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Old 01-29-2006, 04:59 PM   #1
Michael Varin
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Self-defense art?

While reading the forum recently, I saw someone state that aikido suffers from a "lack of focus on functional self defense," and that regarding aikido "it takes so long before one can be very functional from a practical standpoint."

I'm curious. Is aikido useful in self-defense situations? Why or why not? What are good self-defense arts? What aspects of a martial art make it useful or not for self-defense? What are the factors that decrease the time required to be functional from a practical standpoint? Is self-defense even important?

I'm not looking for one right answer, so please, offer opinions freely.

Michael
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Old 01-29-2006, 05:29 PM   #2
Edwin Neal
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Re: Self-defense art?

Great questions, but thats alot of ground to cover! generally speaking your statements in the first part are correct... as self defense is not usually the primary focus of most, but not all, aikidoka; however, it can be as functional as any other art from a self defense stand point.

it is useful in self defense because of the basic strategy of aikido ie evade the initial attack, while simultaneously moving to a superior tactical position from which you apply a technique to basically throw or pin/submit/choke your attacker...

many arts are good for self defense, but self defense is more that physically fighting a great website that someone (thank you whoever you were!) is here
http://www.nononsenseselfdefense.com/

to become "functional" in aikido or any activity takes training with that goal in mind... relatively speaking with a little serious sincere practice the basic physical moves of aikido can be aquired in a few months to a year depending upon you and your instructor...

self defense IS important especially IMHO with regards to aikido... how can you feel safe ie in harmony with the universe if you cannot protect yourself from physical attack... further how can you achieve the broader goal goal of protecting not only yourself but your attacker from the spiritual, physical, and even legal ramifications of his attack if you cannot use aikido to prevent this...

to me the physical and spiritual aspects must both be present and effective for Aikido to be valid...
hope that helps...

Edwin Neal


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Old 01-29-2006, 06:33 PM   #3
Simbo
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Re: Self-defense art?

I made a comment that I think fits this a little on a previous thread.
http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=9680
Check it out, it's good stuff
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Old 01-29-2006, 07:07 PM   #4
eyrie
 
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Re: Self-defense art?

Allow me to offer a different perspective of "self-defense". Let's just take the first part - "self". What is the "self"? When you have the answer to that question, then what is the "REAL" self? If you are dead, where is your SELF?

When you can answer that, then we can start to talk about "defense" and why you feel it necessary to defend the SELF....

Often we look outside of ourselves for a panecea that provides some perceivable promise of protection. What we often fail to do, is introspectively look at ourselves. The answer to self-defense or rather the ability to defend one's self, lies not in some external art form, but in the very core of our BEING; external forms are merely a vehicle for expressing the inner SELF.

The question should not be, can aikido [or any other martial art] be a good self-defense art, but rather, if I need to, can I defend my SELF with the art. My question is, do you need to?

Ignatius
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Old 01-30-2006, 05:59 AM   #5
doronin
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Re: Self-defense art?

Aikido learning curve is much, I would even exaggerate by saying - tens times longer then many other martial arts, which makes Aikido looking less functional with regards to self-defence. But when you eventually get there you will be capable of some nice things.

I would say is that Aikido is an attempt of refinement of martial arts general concept. I can't judge how far did it get on this way, but what I see is that most people choose it as a martial art that can open "new horizons" in martial and other aspects of self development, rather then the quick way to learn self-defence.

Another think is the purpose. IMHO, Aikido, as it is, has limited capabilities for some specialized applications, such as military attacks or sustained fights, just because it wasn't created and designed for such purposes. And because of that it lacks some necesary for the mentioned applications elements in its general curriculum, as well as some training approaches. And though Aikido can be applied in the above situations, it's usually is not enough to have consistent positive results.

So, the final answer depends on what aspects of self-defence are more or less priority for you.

Just my 0.02.
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Old 01-30-2006, 08:01 AM   #6
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Re: Self-defense art?

Quote:
Michael Varian wrote:
Is aikido useful in self-defense situations? Why or why not? What are good self-defense arts? What aspects of a martial art make it useful or not for self-defense? What are the factors that decrease the time required to be functional from a practical standpoint? Is self-defense even important?
IMHO, yes Aikido is still a martial art, therefore important and useful in a self-defense situation.

It takes longer because you not only have to learn a different way to move, but also a different way to think. The change and unity of body and mind is not a simple task.

To decrease time, go slower initially and learn the technical tactics and the strategic principles and concepts.

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 01-30-2006, 09:48 AM   #7
Dajo251
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Re: Self-defense art?

Quote:
Lynn Seiser wrote:
IMHO, yes Aikido is still a martial art, therefore important and useful in a self-defense situation.

It takes longer because you not only have to learn a different way to move, but also a different way to think. The change and unity of body and mind is not a simple task.

