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Old 08-15-2007, 06:17 PM   #1
Mike_SMD
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Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu *not vs* Aikido

Hi folks!
I'm off to a weapons focused class in a few moments but I was thinking today and after my experiences getting 'back in the saddle' the old gears have been turning like mad...

And I've been chewing on something.

I think that BJJ and Aikido (the two biggest of the polar opposites commonly compared in the us vs them realm of the internet) are actually more alike than different. Indeed, given the similarity of root and movements I'm prepared to state that as a point of fact they're actually damn near the same thing. Physically at least... although I'm sure the philosophical approaches of both vary more by club than anything else.

I don't have time to go into it much more right now, but rest assured that I will if pushed. There's a few key pinch points in my reasoning that will need some explaining... maybe... though even then we'll just have to see.

I find this interesting mostly due to the fact that Aikido is billed as a generally useless martial art for self defense (other folk's words - not mine) while BJJ and similar styles get the media blitz for their so-called 'deadly' capabilities.

Buuuuuuuuut...
Marketing spin doesn't generate a reality.

Discuss!

Mike.
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Old 08-15-2007, 06:29 PM   #2
Adam Alexander
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Re: Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu *not vs* Aikido

At one time, seeing what BJJers said on this site, being less developed technically/theoretically than I am now and seeing clips of it, could see that they were very similar.

However, now that I've come further along in my technical/theoretical understanding of aikido, I no longer believe they're any more similar than any other two arts. They share a lot, but all do.

People saying one's superior over the other? I've adopted the idea that if I need to prove it, I'll show up at your place. If you need to prove it, you'll show up at mine. Everything else is just talk...empty, empty talk.
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Old 08-15-2007, 08:13 PM   #3
CNYMike
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Re: Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu *not vs* Aikido

Quote:
Mike Logan wrote: View Post
.... I think that BJJ and Aikido (the two biggest of the polar opposites commonly compared in the us vs them realm of the internet) are actually more alike than different. Indeed, given the similarity of root and movements I'm prepared to state that as a point of fact they're actually damn near the same thing .....
I think the best way to investigate this (assuming you're not doing so already) would be to crosstrain in BJJ --- go at least once a week while continuing in Aikido. In a year to two, see how you look at them.
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Old 08-15-2007, 08:48 PM   #4
Aikibu
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Re: Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu *not vs* Aikido

They Compliment each other well.

William Hazen
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Old 08-15-2007, 09:28 PM   #5
Budd
 
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Re: Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu *not vs* Aikido

Quote:
William Hazen wrote: View Post
They Compliment each other well.
Seconded. Assuming the person training has the right attitude
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Old 08-15-2007, 09:45 PM   #6
Mike_SMD
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Re: Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu *not vs* Aikido

Yeah, I'm going to agree totally here... it's not so much a compliment as it is an outright meshing as the scale of the distance of conflict decreases. Circles are circles after all.

Roast in the oven.
Talk more later.

Though...
The 'if I have to prove it I'll show up at your house' is sort of silly, hell yeah things have to be proven! Certainly though there's always a chance to do so with more sharing and less conflict in mind...?

Maybe I missed your meaning though, anyway I can *feel* my partner glaring at me right through the kitchen wall.... sooooo...

Take care,

Mike.
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Old 08-15-2007, 09:54 PM   #7
Roman Kremianski
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Re: Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu *not vs* Aikido

When I started BJJ I found it surprisingly paralleled Aikido. Center of gravity concepts, relaxation, breathing, and of course, it actually made it possible to over come a larger opponent without hurting him.

Something I found was too hard for me in Aikido.

It added a whole new dimension to my training. It was easy staying relaxed on my feet with a compliant uke, but quite the opposite while on my back with a 60lb heavier guy on me trying to put some hurting on. Many non-BJJers don't appreciate the mind state you have to work your way up to in order to stay relaxed in bad positions. I mean, my first month I was squirming like a ferret. Still do with people more experienced than me.

