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Old 09-23-2004, 08:25 AM   #1
kienergy1234
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aikido and self defense

Many people seem to be talking about aikido loosing its self defense aspects,of course i have only been tahking aikikai aikido for 3 months,but i still thimk aikido will always be a very effective self defense,also ive heard that aikido is 90% atemi,is this true.

your in aiki, josh dalton
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Old 09-23-2004, 09:55 AM   #2
SeiserL
 
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Re: aikido and self defense

Yes, many people talk about Aikido losing its self-defense aspects. Yes, I have hear that Aikido is 90% atemi.

I do not know if all that's true. IMHO, it depends on you, your training, and your experience.

Aikido has not lost its self-defense aspects for me. While I use a lot of atemi, or at least know where I can, I don't use it 90% of the time, just 90% aware of its possibility.

Don't worry what others say, because you will hear all kinds of opinions (including mine).

Now, go train.

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 10-05-2004, 03:48 PM   #3
Jordan Steele
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Re: aikido and self defense

Aikido is very effective when used for "self-defense" but highly ineffective when used for fighting and there is a big difference between the two. The great thing about Aikido and all martial arts is that they are open to interpretation and allow the practitioner to make it their own. My point being is that Aikido's effectiveness in self defense is totally based on who is using it. As for atemi, I would support the argument that for Aikido to work martially, atemi is necessary. People that don't train in Aikido are hard to offbalance without distracting them or hitting them. Unless someone comes at you with a full power attack, usually a strike is needed to effectively offbalance an attacker. Just my thoughts.
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Old 10-05-2004, 06:07 PM   #4
mj
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Re: aikido and self defense

People like to claim that Aikido is 90% atemi, 89% love, 70 % stabilty, 64% ability to do mathematical squares, 61% extension, 61.0% ki, 50% balance, 4 percent shikaku, 3% hanmi, , 2.4% ability to deal with family, 2% hand position and one percent connection.

I just turn up and fail usually.

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Old 10-05-2004, 06:46 PM   #5
maikerus
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Re: aikido and self defense

Aikido is 100% spirit. All the rest is just a by-product of training.

IMHO,

--Michael

Hiriki no yosei 3 - The kihon that makes your head ache instead of your legs
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Old 10-08-2004, 01:41 PM   #6
Lyle Laizure
 
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Re: aikido and self defense

Aikido is not effective as a self-defense. LOL No matter how many times I hear it I always have to laugh. I agree that when a person initialy begins studying aikido its usefullness is limited. My answer though when someone states this is that it truely depends on the individual training and the instructor.

Lyle Laizure
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Old 10-08-2004, 04:44 PM   #7
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Re: aikido and self defense

Two Questions:

1. Why is Aikido effective for self-defense and ineffective for fighting?

2. What distinction are you wishing to draw between fighting and self-defense?

Thanks in advance,
dmv
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Old 10-08-2004, 06:13 PM   #8
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: aikido and self defense

Quote:
Lynn Seiser wrote:
just 90% aware of its possibility.
Hi Lynn,
I like the way you put that! The fact that you do use atemi and have the awareness that you could use it, even when you don't make the atemi explicit, is what supports your technique and why it is effective.

In other words, atemi will not produce effective technique. But technique without the possibility of atemi won't be effective against anyone who has any idea what is going on. That where the phrase about "90% atemi" came from.

Actually, I like what Goldsbury Sensei said on this issue. "Aikido isn't 90% atemi, it's 100 % atemi." This fits right in with what Saotome sensei taught that every throw you do is simply an atemi you are choosing not to do.

George S. Ledyard
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Old 10-08-2004, 06:23 PM   #9
Charles Hill
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Re: aikido and self defense

Quote:
Joshua Dalton wrote:
aikido is 90% atemi
Slight thread deviation. We have all heard that O`Sensei said that aikido is 40, 60, 90, 99% atemi. The most important lesson behind this, in my opinion, is that O`Sensei obviously said particular things to particular people. When we take those comments out of context, we are surely to miss the real teaching.

Charles Hill
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Old 10-08-2004, 07:41 PM   #10
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Re: aikido and self defense

What's the context and/or contexts and what's the real teaching derived there from?

dmv
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Old 10-08-2004, 09:03 PM   #11
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Re: aikido and self defense

I can tell you this...Aikido is 1 and 1/4...

