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Old 05-14-2013, 11:57 AM   #1
ThomasBaker92
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How long does it take to understand Aikido? How long to use it effectively?

I have read many things on this site and in other places saying that Aikido is "not effective" as a martial art. I have aslso read that it takes a long time to understand it. (that last bit i dont completely understand, is it the movements or the reason behind practicing that takes a while to understan?) im just wondering so any input is welcome
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Old 05-14-2013, 12:35 PM   #2
Malicat
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Re: How long does it take to understand Aikido? How long to use it effectively?

Quote:
Thomas Baker wrote: View Post
I have read many things on this site and in other places saying that Aikido is "not effective" as a martial art. I have aslso read that it takes a long time to understand it. (that last bit i dont completely understand, is it the movements or the reason behind practicing that takes a while to understan?) im just wondering so any input is welcome
I am very firmly of the belief that Aikido is an effective martial art. However, it works by allowing your attacker's energy to flow past you. In some cases, prior training makes it complicated to 'get' that concept. My former training tells me to block and strike a vulnerable area, not move around the strike and redirect my attacker, for example. In other cases, well, honestly it's so simple, it is difficult to grasp. We were working on a rear neck choke (kube shime) that used the sankyo technique. My partner kept trying to 'grab' the sankyo first, and it took us a few minutes for him to realize that if he stopped trying to force the technique, his natural hand movements will actually put sankyo into the correct position without trying to force through it.

There is a lot of subtlety with Aikido which is what makes it a life long pursuit. But I know many people in my organization who use Aikido as teachers breaking up fights between students, as well as bartenders removing customers who have had too much to drink and are trying to fight.

--Ashley
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Old 05-14-2013, 12:50 PM   #3
Demetrio Cereijo
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Re: How long does it take to understand Aikido? How long to use it effectively?

Quote:
Thomas Baker wrote: View Post
I have read many things on this site and in other places saying that Aikido is "not effective" as a martial art.
There's no smoke without fire.

Quote:
I have aslso read that it takes a long time to understand it. (that last bit i dont completely understand, is it the movements or the reason behind practicing that takes a while to understan?) im just wondering so any input is welcome
As you can see around here, even people who have been practising for years do not agree on what Aikido is about. I think the one who really understood Aikido was its founder.

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Old 05-14-2013, 01:07 PM   #4
JLRonin
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Re: How long does it take to understand Aikido? How long to use it effectively?

There is no fire without a spark.
It's a life time in the learning and understanding.
practice without jumping the lagoon.
read about the history of Aikido.
some excellent examples are:
Aikido and the harmony of nature
The Art of Peace
The Encyclopedia of Aikido
many more.
you will gain more knowledge through time and devotion.
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Old 05-14-2013, 06:12 PM   #5
Conrad Gus
 
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Re: How long does it take to understand Aikido? How long to use it effectively?

I tell beginners that the movements feel strange and unnatural for 6 months to a year, but then your body gets used to them a little bit more. That's not "understanding", but there is a distinct shift.

By around shodan, I think most people have a grasp on why aikido will eventually be effective and also have a pretty good grasp on why their own aikido still needs a lot of work. That's not "effective" or "understanding", but there is another shift in there somewhere.

As far as using it effectively, I think it depends on how you train. There are lots of people that will train their whole lives in a certain way and will never be really effective, because that's not really what they are training for (whether they know it or not).

On the other side, Kawahara Sensei (in Canada) apparently told his students that they could expect to be effective by around 3 dan, which is around 15 years or so for most people in the CAF (but it would still depend on the person, etc.) It seems to me like he intended for his students to be able to actually be effective with aikido (most people who trained with him agree that he himself definitely was).

I don't know much about it, but I've heard that the Yoshinkan Senshusei course is only 11 months and most people come out of it pretty kick-ass, but that's yoshinkan for you.

Aikido isn't impossible to understand or to use effectively, but it sure it difficult and time-consuming! If you compare it to something like karate, there is a lot more complexity and subtlety (IMHO) that really must be grasped before a technique will work in real life. A weak karate punch or kick can still be effective, but a poorly-executed aikido technique is worse than useless, hence the long training time to effectiveness.

My own intuition is that the more "magical" your aikido style is, the longer it will take to gain understanding and to be effective (approaching infinity). If you're learning how to break necks, backs, shoulders, elbows, wrists and fingers you'll be effective pretty fast, but your aikido will always be kind of brutish. If you're learning how to make people fall over with your mind from 30 feet away . . . well good luck with that one. Somewhere in between lies a nice balance that most of us think is realistic and fun for a hobby practitioner. Find your own preference and make sure your teacher and organization are going for the same level.

Whenever I get stuck or frustrated with learning aikido, I ask myself: "Why did I pick such a difficult art?". I always get the same answer: "Because aikido is awesome."
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Old 05-14-2013, 07:45 PM   #6
graham christian
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Re: How long does it take to understand Aikido? How long to use it effectively?

