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Old 01-12-2012, 11:10 AM   #26
Mark Freeman
Dojo: Dartington
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Re: how do you describe Aikido to people?

Quote:
Alberto Italiano wrote: View Post
I'd describe it as the most ambitious way of fighting. However, i'd add the caveat that most dojos won't train you for being prepared to the ugliness and ruthlessness of a real fight.
Hi Alberto,

I wouldn't describe aikido as a 'way of fighting' quite the contraryI would describe it as a 'way of not fighting'. I know that in itself may make some people bristle and want to start a fight

I don't think that that many people start in aikido looking to prepare themselves for the ugliness and ruthlessness of a real fight. Those that want to learn how to be good fighters, are well served by plenty of other arts MMA, Boxing etc

The practice of aikido is complex and difficult, it takes a lot of practice to master. It is a valid form of self defence, but it probably serves most of its practitioners well, for their own reasons of practice, which may be many.

regards

Mark
p.s. The longer I practice, the less I try and describe aikido to people. I usually suggest that they come and watch, but they won't really know, until they feel what is happening.

Success is having what you want. Happiness is wanting what you have.
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Old 01-12-2012, 11:16 AM   #27
Alberto_Italiano
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Re: how do you describe Aikido to people?

Quote:
Mark Freeman wrote: View Post

I don't think that that many people start in aikido looking to prepare themselves for the ugliness and ruthlessness of a real fight. Those that want to learn how to be good fighters, are well served by plenty of other arts MMA, Boxing etc

The practice of aikido is complex and difficult, it takes a lot of practice to master.
Hullo Mark, well though i understand and respect your personal idea of aikido, what can I say? I was just proposing how I would describe it (that was the question if i did not misunderstand it).
In my world aikido either is for the ugliness of a real fight or it is useless. But, let me emphasize: in my world.

The fact you mention MMA probably means you have not noticed, or perhaps I have not stressed enough, that I would describe it as the most ambitious way - to fight.
MMA is the most practical one.

So, in my world aikido is the most ambitious way to fight, and that is my humble answer to that question, wrong or right that it may be (no problem if it would be wrong - but you see it's just my answer, my contribution, or my perspective to that question, nothing more)
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Old 01-12-2012, 11:27 AM   #28
Alberto_Italiano
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Re: how do you describe Aikido to people?

Uh Mark, now that i come to think of that - thank you for your answer, it actually made me think.

It seems implied that since aikido is not really made for people "looking to prepare themselves for the ugliness and ruthlessness of a real fight", that the reason we train in the way we train (mostly ineffective for a fast paced real confrontation) is because we have implicitly accepted that Aikido cannot be used indeed in a real fight, namely that we have silently come to the conclusion that it has failed as a martial art and that we all accepted, wittingly or unwittingly, that aikido had to forfait any claim to be a martial art.

It is an interesting implication.
To which, indeed, my answer could be that aikido will stay failed as a martial art only as long as we will refuse, for one reason or another, to train using it with true martiality in mind as our first and foremost if not even unique concern.

If then enlightenment follows, let it follow. After all, it may follow even serving tea.
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Old 01-12-2012, 11:42 AM   #29
Conrad Gus
 
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Re: how do you describe Aikido to people?

I tell people to imagine a cross between Judo and Tai Chi. Take the internal power from tai chi and work with a partner to do throws and pins that are similar to judo or jiu jutsu. It can be slow or fast, soft or hard, and at high levels is an effective art for self-defence.

If they want to talk about philosophy, I don't usually go further than a few basic ideas like: "redirecting the opponent's energy", "avoiding unnecessary harm" and "de-escalating the conflict". Beyond that it starts to get a bit tricky to talk about in casual conversation.
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Old 01-12-2012, 01:06 PM   #30
Basia Halliop
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Re: how do you describe Aikido to people?

I agree that very philosophical answers are usually meaningless to most people if they don't already have a good idea of what you're talking about...

If (when) someone asks me I tend to stay pretty practical -- e.g., it's a martial art with a lot of joint locks and throws. I may mention it's japanese. I might compare it to judo or jujitsu and say it's got more in common with those than with karate or taekwando which are more striking and kicking focused. I may say there aren't tournaments, since people often ask about that.

I might also say that you try to redirect your opponent's force instead of being stronger than them, or that you try to get them to lose their balance.
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Old 01-12-2012, 06:10 PM   #31
danj
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Re: how do you describe Aikido to people?

Quote:
David Santana wrote: View Post
won't that defeat the purpose of atemi?

I know it's the most elegant way but it rarely attracts people into training. although when someone do come for this, he/she will most likely be a true student of the art... but don't you think we need to give people something to attact people more so that they can have a chance to experience it?