Maybe i'm bad with percentages?
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Old 10-09-2004, 01:27 AM   #12
Charles Hill
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Re: aikido and self defense

Hi David,

The context is obviously going to be all the details pertaining to the circumstances in which O`Sensei told a particular person something. In other words, basically lost. The "real teaching" , in my opinion, is what I learn (as I can only speak for myself) when I read about what O`sensei taught, watch the videos, listen to my teacher, watch his demonstration, take ukemi from him, take ukemi from sempai, and then try to forget it all while I try to be as present as I can when I practice with each partner.

Charles Hill
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Old 10-09-2004, 02:38 AM   #13
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Re: aikido and self defense

Hi Charles,

Well that is what originally came to my mind at first as well. Only, as I started to think about it more, I realized a couple of things:

a. I have no idea what context went with what percentage. Personally, I don't know anyone who does, or at least they have never given more context than anyone else that has simply just repeated whatever percentage they were keen on relaying. Not trying to make this a personal issue, can I ask you if you know of any context - one you can share pertaining to one of these percentages as was given by Osensei?

b. When I think of context, I think of a search for an objective standard, one outside of my own subjective experiences, one capable of orienting those subjective experiences. In this case, for example, we are dealing with a historical context (via a historiography). Yet, in coming up with exactly what you came up when when looking at what "real teachings" might mean, I saw that I was not at all in fact opening up to any type of objective standard. I saw that I was indeed remaining quite subjective concerning such things. Now, of course, that is not a bad thing, especially if we end up suggesting that that is all we can do, but it also doesn't exactly fly right by what we were trying to get at with our initial efforts to understand context. Right?

I mention these things only because they seem to work with what I'm reading here in the thread and also what I'm feeling when I read those things. That is to say, there is this "friction" between subjective limitations and objective aspirations. I would like to suggest that it is this "friction" that gives us meaning and capacity for comprehension. However, this friction is different for all of us. For example, I can sort of understand what someone might mean when they attempt to draw a distinction between self-defense and fighting, and/or I sort of understand what one might mean when they say that a throw is a strike we didn't opt to execute, and/or I sort of understand how one might suggest that strikes (even in terms of just potential) are vital to the overall effectiveness of Aikido, but, on the other hand, because my "friction" is somewhat different, I can also come to see these statements as ludicrous.

Questions spring into my mind that hit at the center of such reasoning and thereby subvert it from sounding reasonable to my ears (i.e. as you might have been able to tell in the question I posed earlier asking about the "great distinction" between "fighting" and "self-defense"). I think that this is the same exact process that the original poster is experiencing and by which he posted his initial question. The difference is that he doesn't seem to be all that aware of it. Not meaning this as a personal issue: This is why, philosophically speaking, he can use his experience of Aikido (based upon his short time, his teacher and/or teachers, and his single dojo) to raise a question concerning the whole of Aikido. When you look at it that way, to me, at least, the whole things seems a bit off target. However, we get this kind of stuff all the time on these forums. Somebody is always out to solve some "great" dilemma concerning the art as a whole when in fact we are only ever dealing with personal issues. That's why for me, I do not feel it wise to tell him to just wait and train, to let time pass, and that all things will be understood one day. This is to buy into the whole reification process of seeing the personal as the universal. Plus, the only thing that happens in time is that a particular "friction" will become his and most likely his alone. Moreover, it is not at all guaranteed by Time passing that he will come to "know" an Aikido that is capable of meeting self-defense concerns, etc. Therefore, I think it wise to embrace that process of gaining our own "friction" (i.e. the rubbing of subjective experiences of the art with objective aspirations of the art) whole-heartedly. Toward that end, he should go after what he is looking for, taking full responsibility to find it himself. If he's interested in Aikido as self-defense, and/or if he's interested in seeing Aikido as 90% atemi, I say go for it. Chase it down. One should get proactive about such things. If one can't find these answers, or even these questions, at where one is currently training, one should move on to another Aikido dojo where these things exist in bounty. We should keep chasing it down, even if in time it leads us right back to exactly where we started. One should not wait for some great abstraction we want to call "Aikido" to show us these things.

just thinking out loud,
dmv
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Old 10-09-2004, 11:34 AM   #14
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Re: aikido and self defense

Quote:
Lynn Seiser wrote:
Yes, many people talk about Aikido losing its self-defense aspects. Yes, I have hear that Aikido is 90% atemi....While I use a lot of atemi, or at least know where I can, I don't use it 90% of the time, just 90% aware of its possibility.
I was sort of taken aback to read in your BB article that aikido dropped ATEMI. Am I remembering wrong? If not, what did you mean?