How long? A lifetime.

Peace.G.
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Old 05-14-2013, 07:45 PM   #7
robin_jet_alt
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Re: How long does it take to understand Aikido? How long to use it effectively?

Quote:
Conrad Gustafson wrote: View Post
I tell beginners that the movements feel strange and unnatural for 6 months to a year, but then your body gets used to them a little bit more. That's not "understanding", but there is a distinct shift.

By around shodan, I think most people have a grasp on why aikido will eventually be effective and also have a pretty good grasp on why their own aikido still needs a lot of work. That's not "effective" or "understanding", but there is another shift in there somewhere.

As far as using it effectively, I think it depends on how you train. There are lots of people that will train their whole lives in a certain way and will never be really effective, because that's not really what they are training for (whether they know it or not).

On the other side, Kawahara Sensei (in Canada) apparently told his students that they could expect to be effective by around 3 dan, which is around 15 years or so for most people in the CAF (but it would still depend on the person, etc.) It seems to me like he intended for his students to be able to actually be effective with aikido (most people who trained with him agree that he himself definitely was).

I don't know much about it, but I've heard that the Yoshinkan Senshusei course is only 11 months and most people come out of it pretty kick-ass, but that's yoshinkan for you.

Aikido isn't impossible to understand or to use effectively, but it sure it difficult and time-consuming! If you compare it to something like karate, there is a lot more complexity and subtlety (IMHO) that really must be grasped before a technique will work in real life. A weak karate punch or kick can still be effective, but a poorly-executed aikido technique is worse than useless, hence the long training time to effectiveness.

My own intuition is that the more "magical" your aikido style is, the longer it will take to gain understanding and to be effective (approaching infinity). If you're learning how to break necks, backs, shoulders, elbows, wrists and fingers you'll be effective pretty fast, but your aikido will always be kind of brutish. If you're learning how to make people fall over with your mind from 30 feet away . . . well good luck with that one. Somewhere in between lies a nice balance that most of us think is realistic and fun for a hobby practitioner. Find your own preference and make sure your teacher and organization are going for the same level.

Whenever I get stuck or frustrated with learning aikido, I ask myself: "Why did I pick such a difficult art?". I always get the same answer: "Because aikido is awesome."
Good answer!
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Old 05-14-2013, 10:17 PM   #8
Basia Halliop
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Re: How long does it take to understand Aikido? How long to use it effectively?

One of the reasons those are hard questions to answer is because neither understanding nor effectiveness are all or nothing yes/no things. They're relative things so it depends how well you're talking about understanding, or HOW effective you're talking about being.
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Old 05-14-2013, 11:26 PM   #9
SteliosPapadakis
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Re: How long does it take to understand Aikido? How long to use it effectively?

It was effective for me when i was attacked in bear-hug fashion from behind. At that time i was learning Aikido for 6 months.
Many years down the river, today, i cannot tell that i understand what Aikido is or what it is all about.
Yet it is fascinating in proving, lesson after lesson, that what you thought you knew was just misty air.
Someone above wrote that only the founder understood what Aikido was/is. Probably true.
Yet it always comes down to what YOU want it to be. Martial art? Religion? Spiritual purification? Body training? Nothing at all or all in one?
The only thing that can be certain is that it takes time to "master". And even then there is ample room for "improvement".
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Old 05-15-2013, 04:28 AM   #10
Aikeway
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Re: How long does it take to understand Aikido? How long to use it effectively?

The techniques of aikido are effective. However, unless you train against a resisting partner regularly once you reach a certain degree of proficiency, real progress will be very slow, even though you may get your different grades. Some techniques work for you very well up until the partner resists. You then have to determine how to make the technique work in a realistic situation when there is resistance. Many of the techniques work better against a resisting opponent when preceded by an atemi.
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Old 05-15-2013, 05:54 AM   #11
ThomasBaker92
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Re: How long does it take to understand Aikido? How long to use it effectively?

How would i go about practicing it for a real life situation?
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Old 05-15-2013, 06:04 AM   #12
Demetrio Cereijo
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Re: How long does it take to understand Aikido? How long to use it effectively?

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Thomas Baker wrote: View Post
How would i go about practicing it for a real life situation?
You mean self defense?

Studying Aikido is not the most efficient way to develop self defense abilities in a short time. YouŽll need years of practise for that. If you are looking for self defense you need to go elsewhere.

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Old 05-15-2013, 06:10 AM   #13
Dennis Hooker
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Re: How long does it take to understand Aikido? How long to use it effectively?

