind uke's front foot, or just step on it at the same time. This sort of thing, of course, is never practiced. How about a strike from the head or shoulder at the same time as a knee butt? These are common things that happen in chinese arts, but aikidoka never practice these things.

2. Footwork. Footwork is taught for irimi and tenkan, but after the entrance, it's usually just whatever works. I know that usually footwork must be adjusted to fit the situation, but without a good _system_ for footwork, the average aikidoka can not take advantage of his full range of rotation.

3. Breathing. Aikido books talk a lot about hara and tanden, but that's about it. There are no specific exercises for developing proper breathing or internal power. Some might say that this can be done simply through practice, but I thoroughly disagree. There are great ways to develop these things, but they are not taught in aikido...

4. Body connection. The internal connection of the body through the fascia, etc. can begin to develop through aikido practice, but I don't believe that many of the teachers really understand what's going on internally in this regard, because aikido usually just doesn't teach it. I believe that most _high_ level aikidoka have some degree of internal connection going, but usually not a really thorough understanding of it. This is why great aikidoka can feel really good one day, and lousy the next -- they don't really know how to turn on the connection inside their body at will... On this same note, since strikes are not practiced separately, aikidoka cannot usually channel their power through their whole body very well, to produce a powerful strike. They don't know how to store energy in the spine, legs, or arms, and release it...

Now, I love aikido for a lot of reasons, but I also believe that it does lack these things... Most other martial arts do too! But as O-Sensei suggested adding to the art, while maintaining its principles, I'm sure that some people who've learned these things will bring them to their aikido at some point...

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