is aikido a good self defense art?

i just want to know i am already am takeing kenpo karate and bjj but i am looking to learn some more and as for the self defense i want a non byist answer because you favor the art i want to know if it is relly good

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7 Responses to is aikido a good self defense art?

  1. rosie says:

    Edit: the links work now

    Here’s a repost from another question I answered, the question was “is Aikido the best martial art”. I think it answers your question, at least from my point of view.

    I have searched and searched and searched to find a single instance in which aikido was used in a real life self-defense situation (Steven Segal movies don’t count) or even effective in competition, I’m still looking but I haven’t found a damn thing! Every video I find is either completely choreographed or has nothing but unrealistic, staged attacks.

    Honestly, I think most people who learn this style are actually worse off in terms of defending themselves than someone who never learned anything at all. Think about it, if in a real fight you stand there and wait for someone to punch you so that you can re-direct there energy and avoid the attack, you are probably going to get punched in the face because you’ve never trained at full speed in a realistic setting. If you knew nothing going into the same situation, you will either instinctively throw your hands up to block yourself or throw random punches in an attempt to attack your attacker. Realistically though, in real life self defense the Aikido practitioner is likely to do the same thing after realizing that his/her Bullshlt style doesn’t work, hopefully it’s not too late by that time.

    When something is called a “martial art” it implies by definition that it is used for combat or self defense. My research has lead me to believe that Aikido is inneffective for either, therefore it should not be called a “martial art”, it’s just an “ART”. In my opinion, I think it deserves the distinction of “semi-improvisational dance”, which no doubt takes a lot of time and skill to master, just like salsa dancing.

    Here are several laughable examples of Aikido at it’s best, I especially like the third one down in which they try do demonstrate how Aikido is effective against Jiu Jitsu.

    Clearly the “art” side, funny as hell

    Aikido vs. kickboxing

    Aikido vs. Jiu Jitsu

    Aikido vs. street gang!

    Aikido vs. Karate

    One of my personal favorites

    I’m a logical person and I’m willing to listen to reason. If you disagree with my assesment feel free to argue your point, but please try to back it up with some research.

  2. MikeTG says:

    I agree with rosie.

  3. Fook A says:

    The reality is that any art can be good if you are a master of it. Aikido’s beef with most people is that it takes so much coordination and skill that most people just don’t have enough of those qualities to employ Aikido in real time. Much like how only a handful of Chinese Boxers have ever used Tai Chi in a real fight and won with it. But those that could use Tai Chi to fight, were undefeated (such as Chen Manching).

  4. peter gunn says:

    Just as fook said it’s hard to master aikido but once mastered…
    The fighting techniques used in aikido are derived mainly from sword staff fighting and daito ryu jiu jitsu these were some of the main arts of the Samurai. These people were not known as some of the greatest warriors because they didn’t know how to fight. It is taught to and applied by many law enforcement services. The techniques used in aikido can do very brutal damage if properly applied. Over the last 10 years I’ve learnt how to break and dislocate each member, break some ones neck or damage the spine. but even using the principles of aikido you can go outside of the classic techniques and encompass fist and footwork. The problem is that out of a large group of beginners only few grow to a usable level (only 5% of beginners grow to a first dan level)
    but the true lesson of aikido is to forget about technique and subdue your opponent using as little technique and as little violence as possible. Aikido can be very effective if properly applied but there’s only very few that can properly apply it

  5. retrosta says:

    The answer to that question depends on many variables. It can be very useful but it is often times difficult to translate the exaggerated technique in class to practical forms. A lot will depend on who your teacher is and how much you want to learn on your own with a few friends really going at it. I think there is value in traditional martial arts but I do not think most are taught correctly. I do not know how exactly they could teach them better but I will tell you what taught me.
    I jumped on the BJJ/ MMA bandwagon in the early 90’s and got out of all traditional martial arts. After a few years on the mat and a few scrapes in the street I found where some of the techniques in traditional martial arts could be used. So after going through the BJJ experience and learning how a real live attacker responds through sparring etc. I learned to use my old Aikido techniques in a practical way. In fact once I even did a touchless throw. I had thought before that something like that was impossible. It wasn’t magic or something like that. The guy came up behind me and was attempting to choke me with a rear naked choke. I heard his footsteps coming and simply ducked. He tried to jump a little to reach my neck and when I ducked he went sailing over me in a perfect fall. This wasn’t in a dojo or in practice by the way. Now the reson I knew when to duck is all that time on the mat with people trying to choke you from behind and learning the timing for everything. It is something that is hard to explain but is certainly not anything mystical. I think that sort of thing is where traditional arts drop off. They may have something like that where you duck a choke in a form but they don’t supply you with the tools to learn the timing of things like that.
    If you do choose to go traditional you will here the standard line about “try that in the octagon, or on Liddell” Well the ufc and self defense are NOT the same thing. The reasons why are many and too long to mention here. For all you ufc/mma/bjj doubters out there pick up the book “Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Self-Defense” by Royce and Charles Gracie. Look through the techniques, they are mostly the same thing you would see in a self defense book from aikido or classic Japanese jiu jitsu. Will these moves in this book (by ROYCE!) work in the octagon? (especially the defense against a haymaker page 162) NO, but in the street yes.
    In summary Aikido can work for you but it will take a while, if you are wanting something fast I would look into Judo. Judo has a variety of solid throws for getting your opponent down quick which is very important on the street.

