Aikido Training: 5 Reasons You Might Want To Give It A Try (Number 3 Is Awesome)

Japanese self-defense technique demonstration

The art of Aikido is something that many dismiss in today’s modern martial arts world. However, in this article we are going to give you 5 reasons you might want to give Aikido Training a try, and trust us, you will be surprised.

As a young man growing up in the era of Steven Segal movies such as Nico, Hard To Kill and of Course Under Siege, I became fascinated with learning Aikido.  However, I couldn’t find any classes in my town, so I went off to my local bookstore (long before the days of Amazon) and started reading.

In fact, as luck would have it the first martial arts book that I ever laid my hands on was Aikido And The Dynamic Sphere by A Westbrook and O Ratti. For me, this is the most stunning book of any martial art as the illustrations by O Ratti inside are beautiful.

I read several books on the subject and even took a few lessons some years later however I decided that it simply wasn’t for me.

At that point I had been boxing for years and had done Judo and MMA so to take up Aikido seemed a step in the wrong direction for myself., after these sports Aikido simply didn’t seem effective.

However, I met an Aikido expert some years later who happened to be a former boxer and Judo player as well, and he gave me some advice that I will share with you today.

1.Aikido Is All About Evasion In Real Combat

Aikido Training

I have been in enough scraps to know that sports fighting and real fighting are two very different arenas. My Aikido friend knew this as well.

He went on to tell me about a time 5 men had tried to attack him.

He knew that he couldn’t block the strikes, or fight them all one by one. However, he also knew these guys would tire very quickly.

His plan was simple, he trained it week in and week out. He would avoid the strikes and guide the blows away from him.

I asked him “how can you avoid every one of them?”. He replied:

“I train this 3 times each week, I understand distance; I know when the punch is coming. It is my feet that will take my body out of distance. Sure they might catch me with the tail end of a punch, however, I use angles and circular movements that mean each punch is pretty much lost all it’s power by  the time it hits.

 

2.Aikido Has Nasty Projections and Throws

Aikido teacher and student training throwing and falling

My conversation with my friend went further. Ok, but what about these guys who do MMA or are boxers. Surely you would get taken down or hit with a combination.

My friend smiled. “Throw a punch slowly at me”, he asked.

So I threw a right straight punch and froze.

“Look at your fist”, he said.

“All your power and energy is designed for that small fist to hit my face.”

My friend they stepped an inch off my center line and towards my body.

“But if I grab your wrist there is no power there.”

My friend took my wrist and moved my arm inwards slightly, and I suddenly went from being in a strong punching position to a weak structure. He then gracefully took me to the floor with little effort.

“You see I am not interested in taking on your strength or power. I am looking to use that power against you. Every time you generate power, it will leave you weak somewhere else”.

I wasn’t convinced.

“Yeah but what if I throw combination punches”, I asked.

My friend smirked “Listen, you are getting this all wrong. You see those nice Aikido demonstrations where attackers run at opponents and then fall over, well I know that in reality the s##t won’t go down like that. In know that I may even take a few punches here and there. But trust me on this…..the attackers will be projected a very long way away from me”.

I had recalled the phrase projection from my research days, so I asked him to show me.

I was asked to take hold of my friends collar to which he took my wrist and sent me flying.

I  had been on the back of one of those Segal wrist throws. “you see, I am not only trying to avoid your punches, but I am looking to neutralise your attack. All the attacker wants to do is hit me,  stab me, or maybe take me down. There are only so many ways he can do this. However, each one opens up an opportunity for the Aikido student and while they are looking to hurt me I am actually looking to end the situation with a throw or a projection and on concrete, these take their toll.”

3. One Of The Best Aikido Moves Is A Clothesline

By this point, I was starting to see the effectiveness of Aikido, but my friend knew I was a fighter. He knew that I had seen a lot.

“I know you are struggling to understand how this all fits into modern combat. Om go and grab that plastic bottle and come at me as if it was a broken bottle and you wanted to glass me in the face, and go as hard as you can!”

I did as he said and within a few seconds I was on my back but what seemed like a clothesline from pro wrestling.

“That was Aikido!”, he said. At that point I was starting to see the power of this art. Check out the demo below to see some stunning Aikido

4. Aikido Doesn’t Compete With Sports Arts or Fighters

By now I was really convinced, but I had done a lot of MMA, boxing and Judo, so I said to him”I think it looks really cool but a semi decent Aikido guy would be dropped by an average boxer, or taken down by a guy with wrestling or MMA training”.

I felt my friends heart sink just a little.

He looked at me and said “I’ve done boxing, Judo, Kickboxing and Thai Boxing, and you know what you are right. An Aikido guy would struggle against one of those top arts because they are all activities focused on the attack”.

he went further “Think about it, in each of those they train to hurt other human beings. To choke, take down, break arms, legs, and knock out people with punches, kicks and elbows. That is a lot of really dedicated training to hurt people.”

I had never really thought about it, to me it was all just sport.

“If people who train in those sports want to use their training in a negative way they will really hurt people.  All those arts are super dangerous.”

He went on to tell me that Aikido was never designed to fight. There is no attack in Aikido. My friend is under no illusion that these arts are super powerful. But he also asked how they would fair against an attacker with a knife, a smashed bottle or a sword?

It was a good question. In all my years I had never done a single knife defence in any if these classes. He said to me”I train 3 hours a week and a lot of this is designed to deal with people with swords and blades. This is the speciality area that Aikido thrives in.”

5. Aikido Is All About Choice

Combat sport, aikido masters practicing on the beach; monochrome

It was nearly time for me to leave my friend and he had really opened my eyes up. I had at this point almost come full circle. As a kid, I had loved the art of Aikido as a result of films and books however as a young adult MMA and boxing had won me over.

He turned to me and said “It’s been great to see you, but remember this, Aikido is a choice.”

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“I have chosen to learn and train Aikido not because I want to become the most dangerous human being walking the streets.”

He went into more detail.

“I have a job, kids, injuries, and a social life. I do not walk dangerous streets, I do not go looking for trouble. I do not want to compete in a  sport, I do not want to prove myself as the best. I choose to do Aikido because I like to train with like minded people, I like the culture of the art. I never went into this looking to become a master fighter. I know Aikido is not a quick fix for self-defence, it is a journey for me. But now, after years of training, I know that Aikido has added some really amazing self-defence skills to my repertoire. ”

He paused for a second then he said.

“But more than this, Aikido has given me much more than self-defence training. I am calmer, happier  and more at peace than I ever was before”

It was an interesting end to a story of a man that I knew had been a  bit of a hard case over the years.

Conclusion

On the drive home, I was thinking about my conversation.

All these years I had seen Aikido get a really bad ‘rap’ from martial arts. Yet now I had seen a different story from a man who had  really been a fighter and knew his stuff.

The Aikido I had seen was powerful yet gentle but I knew it wouldn’t last 5 seconds in the UFC. However, that is  not what it is all about.

Aikido is not for everyone, but then again neither is MMA or boxing.

In the end I have a feeling that my Aikido journey will begin again at some point, right now it is not for me but I am glad it is there and for many Aikido might be right what you are looking for.

Thanks for reading

 

(Article written by a member of the WOMA.TV  editorial team)


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