To decrease time, go slower initially and learn the technical tactics and the strategic principles and concepts.
well put.....

Dan Hulley
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Old 01-30-2006, 11:45 AM   #8
Edwin Neal
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Re: Self-defense art?

Come on lets not get all full of ourselves here...
the learning curve of aikido ten times other MA??? PROVE this don't just state it...this can be construed as egotistical and often is by people new to the martial arts or other MA... our art is so incredible that it takes a lifetime to learn implies others are so much easier and thus "not as good"...the "basic physical movements" of aikido can be learned in less than a year... does this mean "mastery"? no... does it mean that you "could" use the "basic physical movements" for self-defense? the answer must be yes... does this mean you know everything there is to know about aikido? of course not... People who would make claims that aikido is SOOO incredibly complex must be prepared to back them up... i DO NOT know how to play basketball... if i had up to lets say one year to practice under the guidance of a good coach i could learn the basic rules and physical skills of the game... does that mean i am ready for the NBA or even have a "black belt" in basketball... probably not, nearly certainly not in my case... I am saying that people that say things like it takes too long to be practical, MUST be missing the point of aikido altogether... aikido must be martially viable! If you cannot even protect yourself, you cannot even HOPE to not cause harm to a potential attacker... do i mean everyone will be able to use their aikido sucessfully in a self defense situation after one years training... no that depends on the situation there are no guarantee's in such a situation with any martial art however long you have studied...
I am willing to accept testimonials... come on folks... tell me your story have you used your "basic physical aikido skills" in any kind of "situation", before you studied for "many years" maybe 10 times more than any other art? my personal experiences tell me that i did in fact have skills that were useful in a relatively short time... but i still have much to learn as well... just because our art is "infinitly" rich doesn't mean it takes infinity to get it...

Edwin Neal


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Old 01-30-2006, 11:55 AM   #9
Edwin Neal
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Re: Self-defense art?

Ignatius... interesting thoughts, but try a philosophy or Buddhism forum... there is no self you can't dissect someone and take "it" out... it is a concept... one of the incredible things about aikido is that it answers this question for you... there is no 'self' that is seperate from all of creation when you realize this this is called "aiki"...

Edwin Neal


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Old 01-30-2006, 12:10 PM   #10
bratzo_barrena
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Re: Self-defense art?

I happen to agree with Edwin Here,
A lot of Aikido instructor state that Aikido would take 10, 20, xx years of practice to have some practical application, in a self-defense sense.
Which is just bullshit.
it's true that Aikido has body movements that need practice and principles that need to be understood, but it would be an innefective martial art if it would take sooooooo long to have some proficientcy, or some level of application.
One just can't wait all his life to see if Aikido would work.
The problem with the instructor are basically 2:
1. the instructor that really believet that Aikido will bring some kind of magical power/energy/illumination, only achievable through xxxxx years of practice/mediation. Some kind of Jedi power... and disregard the body mechanins and physics behind the technique (which actually are what make Aikido effective).
2. the instructor who don't know the body mechanics and don't know how to aplly the principle of Aikido, and hence, won't be able to teach proper techniques to his/her students, making it not only longer, but impossible to achieve any proficiency in Aikido, thus making it inefective.

Aikido is a Martial Art based on body mechanics, laws of physics, there is no magic. Explainig body mechanics, meanin body movements, takes as long as the explanation, then you have to practice what you are told. Takes practicem time and effort, and depending on the student commitment, will take more or less time, but infinite year of practice, not true.
Now having some level of proficieny in AIkido (or any martial art, sport, art or else) doesn't make anyone a 'master', but one should be able to have some level of practical application of Aikido in a couple of years or sooner.
There is no magic in Aikido, there is no secret mystical knowledge, no poewr of the goods, is just physics and body mechanics

Bratzo Barrena
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Aikido Goshin Dojo
Doral, FL
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Old 01-30-2006, 12:16 PM   #11
Dajo251
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Re: Self-defense art?

Quote:
Bratzo Barrena wrote:
I1. the instructor that really believet that Aikido will bring some kind of magical power/energy/illumination, only achievable through xxxxx years of practice/mediation. Some kind of Jedi power... and disregard the body mechanins and physics behind the technique (which actually are what make Aikido effective).

Bratzo Barrena
Instructor
Aikido Goshin Dojo
Doral, FL
wait you dont get jedi powers from training in aikido, damn I am so out!

Dan Hulley
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Old 01-30-2006, 12:32 PM   #12
Edwin Neal
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Re: Self-defense art?

But you DO get the jedi powers after infinity years of practice Daniel... hang in there!

Edwin Neal


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Old 01-30-2006, 12:34 PM   #13
Dajo251
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Re: Self-defense art?

thanks, I got scared for a moment.

