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Old 10-16-2015, 03:55 PM   #1
Mary Eastland
 
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aikido = self-defense??? or self-defense = aikido???

Aikido is a Japanese martial art founded in the 20th century by Mohihei Ueshiba based on aiki-jujustu techniques with a modern philosophy of establishing harmony from conflict.

Self-defense is a practical set of techniques that vary from person to person that probably has been around as long as people have been people and before.

Aikido is poetry, dancing, moonlight, waterfalls, and ocean waves. It feels good.

Self-defense is whatever the heck it takes to save yourself. It feels okay.

Aikido creates peacefulness in the practitioner.

Self-defense relies on heightened adrenaline and precise targets.

Aikido is a form of self-defense.

Self-defense is a bigger than aikido and incorporates an unlimited set of responses.

Aikido incorporates an unlimited set of responses.

Aikido equals self-defense. Self-defense equals aikido.

It depends on who you are listening to.

When I was teaching self-defense I heard so about the problem. For example: "He did this…." Or "She said this…."

Aikido training involves what I can let happen and what I can change: Myself. I can accept what is happening and make centered choices based on being in the now.

Self-defense = the same.

The techniques of aikido are more difficult to master than simple techniques of self-defense.

The self-refection of self-defense and the asking of hard questions: such as "What am I willing to do to defend myself?" and "Would I fight over money?" is also part of aikido.

The philosophy of aikido of least possible harm can be incorporated into self-defense with a commitment to training.

Aikido and self-defense both incorporate awareness training, stress being in the present and having good posture. Relaxation is emphasized in both….maybe more in aikido.

The difference is the goal, maybe. Aikido's being the restoration of harmony and self-protection, and self-defense being just self-protection.
They have a lot of similarities. I can also see why others would say the two practices are really different.

I learned practical self-defense skills to enhance my aikido training. I needed to develop confidence long before my aikido techniques were effective.

About ten years ago I let go of self-defense training to focus solely on aikido.

One enhances the other, but aikido emphasizes the solution and self-defense accentuates the problem.

Aikido = positivity and empowerment. Self-defense = negativity and empowerment.

Self-defense is good and needed. It should be taught in every middle school and high school.

Aikido is wonderful and essential. Students should begin in first grade and continue to study for the rest of their lives.

No conclusion is necessary.

I chose aikido, then self-defense and aikido and then just aikido. That is my journey…any thoughts on yours?

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Old 10-18-2015, 02:45 AM   #2
Amir Krause
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Re: aikido = self-defense??? or self-defense = aikido???

Doubt I understand you, since the very definitions I know of are very different. this might be an issue of language too:

Self-defense is a description of a set of actions, done in order to save self and own close ones from physical harm by an attacker. Many people tend to limit self defense to the very actions taken while fighting against such a threat, others look at a wider scope and would include actions before being attacked (e.g. awareness to developing situation, avoidance, de-escalation), some also include actions just after such an event (medical, legal and similar implications).

Aikido is a martial art, for which you gave some partial description above.

Therefore:

-> You can't learn "Self-defense", you can learn a variety of concepts, ideas and responses to help you defend your-self better given some threat. One such example would be learning a martial art, another would be learning to draw and shoot a gun or pepper spray, whichever you own.

-> A martial act can be the knowledge base for some persons actions in self-defense.

-> One may introduce self to many concepts relevant for self-defense while practicing martial arts.

Amir
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Old 10-18-2015, 08:58 PM   #3
JP3
 
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Re: aikido = self-defense??? or self-defense = aikido???

I don't have the mathematical symbol for "does not equal," you know, that equal sign with the slash through it, but I'd put it in place in the middle between Aikido -- Self-defense

But, that is not to mean that in practicing/performing aikido one can not be practicing/performing self-defense either. I see these as two overlapping, but not totally so, spheres or circles of actions/activities.

I started out way back with aikido (8 years old) and went away, into what I would define as hard-core "hurt the bad man" martial arts. Was I learning self-defense? Sure... was I effective? Depends on how you define it, I believe. Could I defend myself? Probably depends on the "bad man" or men, it might sometimes be said, eh?

But, now, I practice/perform & teach aikido... and in the doing, I try to keep an eye on the self-defense angle, as that not only stimulates the mind of most students, and grounds others in the fact that what they are doing is a "martial" art, it's not just dancing around feeling good - this stuff can and does hurt people.

So, overlapping circles.

I find it interesting that the kanji character for kuzushi illustrates a mountain falling on a house.
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Old 10-19-2015, 10:24 AM   #4
sorokod
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Re: aikido = self-defense??? or self-defense = aikido???

Many people will understand != as not equal.

