Category Archives: Aikido Culture

It’s time to take a look at the next of our new rules, it’s about aikido being lethal. 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…

Read more

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…

Read more

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…

Read more

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 is to hit them. For example, if they are standing right in front of you…

Read more

There has been a large amount of conversation on social media over the last number of years about the ineffectiveness of aikido as a martial art. This has been caused by numerous factors ranging from aikidoka themselves, to the nature of the demonstrations, to the near meteoric rise of mixed martial arts competitions. Aikido hasn’t been the only art to suffer under this. Many traditional martial arts are experiencing the same thing. Perhaps the most famous example of this is the loss of numerous kung fu masters in China to…

Read more

Another question that has come up on social media recently was, ‘What would you like aikido training in the future to look like?’ Again, this was an interesting and thought provoking question that prompted many responses. I’ve expanded on my thoughts on this topic here. Unsurprisingly, there’s a few factors to take into consideration on this subject. Self-defence The first and most obvious is the self-defence aspect. 99% of people (and that’s being generous) have no real concept of what self-defence actually is. This includes the vast majority of self-defence…

Read more

A question came up on social media recently that I answered but thought it was important enough to expand on that answer in a different forum. The question was lengthy but essentially boiled down to, ‘Why are most aikido dojo’s run poorly, what is the solution to prevent them from closing?’ This prompted an interesting discussion in many ways, predominantly around the idea that a dojo is a business. Naturally I have my own opinions on this and none of the arguments made against it were, to me, convincing.  We…

Read more

There is an interesting conundrum in aikido that is simply neither acknowledged nor talked about. It’s actually built into the fundamental training method of the art and, in my opinion, is a bad thing. Aikidoka, in general, do not know what it feels like to be hit. On the surface of it this is a good thing. The whole point of aikido is that you do not get hit. If you are being hit then you are messing up on Rule #1. I completely accept that and do actually agree.…

Read more

The last post was on the concept of grade inflation in aikido and that it has led to overly high standards in non-japanese dojos. The big question though is whether or not there is a way to actually solve or at least alleviate the issue. I think there is and all it would require is a revamped grading system. There are a few ways that this could be done. Just get rid of it The first thing that we could do is abandon the grading system altogether. Return to a time when…

Read more

I have previously alluded to a consequence of having high standards in our gradings. Standards that are higher than what they should actually be. That consequence is grade inflation. I’m not referring to people obtaining a higher grade than the one they should have, I’m actually referring to the opposite. Many people have a grade much lower than they should have. The unfortunate thing for these people is that the keys to unlock the door to the one they should be are always held by someone else. You need a higher grade…

Read more

20/23