Basic Guide to Aikido as Self Defense
Aikido has become a popular self-defense technique for more than 50 years. Originated from Japan, it is the kind of martial art that the participants counter as well as throw the opponents at will. The main philosophy of Aikido is defensive techniques including neutralizing or blend the attackers and counter the attacker’s movement. This martial art focuses on some techniques such as punches on the torso and head, knife-hand strikes, shoulder, wrist, and chest grabs, wristlocks, and various types of throws.
Different from other martial arts, Aikido does not depend on size or strength, but rather on the techniques, movements, and also timing. This means anyone learns and practice Aikido despite age and gender. According to the founder, Aikido should resolve a conflict peacefully. The true philosophy of self-defense should not simply win or destroy the opponent, but it should improve oneself mentally, spiritually, and physically.
Aikido vs Judo
Talking about martial arts, people rarely heard of Aikido. Aikido indeed is the least popular among other martial arts such as Karate, Taekwondo, and even Judo. Truthfully, Aikido and Judo share pretty much similarities, even from the clothing, but actually, those two martial arts are very different.
There are different considerations for people to start martial arts such as which is better for physical strength, for sport, for self-defense. and many more. However, it also happens in Aikido and Judo. As two popular martial arts from Japan, Aikido and Judo have similarities in heritage and appearance.
- Similarity – Both Aikido and Judo derive from the ancient jujutsu techniques. It is no strange if the two martial arts feel like and look the same in some ways. For people who do not know much about martial arts, Aikido and Judo look pretty much the same in movements, techniques, and even clothing. In Japan, the belt system is simply white and black which makes it even more difficult to differentiate for the untrained eyes.
- Difference – Even though both martial arts are rooted in the same jujutsu techniques, but the history of both is different. Aikido emphasizes evasion, deflection, and manipulation. The general idea of Aikido is that anybody, regardless the gender and sex, can practice it. This makes Aikido becomes the only martial art that can be practiced without intense physical strength. On the other hand, Judo requires intense physical strength to making offensive and dramatic movements.
to put it simply, Judo is a martial art for sport, while Aikido is for self-defense. The movement on Judo is a standardized Olympic sport with fixed rules. While Aikido suits best for hand-in-hand combat that you can perform without using too much physical strength or energy.
Why Aikido Has a Bad Reputation?
Even though Aikido is popular as a form of self-defense, but in reality, it has a bad reputation. How is that even possible? Many people believe that Aikido is not effective self-defense for a real-life situation. Giving the reason as Aikido focuses on ‘harmonizing energy’ rather than performing deadly attacks. This becomes the source of Aikido’s bad reputation.
Even though it has a bad reputation, but Aikido is very useful for the street fight against an untrained attacker. Aikido still uses some lethal movements such as joint and wrist locks, strikes, and throws that you can use in a real fight.
Why is Aikido Banned in MMA?
Despite being good self-defense, Aikido is banned from the MMA. This martial art is not used in MMA because some movements in Aikido are prohibited to use by the UFC such as Sankyo and Nikkyo. MMA fighters are mostly skilled in various martial arts such as judo, boxing, muay Thai, and Brazilian jiu-jitsu. They combine the movements that will not give the opponent a second chance. This goes beyond the core purpose for Aikido. As aforementioned, Aikido peacefully attracts opponents, instead of a combative one. But MMA is combat, so you can see why Aikido is banned in the events.
For trained MMA fighters, Aikido is seen as useless and ineffective. Truthfully, many MMA fighters think that Aikido movements as lame and impractical because it does not what they are trained for. They are trained to take down all enemies in any possible way. So, the idea of Aikido to take down opponents without hurting them sounds impossible for MMA fighters. It is just MMA and Aikido has different discipline, so they just do not match each other.
What do You do in Aikido?
As popular self-defense, you can easily find Aikido classes. Look for Aikido academy near me to start learning self-defense. The first thing that you will learn in Aikido is the general manner such as bowing, kneeling, and standing. You will also learn the basic movements such as forward roll and backward roll.
At the advanced level, you will learn the aikido fighting techniques such as frontal attacks, tackle down, and so on. Besides fighting movements, you will also learn to use weapons such as wooden swords and wooden knives. Despite being less defensive martial arts, you may still need to wear a mouthpiece and mouthguard to prevent injuries.
During the practice, you should wear the proper Aikido clothes or Gi. But for your first time, you can wear a t-shirt and loose-fit trousers. Besides learning the self-defense movement, you will also learn the basic philosophy of Aikido. This helps build your physical and mental toward aikido practice.
Similar to other martial arts, Aikido also has its belting system which shows the level of the trainees. If you join for the first time, you will start with the white belt (usually brought when you buy the Gi suit). After some time of training, you will level up and wear different belts which are yellow for the 5th, orange for the 4th, green for the 3rd, blue for the 2nd, and black for the 1st. Even for the black belt, there are still some different level that shows your skills in Aikido.