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Old 05-18-2008, 09:25 PM   #26
Ryan Sanford
Dojo: Northwest Aikido
Location: Oregon
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 70
Re: Questions regarding this martial art

Michael Douglas wrote: View Post
I'd go so far as to say that some training in martial arts (not all) can severely damage one's natural combat ability.
I'd be interested in hearing why you believe that. I'm not certain that I agree, perhaps you could explain that statement?

I went to the dojo because I wanted to learn cool self-defense moves. I kept coming back because it was so darn fun!
Hope you find what works best for you.

"There's only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving, and that's your own self." - Aldous Huxley
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Old 05-18-2008, 10:29 PM   #27
Dojo: Shobu Aikido of Connecticut
Location: East Haven, CT
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 1,402
Re: Questions regarding this martial art

Some people teach delusion - primarily because many people are looking to buy that. I've seen 9 year old black belts convinced they can handle themselves in a fight with a grown man. False confidence can do a disservice. That poor kid may stand up to a bully who has been in many real fights and get the beating of his life.

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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: 2,238
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 action...as 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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Old 05-19-2008, 03:09 PM   #29
mathewjgano's Avatar
Dojo: Tsubaki Kannagara Jinja Aikidojo; Himeji Shodokan Dojo
Location: Renton
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 2,238
Re: Questions regarding this martial art

...that is to say: I think the "evasion" of Aikido is supposed to be a positive, assertive action...an avoid the front door to come in through the side entrance kind of thing. It's not exclusive to Aikido. I'd wager very little, if anything, is. "Nothing new under the sun," as they say.
There seems to be a pretty assertive consensus that Aikido in general is lacking the practical side of the martial arts. There also seems to be a pretty strong consensus that people have found styles of it which have proven sufficient in the same regard. My experience is that "wrestling" or grappling styles are more difficult to deal with over time, but one great strike will end things in the blink of an eye, so I train a little for both. In addition to hitting my 90-pound heavy bag, in my Aikido training (when I get to train) I learn quite a bit about how to be in a strong position and how to lock up some joints or tip people over who are advancing at you. This is true for the three styles I've experienced, though each did it a little differently. At my primary dojo we have makiwara to practice striking against if we want. I'm not sure of the striking practice of any other style though. I think it varies from dojo to dojo a bit.
If you want an art that is going to give you confidence in a violent situation you probably should know what it's like to be in one. A well-rounded kickboxing school or MMA style training is probably pretty good at simulating a particular kind of violence...maybe what you want is a "Self Defense" class which focuses on specific situation responses? That seems more suited for what you described.
I can't say enough good things about Aikido (ask my annoyed friends). It's highly dynamic and fascinating to me. Anyone who wants to learn complex coordinated movements geared toward self defense should at least get a taste of Aikido at some point in their training. Still, if confidence around physically aggressive people is what you're looking for, you probably want something that will give you more experience with high levels of aggression. It was always difficult for me to say "no" to aggressive pan-handlers until I went to Cambodia and had to say no to kids missing limbs from landmines (giving them food is more "aiki"). Get in a ring with a well-trained fighter and the average threatening person begins to look a little less threatening...and while it's certainly true overconfidence is deadly, it's also true that confidence is itself powerfully liberating.
Good luck,

Last edited by mathewjgano : 05-19-2008 at 03:12 PM.

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Old 05-19-2008, 09:02 PM   #30
Dojo: Kokikai Aikido Boston
Location: Boston
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 121
Re: Questions regarding this martial art

Aikido teaches how to avoid attack and that can be useful. Any fighting is dangerous because It's very difficult to know if your attacker is carrying a concealed weapon. I'm wondering if you secretly want to get into a fight? If so get over it or try a martial art with sparring.
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