With all the different martial arts practiced around the world, it gives enthusiasts a wide range of disciplines to choose from. Whether it be for confidence, self-defence, or to become a seasoned fighter, there is literally something for everyone.
And with the ever-growing popularity in combat sports and MMA, fighters can easily train in multiple disciplines to become an all-round polished fighter. These are made up usually of Muay Thai, Jiu Jitsu and wrestling as these martial arts are considered the most inflicting styles of fighting.
However, one martial art that does seem to get overlooked as an effective style is Aikido. Many of us will remember the movies with Steven Seagal in action, effortlessly fighting off the baddies, but is Aikido good in real life?
Aikido taught correctly can be one of the best self-defence systems and will effectively get someone out of any violent situation, and quickly too.
So, what is Aikido?
Aikido is a Japanese martial art primary for self-defence which started during the 1920’s by Morihei Ueshiba (1883~1969). Aikido is performed by blending the motion and energy of the attacker and redirecting the force of the attack rather than challenging it face-on. It teaches practitioners to defend themselves while also protecting their attackers from injury.
As Aikido does not focus on attacks or strikes and is not fought competitively is why it is not popular amongst modern MMA fighters.
However, Aikido uses many similar techniques of other popular martial arts, but being a traditional discipline and not for competitve fighting, what happens in the Dojo stays in the dojo.
The goal of Aikido training is not perfection of a skill or technique, but rather improving one’s character according to the rules of nature. Aikido is designed to improve both physical and mental strengths.
Each technique requires an immense level of skill that it is must be practised repeatedly. Aikido training is not only good for health, but also develops self-confidence naturally for daily life.
In Aikido you learn techniques to defend against a variety of attacks such as kicks, punches, single-hand or two-hand grabs from the front or rear, chokes, multiple person attacks, and attacks with weapons. In all attacking situations the practitioner learns to resolve the conflict in a non-lethal, but effective manner.
What does Aikido mean?
Aikido is often translated as “the way of unifying with life energy” or as “the way of harmonious spirit”.
Morihei Ueshiba’s goal was to create an art that practitioners could use to defend themselves while also protecting their attacker from injury.
What are the levels in Aikido?
Many clubs do offer an Aikido grading syllabus, however the gradings are not the main focus of the discipline. It is a good way to monitor the progress of a students training.
The grades go through 6 Kyu ranks were each student wears a ‘keikogi’ and a white belt until they reach the 1st Dan, then they wear a black belt. It is also when they reach 1st Dan they wear the ‘Hakama’ too.
Jiu-jitsu and Aikido
Both Jiu-jitsu and Aikido have many similarities as they are both forms of grappling martial arts which originated in Japan and each focus on locks and throwing techniques.
They were evolved for self-defense against an attacker and are both known as soft martial arts since they do not give too much importance to training and strength. However, with the huge popularity in MMA, most practitioners train in Jiu-jitsu as opposed to Aikido, but why?
Even though the notable similarity in philosophy, Aikido and Jujitsu are very different from one another.
The difference between Jiu-jitsu and Aikido is its style and technique, Jiu-jitsu has proven to be more dangerous than Aikido and has been used for fighting for many years.
Also, Jiu-jitsu has a more recognised grading system and practioners can compete in tournaments to improve their fighting ability.
On the other hand, Aikido mainly focuses on self-defense. It has basic moves for attacking and it includes both grabbing and striking techniques.
Aikido with Steven Seagal
For many people, when Steven Seagal is mentioned, Aikido instantly comes to mind. Seagal is one of the most famous Aikido practioners to date.
The American-born actor, screenwriter and martial artist is a 7th-dan black belt in Aikido. In 1988, Seagal made his acting debut in ‘Above the Law’. and by 1991 he had starred in four films.
The dojo is a ideal place to deepen the understanding of the human eye and to meet new people, so what better than to learn a traditional martial art like Aikido. And by doing a unique style like Aikido, you can be sure it will make great chat in an evening with friends.