“Aikido in MMA,” by Rick Ellis

“I am a MMA fighter trained by Alex Reid, I have a strong background in Traditional Aikido. I have studied Traditional Aikido since the age of 5 yrs with my father Henry Ellis 6th dan Aikido – International Birankai – .My father taught me the art of Traditional Aikido as taught to him by Kenshiro Abbe Sensei in the 1950s/60s. The modern misguided Aikidoka say ‘there is no kicking or punching in Aikido !’ Believe me ! there is in my fathers Aikido…see my photos and fight films. The same sad people say on my video comments ‘I don’t see Aikido !’ …..The reason they don’t see Aikido is because they are looking for their stylized dojo Aikido .”

Click here to read entire article.


  1. Simple honesty about practical aiki. Thanks Rick

  2. I would like to discuss some things you write.

    “Your opponent in the cage is for real, as would be your street opponent, the difference being that the mma guy is a professional fighter who has no intention of trying to harmonize with you.”

    Both you and your cage opponent follow rules. You cannot have weapons, you wear gloves to protect your knuckles, I have not heard of a fight that has resulted in death, as the referees stop the fights before finishing moves would be executed. Therefore, there is little or no fear of death as a fighter prepares, steps into the octagon, and fights. Are there not many other rules for your protection?

    I read in a U.S. Army Special Forces (green beret) hand-to-hand combat book that dedicated an entire page to just how to grab, twist, and squeeze an enemy’s testicles. As I understand there are many, many, effective, “street opponent” techniques that are against the rules in the octagon for your safety. Please list all the safety rules of whichever mma octagon league you represent.

    “If you think that your pure mind an body technique will help you in a real ‘street’ situation??, you are going to be sadly dissappointed, you don’t have to believe me, just wait, trouble is never too far away”

    First, I would like to focus on, “you are going to be sadly dissappointed…” So you have made the assumption that all off us who have been training in some diluted shadow of what your dad knows Aikido is supposed to be, are going to inevitably get their asses kicked or worse, and soon? I don’t believe you. I will analyze your fear-mongering phrase, “just wait, trouble is never too far away.” This alpha-dog, momentary instillation of worry represents your own fear-mind and possible narcissim-mind. If I trained all day to become better in the microcosmic octagon, weighing the imminent pain versus the glory of having fans, I would be scared too. Plus you always know that on the street, no matter how hard you train your muscles, moves, and ego, there will always be someone along those streets against whom you stand zero chance.

    Do you sense in yourself and/or other professional mma entertainers the fear that during middle age and beyond, you will need hip replacement surgery, titanium kneecaps, and will suffer other consequences, perhaps even excruciating, chronic pain?

    I am glad you wrote this, and I hope you will comment on the comments.

  3. To their credit the ring guys take the trouble to explore aiki and other elements at a depth most aikido trainees are too frightened to do. It’s a given that the ring has constraints and that a live situation will have variables.
    I don’t agree in contest for the sake of it either because you seldom get attacked by one unarmed person in an empty space with a flat floor and a referee.
    But give the guy a fair go. He’s being honest about his understanding of uncooperative practice and that has definitive merit.

  4. And he makes absolute sense: when he says:

    “Anyone who has used Aikido in a truly hostile situation will tell you that it looked nothing like the training in the dojo, one needs to be able to adapt himself and his technique to that situation.”
    “The reason they don’t see Aikido is because they are looking for their stylized dojo Aikido.”

    My suggestion to everyone is, knowing full well the limits of sports: Don’t bag out the professionals unless you are prepared to step into the ring and put your money where your mouth is.

    Better still, if you want your Aikido, as a Budo, to come to life, TRAIN WITH THEM! You will learn a lot!

  5. Nev, in your most recent comment, Rick’s statement in your first quote does – I agree – make sense. As far as “put[ting] my money where my mouth is,” that’s not the sort of statement I would expect from an Aikidoka, and I’m surprised you said it. Perhaps you momentarily got caught up in the “rhythm of the enemy.” What do you think?

    I believe having a decent level of mental clarity, hope, and optimism is a far better way to go through life than aggressively training day in, day out so you can kick someone’s ass if you chronically fear you might need to. I perceive his piece of writing to be untrue, self-righteous, and a power-trip rooted in his own fear and confusion. Do you really disagree? I am not into celebrity worship, which I think shows in my first comment. Some people are, and it’s understandable.