Thanks.

Don J. Modesto
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Old 10-09-2004, 04:36 PM   #15
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Re: aikido and self defense

Quote:
Lyle Laizure wrote:
Aikido is not effective as a self-defense. LOL No matter how many times I hear it I always have to laugh. I agree that when a person initialy begins studying aikido its usefullness is limited.
Incorrect! Could not be farther from the truth, in fact.

What I think you meant to say is that the techniques you learn in Aikido are not likely to be transferred directly into a violent confrontation.

I'd like to remind you that attaining Shodan is a mark of being ready to START learning. True Aikido is the ability to spontaneously create a technique for any attack at any time by melding with your partner/attacker.

What you learn in Aikido is not just a set of motions that can control an attacker. What you are learning is how the body works, how to be aware of your surroundings, how to predict and react to an opponent's attack by melding your ki with theirs.

That is what is practical abount Aikido. No, I'm not likely to hit a mugger with Irimi-nage or Shiho-nage (my favorite), but thanks to my training in Aikido, I'm already better at moving freely and calmly, and I'm more in tune with my surroundings. All this at only 4th kyu.

"The only true victory is victory over oneself."

Rob Cunningham
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Old 10-09-2004, 05:35 PM   #16
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Re: aikido and self defense

Now I'm getting a bit confused.

It seems we are dealing with a few things here, and they don't always go together.

Which one is it?

1. Is Aikido waza efffective in spontaneous and/or martial situations (which includes self-defense situations) or isn't it? 2. Or does Aikido waza (e.g. shiho nage, irimi-nage, etc.) only become effective when it is supplemented by striking? 3. Or does "Aikido" waza only become effective when we assume that striking is part of Aikido waza - then implying that shiho-nage, irimi-nage, as usually practiced (without strikes) is not realistic?

The usual justification for why one needs atemi in a supplementing but highly supporting role is that the techniques as usually practiced do not work against resisting adversaries (e.g. "folks not so willing to go with one's movement," etc.) Is this the art's fault or is one dealing with a lack of skill on the part of the practitioner? I think it is the latter.

Isn't resistance really just another type of energy, a new energy going in a different direction, a new energy to that which came prior to it? Isn't it true that this new energy doesn't really become "resistance" until I as nage cling to the old energy which is already gone? In fact, isn't it true that this "new" energy doesn't really become "new" until I cling to the previous "old" energy?

If under types of situations where I am opting to strike someone because they are "resisting," doesn't this just say that I need to strike them because I was incapable of remaining in the moment, because I clung to old energy that is now gone, or that I am slightly behind the new energy? To me, this is an issue of skill - one pertaining to the unfettering of the practitioner's mind and to his/her ability to remain sensitive to what the attacker is doing as he/she is doing it. In these regards, a nage that meets the "new" energy by forcing or trying to force the old energy related tactic shows one level of skill. Next, a nage that can let go of an old tactic (opting to do an atemi where ikkyo might have first been tried) but not the old energy shows a higher of level of skill in regards to these things. And finally, a nage that does not experience "resistance" because he/she does not cling to old energies, thus allowing for no new energies to emerge, only experiencing the constant of energy transference, speaks to an even higher of level of skill in terms of the cultivation of one's body/mind (fettered or unfettered) and one's tactical sensitivity. Whatever Osensei may have had as a context regarding his percentages concerning ukemi, we know from his films that he was indeed (especially as a young man) able to demonstrate this latter type of mind and tactical sensitivity. Could he have then really meant what many of us are today prone to say concerning atemi and its percentage within the art? Could he have really meant that we need to hit folks or be able to hit folks for basic Aikido waza to be considered efficient? I don't think so.

