This is one of those sad things, but when in Combat Aikido is not always functional. It shouldn’t be that way, because that great art was born of Samurai on ancient battlefields. Its heritage is a thousand years ago in the bloody battles of warlords for control of Japan.
After the wars were ended, the surviving warlords, two brothers, summoned their warriors and asked them what techniques they used to beat the enemy. The resulting list of tricks was over 3200. This knowledge became the curriculum of Daito Ryu Aiki Jujitsu, and it is this art which influenced the founder of Aikido, Morihei Ushiba when he created his life’s work.
So why doesn’t the art work on the street? Because it is taught as a religion, and religion tends to take the violence out of the world. I mean, taking perfectly good means of maiming and destroying gangsters just because one wants to pursue world peace and harmony and all that sort of thing…huh!
The first thing this religious slant did was soften the incoming strikes. The attacks put forth in an Aikido class are long and flowing and easy for the defender to learn from. This may teach one the technique, but it doesn’t even come close to approximating the hard, fast reality of a knock on the noggin that is offered on the mean streets and alleys of thugland.
The second flaw in the round art is that the strikes (Atemi) have been thinned down. They are shown, but not drilled to proficiency. This means that the student doesn’t really learn what it’s like to hit a human body in combat,
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.
This article was not written to offend anyone, but to question a method of art, and to question with an eye towards improvement. A student who can’t learn, but who merely mimics the ritual, is not a student at all. I really don’t think O Sensei was a robot, nor were the samurai who passed the art down 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.