Morihei Ueshiba

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Founder of Aikido.

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    23 Responses to Morihei Ueshiba

    1. Eons ago, when I was considering taking up martial arts and doing research on the various disciplines, I came to the conclusion that this would be the one for me. IIRC, it was based mostly on defense and momentum-redirecting moves…my memory on all the details is a bit fuzzy. I never got around to committing to it, but I’d love to hear what folks with actual martial arts experience think of it.

      Oh, and I learned later that Aikido is Steven Seagal’s m.o. –didn’t exactly raise my opinion of it.

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      • Seagal is 9th dan, but sucks at Aikido by virtue of the fact that he is 6’12” and weighs 400lb.

        Aikido is quite obviously the coolest martial art, but. . .

        Most aikido practitioners could not throw strike that would harm anything larger than fly. Go to youtube and you can see bad Aikido all day.

        Aikido is criticized by a lot of the competitive folks, like the Jiujitsu folks, or the strikers, like the karate folks, but they merely fail to grasp the idea that Aikido is a martial art and not a fighting style. Aikido will not make you a good fighter. At all. Ever. In fact, it could even make you a bad fighter, unless you use what you have learned correctly.

        What Aikido will do is teach you to use your weight, to fall and get back up, to keep the other guy off balance. That is, if you can learn to relax and get out of your own way.

        Momentum-redirecting is kind of what it seems like, but it’s really about dodging, hitting the other guy when he hits you, getting the other guy off balance, and then you either put him in a nasty joint lock or off-balance him some more and then throw him.

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      • @hochunk

        Aikido at best is barely functional and at worst a pointless waste of time if you’re looking to learn how to defend yourself. It has too many problems fundamentally to be effective.

        In my hometown there was a place that taught a grab bag of Japanese martial arts. They taught Karate, Judo, Kyudo, Iaijustsu, Kendo, Naginata, and Aikido.
        It was non profit oriented. It was started by several Japanese immigrants so they could have a place to teach and learn. I lived in a military town, so there was a smallish community of Japanese who had married American military and moved to the US. It was pretty awesome, because for a small fee I could attend any of the classes. It was a great place to learn. It was all about martial arts, nothing else.

        I spent about five years with Aikido. I won’t lie, I had fun and enjoyed it, but I don’t get much practical use out of it.

        Aikido’s biggest flaw is most people don’t understand it, even the people who train it.

        Aikido was originally intended to be a graduate school for martial arts. Students were originally expected to be a high rank in one or more martial art before practicing aikido. In other words, the students were expected to be badasses before they started Aikido.

        The reason for this was Aikido techniques rely on a very high level of skill in something called Tai Sabaki. Tai Sabaki basically means “whole body movement”, but what it’s really about is strategic movement to avoid and setup attacks. It’s an understatement that Aikido techniques rely heavily on the Tai Sabaki. Without it Aikido is completely useless.

        Gaining the sort of skill necessary takes years of hard work. Students need to be kicked, thrown, and punched for years to develop the abilities needed to pull off the techniques. I’m talking about more than a decade.

        The best example of someone doing Tai Sabaki would be MMA fighters Anderson Silva and Lyoto Machida. Watch this video of Anderson Silva fighting Chris Leben to see what I’m talking about. Notice how Silva allows Leben to overextend himself, which sets up Silva rather devastating follow up.

        The fight between Lyoto Machida and Rashad Evans would be a better example, but I couldn’t find it on youtube. Me and my friends joke that Machida uses “strategic boringness” in his fights. Honestly, a lot of people think he’s boring, but that’s how he lulls others into over committing to attacks.

        This brings me to the second problem. Anderson Silva is a world class fighter who can make spectacular fighters look stupid. The same with Lyoto Machida. They have years of training in multiple martial arts and extremely high natural skill. The elite level of skill they possesses is not available to mere mortals. And it’s THAT level of skill that is needed to make Aikido work.