    • Rhythm of the enemy? Who is in fear now? Is this not a chat about ideas and opinions? I suggest you step into a good MMA grappling class and then get back to us all. The first thing you will learn in such a class is that the guys who are tying you in knots are relaxed and breathing normally while yourself will be tense, rigid and trying to apply techniques. I know i’ve been there :) We don’t have a monopoly on relaxation and harmony in aikido. We have a beautiful art of distance and timing (which if things go well might be all you need). Distance and timing allow expression of the whole effortless self which can apply to every aspect of life. It’s nice like that :) Martially there is a limitless well of possibilities out there. Remember O’sensei was who he was because he was a mixed martial artist (among all the other things that made him).

  6. Drew, I don’t know the guy from a bar of soap. Never met or previously heard of him. I simply noted the honesty of his remarks. The stuff you’re reading into his statements does not resonate. Perhaps you’re projecting your stuff. Putting your money where your mouth is, whilst I did not direct it at anyone to whom it does not apply, is scientific. We can hurl “expert” theories at each other from our armchairs forever and achieve nothing more than wank.

    Reality testing is a valid method of putting to rest delusional theories. As O’Sensei would put it to people with lots of mouth and criticism, “Care to step onto the mat and prove your point?” (In other words, put you money where your mouth is!) Some did and were shown the facts first hand. And that their opinionated theory were in fact delusional. Pro-fighters, in their own way are researching factuality as best they know how, by stepping onto the mat. And this, in a verbal sense, I believe is what AJ is for, not merely venting.

    A fact is a fact, wherever it may come from, and bullshit is good fertiliser for plants, not to fuel one’s own delusions. I think it’s good practice to keep an open mind and keep learning about what’s valid. No matter where it comes from. If “put your money where your mouth is,” was good enough for the founder of Aikido, and he did, then which part exactly is un-aikidoish? How exactly are “aikidoka” different from others? The delusionary pedestal so many like to imagine they are standing on does not exist. We are all ordinary people hopefully trying to improve. Good science researches with an open mind accepting ignorance to discover fact. Good law enacts procedure until it finds the real perpetrator. Bad science starts with a preconception and tries to cram everything to fit, just like bad policing will frame the usual suspect so they can save paperwork and go home; while the real criminal is still at large. Good Budo is DISCOVERY, and not suicidal resting on laurels. (In the case of Aikido, mostly someone else’s, usually O’Sensei’s). The “ring” just like the dojo, is an opportunity to meet, at least in part, the litmus test and find out. Since it is a personal choice of participants, this can only be a good thing. Peace be with you.

  7. bruce baker says:

    Yep … the shorthand we learn for stylized and classical aikido practice needs to grow and evolve just as a child grows from a child into an adult and play becomes war, the application for each situation might evolve to another level.

    If we live long enough .. we evolve to a pinnacle, a peak of performance, then we deteriorate until we die. Too many people have this illusion we improve and rise in skills and knowledge until our appointed time of death, but we are just evolving, adapting to the changing circumstances of our human body, of that time of our aging process.

    If we learn our lessons well, we learn enough tricks to get out of trouble and to stay away from trouble before it starts.

    My solution to this discussion,and all discussions about what Aikido is and can be, is to realize… Aikido is shorthand for a very violent battlefield martial art. Why is it .. so many people .. don’t see this wide ranging solution when discussions like this come up also?

    Are they delusional or just under the spell of some Swami?

  8. Nev, I promise you, sure as I sit in my arm chair right now, that if Rick and I squared off in an unarmed fight to the death, I would die. Is that what you wanted me to concede? I hope you feel better.

    It seems to me that I have more respect for Rick than you do. I seem him as an intelligent human being, and I would damn well hope if I started throwing around obviously false statements, sheerly for their boldness, that I would be called out as well.

  9. David DeLong says:

    I found myself agreeing with much of what Rick Ellis says, having won and lost confrontations on the street,(a very rough street by the way, and not just with drunks). However, what Mr. Gardner says is also true.

