Tag Archives: Aikido Culture

This post is the final entry in the four part series on competition in aikido. The last post started presenting the arguments that competitive aikido is bad. That’s Not How That Technique Is Supposed To Work There is, amazingly, a very close analogy to the idea of competition in aikido. There is an art designed for close personal self-defence that can be looked at in this context. In recent years, Krav Maga has developed a competition aspect. What is particularly interesting is that the arguments around competition in aikido, are…

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This post is the third in the four part series on competition in aikido. The series started with a defence of competition, this post will begin the arguments against it. Many aikidoka feel that competitive aikido is bad, and they have valid reasons for doing so. We’ll examine them below but note that these are not counterpoints to the arguments in the previous posts. Define Competition People that think competitive aikido is good often point out that you are already competing against yourself. The idea being that to improve you’re…

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This post is the second in a four part series looking at one of the most controversial topics in aikido. Competition. The last post started presenting the arguments that competitive aikido is good. This post concludes those arguments. Next week will start to present the opposing view. Is That Technique Valid? It is possible that MMA has the most well-known competitive setting in martial arts today. It may only be beaten into first place by boxing. Proponents of MMA are usually quite willing to point out that there are no…

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This post is the first in a four part series that will look at one of the most controversial topics in aikido. Competition. In the aikido community there are fierce divisions over the concept of aikidoka competing with their art. In some places it almost seems like competitive aikido is a dirty secret that we shouldn’t be discussing. This does not change the fact that it does exist, and isn’t going to stop anytime soon. No matter how many letters Aikikai Doshu issue. This post begins the defence of competitive…

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Recently, the Aikikai released the 58th All-Japan Aikido Embukai to YouTube. It’s an interesting watch and, in some places, has prompted much criticism from aikidoka. Some have described it as embarrassing, others have been less kind. These criticisms are a little unfair, but they do shine a light on some of the problems with aikido embu in general. If you watch the Embukai a couple of things should become clear immediately. The first is that in some cases the standard of demonstration was lower than you would expect. There are…

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The next in our series of Quotes That Need to Die is an interesting one for several reasons. It would seem that no particularly famous person has said this. It’s not a quote in that sense. It is something that comes up time and again though, it’s something that everybody seems to know, or at least say. You’ll quite often encounter this whenever the subject of grading or skill level has come up. This is less of a quote and more of a phrase in common use; however, it really…

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There is a school of thought in aikido that is almost impossible to miss. You cannot spend any time in an online forum that involves aikido without coming across the statement that aikido ‘needs to modernise’. This is inevitably met with loud voices claiming the exact opposite, and the infighting is off to the races. After seeing this discussion and listening to both sides for many years I have come to the conclusion that it’s annoying and utterly boring. I also can’t help but notice that both sides are wrong,…

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The internet gives us the ability to find out things that we just didn’t know about before. One of those is the fabulous fantasy of internal power. To be clear, before this goes any further, I’m referring to the no-touch chi/ki/qi blasts that knock people out. I’m sure you’ve seen them because they’re all over the internet. I completely understand why this stuff exists. Somebody sold people the myth of the all powerful martial artist that can defeat armies with a gaze or knockout foes without ever having to see…

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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, 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…

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