“Aikido as a Self Defence” by Gregor Erdmann

“The actual term “self-defence” begs consideration that O-Sensei may not have developed Aikido for this purpose in the first place. After all, he speaks of self cultivation, peace on Earth and touching the Divine. In his younger day he was almost definitely motivated by the desire to be stronger, but in his later years when he was refining his art the importance of self defence was probably reduced. Self-defence is after all a selfish concept and not in line with the higher values of Aiki.”

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  1. In fact something here is lost in translation. ‘The way of the samurai is the resolute acceptance of death…’ roughly quoted from Hagakure (English version). ‘Death can’t be the only criterion. Peasants, even women, have died well… Winning is a worthwhile goal’, very roughly quoted from Musashi. O Sensei went further saying that neither life nor death should be goals, and said some fairly incomprehensible things about winning and losing.

    Where’s the concept of self-defense? Made in America. Presumably if you win, you will have defended yourself successfully. But unless you grasp the first lesson, winning will be hard. How many street fights have you seen where one guy isn’t scared and the other isn’t glad of it? Getting through that completely natural fear is the first goal of the martial arts with which I’m familiar. Skipping that process may not leave much, not even self-defense.

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