As to the OP, there are relations other then equality and inequality. If your practice doesn't provide reasonable self defence skills, then you are just abusing the trademark.

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Old 10-19-2015, 12:55 PM   #5
jonreading
 
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Re: aikido = self-defense??? or self-defense = aikido???

I am falling out of love with "self-defense." I've posted on this topic previously because it impacts the marketing position of aikido. I think we need to be clear about what "self-defense" means and how that relates to the legal interpretation.

I think you have chosen to frame several comments with a white hat/black hat analogy, this is good and that is bad. What happens if "restoring harmony" is you getting injured? Harmony in nature is great as long as you're at the top of the chain. I personally feel that aikido people make a big assumption every time they assume "restoring harmony" is equivalent to them succeeding in their endeavors. Self-defense is a perspective, a lens through which you see your reality that crafts your opinions and decisions. The problem with opinions is that everyone gets one...

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Old 10-19-2015, 01:23 PM   #6
Cliff Judge
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Re: aikido = self-defense??? or self-defense = aikido???

I am just going to say thank you for the post, it does a very good job showing how complex the relationship between Aikido and self-defense skills truly is.
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Old 10-19-2015, 06:32 PM   #7
JP3
 
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Re: aikido = self-defense??? or self-defense = aikido???

OK, I have to do it....

Obi Wan, to Luke Skywalker: "Luke, you're going to find that many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view."

MY point of view is that self-defense means MY self is being defended, or at most by extension, MINE are being defended.
So, therefore I choose to not waste breath and mental horsepower debating the verisimilitude of the various positions of philosophical action/non-action, I prefer basic, pragmatic, practical reality.
I used to like it when I learned a nifty new way to deal with a bad guy coming to get me in this way or that. Now... I rather enjoy having the students ask me those questions, and come up with many, many more than I ever thought of, and we go through and explore the questions seeking answers which yet still ring true to the principles of our aikido. I like it, it's simple, and it works for me.

I find it interesting that the kanji character for kuzushi illustrates a mountain falling on a house.
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Old 10-20-2015, 08:17 AM   #8
Derek
 
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Re: aikido = self-defense??? or self-defense = aikido???

Mathematically I think what we are looking for here is a Ven diagram. Self defense (whatever that means) and aikido are both similar and dissimilar from each other. Their circles overlap but do not encompass each other.

Derek Duval
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Old 10-20-2015, 12:22 PM   #9
Cliff Judge
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Re: aikido = self-defense??? or self-defense = aikido???

Quote:
Derek Duval wrote: View Post
Mathematically I think what we are looking for here is a Ven diagram. Self defense (whatever that means) and aikido are both similar and dissimilar from each other. Their circles overlap but do not encompass each other.
It's Venn diagram.

And I think it would have Aikido as one of the circles, but Self-Defense would likely be one of the intersections of Aikido and other circles.
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Old 10-20-2015, 09:24 PM   #10
Tore Eriksson
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Re: aikido = self-defense??? or self-defense = aikido???

Quote:
John Powell wrote: View Post
I don't have the mathematical symbol for "does not equal," you know, that equal sign with the slash through it, but I'd put it in place in the middle between Aikido -- Self-defense
In case you have to answer somewhere else, you can copy/paste this:

Aikido ≠ Self-defense
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Old 10-21-2015, 04:27 AM   #11
Tim Ruijs
 
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Re: aikido = self-defense??? or self-defense = aikido???

Aikido allows you create scenario in which you have control and can decide how to use that control.
It can be employed in self-defense.
I am convinced it is offensive, but without the destructive intention. That is quite different from self defense. The latter suggest passive reaction to a situation, Aikido, for me is actively change the situation before it actually happens (i.e. take the initiative). But words are limited....

In a real fight:
* If you make a bad decision, you die.
* If you don't decide anything, you die.
Aikido teaches you how to decide.
www.aikido-makato.nl
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Old 03-08-2016, 04:07 PM   #12
jdm4life
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Re: aikido = self-defense??? or self-defense = aikido???

Where is the self?
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Old 03-08-2016, 04:10 PM   #13
Cliff Judge
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Re: aikido = self-defense??? or self-defense = aikido???

Quote:
Stephen Irving wrote: View Post
Where is the self?
In a very small membrane of tissue a little bit forward of the center of the brain. But there's not as much to it as it thinks there is.
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Old 03-09-2016, 07:44 PM   #14
SeaGrass
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Re: aikido = self-defense??? or self-defense = aikido???

Quote:
Self-defense is whatever the heck it takes to save yourself. It feels okay.
I don't know about this but if I saved myself, I would feel pretty darn good, definitely better than poetry, dancing, moonlight, waterfalls, and ocean waves.
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Old 03-10-2016, 12:28 PM   #15
kewms
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Re: aikido = self-defense??? or self-defense = aikido???

