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Old 05-19-2008, 12:23 AM   #28
mathewjgano's Avatar
Dojo: Tsubaki Kannagara Jinja Aikidojo; Himeji Shodokan Dojo
Location: Renton
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 2,237
Re: Questions regarding this martial art

Jeff Walker wrote: View Post
My goals are simple. I want to learn a martial art that will give me the confidence to defend myself, and others in any real world situation that may arise.
I wouldn't look at a particular art as much as a particular school. Generally speaking, any martial art can be effective, but not everyone learns/teaches/understands them the same. In my opinion, proper self-defense is less about the particular art than the skills of the people you train with.

So for me, I am concerned that no matter what martial art I choose, I will find myself unable to successfully defend myself because I am sitting there trying to work out in my head what technique to use, while the other guy has hit me 8 times in a flailing wonder and knocked me out cold.
I think this is a great insight into the nature of formalized training. In a fight there is not much, if any, time to think. It's mostly just awareness and I understand it anyway. You're right: it doesn't matter what art you practice, you have to internalize it so the skills are second nature.

And at the risk of sounding rude, I realize that many of you consider one of the strengths of Aikido is to be able to avoid fights.
I've often said this very same thing, but I've been corrected. In retrospect, "avoiding" might not be the right idea and I'm reminded of a saying (which I'm sure I'm butchering): "when the enemy comes to your door, go to greet him."

I already know how to pay for a cab instead of walking the 4 blocks to the train station at night, but I'm getting really tired of living my life feeling that way.
I dig what you're saying, but if you live or work or must otherwise pass through an area which has a relatively large number of criminal types, there is little you can do about it. It's frustrating and it sure as hell is humbling. I grew up in an area that really isn't so bad compared to many places, but we have lots of meth here and the ghetto fabulous wannabe lifestyle is in full effect (I know at least two guys in prison for murder). I don't care how good any single fighter is: if they go into some places, they will lose...and that even goes for my relatively soft neck of the woods. When you're on someone else's turf you're at an automatic disadvantage.
As I see it the strengths of Aikido depend too heavily on where you're learning it. Comparing it then with other arts becomes even more difficult to nail down. I hope others will correct me where they see fit, but for the sake of argument:
Aikido is great for illustrating the power of flowing in accordance with the actions of our attackers; of kaeshiwaza (reversals); and of ukemi (moving while in a weaker position). As far as I can tell, these are the most practical lessons I've been given.

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