Brian Kagen pick from “The continued Evolution of Aikido”

“Why aren’t Aikidoka winning the UFC? You know it only takes 3 generations to completely eliminate just about anything. Is Aikido losing ground with each generation? Everyone knows in order for something to survive, you have to get more of the next generation involved. Yes, maybe Aikido is gonna have to change to survive, or else go back into the shadows and become a forgotten art.”

Brian Kagen is an avid web researcher with a particular interest in martial arts. His training background includes both judo and aikido. He has contributed hundreds of article links over the years for AJ readers.

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  1. bruce baker says:

    Why aren’t more Aikido people winning at UFC events? UFC is designed for grappling and striking arts with lots of restrictions for what can be done and not be done to prevent serious injuries.

    Until you spend some time with the Brazilian grapplers, spend some time in the striking arts to examine what is allowed and not allowed, you have not right to even think that what you learn for Aikido will be effective against a practiced fighter, nor will it be within a range of safety for the realm of serious injury.

    My classes in aikido spend a lot of time trying to teach people who come from other martial arts not to use unnecessary force, or to resist in such a way they will injure themselves or their training partner. Therefore rules and boundaries are set up for safe practice. It is the same for UFC fights, despite what the audience thinks … there are strict rules about what a fighter can or can not do.

    The nature of UFC is to push back as hard as possible, to resist as much as possible and to overcome one’s opponent, so the nature of the beast is violence against violence causing a neutral effect in most cases. The state of mind and body are important forces for signaling the brain and body to respond or either yourself or your opponent.

    If your opponent is angry and you are devoid of anger there is a positive and negative force at work. Consider how a two magnets attract or repel. Consider how an electrical current flows or does not when wires are correctly or incorrectly attached. The human body is both electrical and magnetic because it is alive using both electricity and magnetism. Like it or not, two angry fighters cause less damage to each other then one who is angry and one who is not.

    Like it or not, aikido is based upon sword movements and movements against standing opponents with weapons, at least the majority of techniques that are practiced.

    Like it or not, the average aikido student is not ready for the violence of grappling and ready to cause serious injury to UFC fighters, we are far too kind hearted to be that angry.

    But, should you be in a life and death struggle, it certainly would be nice to have some knowledge of what is NOT allowed in training for UFC or other arts so that you can act for the common good when such a threat raises it’s ugly head.

    I know this is not the politically correct answer, nor the answer Aikido Journal wants, but it is the answer that I have found through experience and training with a couple of people who have tried to fight for UFC over the years. Take it or leave it …. aikido as it is presently taught in classes is not varied enough for UFC fighting.

  2. I hope that we are never looking for a politically correct answer here! In any event, one thing that I find interesting whenever this subject comes up, that is, Aikido’s effectiveness against every other martial art, it makes me think of the many legends of O Sensei and his ability to take on all comers. For example, in story after story he gained students because he could tell them to attack him in any way they saw fit and he would still neutralize them. I think that such skill requires a 24-7 dedication to the art which very few people are able to do. However, if there was UFC in O Sensei’s day, I believe that he would have studied it and either overcome or incorporated the techniques that he found relevant or useful. All too often people talk about his skills as if they were magic, however, the people who dedicated themselves to studying the art under him often came highly regarded in other arts and they found something in Aikido that was worthy of changing their paths. That may be one of the difficulties in teaching Aikido in the west now. If you start your MA training with Aikido you need to study a fairly long time to take on people skilled in other arts. You just are not practicing ground and pound and, I am not sure that you want to. Most fights may go to the ground, however, as I get older I know that my goal better be to avoid or get off the ground before I get hurt.

  3. I suppose that there will be some who try to apply aikido to sporting contests. There are others who prefer “spiritual” aikido and shun conflict. The sport practitioners will end up with their efforts shaped by the rules of their game. The spiritual types will be in trouble if, as the title of Terry Dobson’s book “Push Comes To Shove”.

    It is true, though regrettable, that the Ueshiba family is losing control of the art. Part of the problem is diffusion. The schools which are commercially successful have the critical mass to have a relationship with Hombu. In the interest of harmony, Hombu has accepted a broad spectrum of aikido practice, which is actually good. For those schools too small, either students have no advancement, or their advancement is not registered. Should I need to advance a student without Hombu sanction I will be sure not to infringe their “copyright”.

  4. Aikido is the nurturing of a surety that needs no external validation. The fact that few (if any) aikidoka even consider UFC already speaks volumes.

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