Last edited by Roman Kremianski : 08-15-2007 at 10:00 PM.
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Old 08-15-2007, 11:51 PM   #8
Aristeia
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Re: Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu *not vs* Aikido

some of us have been saying they are strategically almost identical for some time. My BJJ coach once mentioned he was surprised I copped flak from some in the aikikido community as he would have thought them to be very similar.

I suspect like adam/jean/dale that any two arts one studieds you would tend to notice similarities, but I find them particularly striking in bjj/aikido. I still often find myself using aikido terms when coachingh bjj....

"When your only tool is a hammer every problem starts to look like a nail"
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Old 08-16-2007, 03:22 AM   #9
deepsoup
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Re: Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu *not vs* Aikido

Well of course Aikido and BJJ are compatable - they're both basically just Judo after all!
<hides under desk>
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Old 08-16-2007, 07:23 AM   #10
Drew Mailman
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Re: Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu *not vs* Aikido

I wish there was a BJJ school worth a damn in my town... Oh well.
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Old 08-16-2007, 08:19 AM   #11
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu *not vs* Aikido

Quote:
Maybe I missed your meaning though, anyway I can *feel* my partner glaring at me right through the kitchen wall.... sooooo...
Now THAT is aikido!

B,
R

Ron Tisdale
-----------------------
"The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind."
St. Bonaventure (ca. 1221-1274)
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Old 08-17-2007, 04:26 PM   #12
Basia Halliop
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Re: Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu *not vs* Aikido

Quote:
I think that BJJ and Aikido (the two biggest of the polar opposites commonly compared in the us vs them realm of the internet) are actually more alike than different.
I wonder if the fact that two things are contrasted so often is really evidence of their being polar opposites: it could also be a sign that there's enough overlap in the people who do them to find people who know enough about both to have a strong opinion on both. Don't we often argue more with neighbours then with those who are really far from our universe?
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Old 08-17-2007, 05:46 PM   #13
Kevin Wilbanks
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Re: Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu *not vs* Aikido

Quote:
Sean Orchard wrote: View Post
Well of course Aikido and BJJ are compatable - they're both basically just Judo after all!
<hides under desk>
Actually, that's not far off. All three you mention descendants of Japanese Ju Jutsu with more specialized focus.
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Old 08-17-2007, 07:44 PM   #14
Mike_SMD
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Re: Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu *not vs* Aikido

(this in response to Basia's comment)

Very interesting observation...

If there wasn't enough overlap for us to at least *grasp* what the fundamentals of BJJ include we sure as heck wouldn't feel comfortable critiquing it.

Not often that I hear of Aikidoka being compared to the enthusiasts of Kalaripayit, now... is it...?

Though...
When I really dig into it...

-mumbles thoughtfully to self-

(don't mind the glibness, I like where you're going with this)

Take care,

Mike.
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Old 08-17-2007, 08:11 PM   #15
Aristeia
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Re: Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu *not vs* Aikido

Quote:
Mike Logan wrote: View Post

If there wasn't enough overlap for us to at least *grasp* what the fundamentals of BJJ include we sure as heck wouldn't feel comfortable critiquing it.
You'd think so wouldn't you. And yet.....

"When your only tool is a hammer every problem starts to look like a nail"
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Old 08-18-2007, 02:01 PM   #16
Basia Halliop
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Re: Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu *not vs* Aikido

Quote:
Michael Fooks wrote: View Post
You'd think so wouldn't you. And yet.....
:lol

Probably all it takes is for people to _feel_ like they grasp something of it, even a little bit. When it comes to confidence in critiquing, perception of knowledge is even more important than actual knowledge, isn't it?

But I was thinking also just of the fact that it's something people in Aikido know exists (!) and hear about often enough to remember it exists (I don't know if the the same is true the other way around). Maybe there's even occasionally some sense that they have at least some common ground to bother comparing them at all.
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Old 08-18-2007, 05:34 PM   #17
Roman Kremianski
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Re: Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu *not vs* Aikido

On a related note, here's an interesting video of a BJJ guy sparring with an Aikido guy

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Ny3yZitAFU
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Old 08-18-2007, 06:58 PM   #18
Budd
 
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Re: Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu *not vs* Aikido

I'm not usually one to claim that video snippets are worth much of anything, but I don't think either person came off particularly well - the aikido guy seemed to throw "cheap" strikes that weren't particularly effective, the bjj guy (a white belt) kept trying to pull guard until the end *grumbles*, when his o soto gari was successful, but he got rolled and the aikido guy held him in kesa gatame.