    I practice traditional Aikido, (Iwama Style), which does include the use of strikes as part of the attacker’s as well as defender’s arsenal. The emphasis is really on training the body to move effectively and smoothly while maintaining a stable base and a connection to the attacker/partner’s center. That includes his vitals, gonads, throat, etc. Whether the body can respond or not without a lot of mental dithering and hesitation is a matter of how much time the individual commits to training, and the level of seriousness of that training.

    We do not presume that circumstances outside our abstracted training regimen do not exist. Obviously, if one is concerned, or needs to be concerned, about MMA type parameters of conflict (or if they have to arrest drunk football players on spring break, etc.) they should train for those conditions.

    Aikido in all its stylistic manifestations can be seen to exist along a continuum between the most combat relevant, (those that involve multiple attackers and weapons), to “street fighting” conditions, to a less violent or more internal application. I hesitate to use “internal”, because there’s an “internal” element that should be in development for the student at any point along that continuum. Maybe there’s a type of training that is appropriate for people who have a high expectation of combat and a different type of training for “peacetime” practitioners. The important thing to remember, is that there is a greater risk of injury, esp. brain damage, to some methods of training than to others. Most of my college students were honor students. Regular concussions are not advisable for those using their brains for a living. Regardless of the approach, any form of training that does not really teach a respect for one’s training partners and opponents, but teaches a dehumanizing and degrading, dominance and submission mindset, is depraved, as I see it. One can access one’s fighting instincts without becoming an animal.

    A good approach, in my opinion, is one that can range widely along this continuum, and understand the different approaches for the integrity in their application by different teachers. You can compare apples and oranges into infinity without describing their similarities, if you’re predisposed to a parochial preference.

    Aikido as the Art of Peace, it would seem to me, needs to elevate itself beyond tribalism, nationalism, religious bigotry, provincialism, parochialism and clique-ism, and all the other “-isms”. I would be willing to guess that’s where the Founder’s thinking was at the end of WWII. My authority for saying that are the facts of his life after WWII and what he said.

    For that reason, I’m disappointed by the contemplation of Aikido as religion. It would be “just another religion.”

    As it is, I’ve had students that were Christian, Buddhist, Jewish, atheist, Muslim, as well as doctors AND lawyers, physicists, musicians, carpenters, of every race.

  10. Eduardo J. says:

    I think that all these “discussions” about the “right” way to train aikido and that people that do not train in this way are “delusional” came from people that have a really small understanding of “reality”, despite the fact that they are always trying to convince others that what others train will not work in “reality”.

    First of all, if we start to think like they propose, we will live in fear that at any moment someone will try to kill us. Even if this was true (and isn’t), live in fear is live?

    Second, these people are so obsessed with “efficiency” that forget that in “real life” if someone really wants to kill you, you will be dead. If he won’t, so do not make him change her mind.

    Knowing that the probability of you “survive” using “martial techniques” if someone really wants to kill you is zero, an intelligent person would know that the “focus” of his training can’t be the “technique”. To people that understand this, train some types of “techniques/patterns” or train in a “more real” situation is irrelevant.

    In fact, I didn’t understand how people that have so many years of training do not feel stupid saying thinks like “training in a more real situation”, “be more efficiently”, etc.

    People that often face themselves in “fight situations” that are not part of their daily work usually lack the thing they most need in these times. The acceptance of their own death. Acceptance that you will dye in a fight is the most useful tool that you have at your disposal to “survive”. But accept death is very different thing than known the possibility of it. Accept your own death truly clear the fear of your mind. And truly do not fear for your life is very different from what people usually do, that is fake courage or power to hide the fear that they feel from the other.

    People capable of accepting their own death usually will never have to fight in life. Simple because they know, deeply, that to fight is pointless. If you can win, there are no need to fight. If you can’t, there are no point in to fight.

    Like O’Sensei, that when attacked by another “martial artist”, simple avoided his attacks until the other understood that what he was doing was stupid, there is no situation where “to fight” is really an option.

    But I know. This is very difficult to understand and accept. It is far easier to fool yourself thinking that there are “inevitable” situations where to fight can resolve the situation (or is the only way) and that are ways to train to be able to do this (like “cover up”, train “kicks” or train in “more real situations”).


  11. Mike Smith says:

    I think the real issue here is that we’ve been presented with a blog that is both confrontational and abrasive in nature. To react to it simply feeds into its intent; to stir the pot, to bully and taunt. Any point that was trying to be made here was lost in the spirit in which it was written. Peace.