I thought I read something like this recently:
only 1/2 of people who come to the dojo will step into the mat
only 1/2 of people who steps into the mat will come in the next training
only 1/2 of people who comes in the next training will train for the next 2 months
and so on..

if we only take in the elites I'm afraid the dojo won't be running for long since we don't have a strong sponsor.
Hi David,
I wrote this in the 3 things for beginners thread, base on 10yrs of stats. I think the retention can be tweaked through careful management i.e. you can get people to stay longer (but they still drop out) or drop out earlier but the overall result is much the same. In the past i have run beginners courses to get people to stay longer (with the hope of improving retention and its does, but only a little bit) but my most recent approach is to use an elevator style pitch of the art in a nutshell for one night along with some exercises so that those that are going to stay, stay and those that are going to leave, leave sooner. The end result is the dojo can invest its limited time and effort more wisely.

But back on track for the topic
My elevator pitch (and supporting accompanying practice) is about Aikido being derived form samurai class martial arts. The sword was the primary weapon of the samurai. There was only time to learn one set of skills - those of the swordsman and they must be easily translated and useful in other combat scenarios e.g. if held to prevent him using/drawing the weapon, or had to fight unarmed against a weapon and multiple attackers on a battlefield or restrain without causing insult or harm. Legendary in its sharpness it was almost impossible to block and thus blending with power was important. Because of the need to fight and run all day relaxation and using relaxed power is important, extension of mind through and beyond the sword and that of no fear gave the best chance of success.

Thus students can do some sword, some movements like a sword cut like ikkyo, some unbendable arm and defensive rolling, and they get why hand holds are important and that committed strikes are important (as armour penetrating attacks) understand the importance of meditation, ki and why its uses by professional for restraint.

As a narrative its easy to follow, somewhat logical and there is plenty of time in the years following to sort out the bold generalisations and more importantly I am comfortable with it.

dan

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Old 01-13-2012, 11:42 AM   #32
NekVTAikido
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Re: how do you describe Aikido to people?

Ok - here's another elevator speech:

=================

Aikido is a study of Human movement and interaction, using forms/techniques from Japanese Martial Arts.

It's practice typically encompasses mindfulness; physical and psychological centeredness; internal power; flow; flexibility; responsiveness; blending, harmonizing and redirecting "attacks"; self-protection in dangerous situations (e.g. ukemi), and self-advocacy. These principles are taught via specific martial arts techniques, which we practice with each other in the Dojo.

People often practice Aikido for fun, fitness, and for ability to embody and apply the principles mentioned above in a variety of situations, potentially (but extremely rarely) including physical conflict.

=================

I'm curious - how much of this holds true for all you folks reading this on AikiWeb? and what do you think is missing?
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Old 01-13-2012, 12:48 PM   #33
dapidmini
Dojo: Surabaya Aikido Dojo
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Re: how do you describe Aikido to people?

Quote:
Gordon Young wrote: View Post
Aikido is a study of Human movement and interaction, using forms/techniques from Japanese Martial Arts.

It's practice typically encompasses mindfulness; physical and psychological centeredness; internal power; flow; flexibility; responsiveness; blending, harmonizing and redirecting "attacks"; self-protection in dangerous situations (e.g. ukemi), and self-advocacy. These principles are taught via specific martial arts techniques, which we practice with each other in the Dojo.

People often practice Aikido for fun, fitness, and for ability to embody and apply the principles mentioned above in a variety of situations, potentially (but extremely rarely) including physical conflict.
so far I like this one the best because I can actually say it in a short time to a general audience.

thanks
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Old 01-13-2012, 03:14 PM   #34
Mark Uttech
Dojo: Yoshin-ji Aikido of Marshall
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Re: how do you describe Aikido to people?

Onegaishimasu, I've told folks that I can describe aikido in 3 words:
Won-der-ful. (That is, "full of wonder")
In gassho,
Mark

- Right combination works wonders -
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Old 01-13-2012, 05:30 PM   #35
lbb
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Re: how do you describe Aikido to people?

Quote:
David Santana wrote: View Post
so far I like this one the best because I can actually say it in a short time to a general audience.
But is it really accurate? Or is it misleading? Before you use this as your pitch (or anything like it), ask yourself this:
  • Are we really doing a movement analysis? And isn't that the impression that people would get if we describe aikido as "a study of human movement"?
  • Do we actually teach "mindfulness" and "physical and psychological centeredness"? That is, do we say, "Okay, now we're going to do a mindfulness/centeredness exercise" and then teach some esoteric practice? Do our teachers have any quaifications as teachers of esoteric practices?
  • What does "self-advocacy" mean to a prospective student, and does it have anything to do with what we teach?