Dan Hulley
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Old 01-30-2006, 03:29 PM   #14
eyrie
 
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Re: Self-defense art?

Quote:
Edwin Neal wrote:
Ignatius... interesting thoughts, but try a philosophy or Buddhism forum... there is no self you can't dissect someone and take "it" out... it is a concept... one of the incredible things about aikido is that it answers this question for you... there is no 'self' that is seperate from all of creation when you realize this this is called "aiki"...
Well, Edwin, he wanted several perspectives and I offered one.

I agree that it doesn't take decades of training to be proficient in the way of movement and applying a basic level of aiki. But it does take at least a few years to develop good kokyu strength.

Ignatius
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Old 01-30-2006, 03:41 PM   #15
Edwin Neal
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Re: Self-defense art?

true please take no offense as none was intended... i have some background in both the Western Philosophical debate, and the Buddhist philosophies about the nature the self... i just thought any one really interested would find more detailed info in those places... true as well about the developement of kokyu/ki power, but i am primarily interested in the basic physical functionality of the techniques... we all get better with years of practice, but that doesn't mean it takes that long to be functional... i just think as i expressed before that this is somewhat wrongheaded and unfair to prospective students, especially if it makes aikido look like or into some sort of egalitarian pursuit with nebulous goals like enlightenment, with no SD benefits... if you doubt aikido why would you do it? and further you have no grounds to refute any criticism of the art from others...

i would like to hear any lower levels or stories from any level about their use of aikido skills, esp. in SD situations...

Edwin Neal


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Old 01-30-2006, 04:56 PM   #16
Charlie
 
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Re: Self-defense art?

Story related to me from a fellow MYAA instructor...

Child student of his [probably between 8-12] was confronted on the play ground by the class bully. Bully began to push him around like he did with all the other kids. Child student proceeded to do a perfectly timed TAI NO HENKO NO NI/ TENKAN movement at the moment the bully began to push on his chest. Bully went flying into the fence and was ridiculed by all the other students.

Child student proceeded to promptly tell his story to his sensei at his next lesson with a big ole grin on his face and proud parents standing behind him.

Sounds too good to be true...but is! Basic "self" defense in action with a touch of kokyu to boot!

Charles

Charles Burmeister
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Old 01-30-2006, 05:07 PM   #17
Edwin Neal
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Re: Self-defense art?

Sensei George,
It has been my honor to train with many fine students and instructors... I began my training in Japan, and have trained mainly on the east coast and southeastern areas of the U.S....
I do not believe my idea of functionality is unrealistic... i believe that some methods of training do not focus on funtionality and thus it does take more time to become skilled... and i think we are using the words: functional, skilled, mastery(no such thing)and effective in a rather loose fashion... i have a strong feeling that this is a matter of Doctrine (indoctrination), and methodology... taking your MA examples i feel judo is just as complex as aikido, and based on similar even nearly identical principles... i am not saying that one will have a grasp of kokyu/ki or a mastery of these skills but rather will be able to apply them in a meaningful way... see my earlier posts on this thread...

Edwin Neal


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Old 01-30-2006, 05:28 PM   #18
Edwin Neal
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Re: Self-defense art?

I do agree with Dmitry when he says aikido is a refinement of the martial arts, but i tend to say a Meta MA... some styles(really hate that term) teach that there are no strikes, or kicks or chokes or groundwork or whatever in aikido... this is clearly false from video evidence of Osensei, and by first hand accounts from those who studied with him... Osensei said to absorb venerable traditions into aikido, and use them to build better forms(waza)... if aikido is ineffective martially for SD it is my feeling that the cause is the drift from teaching for functionality, but this is absolutely imperative to aikido, and does not exclude the more spiritual aspects of training... indeed without the physical functionality the spiritual functionality is also lost, and it becomes a kind of physical movement with an unreachable goal of harmnony with an attacker.
aikido is a complete system and does not need to borrow from others styles what is already supposed to be a part of it...

Edwin Neal


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Old 01-30-2006, 05:59 PM   #19
Michael Varin
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Re: Self-defense art?

Thanks to everyone who's commented so far.

Hey Edwin, I'm familiar with http://www.nononsenseselfdefense.com
I was turned on to it by a novel. The author sited references that explain the main character's behavior and this was one of them. I agree with most of their ideas, at least of what I read. It's a big site. Its strongest point is discussing the realities of personal protection and smoking out the melodramatic, martial arts hero fantasies.

I, also, would like to hear accounts of martial arts used in self defense. Which brings me to another question. What do you out there consider to be self defense situations? Or where and in what situations do you expect your martial arts to work for you?

Michael
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Old 01-30-2006, 06:04 PM   #20
PeterR
 
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Re: Self-defense art?

