Thursday, April 12, 2012

Aikido's too soft...?

This post started with me working on a piece about 'crashing' in.  I've touched on this in previous posts about how to crash into a person when you are unexpectedly attacked.  This crashing in reduces your chance of injury and increases your chances of inflicting damage or shock, and unbalancing your attacker. In that vein, I was thinking about how to improve this stage, this 'crashing in' using your whole body.  I got thinking about whole body power.

I came across and interesting post on Cook Ding's Kitchen.  Read the post here on whole body power.

The following Aikido video was featured in the post:

Watching the video, I'm reminded of my own bad habits of sometimes reverting to trying to use strength or muscle in my technique.  I can see the Sensei demonstrating how not to do it and my own teacher's comments about not muscling it kept popping into my head.

The other thing that is apparent is that Aikido, while considered a soft style, is by no means a pushover art when it comes to effective technique.  Many schools I've seen have moved away from, or don't fully understand, the combat applications of Aikido.  I feel the video illustrates how a skilled practitioner can use the art.  I've always been a fan of Aikido, and I love to see it illustrated so well.

Is Aikido too soft?  You be the judge.


  1. How's this?

  2. My karate instructor is also training in aikido and has introduced us to a few of his techniques. They seem to be effective, a bit complicated maybe, but effective!

  3. Rick,

    Thanks for that. I enjoyed it immensely.


    I would agree that some do seem complicated. I think this is in part to the underlying effort to achieve harmony or oneness with your opponent without injuring them, at least not seriously. Sometimes it's harder to NOT hurt somebody. To master that does take some time. However, there are still some simple down and dirty techniques to be found.

  4. I don't think aikido is too soft. I think the principles are all in an effort to give the opponent a chance to escape with their parts intact. Aikido throws and locks, against someone who doesn't move with the technique, can result in spiral fractures and all sorts of nasty tears to ligaments and muscles.

    Just my two cents - I have a healthy respect (and fear :) ) of grappling arts.

  5. I've got dan grades in aikido, and the Yoseikan budo way influenced parts of our jujutsu, which means aikido influenced to a certain degree. The biggest single issue with regards to determining the effectiveness of aikido tactics and techniques is their reliance on committed and stylised attacks. The tactics and techniques are then shaped by these types of attacks. You either except the underlying assumption or assess whether those tactics and techniques are potentially effective against different styles of attack.

  6. Yamabushi,

    You have a pretty good grasp of things in Aikido. If you aren't allowed to 'go with it', you're in a world of trouble. Thanks.


    Aikido does rely on committed attacks, which is a good thing. Most real violence occurs with a higher level of attack commitment than say, MMA bouts. Stylized attacks are problematic. Without a random element or variations, a false sense of comfort can occur. Great point. Thanks.

  7. To practice aikido you have to be sincere. You have to mean it.

  8. Rick,

    Simple statement, deeper meaning. Well said.