Which Martial Art is the Better One, Karate or Aikido?

I know, the question is a bit bogus, as one should be comparing arts such as Karate and Aikido merely so as to make them compliment each other. Thus, with that statement made, let us discuss how the fist should wiggle into the glove. No pow and bam, just an honest, up front viewpoint for your edification and enlightenment. Karate is supposed to be straight line, and Aikido is supposed to be the circle. Yet, if on looks at Karate, let alone the martial arts, one will see that perfection of geometric figure is loose, at best. If Karate could actually adhere to the perfect line, if one examines how the bones, joints, muscles and so on function, the body would probably explode, or, at least collapse upon itself. On the other hand, if Aikido tried to adhere to the perfect circle and only the perfect circle, except in the most theoretical of philosophies, the art would not work. And, to be honest, Aikido is not the usual choice for down and dirty combat. While Aikido is pure and wonderful, and can evolve the practitioner in very spiritual senses, one should use a martial art like Karate to enter the fight, then look to aikido to control the fight. Think about it this way, a fight is the collapse of distance. The length of the arm, and the circle being made, the lever of the extend arm is too long. However, if you want magic, use karate to kick, punch, find yourself on the inside as the distance collapses, and then use a shorter lever. Instead of stepping in and trying to make a three foot arm circle into a wrist lock, try a middle block, slide in and begin turning. As you turn, bring the arms up to catch the elbow, shove your shoulder in and go with the flow. Go ahead, try this technical adaptation, even gaze at a little youtube to get the idea of the geometries involved, and you are going to find an instant blend of karate, even the hardest of karate, like Kyukoshinkai, with even the purest forms of Aikido, even the soft form espoused by Morihei Uyeshiba. Now, the above technique being examined, the glaring weakness of Karate is that it is limited, in most modern classes, to the fact of destruction. It has been altered to win the tournament, beat the other guy for a trophy, and gloves are used for more violence, and fighting is done for fighting sake. But, I have been guilty of shouting this from the mountain tops, while there is an art to destruction, the true art is in control. Thus, a study of the pure art of Aikido, with the things I have told you here, will enable you to confront the fiercest violence, and alter that violence into the most magical and simplest of workable techniques. You kick, you punch, then you simply embrace the arms and learn how to go with the flow. A last word about all this, don’t mistake the throws of judo or jujitsu for Aikido techniques. While techniques of the ju variety are wonderful, we want to move from hard to soft complete, and a certain amount of hard is still involved in ju techniques. That all said, I wish you the best with your new art, and a new art it is…karido…aikate…your choice.


Al Case has delved into Karate and Aikido, and other arts, for 40 years. A writer for the magazines, with his own column, since 1981, Al is the originator of Matrixing. You can learn more about combining arts, and Matrixing, by getting his free ebook at Monster Martial Arts.

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