Quote:
Bien Nguyen wrote: View Post
I don't know about this but if I saved myself, I would feel pretty darn good, definitely better than poetry, dancing, moonlight, waterfalls, and ocean waves.
Actually you probably wouldn't. You'd probably be shaking with adrenaline shock for a while. Might throw up, definitely be feeling a bit weak and shaky.

Katherine
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Old 03-10-2016, 04:33 PM   #16
dps
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Re: aikido = self-defense??? or self-defense = aikido???

Quote:
Katherine Derbyshire wrote: View Post
Actually you probably wouldn't. You'd probably be shaking with adrenaline shock for a while. Might throw up, definitely be feeling a bit weak and shaky.

Katherine
Actually I did. It felt great, better than poetry, dancing, moonlight, waterfalls, and ocean waves.

dps
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Old 03-10-2016, 05:43 PM   #17
SeaGrass
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Re: aikido = self-defense??? or self-defense = aikido???

Quote:
You'd probably be shaking with adrenaline shock for a while. Might throw up, definitely be feeling a bit weak and shaky.
I actually did save myself in Mexico. Had elevated level of adrenaline for sure but no shock, no throw up, was not weak or shaky. Dinner and drinks tasted really good that night though.
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Old 03-13-2016, 11:42 AM   #18
Star Dragon
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Re: aikido = self-defense??? or self-defense = aikido???

Quote:
Katherine Derbyshire wrote: View Post
Actually you probably wouldn't. You'd probably be shaking with adrenaline shock for a while. Might throw up, definitely be feeling a bit weak and shaky.

Katherine
I definitely still felt the adrenaline surge for a little while (I didn't actually have to fight, I managed to scare the would-be attacker off), but I didn't feel weak or shaky. On the contrary, I stayed in a fighting mode even after the threat was gone and calmed down only gradually.

Oh yes, and I did enjoy a strong drink.
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Old 03-13-2016, 12:11 PM   #19
Star Dragon
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Re: aikido = self-defense??? or self-defense = aikido???

Regarding the general topic of this thread:

I was always interested in the self-defence aspects of the martial arts - certainly not to the exclusion of other sides, but without this I would have felt my training to be seriously lacking. So I started out with Karate.

One day, a guest instructor in my Karate school (who also had a fourth dan in Aikido) showed us self-defence using Aikido footwork. That's when I seriously became interested in the art (prior to that I had only occasionally looked at a book).

When I started practising myself, Aikido's self-defence value was not immediately obvious to me though. When I soon after travelled to Japan, one of the schools I visited there was a little more self-defence oriented. A book on Yoshinkan style gave me some further ideas.

I am not currently doing Aikido any longer, even though this art still fascinates me for various reasons. Rather, I am training Kenpo Karate, which is very much about self-defence. As a syncretistic style, it allows the practitioner to integrate whatever MA knowledge they have, so my previous Aikido practice comes in very handy. By the same token, if I am going to take up Aikido again one day, I would look out for a style/school somewhat in keeping with my other training.
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Old 10-09-2016, 11:56 PM   #20
Rupert Atkinson
 
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Re: aikido = self-defense??? or self-defense = aikido???

Quote:
Bien Nguyen wrote: View Post
I don't know about this but if I saved myself, I would feel pretty darn good, definitely better than poetry, dancing, moonlight, waterfalls, and ocean waves.
I have saved myself a few times, but I was most often to blame for the situation I was in. Like ... hurtling through the air after coming off a motorcycle at the race track ... Happened a few times ... until I realised it was probably not my true vocation. Real Satori there. In fact, I once had a part-time job (Mother Bokujo in Japan) as a student - to teach kids to ride mountain bikes - and part of it was that I had to slam the front brake on and fly over the handlebars ... to show to the kids the danger of too much front brake. I think they got the message.

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Old 10-13-2016, 05:09 AM   #21
ryback
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Re: aikido = self-defense??? or self-defense = aikido???

Self defense means to be able to save your ass no matter what, even by being violent in order to do so...
Aikido is a Martial Art and a that means that it is one form of self defense but also many more things.
A person who can defend himself when the going gets rough, no matter what it takes it's fine but doesn't constitute a warrior. In my opinion Aikido forges a person into a warrior in the Japanese sense of being able to fight while you also are peaceful, harmonious non violent and positive.
We practice a very practical form of Aikido in our dojo and that is what shapes my point of view. There are people out there, practicing Aikido in a way that would never work in a fight and they are still having a good time in doing so, maybe too good sometimes...
I have covered that subject in other threads, I disagree with that approach but still one is free to make his choice.
The way I am practicing, my path is the way of the warrior, regardless of eras,areas and trends the spirit of the warrior can never change and that consistency is the beauty that I see in it! Sure, it can be very tough and difficult, most times it is but that is my choice of a never ending quest, an infinitely ongoing path.
And my only fear is if I am good enough. Not in comparison to someone else, or according to any form of ranking, I don't believe in those things anyway. Good enough according to the measure of Aikido itself as a Martial Art. I am not religious, Aikido is my highest value, it's what I am trying to achieve...
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Old 10-28-2016, 01:52 PM   #22
Rupert Atkinson
 
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Re: aikido = self-defense??? or self-defense = aikido???