    The comment about aikido in action videos….. I’ve seen plenty in fact. I tried to post one here but it wouldn’t let me. Look at a lot of police arresting videos often times you will see aikido techniques in there.

  6. Shannon J says:

    Ok i went to take aikido and it was complety cr*p , so i decided to take shotokan karate instead. i prefer it because it is less flowery and more action

  7. James says:

    Shannon, your post made me smile. It sounds like you’d only been to one class. I’m always amused when someone comes for their first class — I sort of wonder what they are thinking while we’re doing the techniques. Typically a huge amount of time is spent just doing the opening of a technique or practicing falling for the first class — you can’t even really begin to study Aikido until you know how to protect yourself from getting hurt.

    When I work with beginners I’m often thinking these things:
    1. “I need to go real slow and gentle here so that this person doesn’t break their arm or hurt themselves when they fall” (some people seem to just fall like a sack of potatoes and way too early)
    2. “Hmm, with the way this person is resisting me, I would probably just punch them in the chin, then employ another technique here — but if I did that I’m likely to injury them because they’re a newbie and that’s not what sensei demonstrated.” (You can’t even really punch at beginners faces too much because you’ll actually hit them — they don’t know how to get out of the way)

    During my training, I’ve wondered how well Aikido would work in real life. Clearly some of the things we do are fancy and have little direct application if attacked on the street, but they do teach me how to move my body, how to keep the opponent under control, and how to keep myself out of striking range while doing the technique. For fun I’ve had friends attack me and I’ve downed them… but my friends don’t know how to protect themselves while they fall, so I can’t do the techniques quite right without worrying about ripping apart their elbows, or them breaking when they hit the ground. They tend to stare at you and yell in pain as you’re twisting their wrist — instead of MOVING and saving themselves like an Aikidoist would — needless to say I’d be a bit less concerned about someone who actually jumped me on the street.

    There’s a cop that trains with us and I asked him how well Aikido worked for him on the street. He said he’d needed it twice and it worked really well.

    It takes longer than other martial arts before you “get” Aikido well enough to defend yourself on the street. If you just want to learn punches go take another martial art — punches are not focused on in Aikido. (Frankly this disappoints me, and I just started escrima to firm that up a little. I’m also thinking about taking Muay Thai.)

    And it’s no surprise that there are no Aikidokas in the UFC. One of Aikido’s focus’s is in safely avoiding combat — so why would a true Aikidoka even want to try to kick someone’s ass?

    One question I have about BJJ: when you’re mounting someone and/or trying to do a submission hold, how do you prevent the guy’s friend from kicking or stabbing you in the face? It doesn’t seem like much of a surprise to me that competition ring-style martial arts dominate the UFC. I like the point made by the person above about Gracie’s BJJ for self-defense book. Self-defense and ring competition are two different things, with two different goals, and a totally different set of rules. I think I’ll check out Gracie’s book.

    I had a chance to look at the videos that Rosie posted above, and I just wanted to comment on them.

    From Rosie:
    Clearly the “art” side, funny as hell

    Response: Yeah, that looks sort of funny, but it seems like it would be valuable to practice your footwork and connection with your opponent. Clearly this isn’t an Aikido technique per se, but just practice. Yoga looks fruity too, but it’s valuable to athletes and martial artists. Warm-up and practice is obviously not always directly self defense… Boxers might practice jumping rope to work on their footwork and stamina… but it sure isn’t effective self defense. 😉

    Rosie: Aikido vs. kickboxing

    Response: This one actually looks pretty good, and it demonstrates that many techniques used against punches can be used against a kick as well. Of course, this (like most of the other videos) is a demonstration and not a fight.

    Rosie: Aikido vs. Jiu Jitsu

    Response: It just appears to me that this was a Sensei demonstrating Aikido techniques. My guess is that the uke (guy doing the “attacking”) is just an Aikido student. It’s a demonstration of Aikido and nothing more. Unfortunately the video is labeled incorrectly.

    Rosie: Aikido vs. street gang!

    Response: Another incorrectly labeled video. This is just simply practice against multiple opponents (randori), and it’s clear it’s practice because they’re moving so slowly.

    Rosie: Aikido vs. Karate

    Response: this one looks pretty good to me, but again, I think it’s just a demonstration, and I think both people are probably aikidoists.

    Rosie: One of my personal favorites

    Response: I have no idea what this is, but I thought someone’s comment to the video sounded best:
    “First point of ignorance: a respectable Aikido participant doesnt “challenge” anyone to combat.

    Second point of ignorance: That’s not Aikido.

    Lastly: that guy sucked. A soon as the man’s arm even started to come towards him, an Aikido master would have been already closed in and had him thrown 7 feet away.”

    The second part is pretty important. I thought that the person that looked the most like what he was doing was aikido was the guy in white — simply because he actually executed a throw…. neither of those guys looked like they had any clue what they were doing, though (at least not to me)… (And who punches like that?)

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