        Talk to an older Aikidoka and you’ll learn that Aikido wasn’t meant for the masses. It was originally intended for the elite few who could cut the mustard.

        Unfortunately someone figured out how to market it to noobs, so it got spread around in a way that it that was not intended.

        Today almost ALL modern Aikido students have only done Aikido. They lack the skills and understanding to know what they’re doing. They in turn move up in ranks and are eventually allowed to teach something they can not understand and do not know how to apply.

        The third problem is the cult like mentality of Aikido schools. Most Aikidoka drink their own kool-aid. Aikido is wrapped up in a bunch of stupid sudo-zen bullshit mysticism. They are conditioned to believe their teachings and philosophy are on a higher level and refuse to even consider they might be wrong about something. The close mindedness in Aikido dojos often leads to students who train for years and achieve nothing.

        Fourth, the training is garbage. Aikdoka believe in not creating any conflict. Their whole belief system is about not meeting force with force, but stepping aside and allowing force to continue on its way. That sounds neat, but what it translates to is a bunch of limp wristed bullshit. The vast majority of Aikidoka do not spar or pressure test any of their techniques. Consequently they lack the skill to apply those techniques.

        This leads me to the most important point I can make about any martial art. People who fight learn how to fight. People who don’t fight do not learn how to fight. It’s as simple as that. It doesn’t matter how much a person trains or practices or drills. If they don’t spar of do some sort of practice against a fully resistant opponent, they will not have the skills to apply what they are doing.

        Some martial art schools spar, some don’t. Even within one specific style there will be individual schools that spar and some that don’t. Aikido is the worst usually. Most of the schools I have seen do not spar at all because of their belief system.

        A lot of Martial artists who don’t spar try to say they don’t spar because their techniques are too dangerous. Anyone who says this is completely full of shit. This is just a smokescreen used by assholes who want to walk around and act like a baddass but don’t want to face reality.

        I’m digressing here, but a lot of Women’s Self defense courses are like this. I have the utmost contempt for those courses. They end up getting women raped because they teach impressionable people bullshit that doesn’t work.

        I honestly wouldn’t recommend taking ANY martial art for self defense. It’s simpler and easier to carry a stungun and some mace. Or better yet buy a gun and learn how to use it. Learn some common sense. Don’t walk down a dark alley alone. Stay in groups in well lit areas. Don’t be an asshole in public. Don’t take drinks from strangers at bars. Stay out of stupid codependent
        relationships. Don’t take rides in your creepy uncle’s van. Only train martial arts if you think it’s fun and have an interest in it.

        Digression over. Back to Aikido.

        Many people complain about the techniques in Aikido. They say the techniques don’t work. I would disagree with this. I have used Aikido techniques in completion before. They work. They are very low percentage moves though. They only work in limited situation and a lot of times there are better techniques to use. I would opt to choke someone out before writlocking them. Additionally the relative skill of opponents matter. It is a lot easier to wristlock an untrained person than a trained person. When I was doing Brazilian Jiu Jitsu I could wristlock the new students almost at will, but the completion percentage against anyone with a few months of training dropped to exactly zero.

        Unfortunately 99% of Aikido Dojos do not train in a way that would make these techniques functional. I know, I’m beating a dead horse here.

        Okay, rant over. Flame away.

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        • Where to start… Sparring is overrated. For one most of the time it’s sparring with too many rules. In my art, you slowly digress to sparing when you are ready. Which means when you are closer to being a black belt and have control. You look at sparring in most places and the students are halfassing the technique to get a hit. You go slow and you learn the technique. If you are sparring and you are using crazy arm locks and bars, chances are someone will get hurt.

          As far as cultness. All arts have it, especially MMA folks that think they are invincible (they aren’t) and walk around with inflated egos. Not solely Aikido.

