Re: A question of style
Let's not be hypocritical. A child can tell you what we do in a dojo. Regardless of the style - we practice self-defense in pairs. One person attacks and the other defends himself. Nothing else. No other physical activity shows self-defence better. Just like in a fairy tale by H.Ch. Andersen - 'The Emperor is naked'.
Our endless debates about the lack of effectiveness of aikido in self-defense have a simple explanation. No one so far, except Morihei Ueshiba, accomplished the first of the conditions of existence of his art - becoming untouchable.
Looking back in history, in 1919, two people met by chance. One of them was Morihei Ueshiba, a dreamer without work, with a family to support and facing the loss of his dying father, the provider in the family. The other person was Onisaburo Deguchi, son in law of the founder of a religious sect Omoto-kyo, whose life was influenced by an accident in which he was beaten by thugs and left to fend for himself in the field.
Their encounter resulted in Ueshiba being hired by the sect for a specific reason. The purpose of this was to realize his own idea to bring pacifism to the level of an individual. This sounded particularly interesting to Onisaburo Deguchi. Here is why.
This young Omoto religion stood out and quickly found supporters because it offered followers a happy life now, not after death. Therefore through certain transformations, people would live without fear, in a spiritual world and in harmony with nature, where violence would be eliminated completely.
Omoto identified three sources of violence and recommended appropriate solutions. The first source is the multiplicity of religions and the wars caused by it. This can be avoided by treating all religions equally, where "many gods may exist but all are essentially the same and come from one source; therefore it doesn't matter under which name or ritual God is worshipped. All gods, religions, prophets and messengers throughout time came from the same source -- the Supreme God of the Universe". The second source of violence is the lack of mutual understanding, mainly through a multitude of languages. The solution is to communicate in only one language. The choice fell on Esperanto, modern, culturally neutral language, created by Dr. L.L.Zamenhof. Finally, the third source of violence exists in ourselves, allowing us to use violence in certain situations. In accordance with the idea of pacifism, it is necessary to eliminate such thoughts and become guardians of peace in our own environment.
It is important to understand that the idea of pacifism is a rather general message and skips an important personal aspect. However, a person can not be considered a pacifist, if they are not able to make a choice between using violence or not. If possible, a pacifist always chooses a peaceful solution to a conflict and despite his ability to completely destroy the opponent he makes a choice not to do it. Morihei Ueshiba had an idea how to implement it as an Omoto religion requirement which was the main purpose of his employment in the sect. It turned out to be a blessing in this difficult period of his life.
This job lasted six years and culminated with an event in 1925, and was recorded in history as an 'enlightment', or the birth of Aikido. This annoucement was made almost immediately after an unusual confrontation in the Ueshiba's dojo. That day he was visited by an anonymous naval officer, a recognized master of kendo. We can asume that there was a difference of opinions in terms of their skills. After being challenged, Ueshiba faced an oponnent carring a wooden sword, with his bare hands.
At the express request of Ueshiba the duel began, however not once was he touched by a wooden sword. The enemy, discouraged by his ineffective attacks, finally surrendered. As a result Ueshiba became convinced that remaining untouchable is possible, and fully justified the existance of the new martial art.
This historical reference explains my argument why aikido today is inefective in self-defense. Aikido, without mastering skills to become untouchable, loses its meaning as a martial art.
Aikido techniques however, are a completely different issue. Today their executions do not guarantee total destruction of the attacker.