Well let's see. One day I was bright eyed and bushy tailed and bullet proof. Out of the army years of budo and boxing behind me and I discover Aikido. A bright and glorious path lay before me, new sights, new sounds and concepts. Remember this the late 60's early 70's all my parts worked and the Aikido came in a glories intoxicating rush. There were talks of “those” senior sensei, and the ever allusive Japanese phantoms I would later become intimately familiar with them. It was all bright and shinny and then yesterday I heard someone speak of Hooker’ s Senior Sensei that were teaching seminars and instead of bullet proof I now feel like the Velveteen Rabbit but Aikido is still bright and glories and I am still seeking the way just along a newly Illuminate path made for Velveteen Rabbits

Last edited by Dennis Hooker : 05-15-2013 at 06:17 AM.

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Old 05-15-2013, 06:24 AM   #14
OwlMatt
 
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Re: How long does it take to understand Aikido? How long to use it effectively?

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Demetrio Cereijo wrote: View Post
You mean self defense?

Studying Aikido is not the most efficient way to develop self defense abilities in a short time. YouŽll need years of practise for that. If you are looking for self defense you need to go elsewhere.
This. Aikido is not realistic combat training and the primary duty of an aikido instructor is not to make students into effective fighters. There are much better ways to learn self-defense than aikido.

My martial arts blog: The Young Grasshopper
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Old 05-15-2013, 06:30 AM   #15
PeterR
 
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Re: How long does it take to understand Aikido? How long to use it effectively?

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Matthew Story wrote: View Post
This. Aikido is not realistic combat training and the primary duty of an aikido instructor is not to make students into effective fighters. There are much better ways to learn self-defense than aikido.
This really depends on how its taught. Concentrating on a sub-set of techniques chosen for simplicity of action, resistance and scenario training, skill and body training drills, and you have a timeline that matches any martial art that does the same. I figure half a year.

Enjoying the art and complexity of Aikido and not worrying too much about [name your demon here] it might take a bit longer.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 05-15-2013, 06:38 AM   #16
Dennis Hooker
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Re: How long does it take to understand Aikido? How long to use it effectively?

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Peter Rehse wrote: View Post
This really depends on how its taught. Concentrating on a sub-set of techniques chosen for simplicity of action, resistance and scenario training, skill and body training drills, and you have a timeline that matches any martial art that does the same. I figure half a year.

Enjoying the art and complexity of Aikido and not worrying too much about [name your demon here] it might take a bit longer.
From my view point (narrow minded and ancient as it is) one either does Aikido budo or one does Aikidance. I have found over the years Aikido to be extremely effective as a bubo art and if necessary a excellent form of self defiance.

Dennis Hooker: (DVD) Zanshin and Ma-ai in Aikido
https://www.createspace.com/238049

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Old 05-15-2013, 07:35 AM   #17
Keith Larman
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Re: How long does it take to understand Aikido? How long to use it effectively?

Quote:
Peter Rehse wrote: View Post
This really depends on how its taught. Concentrating on a sub-set of techniques chosen for simplicity of action, resistance and scenario training, skill and body training drills, and you have a timeline that matches any martial art that does the same. I figure half a year.

Enjoying the art and complexity of Aikido and not worrying too much about [name your demon here] it might take a bit longer.
Absolutely.

We need a golf-clap emoticon...

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Old 05-15-2013, 08:06 AM   #18
Dennis Hooker
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Re: How long does it take to understand Aikido? How long to use it effectively?

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Keith Larman wrote: View Post
Absolutely.

We need a golf-clap emoticon...
A what?? Damn getting old leaves me out of most new sayings. Tryed to google it and now I am more lost than ever.

Dennis Hooker: (DVD) Zanshin and Ma-ai in Aikido
https://www.createspace.com/238049

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Old 05-15-2013, 08:18 AM   #19
Demetrio Cereijo
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Re: How long does it take to understand Aikido? How long to use it effectively?

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Peter Rehse wrote: View Post
Concentrating on a sub-set of techniques chosen for simplicity of action, resistance and scenario training, skill and body training drills.
Plus training awareness, avoidance, descalation, first aid, legal issues... yes, the usual curriculum in the ordinary Aikido dojo.

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Old 05-15-2013, 08:38 AM   #20
ThomasBaker92
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Re: How long does it take to understand Aikido? How long to use it effectively?

I am not looking at Aikido strictly as a means of self defence i hear alot of "the way aikido is practised makes it less effective in a self defence situation." I am looking to continue Aikido throughout my life im not looking for and "fast road" to self defence i have a few years of karate if it is needed. What i am asking is how can i practice Aikido in a way that would make it more practical for use if a situation called for it? Like say sparing with a practitioner of judo, bjj, or karate on a regular basis?

Last edited by ThomasBaker92 : 05-15-2013 at 08:45 AM.
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Old 05-15-2013, 09:04 AM   #21
Demetrio Cereijo
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Re: How long does it take to understand Aikido? How long to use it effectively?