          Just my 2cents. Otherwise I agree. I do not pretend to be an expert. I practice Bujinkan Ninjutsu in a dojo where I am forced to take breakfalls, leave bruised and am constantly challenged. My art has a similar flow to Aikido, except we do anything and everything to win. Basically fight dirty.

          Any true martial art at it’s foundation teaches you to go to the furthest extent to avoid violence. May be easier to carry a weapon. but it’s more fun to have the power to destroy someone open handed if need be.

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          • “Where to start… Sparring is overrated. For one most of the time it’s sparring with too many rules. In my art, you slowly digress to sparing when you are ready. Which means when you are closer to being a black belt and have control. You look at sparring in most places and the students are halfassing the technique to get a hit. You go slow and you learn the technique. If you are sparring and you are using crazy arm locks and bars, chances are someone will get hurt.”

            There are some things here I might nitpick, but I’d rather make a quick point.

            Sparring is essential. Not sparring is like try to learn to swim on dry land.

            Working up to sparring isn’t bad. In fact there are some places that need to do this. So you’re on the right track.

            The problem, I think, is you have people who never test their shit, people who spar safely, and people who brawl like they’re on PCP and meth.

            The first group never learns anything. The second group gets it right. The third group picks up a little skill, along with brain damage and debilitating injury down the road.

            “As far as cultness. All arts have it, especially MMA folks that think they are invincible (they aren’t) and walk around with inflated egos. Not solely Aikido.”

            I didn’t mean to imply Aikido is solely guilty of this. You are right, a lot of martial artists are stuck in a perpetual dick measuring contest.

            MMA guys are a mixed bag. Guys who have been doing it longer have a more modest outlook on life. Honestly there are some very humble and polite guys. You wouldn’t even know it though because they don’t go around announcing how badass they are. Seriously some of the most polite people I know are BJJ blackbelts. Those dudes are mellow.

            The meathead bandwagon jumpers tend to be a pain in the ass. These guys watch The Ultimate Fighter, buy a Tapout T-shirt and think they’re badass after six months of BJJ. Believe me there are people in the MMA community who despise these douchebags.

            “Just my 2cents. Otherwise I agree. I do not pretend to be an expert. I practice Bujinkan Ninjutsu in a dojo where I am forced to take breakfalls, leave bruised and am constantly challenged. My art has a similar flow to Aikido, except we do anything and everything to win. Basically fight dirty.”

            I’ve met some Bujinkan guys before. They seem to run the gamut between sucking hard and utter badassery.

            I don’t know what MAs you’ve done, but I have one piece of advice for you if you’ve only done Bujinkan. I’m not saying Bujinkan is bad, but keep an open mind. Try other martial arts. Don’t let one style dictate what you believe. Think for yourself.

            Every single martial art instructor only know what he knows. No single instructor, sensei, or sifu is the final word on everything.

            Be formless, like water. God that sounds silly, but it’s good advise.

            “Any true martial art at it’s foundation teaches you to go to the furthest extent to avoid violence. May be easier to carry a weapon. but it’s more fun to have the power to destroy someone open handed if need be.”

            For self defense I view martial arts as a last resort.

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            • Lemme drop my 45 cents in the bucket and talk to both of you about sparring.

              Sparring is good/teaches good skills, but it does a lot of bad, too. If you are sparring to practice your timing, your deception, your flow, that is good. If you are just tagging each other for the sake of tagging each other, then you are wasting your time.

              I study shorin-ryu in conjunction with aikido, and for most of my time in the karate dojo, we do not spar. My friends and I spar before and after each session, but we spend most of the time during the session working on forms, techniques, stances.

              So, as far as sparring making you a good fighter, it depends on how you spar. Punching the other guy in the face with quick jabs will not save your life, but dropping your weight on a punch to his intestines just might. Maybe. So a good technique to practice sparring would be tagging him in the face and then dropping a fist into pelvic bone in one fluid move, while avoiding his hands and feet.