I think if we are taking on the first position (i.e. Aikido waza is ineffective in spontaneous and/or martial situations - which includes self-defense situations.), and that remains a concern for us, we need to find a place to train where the opposite viewpoint becomes so painfully obvious we early on feel compelled not to see Aikido as ineffective but to see it as very martial. If we are concerned with such issues, and if our training environment does more to raise these issues than to settle them, plain and simple, we are training in the wrong dojo. Many people do this exact thing. If folks are flying all around your dojo for no apparent reason, and/or if when queried on such things your instructor cannot explain such concerns, do not forfeit your instincts for the hope that things will all make sense to you in the end if you just sit there and passively go through time. There are instructors out there that have no problems making sense, and/or answering questions, even inspiring them. Find one.

I think if we take on the second and last positions (i.e. Aikido waza (e.g. shiho nage, irimi-nage, etc.) only become effective when it is supplemented by striking? /"Aikido" waza only become effective when we assume that striking is part of Aikido waza - then implying that shiho-nage, irimi-nage, as usually practiced (without strikes) is not realistic.), we should seek to train more "realistically" by always having an atemi be firmly part of a waza's ideal tactical architecture. To leave atemi out of ideal tactical architectures, while holding one of these positions, speaks of being slave to tradition and/or even of hypocrisy. The common excuse of needing to keep things simple is not valid in my opinion as far as leaving atemi out. Simplicity does not excuse hypocracy. Also, things are in fact made more complex by such reasoning - because nothing is more complex than having one say one thing about something, mean something else about that something, and in the end ask folks to think something altogether different from what they are doing with that something.

But best of all, in my opinion, is to keep working toward a mind and a body where no resistance can exist - where no "new" energies arise - where our current understandings of how atemi relates to basic waza find more consistency within themselves and/or with the example of Osensei.

dmv
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Old 10-09-2004, 06:05 PM   #17
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Re: aikido and self defense

Quote:
Rob Cunningham wrote:
Incorrect! Could not be farther from the truth, in fact.

What I think you meant to say is that the techniques you learn in Aikido are not likely to be transferred directly into a violent confrontation.

I'd like to remind you that attaining Shodan is a mark of being ready to START learning. True Aikido is the ability to spontaneously create a technique for any attack at any time by melding with your partner/attacker.

What you learn in Aikido is not just a set of motions that can control an attacker. What you are learning is how the body works, how to be aware of your surroundings, how to predict and react to an opponent's attack by melding your ki with theirs.

That is what is practical abount Aikido. No, I'm not likely to hit a mugger with Irimi-nage or Shiho-nage (my favorite), but thanks to my training in Aikido, I'm already better at moving freely and calmly, and I'm more in tune with my surroundings. All this at only 4th kyu.
by making this statement you must assume that the person or people you're addressing (Lyle in this case) aren't ready to begin learning. I can assure you that this is not the case. We've come up through the ranks together over the years and he's been learning and teaching others to learn for quite some time.

I often like to put a disclaimer on my posts saying that everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion. With that being said, it is my opinion that this quote is a very bold statement for someone who, by his own definition, isn't ready to learn.

Last edited by senseimike : 10-09-2004 at 06:15 PM.

Mike Taylor
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Old 10-09-2004, 06:21 PM   #18
Lyle Laizure
 
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Re: aikido and self defense

Hey Rob....maybe you didn't read further in my post as you only quoted part of it. The qualifying remark there is that....
Quote:
My answer though when someone states this is that it truely depends on the individual training and the instructor.
There are just too many variables, and it doesn't matter what art a person studies. There is a quote somewhere and I apologize I won't get it completely right and probably won't get all the words right but it goes something like this; "The strongest within the dojo may become the weakest when truly confronted and the weakest may become the strongest." Once removed from the confines of the dojo the element of safety is removed and therein lies the qualifier as no matter how long or hard you have practiced or how good you are "in the dojo" if you are not mentally prepared none of this matters.

Lyle Laizure
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Old 10-10-2004, 12:53 AM   #19
Charles Hill
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Re: aikido and self defense

Quote:
David Valadez wrote:
Now I'm getting a bit confused.
Boy, you`re not the only one. My brain hurts from trying to figure out what you want to say David.