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Thomas Baker wrote: View Post
Like say sparing with a practitioner of judo, bjj, or karate on a regular basis?
Sparring with competent people is very helpful.

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Old 05-15-2013, 09:22 AM   #22
Keith Larman
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Re: How long does it take to understand Aikido? How long to use it effectively?

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Dennis Hooker wrote: View Post
A what?? Damn getting old leaves me out of most new sayings. Tryed to google it and now I am more lost than ever.
Polite, respectful and relatively quiet clapping as you'd see at a golf match. No hooting and hollering, just quiet clapping signifying respect and approval. And for emoticon, things like these...

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Old 05-15-2013, 09:24 AM   #23
Keith Larman
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Re: How long does it take to understand Aikido? How long to use it effectively?

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Thomas Baker wrote: View Post
I am not looking at Aikido strictly as a means of self defence i hear alot of "the way aikido is practised makes it less effective in a self defence situation." I am looking to continue Aikido throughout my life im not looking for and "fast road" to self defence i have a few years of karate if it is needed. What i am asking is how can i practice Aikido in a way that would make it more practical for use if a situation called for it? Like say sparing with a practitioner of judo, bjj, or karate on a regular basis?
Well, for me it is finding others who are like minded who are willing to experiment, spar a bit, grapple a bit, and pressure test what you know so you can make it better. Or better yet find a dojo where that is part of the overall gestalt of the place. Folk get in to aikido for any number or reasons and each dojo has their own balance of various factors. You just need to find one that fits well for what you want to do.

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Old 05-15-2013, 10:26 AM   #24
lbb
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Re: How long does it take to understand Aikido? How long to use it effectively?

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Thomas Baker wrote: View Post
I am not looking at Aikido strictly as a means of self defence i hear alot of "the way aikido is practised makes it less effective in a self defence situation." I am looking to continue Aikido throughout my life im not looking for and "fast road" to self defence i have a few years of karate if it is needed. What i am asking is how can i practice Aikido in a way that would make it more practical for use if a situation called for it? Like say sparing with a practitioner of judo, bjj, or karate on a regular basis?
This is a bit like saying "I don't want to buy a ladder, I want to buy some trash cans. But if I need to use my trash cans to climb up onto my porch roof, can I do it?" The answer is yes, but it's not the best way to do it, and you might get a little dinged up in the process. So I think you need to ask yourself: do you need to get up on that roof, or don't you? Is it something you actually have to do ("It's leaking, I have to fix it NOW") or an abstract nice-to-have ("Hmm, it would be a good idea to get up on that roof some day, I might have to fix something")? If you don't have at least some idea why you're climbing up on that roof, does it make any sense to do it?

As to sparring with practitioners of other styles, I'd say that that's a good way to expose yourself to a broader range of possible attacks. But the same things that make it beneficial also make it rather risky. If you spar with a karateka, you're both coloring outside the lines: your partner knows nothing about taking ukemi, and as for you? You're about to get a painful lesson in just how foolish the phrase "oh, I'll just catch the kick" is. Training against other styles exposes the holes in your own capabilities, and that's exactly where you can get hurt. I don't think it's a great idea unless both practitioners have at least a solid understanding of their own style, and even then I think it's best to proceed with caution and conversation and mutual understanding.
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Old 05-15-2013, 01:40 PM   #25
Aikeway
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Re: How long does it take to understand Aikido? How long to use it effectively?

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Thomas Baker wrote: View Post
I am not looking at Aikido strictly as a means of self defence i hear alot of "the way aikido is practised makes it less effective in a self defence situation." I am looking to continue Aikido throughout my life im not looking for and "fast road" to self defence i have a few years of karate if it is needed. What i am asking is how can i practice Aikido in a way that would make it more practical for use if a situation called for it? Like say sparing with a practitioner of judo, bjj, or karate on a regular basis?
Firstly, you need to carefully choose the style of aikido you intend doing. Some do a form of randori against a resisting opponent such as the Tomiki styles e.g Shodokan, whereas other styles believe that any form of "competition" is bad. However, it doesn't end there. You need to try to get an instructor who also has an open mind towards cross-training and training against resisting partners as opposed to an instructor who has an excessively passive outlook. After you have trained perhaps 3 years with co-operative partners and are perhaps up around the brown belt level, then you need to find at least one other partner who has a similar attitude to you and also a similar or higher aikido skill level and who has also cross-trained in other martial arts. These two factors are necessary because he needs to have the high skill level in aikido to be able to take the joint manipulation techniques and do the breakfalls and know when to go with a potentially damaging technique so as not to get injured, as well as having a high skill level in say boxing or karate or judo or BJJ. That way you can practise an aikido response (or develop an aikido response) to attacks that he makes using his other martial art. Finding all these things which I list is very difficult.
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