  12. Everything has a place. If you want a more practical art, then there’s a way to do it. If you want an exercise plan with arcane formalities, that’s also fine. Confusing the latter with the former is silly.

    …In any given situation, if it’s your day to die, you will. Isn’t there a judo saying, ‘on any day, anyone can win’? I believe that Yagyu said something like ‘my training gives me an advantage, maybe 7/10’. For that matter, did you hear about the jogger on the beach who was killed by an airplane making an emergency landing? One of the confusions in Western minds is that somehow martial arts are about survival. Even O Sensei said he left the question of survival to God and just did aikido.

  13. Drew, Now that you’ve conceded reality, think of the benefits if you were to TRAIN WITH him, instead of what appears to be an oblique challenge from the “safety” of the internet.

    I re-read Rick’s blog in case I missed something. I could not find anything either “confrontational” or “abrasive” in nature. Simply sincerity, from his viewpoint.

    On the other hand the abrasive and confrontational stuff I find here in the responses and also littered throughout most “aikido” websites are tantamount to a challenge.

    Now here’s the difference. Some guys are really tough with words but become pussycats in the face of real confrontation. People who have to fight, either because they choose to test their limits in those silly cages, or who have to as part of professional protection, rarely issue challenges. In fact they prefer not to fight. They’ve experienced real fear and not conceptual theories about it. But they can put their money where their mouth is in the event they are called upon to do so. Fighting, any fighting, is a serious and dangerous business preferably avoided at all costs. Morihei Ueshiba was not an empty talk-osopher. Even though some wankers nowadays attempt to second guess his skill post mortem, a disingenuous exercise at best. Morihei fearlessly took on all comers and defeated them. He backed up his philosophy of love, nurture and protection with thunder. After that he spouted RELEVANT philosophy. If we were true Aikido students instead of making an idol of Ueshiba, we would be living a life of emulating his steps. With respect.

  14. Wake Up People!!! MMA has rules but is WAY MORE like a real fight. In aikido training nobody tries to knock you out. In MMA they do. In the Aikido dojo nobody knees, elbows, chokes, or kicks you. In MMA they do. In MMA you are competing against a guy who is only interested in kicking your ass. In Aikido you are training with your dojo buddies who dont want to see you get hurt. If you think your Aikido is so real then go to any MMA gym and ask for a no rules match and find out how will your aiki works. Oh and make sure you film the fight I dont want to read any stories about how you or your sensei kicked some guys ass unless you have the proof.

  15. Nev, will you help me separate “making an idol of Ueshiba” and “emulating his steps?”

    Whose steps did he emulate?

    As far as training with Rick san, I think every moment spent training in MMA is a moment not spent training Aikido (mentally or physically). They are mutually exclusive as there is an opportunity cost. Plus, training with the pure intention of knocking someone close-to or completely unconscious, in the most brutal form of legal entertainment, for foolish pride, money, and fans who – at least some – are sitting around cheering whilst chugging their Bass and Boddington’s, eating a 1kg bag of crisps, all-the-while having the cardiovascular endurance of a dead animal, doesn’t flow too well with Aikido philosophy as I know it.

    Getting paid to let others live vicariously thorough your technique, bloodshed and agony is fine with me, as long as MMA does not lure potential Aikidoka into its gloves with the worthless yet shiny lures of fame, sympathetic nervous system rush, and easy sex with beautiful groupies who are into whatever is popular and televised.

    I don’t think the UFC and its offshoot leagues are overall a negative thing, ceteris paribus. The unfortunate truth is that people – teenagers and young adults alike – are going for the big, pretty belt, instead of the kind that matter.

    That’s my pound sterling for now.

    Mike, I find truth and important meaning in your brief comment. Now, will you compose a longer, more detailed response that demonstrates how a proper reaction to such confrontation and abrasion should appear? I see what you mean, but then you leave me hanging.

  16. Eduardo J. says:

    Why people that don’t think alike are “abrasive” or “confrontational”?

    Everyone has its own vision of “aikido/life”, but “aikido/life” is not “property” of anyone.

    If we can accept this, nothing will be “abrasive” or “confrontational”.