I'm not sure if they had agreed to a ruleset (the comments weren't clear), or if the bjj guy assumed the aikido guy would spar according to jits rules (which is what I would assume if I was crashing their class). The bjj guy claimed that the aikido guy was going for nut shots, eye gouges, etc., which I think is pretty much dirty pool unless you're attacked or the ruleset agrees upon is really "anything goes".

Thing is, everyone's got a belief system, everyone's got a plan (until they get hit) and most people already know everything anyway, so they don't usually take advantage of trying to learn something new. But if I'm a guest at someone else's class, I play by their "rules" - simple good manners.

Today's aikido guy that talks down on learning grappling will be tomorrow's bjj student trying to tell us how to "fix" aikido. Today's bjj guy that doesn't learn takedowns (or train how to "not" get taken down - yes - they are out there) will be tomorrow's wrestler/judoka that wants to "fix" bjj. Today's wrestler/judoka that doesn't think strikes are useful will be tomorrow's mma player looking to point out where each art has holes. Tomorrow's mma player might not ever become really "great" at any aspect of their game, but might focus on "lay and prey" stuff that works great in a cage, but not so much in the real world.

Basically, today's guy that already "knows the answer", will be tomorrow's guy telling the person using his "today answer" why he is wrong tomorrow, without realizing that even tomorrow, there might still be more he doesn't get.

In other words, never assume you have the answers, get out there and train with people that know things you don't. Keep researching, keep improving and don't be an asshole if you can help it.

Note to self: Periodically remind myself to take my own advice . . .
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Old 08-18-2007, 07:12 PM   #19
Shannon Frye
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Re: Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu *not vs* Aikido

I think that the principals of both arts can be viewed as similar - the differences are fueled not by the differences in "styles", but in the differences of the people performing the art. Your "average" aikidoka is not a carbon copy of your "average" bjj student.

But I DO doubt that any bjj forum would ever admit having any similarity to aikido. Evolution is such a wonderful thing!
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Old 08-18-2007, 09:30 PM   #20
Roman Kremianski
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Re: Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu *not vs* Aikido

Quote:
Today's bjj guy that doesn't learn takedowns (or train how to "not" get taken down - yes - they are out there) will be tomorrow's wrestler/judoka that wants to "fix" bjj.
No one in BJJ is interested in "fixing" BJJ. They would just train wrestling.

Your theories are interesting to read, but almost make it seem like you've never trained in either. Wrestlers/Judoka don't think strikes are useful? Do they not own a pair of human arms?

They called it mixed martial arts for a reason. Because it's just a collection of knowledge from different arts. Instead of fixing one thing or trying to make something "whole", people go else where for knowledge.

Sort of why I don't see the point of people arguing that things like sparring/groundwork/striking/insert anything here, etc should be introduced into Aikido. If you want it, there's a time and place to get it.

My opinion on the video: I thought the BJJ guy did a poor job. Not gonna go into detail, but he looked like he was deathly afraid of clinching the Aikidoka.

Last edited by Roman Kremianski : 08-18-2007 at 09:45 PM.
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Old 08-18-2007, 09:46 PM   #21
Roman Kremianski
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Re: Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu *not vs* Aikido

Not implying you don't train BJJ Budd, as I know you do. Do you just grapple or do MMA in general?
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Old 08-18-2007, 10:13 PM   #22
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Re: Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu *not vs* Aikido

Quote:
Roman Kremianski wrote: View Post
My opinion on the video: I thought the BJJ guy did a poor job.
agreed. much of the video also demonstrated the difficulty of introducing sparring into aikido. It was what happens when no one really wants to engage.

