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Last month we introduced a new concept. You shouldn’t be claiming aikido is lethal unless you’ve given it some serious thought, and worked out how to do it. The first part of that is actually quite simple and easy to achieve. The second part though, how to actually make your aikido dangerous, requires a bit more consideration, and a fair bit of practice. The techniques of aikido, the ones we see in every session on the mats, are brutal. As aikidoka we have a tendency to focus on the opposite.…

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It’s time to take a look at the next of our new rules. This is something that so many people are guilty of and it’s time to stop. New Rule #2: You are not allowed to claim lethal effectiveness for aikido unless you can prove it. Aikidoka seem to love to claim that it is ‘lethal’, or ‘too dangerous for competition’, or ‘incredibly deadly if we want it to be’. I understand why we claim that. I really do. There’s a whole host of reasons that would drive us to…

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There is an interesting concept that seems to prevail in the minds of many aikidoka. It runs a bit like this. You don’t need to be fit or strong to do aikido. This is an assertion I have come across over and over through my years of training.  I can see how people would arrive at this conclusion. It’s an obvious outcome of being told that your martial art does not rely on strength and that it uses the other person’s motion. It practically screams that you can be a…

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Our quote that needs to die this time is that old chestnut that appears all over social media. It usually takes the from of an ‘inspirational’ meme. I can see why it would work that way for some people but really, this one is just dumb. Ready for it? Here we go: “A black belt is just a white belt that never gave up.” Are they though? I mean it’s a lovely sentiment, but that’s all it is. Importantly though it really doesn’t hold true. If you aren’t a black…

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Over the last number of months, as the world has been shut down, there has been an increase in weapons training. As noted in a previous post I think this was a missed opportunity but it has revealed something else that was unexpected. The world over aikidoka are performing weapons techniques and kata. Now, more than ever, social media groups are flooded with videos of aikido weapons. Watching these videos it’s almost impossible not to notice a problem. It seems that when aikidoka are performing weapons kata there is a…

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There is an idea that floats around that is a bit weird. It’s the concept that everybody’s opinion is valid. We have to respect everybody’s opinion because…reasons. Unfortunately this just isn’t the case. Saying we have to respect someone’s opinion is kind of like stating we can say whatever we want and if you argue against it you’re being disrespectful. That may be true but it’s a terrible argument. It’s up there with people who say, “That’s offensive” and use it as the entire basis of their argument. Sadly, ‘that’s…

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This post is the second in the series of Quotes That Need To Die. This one focuses on a specific aikido quote. It appears everywhere and in my opinion is unhelpful to both training and a general discourse on aikido. “Aikido is 90% atemi!” – O Sensei. I’m going to assume that you’ve heard this one before. It’s almost impossible to have a conversation with an aikidoka without encountering this quote. I’m pretty sure that this quote needs to die. It’s not helpful to aikidoka and even a moments thought…

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There is an aspect of aikido that is at least as important as the techniques. It’s called ukemi. There are some basic principles that apply to it that are universal regardless of the type of aikido you practice. Today, we’re going to consider just one of the most basic aspects of it, but it is also one of the hardest to get right. Quite simply, you have to move. An awful lot of ukemi is performed from a static position. Much of the rest becomes static after the initial attack…

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I recently came across a really great concept that in my head immediately related to the practice of aikido. Not just one aspect of it though, but pretty much right across the board. It’s pretty simple and goes like this;  Stupidity should be painful. Initially as an uke, then even further as a teacher, I’ve learned that one of the quickest ways to teach somebody that they shouldn’t be in the position that they are (e.g. standing right in front of you when doing shiho nage) is to hit them.…

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Okay, so nobody is allowed in the dojo at the minute. Seems to be a worldwide thing. For weeks now all I’ve heard is the question, “How can I train at home?” Not being allowed in the dojo is the perfect time to work on that area that is massively neglected, fun to train, and just about everybody sucks at. No, not weapons. There, I said it, stuck at home is not an excuse to do nothing but weapons. Sure, weapons can be important, but there are far more important…

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