  17. Eduardo, I think that if you are able to live by what you say here, at least a good portion of the time, you will have a more enjoyable life cycle than most. I hope you keep such an excellent attitude, whether you work at a sewage facility or are President of the United Nations.

  18. Ueshiba was himself.
    He survived real encounters.
    You can learn Aikido everywhere and from everyone.
    If you can only aiki selective attacks you are off with the fairies.
    Aikido is Budo last time I looked.
    Budo exists to stop aggression, not fairies.
    As for gladiatorial sports, I have no time for them, but they suit some people who can remember rules.
    But an honest fact is an honest fact and I stand by what I said about the guy simply rendering an honest opinion generously; and based on hard experience.
    On that basis it is worthy of note.

  19. Mike Smith says:

    In response to the use of my words, “abrasive” and “confrontational”. One of the definitions of abrasive is: tending to cause ill will or overly aggressive. Confrontational can refer to discord or clash of opinions.

    I think we can all agree that there are examples throughout the blog in words and in tone. I’ve been training Aikido for just over a year now and see no examples of what this gentleman is talking about. Maybe I’m lucky. Previous to this I studied Brazilian Jui-Jitsu and Muay Thai Kick Boxing for several years with several guys who are fighting professionally now. I have a good friend who grew up on the streets fighting every day to survive. I’ve met and spoken with some great teachers in various arts. I’ve learned from speaking with these men that they are all very humble. They know that their art is not necessarily the best, that their skills are not superior to everyone on the planet. In fact, they tend to respect the other arts and the people that take the time to study them. I truly believe this attitude made them better fighters/artists. I also personally believe that if you find yourself in an altercation of any kind, you’ve probably made a few mistakes along the way to that destination.

    I know everyone has opinions and I like to hear them. This gentlemen has a lot more experience than I do in Aikido and I’m sure he’s just voicing his frustration with how some of it is being taught throughout the world. I’m sure he has some valid points and I believe he is genuinely concerned. I just feel like there is a better way to present your arguments to get people to listen. For me there was too much noise drowning out any potential validity. What’s interesting is that his blog has triggered a lot of responses and if this was his intent, I applaud him.

  20. Nev,

    I think “sticking to your guns,” since you are so into cliches, instead of letting yourself realize your early comment was incorrect, displays a lack of dynamicism and an interest more in your selfish ego than the truth.

    I also think that his opening sentences set the stage for something positive, only for his statements to degenerate over the course of his piece.

    If you got caught up in first impressions, I understand why you feel such support for his “generosity.”

  21. Drew, Maybe we are talking about a different blog. I just re-read the blog by Rick Ellis: “Aikido in MMA,” and I stand by my words: “Simple honesty about practical aiki.”
    Beyond this it looks like being the longest talkfest in history. You can take it or leave it. It’s all the same to me. Some people have made really good points here and I’m learning and refreshing my outlook by reading them as well.
    If something pressed your buttons, I think you’ll find that, “something” inside yourself. If you’re trying to rabble rouse don’t bother. If you’re getting your knickers in a knot, deep breathing and cold showers sometimes works. But best of all is a good sweat in hard training until your questions answer themselves. Then there are no issues and it’s all small stuff on the Way.

  22. Mike, I just read your most recent comment, and what you are getting across is more pleasant and accepting than my major points along this long thread of comments.

    Your conclusion is, “What’s interesting is that his blog has triggered a lot of responses and if this was his intent, I applaud him.”

    What I find even more interesting is that he himself has not commented. I don’t think he’s too busy signing autographs. I think the last thing he wants to do is list the rules of his octagon per my request, therefore blatantly contradicting his own bold statement.

    Nev, I picture you on a golf course wearing knickerbockers. The image makes me smile and chuckle some. After all the hardcore discussions leading to arguments yesterday, I am feeling more lighthearted today.

  23. James Douglas says:

    Am I delusional?

    I have read the MMA blog in addition to all the comments here. I have also been reading the AJ for many years now. My experiences are in Iwama Aikido (I am a shodan) and GoJu Karate (I am a 3rd Kyu) both at different points in my life.

    Most of what Drew has written resonates very strongly with me. I wanted / want to train in these martial arts because I like the culture / I like the fitness / I like the skill set / I like sense of personal development that I have gained from my years on the mat. Way in the background is the thought that, if I were ever unlucky enough to be involved in a real life-or-death situation, I would be “slightly” more likely to survive than if I had never trained. That is about all I think that can be hoped for with the martial arts (at least my understanding of them).

