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.