Again, the point is communication. I have no beef with anyone who describes their own practice as "mindfulness" or "internal power" or "centeredness". But if I'm seeking to communicate with a prospective student, I need to use a common language -- and by that, I do NOT mean the same words. I need to use words that have the same meaning for my audience that they do for me. I need to stay away from words that are ambiguous, or commonly misunderstood, or whose meaning is distorted in the popular culture. To use an example, what do you think "centeredness" means to the average non-aikido practitioner -- and is it really the same thing that it means to you?
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Old 01-13-2012, 06:59 PM   #36
Malicat
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Re: how do you describe Aikido to people?

My background is in sport Karate, and I frequently run into the problem of trying to explain to my family that now I study Aikido, not Karate. This is partially due to the fact that they are used to me being in Karate, and partially due to the fact that non-martial artists seem to see every martial art as "karate" and not something unique. I prefer to explain by using examples, so this is how I explain it to them.

If a drunk guy keeps grabbing my arm in a bar, as someone who has studied Karate, I have 3 responses. Ignore it and hope he goes away, hit him and basically start a bar fight, or use a targeted strike that breaks a bone. Even ignoring the legal issues involved, ignoring him may cause him to think I would be an easy victim to attack later, starting a fist fight in a bar with a guy who is most likely much larger than me is plain stupid, and breaking bones to get someone to remove his hand from my arm is clearly overkill. Aikido gives me the option to remove his hand from my arm without causing permanent damage and gives me a chance to deescalate the situation without giving him the idea that I am a victim.

While I am not sure how well this can "sell" Aikido to someone, it's been very effective with my friends and family. At least it means my mother has finally quit saying, "Is it really necessary to go to Karate 5 times a week?" Now she asks me if it's really necessary for me to go to Aikido 5 times a week.
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Old 01-14-2012, 11:42 AM   #37
Cyril Landise
 
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Re: how do you describe Aikido to people?

I will warn you that I have emptied many a room at dinner parties with my responses to this question.

My shortest answer is: "Aikido looks like fast Tai Chi with a partner."

Slightly longer version is that it is a martial art which trains ethical self defense and views all aggressors as hysterical children who must be restrained without injury.

Also, Aikido is a gentle martial art, training conflict resolution through movement, self defense without vengeance, the exhilaration of aerobic dance, dynamic meditation and a path to harmony with all creation.
At its most graphic it trains a devastatingly effective way to fight and defend yourself; at its most poetic it is moving Zen, dynamic meditation, aerobic love.

These are quotes from a short article I wrote attempting to explain Aikido to laypersons.

The article is here:

http://archive.usafaikidonews.com/20...rticle_1.shtml
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Old 01-18-2012, 10:52 PM   #38
n.puertollano
 
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Re: how do you describe Aikido to people?

When I first started aikido I would tell my friends that it was hard to explain and that they would have to try it to understand, but it has to do with redirecting energy and that you train with the idea on how to deal with multiple attackers. Although now I don't get to many questions on what Aikido is.

-------
nico puertollano
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Old 01-19-2012, 01:29 AM   #39
PeterR
 
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Re: how do you describe Aikido to people?

Aikido is what you do to close the distance, Judo is what you do when you get there.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 01-19-2012, 03:36 AM   #40
dalen7
 
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Re: how do you describe Aikido to people?

Quote:
Peter Rehse wrote: View Post
Aikido is what you do to close the distance, Judo is what you do when you get there.
... and BJJ is what you do when Judo takes you to the ground.

[nice definition though]

Peace

dAlen

dAlen [day•lynn]
dum spiro spero - {While I have breathe - I have hope}

Art
http://www.lightofinfinity.org

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Old 01-19-2012, 04:23 PM   #41
LinTal
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Re: how do you describe Aikido to people?

I usually just say that aikido's a non-violent martial art.

If they ask for deeper clarification I'll tell them that most people try to control a situation through pain, i.e. punching and kicking, but that is only one way to gain control. Aikido shows you another way that controls the situation without causing pain, which then gives you the option of gaining control without violence.

The world changes when you do.
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Old 01-23-2012, 02:57 PM   #42
RuteMendes
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Re: how do you describe Aikido to people?

