Learn Aikido So It Works no Matter What!
One must learn Aikido so that it works in real life fight situations. This should be easy because the style is derived, to large degree, from Daito Ryu Aiki Jujitsu, which is one of the most combat ready systems in existence. Interestingly, it doesn’t take much to learn Aikido as a formidable combat ready art if one takes one simple viewpoint.
To understand why the aiki art is not street ready one must understand why and how it was created. Morihei Uyeshiba, O Sensei, designed the art around his enlightenment. This is to say that he designed it for world peace, and love thy neighbor.
Of course Morihei had the ability to destroy that neighbor, so why not love him? The modern Aikidoka, however, studying an art distilled for loving his neighbor does not always have that ability, and so the art becomes unworkable. The solution is to learn aikido differently, explore it specifically for techniques that do not enter and present themselves as ‘peace and harmony’ techniques.
In traditional aiki classes the attack is exactly prescribed and designed to enhance the ‘spirituality’ of the defender. This is wonderful, but part of the teaching method should be to learn alternatives that do not fit the prescribed flow of perfection.
If an attack is offered, say a lapel grab, with the arms straight out, one should alter the technique and explore other potential attacks and directions. One must be able to learn the original technique in the prescribed fashion, but they must also open the door to all the ‘what ifs’ that are present in a real life engagement.
Thus, one might explore that same attack, but with the arms perhaps bent, or one bent and one straight. Further, the attack should be analyzed with the attack going to one side or the other, or in conjunction with the movement of feet in different directions. Thus, the defender learns to not just go with the flow, but to make the flow work no matter how it deviates from ‘the perfect attack.’
The method I am offering here is nothing more than exploring all the potentials of motion, and not just the politely described entry techniques of a zen shaped art. This is the procedure we used in rough and tumble karate schools, and we managed to stay polite, and yet awareness continues to grow. Actually, it seems to grow even faster. One is, after all, dealing with solving problems. And solving problems teaches faster than monkey see monkey do.
I have meant many Aikidokas over the decades, and the better ones have always subscribed to some variation of this method. In fact, when I found people who utilized this method I would always stay late and explore the nuances and deviations necessary to survival in a real fight.
With the right attitude, Aikido can be one of the most combat ready arts in the world. This doesn’t have to mean one forsakes spirituality. In fact, to learn aikido with this tool, and in the hands of a good teacher, should enable the student to enter more spiritual realms faster.
This page will help people learn Aikido.