Charles Hill
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Old 10-10-2004, 01:33 AM   #20
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Re: aikido and self defense

Oh I'm not saying anything worthy of that much pain. :-) no big whoop. take care, d
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Old 10-10-2004, 08:49 AM   #21
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Re: aikido and self defense

Hey folks,

I think before we dissect different aspects of what makes Aikido "effective" in self defence, I think it best to understand what makes anything effective in self defence, regardless of martial art, self defence, weapon or defensive tactics system one is using. In this way it really does not matter what Ueshiba M. said as regards what makes Aikido effective, unless one believes that only Ueshiba M. was capable of applying Aikido effectively in self defence. It is more important what makes Aikdio effective when you do it. This also goes back to the "objective" approach to the realities of self defence and developing Aikido training methodologies to deal with this somewhat. Sometimes we have to free our minds from the dogma and the philosophy and then approach it again in a new light, based on the challenge we are facing, which in this case is self defence.

In many cases of successful unarmed self defence scenarios certain common elements tend to appear. Some of these include situational and spatial awareness, exercising of correct judgement based on one's environment and the persons within that environment, ability to remain relatively calm and react quickly and appropriately to an impending attack and ability to neutralise the threat and escape effectively and quickly among other things.

In this light Aikido provides many of these elements and others depending on the aims of one's training and how one approaches every aspect of Aikido's technical and philosophical theories with a view towards "practical self defence".

In this thread - http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=5313 we had some discussion regarding the atemi and effectiveness concept in Aikido. From my experience there are many tools that one can use from Aikido that can serve one well if faced with a personal threat situation, but it is not limited in anyway to abilities to "spontaneously blend" with the attacker, ability to apply technique with or withour atemi, or that the training to apply technique without atemi may make techniques ineffective under resistance. It comes down to the situation and one's instinctive ability to apply "whatever works" to end the conflict and escape.

As I read elsewhere on this website or a BB somewhere else, no one is standing there with a scorebook judging if you extended ki or executed textbook form when doing a technique to save your life. If you train Aikido so that when these things happen it is the preferred method you use, then it is your responsibility to adapt the teaching and the principles to suit you when the proverbial hits the fan.

Just my thoughts. Sometimes all the focus on atemi or no atemi cloud the real issue of self defence - survival.

LC

Last edited by L. Camejo : 10-10-2004 at 09:03 AM.

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Old 10-10-2004, 11:42 AM   #22
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Re: aikido and self defense

Quote:
Don J. Modesto wrote:
I was sort of taken aback to read in your BB article that aikido dropped ATEMI. Am I remembering wrong? If not, what did you mean? Thanks.
Actually what I said was that originally Aikido included strikes, but they were later eliminated to keep it congruent with the art's philosophy of compassion and peace. This statement is an over generalization based on my experience, research, and observation. IMHO, many style have unfortunately dropped Atemi. Its one of the major criticisms I hear and read. While politically incorrect to state, I hope it will encourage people to keep Atemi and Atemi awareness a part of everyday training.

BTW, thanks for the close scrutiny and connecting some dots.

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
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Old 10-10-2004, 02:02 PM   #23
Don_Modesto
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Re: aikido and self defense

Quote:
Lynn Seiser wrote:
BTW, thanks for the close scrutiny and connecting some dots.
Thanks for the response.

Don J. Modesto
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Old 10-13-2004, 11:09 AM   #24
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Do symbol Re: aikido and self defense

I agree with many of the posts.Aikido,I think,can be VERY effective as a self defense,but also it is effective for so much more things such as,self development,enlightment etc...

I have never used aikido for self defense,but based on its pratical pratice methods,it does give you tools to work with in a self defense situation.I have only been taking aikikai aikido for 4 months,but can already see how practical it is for many things(defense,development,enlightment,awarness,and more).

As for atemi,it depends,i think,on how unbalanced the attacker is.

yours in josh
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Old 10-13-2004, 11:13 AM   #25
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Re: aikido and self defense

I agree with many of the posts.Aikido,I think,can be VERY effective as a self defense,but also it is effective for so much more things such as,self development,enlightment etc...

I have never used aikido for self defense,but based on its pratical pratice methods,it does give you tools to work with in a self defense situation.I have only been taking aikikai aikido for 4 months,but can already see how practical it is for many things(defense,development,enlightment,awarness,and more).

As for atemi,it depends,i think,on how unbalanced the attacker is.

yours in josh
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