              Sparring is a useful tool, but it is not the goal, and that is important to remember. A person can be a good sparrer but a bad fighter.

              When it comes to self-defense, kata is king. Why duke it out with the guy when you can just give him a good sucker-punch balls-kick throat-grab elbow-to-the-face?

              But it comes back around again, because the only way to learn to spook somebody in order get in close enough to do all that is to spar. I dunno.

              As far as the kool-aid thing, we all drink our own kool-aid, constantly. I am a white kid from florida who puts on pajamas twice a week to go roll around on the floor, punch the air, and say japanese words all in the name of the abstract idea of some kind of path or way.

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            • @Belbo

              First, I appreciate how you responded, considering how harsh I was with Aikido. Others would have taken it more personally.

              Second, my whole point was that sparring helps refine and develop techniques . As you said, it’s a tool, not a goal.

              I’ve seen too many idiots beat each other in the head pointlessly.

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          • Puulaahi, after re-reading most post, it sounds a little more condescending than I meant it to be.

            I’m not trying to talk to you like you don’t know shit.

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            • @sambo

              It’s because Aikido brings about complete spiritual harmony and enlightenment.

              But seriously, I enjoy talking about the martial arts. I don’t think there is anything wrong with the cuddly fluffy Aikido dojos, because it still develops centering and Tai-sabaki. I think what is worse are the instructors who teach suicidal “self-defense” garbage, martial arts dojos for children, and martial arts dojos that sell belts/weapons/trophies – some even require training contracts! The arts have a bad rep because of all the bullshit out there.

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            • Very true. All the crappy black belt factories and dollar chasing instructors are a shame.

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            • I got that even through the condescending tone thanks. I am so addicted to my martial art. This is the only legit dojo that I have ever found. My instructor makes no money and the dojo barely gets by money wise. We are all there to get better through dropping blood, sweat and pushing through all too common injuries from training so hard.

              The more I train, the more I find that the art is all about being water. In Bujinkan Ninjutsu we are taught to have no form at all. Instead to react to the enemy defensively and move with Taijutsu. I’d go on, but I’ll keep the knowledge to myself. Just need to learn to relax 🙂 Love it!

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    2. That’s a nice dress he’s wearing

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      • That’s pretty much the first joke everyone makes about Aikido.

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      • While were on the subject of the obvious jokes people make about Martial Arts, here are the most common ones I hear:

        Karate/Judo: “lol they’re wearing Pajamas!”

        Kung Fu: “Lol they’re wearing silk Pajamas!”

        Aikido: “Lol dresses!!’

        Grappling of any sort: ” GAY JOKE GAY JOKE GAY JOKE GAY JOKE!!”

        Nobody makes jokes about Silat guys. Silat guys are always armed and have that crazy look in their eyes. Maybe that has something to do with it.

        Sumo. “Lol thongs!!’

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    3. Aikido always looks like the guy having his own weight used against him needs to be in on the move at least a bit. I really don’t see it ever going down in a real fight the way its portrayed.

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    4. Wow…I was seriously expecting either crickets or twenty back ‘n forth posts of “no YOU suck!!!”

      Thank you, everyone, for the informed & sober discussion on the subject and sambo78, especially, for such a comprehensive overview as well as some very trenchant insights. Much appreciated. 😀

      One footnote on the suggestion to just carry around some sort of weapon instead. I live in New York City, where getting accosted & searched by cops on the streets & subways is rare but not unheard of. The Catch-22, of course, is that if they discover a weapon on you*, you’re spending at least one night (and possibly more) in the Tombs, which, more than any other place in the city, is where you would absolutely need a high degree of self-defense skill.

      *and before you say it: gun-carry permits in NYC are about as easy to come by as Golden Tickets to Willie Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. Utility knives of any length are illegal –as is any other blade longer than 3″– as well as virtually every kind of defensive implement/device: tasers, mace, saps, brass knuckles, etc etc.

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