When I hear people talk about Aikido, it is generally a description of how the aikido techniques are graceful, or how they don’t work. This enters the old argument, do you want form or function? This can further be refined as, do you want force or flow?
If one examines Aikido History, and here we are referring directly to Morihei Ueshiba, one needs examine two specific martial arts. One should look at Daito Ryu Aiki Ju Jitsu, and one should look at techniques of the sword and spear. These are the two most significant martial arts from which Aikido is synthesized.
Daito ryu Aiki Ju Jitsu was created a thousand years ago. After a tumultuous time in Japan’s history, two brothers gathered the samurai who had survive countless battles and asked them for the most workable techniques. They ended up with a list of over 3,ooo tried and true, no bushwah, martial techniques.
About Aikido sword and and spear techniques, these are gathered from a variety of martial schools throughout Japan. While a couple of schools could be singled out, the fact is that techniques are shared, training routines are shared, and there will be a commonality here. This holds true for both the sword and the spear.
The direct result of this marriage of Daito Ryu and sword and spear is obvious. The attacks made in Aikido are based on the sword or the spear. They tend to be large and simple, and some people think that this makes Aikido unreal as it is handling types of attacks one would not see on modern streets.
The defenses, again, are large. They are drawn from Daito Ryu, but they are wide arcs and curves, instead of the tight geometry one would need in modern self defense movements. This fact, of wide and large being the faulty geometry, is the key to tightening up Aikido.
Simply, go slower (in the beginning), and make the geometry of the attack smaller. Instead of the large circle of a hand descending like a spear, come off the elbow and make the circle of attack smaller, and the defender will have to become more street real. Instead of the slow grab of the wrist, change the motion into a quick punch, and let the defender handle this as he would on the street.
These two things will cure any who dare to think that Aikido is less than combat ready. One should, of course, begin their aikido training slower, and take the time to adjust their body movements and harmony, so that there are no accidents, and so that Uke can adjust to the fact that he is going to be thrown quick and fast, and not in ballet fashion. Do these things, and one will never think less about aikido again.