I always describe like this:

"Aikido is a japanese martial art created in 1920 by a martial artist called Morihei Ueshiba. It's not a punching or kicking art... It's all about using your oponent's strenght agaisnt himself.
It's really cool and people at the Dojo are sooo cool and friendly! Everyone can pratice it! Everyone that is willing to pratice that Art of the Peace. About self defense... well... if you are expecting quick results, go to kickboxing or krav maga! In Aikido you'll need a lot of pratice and years of hardwork, but believe me... once you accomplish it, you'll be able to defend yourself in such a peaceful way ... *-* It's amazing to see"

You can also compare the "ki" to "the force" and "jedis" is you're talking to some Star Wars fan ahahah It works perfectly! OOhhh also talk about the weapons and the samurais!
And, if you're explaining it to men, tell them that black belts wear skirts! Ahahah Very encouraging!

Peace!
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Old 02-08-2012, 01:42 AM   #43
jlbrewer
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Re: how do you describe Aikido to people?

My 5 second explanation: It's a descendant of jujitsu, it's primarily defensive.
My 60 second explanation: The layman's definition of aiki, framed as the concept of blending with and redirecting attacks, using their strength against them.
If the subject of it's efficacy in a fight comes up: "Aikido is less about fighting than it is about ending a fight."

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Old 02-08-2012, 09:45 AM   #44
Richard Stevens
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Re: how do you describe Aikido to people?

I'm not an Aikidoka, but instead of telling people I do Iaijutsu/Iaido I just say Kendo and instead of Hakko-Ryu Jujutsu I just say Judo.
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Old 02-22-2012, 11:52 AM   #45
observer
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Re: how do you describe Aikido to people?

Quote:
Rute Mendes wrote: View Post
It's all about using your oponent's strenght agaisnt himself.
... you'll be able to defend yourself in such a peaceful way ..
Really? Please explain - how? I am serious.
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Old 02-22-2012, 12:42 PM   #46
morph4me
 
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Re: how do you describe Aikido to people?

Aikido is a martial art that happens when timing, distance, physiology, body mechanics and physics come together to create some impressive and amazing results.

"Logical consequences are the scarecrows of fools and the beacons of wise men" - Thomas Henry Huxley
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Old 02-22-2012, 01:30 PM   #47
Michael Douglas
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Re: how do you describe Aikido to people?

This thread should tell us : everyone is doing something different, even if some think they're doing the same as everyone else.
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Old 02-23-2012, 08:46 PM   #48
matty_mojo911
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Re: how do you describe Aikido to people?

Don't try to sell the idea of Aikido. People turn up becuse they are interested, they have to find their own way to the door. You just need to let them know you are there.

A dramatic picture is all you need with some contact numbers.

95% of the people that you "drag" or "lure" in will leave. 40% of the people that find their own way there will stay.
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Old 03-09-2012, 09:18 AM   #49
dalen7
 
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Re: how do you describe Aikido to people?

Quote:
David Santana wrote: View Post
all this time we (in our dojo) describe Aikido as a martial arts of love, where we don't (severely) injure our opponent to protect ourselves.. this approach seems to make people wonder if Aikido can really be used to defend themselves.

we have an embukai coming up and we're thinking if we should stop stressing on the love part and more to the martial part so that people will become more interested. we're hoping that people will understand the love part after they train long enough. what do you think?

how would you describe Aikido to make people more interested?
Wow... depends.

How realistically do you train. If someone rolls out of ikkyo would the attitude be, "oh cool, lets see how we can tighten up that control"... and/or, lets see how we can finish it up with a BJJ armbar.

If your dojo is like the above, then cool.

Now, how do I describe Aikido to people?

For me personally its like a part of a chain that has been separated and needs to be linked back together. [i.e. BJJ/Aikido/Judo with some ThaiBoxing for those into it]

As one person once told me, and hopefully I put it as nicely as he did, its about distance/range.

Aikido is like Jiu-jitsu as that is where it came from.
BJJ is like jiu-jitsu as that is where it came from. [Well Judo, but they had a pretty solid looking ground game. As well as atemi, but not in tournaments. That is why I throw in the Thaiboxing as its 'live']

So I say it has a place, and if trained how I mentioned, it can really be fun.
Though it can be fun anyway if its just about the fluid motion. [Its up to the individual]

Peace

Dalen

dAlen [day•lynn]
dum spiro spero - {While I have breathe - I have hope}

Art
http://www.lightofinfinity.org

Philosophical
http://dalen7.wordpress.com
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Old 03-28-2012, 11:31 AM   #50
Lunatic Bodhisattva
Dojo: Lexington Aikikai
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Re: how do you describe Aikido to people?

I usually just show them Ikkyo, Nikkyo Sankkyo, Yankyo and a modified kotegaeshi where you don't twist the wrist but put downward pressure on it to take Uke down.

Then I explain the circular aspect and redirecting your opponents energy.

Usually by that point they say "hey show me that thing with my wrist again"

I show them one more time and then I say look Aikido up on the web... and leave it at that.

E
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