The first time I saw Aikido in action was in the Steven Seagal film Above The Law. I was intrigued. This was the first time I had ever seen a martial art where striking was not used as the primary means of ending a fight. When I did some research and found out about Morihei Ueshiba's ethics, I knew that I would someday get training in Aikido.
Interestingly enough, my path towards Aikido will not be a straight one, because I'm currently undergoing Judo training. What got me involved in that was the fact that a friend of mine told me of a non-profit dojo, close to where I live. I knew that there were some similarities between the two arts, but I was shocked to find out just how close they are. For me, at this stage, Judo training makes more sense, because I'm in my mid-30s, my conditioning is fair, and I'm not naturally gifted when it comes to footwork. Aikido has been compared to ballet, with respect to the demands it makes on the learner. This is why it has a relatively high drop-out rate. Also, grasping the all-important concept of unbalancing uke is easier when you can apply it to uke by gripping his gi. Since Aikido is much more dynamic, getting a feel for kuzushi is bound to take longer. My plan is to begin Aikido training when I have already gained a first-degree black belt in Judo, or at least the degree of brown belt right under black belt level.
My second reason for staying with Judo for the time being is that I think Ueshiba went too far in respect to adopting the position that tournaments are unethical. Jigoro Kano's position was that tournaments were highly beneficial for developing skills. He thought that as long as the student was taught that winning tournaments was not a main, or even secondary, goal of the martial arts, then tournaments were not in conflict with humanitarian values.
Someone might wonder why I would learn Aikido at all if I intend to seriously progress in Judo. This is because the factor that makes it relatively easier to destroy an opponent's balance in Judo, namely first grabbing onto him to start the process, is potentially fatal if you're being attacked by two or more assailants. The Judo and Brazilian Jujitsu strategy of getting into a clinch with an attacker is helpful only if there is either one attacker or a group of attackers chooses to attack you one at a time. If two or more attackers come at you simultaneously, getting into a clinch with one of them is practically suicidal.
Last edited by Paul Jagdman : 05-07-2009 at 03:24 PM.