Re: Primary Techniques for Self Defense
Wassup, ancient aiki thread! I read the whole thing and maybe I missed it, but I think there's a significant question missing from this discussion. This question is, what type of self-defense situation is it? Your "favorite two techniques" or even the appropriate principles to apply will vary widely based on the answer to this question.
If it is a dude hassling another dude at a bar (monkey dance type situation), aggressive irimi style responses are probably not the best card to play. You probably want to run or talk your way out, like some responders in the thread above have mentioned. Probability of legal repercussions if you respond with aggressive entry is high. Probability of needlessly escalating the situation if you move to physical techniques is high.
If it is a huge psychotic man attempting to force you (a small woman) into a car to take you somewhere with the probable intention of torturing and killing you, your odds are best if you make noise (not covered in aikido that I know of), inflict permanent damage such as eye gouges (also not explicitly taught in aikido that I know of) and do your best to leave his blood on the crime scene. What are the best techniques to quickly and efficiently teach these principles to a woman (or a guy--men need this self-defense too)? I'm not sure they're found in aikido, certainly not at the beginner level.
If it is your big tall drunk frat brother who wants his car keys and yikes he's an angry drunk, off-balancing and joint locks are probably a lovely friendly way to keep him safe without destroying your friendship or having either person land in the hospital. What are good aikido techniques to learn safe, friendly neutralization? All of them, I guess, just as other responders above have said, so I suppose there's no harm in pulling out any random two. Ikkyo, as a major joint lock affecting the balance and structure, and iriminage, as a good platform to learn getting-behind and off-balancing, would be a fine answer I think. So would kotegaeshi and sankyo. Or shihonage and kaitenage. All fine platforms from which to learn this type of self-defense.
These three examples don't cover the full range of self-defense situations, each of which might require a different type of response, different principles and different "two favorite techniques" to teach said principles. They're just an example to illustrate that when people talk about "such and such works for self-defense" or "such and such works on the street," we all have immediate assumptions, which may or may not be correct. It's worth talking about what these assumptions are.