I want my Aikido to matter. 

I want my Aikido to matter. 

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Can you label Aikido non-combative and require cooperative participation?

I won’t swallow anyone’s point of view in regards to martial arts unless they have some proper experience in this regard.  So for me, I am happy to learn a martial art from someone but in the end unless they have fought in a war, some vicious street fight or organised professional fights then for me it is just theory.

I appreciate that martial arts encompasses a spiritual side and again no one person has the answer as for me spirituality is a personal experience.

Most serious practitioners of martial arts have a multitude of experiences and usually something which they subscribe to as their base and practice on a regular basis.

In regards to Aikido, I want it to matter.  What do I mean?  I don’t look at Aikido as so much as a series of prescribed moves but as a method for teaching me good movement.  When people decide to spar and use Aikido, I believe their approach is all wrong.  What Aikido teaches is Maai like any martial art system.  Watching people trying to spar against a striking system they are not familiar with makes me cringe.

The difficulty with trying to apply techniques is that they put you at risk of counters.  So many examples of trying to capture an arm or wrist from a boxing attack, leaves them completely vulnerable.  The worst of these is seeing people trying to apply Nikkyo or kotegaesi.  These are better left to weapons defense.

The art of Aikido for me teaches me to move first then apply technique based on what is given.  In other words put yourself out of the way of danger and then see if something provides itself.  Moreover, if you commence applying a technique, don’t commit yourself to it fully unless you have complete advantage.

Aikido, evolved from Aikijujutsu, as a more gentle method of gaining someones balance, must have a place in mixed martial arts.  Like a seasoned practitioner of ground fighting will tell you after many years of training, you get far more efficient at doing the movement and use less effort.

As any Aikidoist will tell you, all that study is really about teaching you how to take uke’s balance without him knowing or having any control over it.  These principles are used by high functioning martial artists.

So I believe Aikido can be practised with an element of free sparring in mind.  For like any martial arts system in order to strike or grapple, one must have the advantage in terms of positioning, a concept which Aikido has in spades.  So why don’t Aikidoists spar against let’s say “a boxing attack”.  I know there are a number of dojos who do, usually the result of some previous cross training.

Martial arts is ever evolving and I believe Aikido needs to make an account of itself.  People need to see the benefit in cross training as making them a more wholistic martial artists and inevitably the side effects is that it begins to change your Aikido in a more positive way.

A great example of this is Kime-waza.  Most people struggle with this particular aspect, yet with a minimal effort in something like BJJ, you would have a great advantage when it comes to controlling your partner on the ground.  Likewise, a small period with Judo will see you better poised for the grapple should your technique go wrong.

So is it right to claim passage to the system of Aikido and label it a non-combative martial art and therefore require cooperative participation.  I don’t know what to make of it all but in the end, I think that MARTIAL will win.

Just look at the popularity of MMA.  Why, because people make an account of themselves in front of the world and not just claims.  Aikido evolves from Aikijujutsu and others, what is the next evolution.  That’s why I enjoy watching people who are trying new things with their Aikido, training against other martial arts styles.

I believe it is in the best interest of Aikido to do so…

What are your thoughts, leave a comment below.


  • Svetlana Yanush

    “So for me, I am happy to learn a martial art from anyone, but in the end, unless they have fought in a war, were in a vicious street fight or a member of a prosport league, then for me it is just theory.” Sounds more appropriate. I lived in an upscale community and was “tried” to a higher standards of personal appearance.

  • lifestylemanoz

    Yeah, one of our student practiced Judo for 10 years and ran into Judoka in Britain that were quite soft in their approach and it had him bemused. He looked to Aikido to maybe teach him a little of that, plus the fact that Judo is a little hard on the body (laughs).

  • lifestylemanoz

    Great thoughts. It is a lot of fun once you get past all the mental baggage huh?

  • rupertmja

    Aikido has fundamental movement. People who are good at Taichi or WIng Chun learn Aikido with ease as their arts also contain fundamental movement. People who learn Judo or Karate cannot learn Aikido until they have forgotten what they know. Their prior knowledge is a burden. Aikido, even if it is not so useful for self-defence, contains many important lessons. It is a great place to start. One of my teachers used to lament that he wished he had learned Aikido first before Judo.

  • regarding the martial edge i think your comments are appropriate – i’m not a fighter so it’s all theory for me- but i’m not there to learn to fight – for a while that seemed important but if i may share a couple of quotes of the founder.

    “Aiki is not a technique to fight with or defeat the enemy.
    It is the way to reconcile the world and make human beings one family.

    Understand Aikido first as budo and then as the way
    of service to construct the World Family. Aikido is not for a single country or
    anyone in particular. It’s only purpose is to perform the work of God.

    True budo is the loving protection of all beings with
    a spirit of reconciliation. Reconciliation means to allow the completion of
    everyone’s mission.”

    Hard to reconcile his spiritual guidance with his martial art.

    though i put more on the individual than the art in MOST contests of martial skill

    A friend was told, “aikido is no good for fighting” and she responded, “but it’s good for not-fighting”.
    each of us is unique with unique drives behind our study. train whatever you feel harmony with; and though i value to some degree whatever skill i may have developed, the martial realm was not my primary interest in the art.
    it was more the application of the principles to a larger question; the creation of individuals and a society that could focus the power and energy, rather than on conflict, but to, as the founder said, “create a beautiful world”.

    here’s what i know in my later years. i had an inordinate amount of fun training through the years and sincerely feel the training helped me deal with people and problems more positively and creatively.
    whatever your interest i wish you the best in your training

    and thanks for the conversation

  • lifestylemanoz

    Not quite sure of your point here, I’m confused but appreciate your thoughts. I would add to your point of converging styles of high level practicioners to include other martial arts. The similarities begin to show with entirely different martial arts.

  • rupertmja

    Not quite true. What I have observed over the years is that: People all over the world are doing Aikido – many are different of course – BUT – if you look at some of the best people (not necessarily their teachers) from various places, you will notice that they are drifting/have drifted towards a similar style of Aikido without even knowing it. I think there is a definitive style. It is for you to recognise it, and go get it, or perhaps – just train hard, and get it naturally. Perhaps that is the only way.

  • lifestylemanoz

    Agree. One should always practice one is being taught. Moreover, one can not appreciate just how much the basics you learn and practice are important until you have spent some time on perfecting what is being taught. However in the practice of spirited debate, I will disagree with some of your point about change. Aikido in itself has changed considerably within the ueshiba clan over the years. No two Aikidoka are alike. Even the current doshu is very different stylistically to his Father.

  • rupertmja

    I think you are on the right track. But don’t fall into the temptation to change Aikido in order to learn it. Such people fail to learn Aikido even if they do it for 20 years because, having changed it, it is no longer Aikido.