“Making Aikido Work On The Street” by Michael Zartman

“Some observers, and even a few practitioners, have questioned the practicality of using Aikido for self defense outside of the dojo, claiming that they know it does not work. Many complain that the standardized attacks used for training kihon waza (basic techniques) are not seen in the modern age in real fights—wrist grabs, head chops, etc., and are often delivered so slowly and without significant power as to not be realistic at all. Further, they say, why train for an attacker to grab your wrist when a grab attack can be blocked and readily countered by even the newest student of any martial art or untrained brawler with force by a punch or kick? In addition, to some, Aikido techniques appear fake because the attackers seem to jump into falls or readily lay down. Finally, a few say that Aikido’s philosophy of minimizing harm to the attacker demonstrates weakness, not strength, since the attacker wants to do just the opposite. These views most often derive from a fundamental misunderstanding as to what Aikido is and is not. ”

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