This is one of those tragedies, but when in Combat Aikido is not workable. It shouldn’t be so, because that great art was born of Samurai on the battlefield. Its roots are a thousand years ago in the bloody battles of warlords for control of Japan.
After the wars were over, the surviving warlords, a pair of brothers, called their warriors together and asked them what techniques they used to conquer the enemy. The resulting list of techniques was over 3200 long. These techniques were taught as Daito Ryu Aiki Jujitsu, and it is this art which influenced the founder of Aikido, Morihei Ushiba when he created his masterpiece.
So why doesn’t the art work? Because it is taught as a religion, and religion tends to strip the violence out of the art. I mean, taking perfectly good ways to maim and destroy muggers just because one believes in world peace and harmony and all that sort of stuff…huh!
The first thing this religious influence did was soften the attacks. The attacks offered in an Aikido class are slow and flowing and easy for the defender to handle. This may teach one the technique, but it doesn’t approximate the hard, fast reality of a punch in the face that is offered on the street.
The second flaw in the circular art is that the strikes (Atemi) have been watered down. They are shown, but not drilled. This means that the student doesn’t really learn what it’s like to hit a human body,
Finally, some of the techniques are designed to teach one how to handle flow in long and unreal manners. You do have to learn flow, that is a given. But there are easier and quicker ways to learn flow, and these ways include techniques that are much more street ready.
Now, this article was not written to offend, but to question, and to question with an eye towards improvement. A student who can’t improve, but merely robots the ritual, is not a student at all. I really don’t think Morihei Ushiba was a robot, nor were the samurai who passed the art to him.
So, make the attacks more real, put back in some hard core Atemi strikes, and work the techniques so they teach flow, but in a more realistic manner. Tell the truth, the really good Aikidokas that I meet are usually doing just this, even if on their own. But, do these three things, stay true to the art, and you are going to find that you have a Combat Aikido that can lay waste to anything, even while promoting peace and harmony within and without.