Aikido gets a bad rap in the wider mixed martial arts community. It’s often seen as completely ineffective in real-life scenarios but why is this? Is Aikido useless for self defense?
Aikido is essentially useless for self defense. That’s because it emphasizes a non-violent approach towards fighting. There are also no competitive sparring sessions and moves are almost always practiced on completely compliant students.
All of these factors make Aikido not very effective in a real world self defense scenario. Especially if a practitioner has never been in a fight before where adrenaline is pumping and the overall experience is very different from that of a gym or dojo.
Disadvantages of Aikido
- Lack of realistic training: Aikido techniques are practiced in a very controlled environment, often with compliant partners, which may not prepare practitioners for real-life self-defense situations.
- Emphasis on form over function: Aikido places a heavy emphasis on the correct form and execution of techniques, rather than their practical effectiveness in a real-world scenario.
- Limited range of techniques: Aikido has a limited range of techniques compared to other martial art like Judo or Jiu-Jitsu, which may not cover all aspects of self-defense.
- No competitive sparring: Aikido does not include competitive sparring, which is often the best way to truly learn a martial art.
- Doesn’t focus on fitness: While Aikido training can be physically demanding, it does not place as much emphasis on physical fitness as other martial arts. It’s more “flowy”.
- Inconsistent effectiveness in real-world situations: Aikido techniques may not be effective against determined attackers who are not following the scripted movements and attacks practiced in the dojo.
- Lack of adaptability: Aikido techniques are often specific to certain attacks and may not be adaptable to different situations or styles of attacks.
- Emphasis on non-violence and non-aggression: While Aikido’s philosophy of non-violence and non-aggression is a positive aspect of the art, it may not always be practical in situations where self-defense is necessary.
Benefits of Aikido
- Aikido dojos represent traditional Japanese training spaces and have a level of dedication to tradition that is pleasant for those who enjoy the history and scholarship of martial arts.
- Aikido techniques can be effective against untrained attackers.
- Aikido training is fun and rewarding and can be done at any age.
What is Aikido?
Aikido is a martial art from Japan that emphasizes joint locks, throws, strikes, and pins to neutralize an attacker. It’s aim is to use an attackers strength against them by redirecting the use of force and aggression.
It’s a nonviolent approach to martial arts and was developed in the early 20th century by Morihei Ueshiba, O Sensei, who combined his study of Daito Ryu jujitsu, sword, and spear with his spiritual practice.
In Aikido, there are no competitions, and progress is measured only by an individual’s effort to develop themselves.
All of this makes sense when you consider that Aikido translates to English as “the way of peace”. Not ideal for fighting.