Basically I'm in Edwin's camp on this one. It shouldn't take very long to be able to use Aikido in a functional self defense way. It may take a serious chunk of time to develop the full breadth of what Aikido offers but that really is another question.

Somewhere back in time I made the point that choosing a subset of Aikido techniques, heavily drilled, along with scenario based training, will get you there as fast as any PK art. Its all in how you train. Case in point is the randori level you see with Shodokan Aikido students - they are really good. The breadth of Aikido will come in time.

What is self defense is another question? One of my dojo mates gets a gleam in his eye and talks about cutting femoral arteries. He comes from a pretty tough part of the world. Me - I consider self defense as a tad less intense.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 01-30-2006, 06:35 PM   #21
Edwin Neal
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Re: Self-defense art?

thanks for your input guys... i don't have a camp yet, just one small tent...
i consider self defense in a relatively broad context i guess... i really like the nononsense site it is big, but he has an analytical style that appeals to me... too many MA think self defense equals fighting... i never have, its just part of it... i served in the navy in my younger days... started aikido on the navy base in yokosuka with Parker shihan of the Yoshinkan... while there i had the opportunity to also train with Terada shihan... lucky me... it was awesome I wanted to do kendo so i went to talk to the sensei and she told me how much armor and stuff cost and that kind of took the wind out of my sails, she then suggested i try the aikido (never heard of it) class until i saved the money... i went to aikido class the next night and never went back to kendo... the first aiki SD moment just involved ukemi what could have been a really nasty fall on ice coverd concrete shocked me when i just fell the aiki way... my next was after i had left japan and was assigned to a submarine in Charleston SC... a shipmate decided to horse around and as i'm walking down the pier he comes up behind me to a rear bearhug... without even thinking it just happened... you know the Ushiro tori undo exercise right into a tai no henka pivot, hand on his wrist to do a nikkyo, he let go and stepped back looking really surprised, but not as surprised as me... turns out he had studied some hapkido so he knew what was happening too... we became good friends and practiced together alot... this was with about a year of practice and not very intense as the navy kind of keeps you busy...
mostly i avoided bad situations as i got into the habit of really being aware of where i was and my surroundings and what was going on, and kind of "projecting ki" that i was ready if someone wanted to cause trouble... which i kind of got from aikido...
that's my moment anyone else wanna share...

Edwin Neal


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Old 01-30-2006, 08:51 PM   #22
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Re: Self-defense art?

In my opinion being able to defend yourself is less about which art you study and more about how developed your martial mind is. Some people are born who are just naturally martial minded, some become so though training, no doubt some people never do.
That said different arts have different skill sets which reflect the arts stratagy and mindset and having a broad skill set and set of stratagies is always good. You should always have one art as a your basis though and in my opinion Aikido is excellent for that.
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Old 01-30-2006, 09:05 PM   #23
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Re: Self-defense art?

My personal contribution:

http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showpo...9&postcount=11

Edwin, what year were you in Yokosuka? Maybe we meet. I left in 1997.

Charles

Last edited by Charlie : 01-30-2006 at 09:15 PM.

Charles Burmeister
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Old 01-30-2006, 09:34 PM   #24
Edwin Neal
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Re: Self-defense art?

Alex, with respect you don't defend yourself with your mind, by the time your mind kicks in it is usually too late! that's one thing i like about aikido is it just happens naturally, even more as your practice progresses... as i stated earlier ALL the skill sets are IMHO a part of aikido, not that they are taught in most dojo's...
Charles, how am i supposed to top that?! great story... I too have been on that sacred battleground! you should look at it not as loosing control of yourself but giving a much needed reality check and lesson in humility to a bunch of squids that needed it! you held off 3 attackers as a white belt!!!, best evidence yet that functionality comes rather quicker that the "Mystifiers" would have people believe... and the second guy came around and no one was really hurt so i think those qualify as victories... in both stories you protected yourself, and did not brutally harm your attackers... aiki-victory...
the story about the kid in that earlier post was very good too
My only what i would consider real fight was when i worked bouncing in a bar in Charleston, by this time I had studied maybe 3-4 years on and off... guy gets mouthy and threatens to kick my ass reaches for me and i catch him with a hard irimi nage... his friends picked him up and took him home... telling me that they would take care of him don't beat him up... i just told them to get him out and that i hoped he wasn't hurt...
i hope some more people will put up their stories...
but even people that don't believe aikido works, don't study and don't even KNOW that what they are doing is aikido can make it work... even in a MMA situation... check this out...

http://www.bullshido.net/forums/showthread.php?t=30771

Edwin Neal


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Old 01-30-2006, 10:00 PM   #25
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Re: Self-defense art?

I read Alex's post a bit different.

A well devoloped martial mind set will let you train in a way that gives you that extra edge when push comes to shomen-ate.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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