I keep saying it but no one ever listens. Aikido is The Way of Aiki. We should be researching Aiki. And if you find it, you could use it for health or for self-defence. If you can't find it, your Aikido will always be useless for self-defence, except in the grunt shove and push mechanical leverage kind of way.

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Old 10-30-2016, 03:13 AM   #23
Alec Corper
 
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Re: aikido = self-defense??? or self-defense = aikido???

Rupert, I agree with you twice, but no one has the same definition of aiki so even those who are listening may be hearing different music. As far a self defense goes it is a mindset composed of strategic planning and tactical awareness. Nobody really learns this in Aikido in spite of all the talk, everybody is still at the level of physical technique which represents 3 levels of failure in the spectrum of self defense. Talking about code yellow awareness or the problems of being stuck in the wrong end of the OODA loop is not considered aikido but is part of understanding the world of self defense.
Aiki is whole other world, training the body with full awareness to achieve unbreakable stucture and connected tissue/tendon coiled power, IMO, of course, and as you say can be used for self defense or health.
Tell you the truth I don't care much about arguing the point, people get it when they get it and not before, when the student is ready the teacher appears.

If your temper rises withdraw your hand, if your hand rises withdraw your temper.
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Old 10-31-2016, 07:34 AM   #24
dps
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Re: aikido = self-defense??? or self-defense = aikido???

Nothing subtle about. Its about self control.

dps
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Old 02-23-2017, 03:16 PM   #25
GovernorSilver
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Re: aikido = self-defense??? or self-defense = aikido???

My understanding of "self-defense" has been influenced by this:
http://www.nononsenseselfdefense.com/

Over time, this understanding was reinforced by assaults on coworkers and friends. I am fortunate in what the assaults on my person have not resulted in serious injury:

1. Classic "stick 'em up" robbery, while working as a pizza delivery driver. I felt something on my back and was told in rude language to set the pizzas and 2-liter soda bottle down, hand over my wallet, and walk back to my car - all without turning around or he would f'n kill me on the spot. So I have no idea what my robber looked like.

2. Angry middle-aged man charging through crowded subway train. Nothing to do about that.

3. Angry middle-aged man #2 attempting to elbow me in the face as he exited the train. I let his elbow slide off my arm. He screamed in colorful language that I was in his way. Perspective is a funny thing - the train was crowded and I was pressing myself away from the doorway so he could get out. The rest of us laughed.

4. Drunk guy grabbed my arm with two hands (classic Aikido attack) and pulled me into a mosh pit. I tried pulling away but he was stronger and I lost the tugging contest.

4. Drunk guy #2 stared at me as I got into line to order from a DC Slices food truck. He continued staring, then suddenly threw a round kick at my shoulder. His foot felt as light as a feather - well his balance was pretty bad.

So the first rule of self defense is to not be in a place where one would have to defend oneself. Well, I guess I couldn't follow it for any of the above scenarios. For most of my career here I have depended on public transportation. In the case of my coworker who got beat up on an enclosed section of a bike trail by a group of teenagers, I would have turned around and gone the other way if I saw that group blocking the bike trail.

Next rule is be aware of who is around you. Admittedly I wasn't paying attention to either drunk guy. And when you're in a crowded train, it's hard to identify who might be a threat. Criminals usually don't attack in crowded trains. Unfortunately in this area, lots of people walk by themselves looking at their mobile devices and/or listening to music on headphones/earbuds. It's too easy to follow one of them to a place where he/she is alone and then attack by surprise.

Aikido only comes into play after you've observed the first two rules and you're still being attacked.

Of course, you have to know that you're being attacked. This is where the No Nonsense Self Defense site is useful - it describes various clues you can look for to identify a potential attacker. If the attacker is not launching a surprise attack, he/she will go for an "interview" to determine if you are a desirable victim. BTW, everyone I know who was assaulted in this area was assaulted by surprise attack, some by a variation of the "Knockout Game", a messed up "game" in which a bored teen picks victim at random and tried to knock out the victim with one strike.

Last edited by GovernorSilver : 02-23-2017 at 03:25 PM.
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