"When your only tool is a hammer every problem starts to look like a nail"
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Old 08-19-2007, 08:15 AM   #23
Budd
 
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Re: Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu *not vs* Aikido

Quote:
Roman Kremianski wrote: View Post
No one in BJJ is interested in "fixing" BJJ. They would just train wrestling.:
Believe it or not, there are still folks out there that think bjj is the end-all, be-all for combat. Just like there may be aikido people out there that haven't trained to make their stuff work in a "live" environment.

Quote:
Roman Kremianski wrote: View Post
Your theories are interesting to read, but almost make it seem like you've never trained in either. Wrestlers/Judoka don't think strikes are useful? Do they not own a pair of human arms?
Are my theories violating one of your (relatively new, I bet) belief systems?

I try not to buy into party lines/belief systems of anything just because other people do. You're mixing up my argument - I'm pointing out extreme cases (of what I consider dumb behavior) that later turns into more cases (of what I consider dumb behavior), just with a change in viewpoint.

Some Wrestlers/Judoka have had enough success with what they got (stuff strikes, clinch, takedown, finish) that they'll just say, "Strikes, why do I need to learn that?".

Sometimes, they are right (the athletes that are into compeition over combatives). In terms of actual conflict, the smart ones will know better. But then my original point was that being well-rounded was a good idea, only dumb people think they know everything.

Quote:
Roman Kremianski wrote: View Post
They called it mixed martial arts for a reason. Because it's just a collection of knowledge from different arts. Instead of fixing one thing or trying to make something "whole", people go else where for knowledge.
Even mixed martial artists are subject to "gym/camp loyalty", which when used to propogate belief systems over training & development - can cause stagnation. I don't buy the argument that because one's training in mma, they automatically become exempt from this . . . The successful/smart ones know better (see previous point) . . . but . . .

Don't even get me started on how many are trying to latch onto the buzz term "mma" with how they train . . .

Quote:
Roman Kremianski wrote: View Post
Sort of why I don't see the point of people arguing that things like sparring/groundwork/striking/insert anything here, etc should be introduced into Aikido. If you want it, there's a time and place to get it.
There's a difference between tacking on a form of practice that conflicts or isn't congruent with your training system/goals, versus applying base principles into various training paradigms. Sometimes it depends on whether training is principle versus technique-based, other times it depends on how "honestly" the principles are applied.

Last edited by Budd : 08-19-2007 at 08:17 AM. Reason: sasquatch
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Old 08-19-2007, 08:30 AM   #24
Budd
 
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Re: Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu *not vs* Aikido

Quote:
Roman Kremianski wrote: View Post
Not implying you don't train BJJ Budd, as I know you do. Do you just grapple or do MMA in general?
I used to go play with MMA boys more, but these days, I pretty much just go periodically crash the local BJJ school and try to get a decent mix between gi and no-gi. No real interest in rank and tournaments. It's always fun to get the newbies that want to "teach" me how to do all the techniques while drilling, then see the change in their faces when we start to roll.

I've also got a buddy that boxes and I go play with him and his guys every once in a while.

I had some humorous attempts at kickboxing years ago in college, but I might get back into that type of training (I can always can use a laugh) just to put a thin patch of spackle on that hole and work out some kinks.

Thing is, even in different environments, I'm still applying MY core physical AIKIDO principles in those settings (irimi, irimitenkan, disrupt structure via connection by moving ME, etc.) - with varying degree of success, but it's still done with the main goal of making my overall aikido better.

'Course, there's a part of me that just likes to "bang". Reigning that side in is just another reason that I do aikido.

Last edited by Budd : 08-19-2007 at 08:33 AM. Reason: sasquatch
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Old 08-19-2007, 08:53 AM   #25
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Re: Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu *not vs* Aikido

I never understood the "vs" part.

Have martial artists lost the goal of self defense against attacks in real life, and are now only interested in global martial arts instruction domination?

A secret of internal strength?:
"Let your weight from the crotch area BE in his hands."
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