    I can’t relate to the MMA poster’s point of view on life. I work in medicine and what MMA seems to relish is the very opposite of the most basic tenet of my profession (First, do no harm).

    Some of what Nev has written also resonates with me although I find much troubling and confrontational. The martial arts are a physical business. Although I don’t really like the “put your money where your mouth is” attitude I can see many benefits that my Karate training has given me. Similarly I see strong benefits from trying, whatever one’s choice of martial art, to remain in peak physical fitness.

    I have trained in a striking art and I have trained in Aikido. I have no desire to ever be in a real fight or even a competition fight. The MMA poster could certainly kick my arse if I was ever unlucky enough to step into the ring with him but I could potentially save his arse when he is carried out.

    Am I just deluding myself with all my training and should I just be out jogging?


  24. Don Draeger said, “Uyeshiba’s aikido is a highly weakened form of hand-to-hand combat. Aikido is essentially noncombative in nature. Further, the omission of atemi (strikes) from its techniques removes aikido from the category of practical hand-to-hand combat styles.”

  25. Eduardo J. says:

    Mr. Taisho,

    I do not read the entire article yet (I will), but I take a look.

    I’m not really concerned if aikido is useful or not for “street fight”. My training has nothing to do with “self-defense”.

    But I see a question that Mr Lau did to himself (according to the article) that is very funny. :)

    “Why did Aikido fail”?

    The question is funny because it is the type of question that someone that fail to do something ask himself (and others) when is not capable of assume that most times, the problem is not with the “tool”, but with the “user”.

    People think that training for 20, 30 or 40 years means something.
    Well, the only thing that training for 20, 30 or 40 years means is that someone have spend 20, 30 or 40 years training. Nothing more.

    Most people can spend 70 years training and will never be capable of resolve a situation like the one that was exposed in this article.

    In fact, more old they get, more difficult will be for them to resolve that situation. And the reason is very simple. They relay in “flexibility/speed/Strength”. Any technique of any martial art will work only when the opponent is weaker if someone rely on this.

    But is amazing that on the other side, there are people (of a variety of martial arts) that are really old and you can’t take them down.

    For sure it’s not their strength, nor their speed. Most of them barely move… XD

    Technique will you say…

    Well, I think not.

    I see some of this “old mens” take down people with double their height, weight, speed, strength. And they barely move.

    I myself tried to “take down” one of this “old mens”. Weaker. Slower. Little than me. He doesn’t used any “technique”.
    I tried to beat him. I tried to hold him. I wasn’t able to do nothing.

    The only thing that he did was smile. Every time I finish in the floor.

    The main difference between this men (and others) and Mr Lau, to me, is the capabilities of the firsts “to feel” the other, and really accept them.

    This men told once that when some one wants your arm, you must be gently and give it to him. No one, like me, was able to hold him or to beat him when he show us this basic true.

    The most I think (and training) this, more I see this as something amazing.

    You all would try. In a training session, ask for your partner to u hold your arm with both hands in a way that he can overwhelm any strength that you cam possible make. Be sure that using “strength” you can not get off your partner. Do a test to make sure that you can’t make yourself free, trying to push or to pull.

    After this, look to your partner and feel it. Open your mind to him. Let go any “will” to be “free” of him. Feel him truly. See him in a deeper way. And them, give yor arm to him. Give yourself to him.

    Make this litle test. If you are able to really SEE the other not as a threat, but like something that wants something that he really don’t know that can not have, you will became amazing, like me.

    It’s a simple exercise that you can study with any technique. Do not matter if your partner is trying to beat you, to hold you, or even if you first let him hold you. This always work. With “giant people” too 😉

    This can lead you to think aikido in a really different way (or no, of course). Depends on you and on what you are looking for.

    But remember. The “key” is how you “feel”. And this, folks, is far most difficult than do any “technique”…

    And if this “didn’t work”, try to understand if this is “bullshit” or if is you that can’t “feel” the other…

    See you! :)

  26. Eduardo J. says:

    Sorry, I did not to mean that I am “amazing”… I went to say “amazed” :)

    Sorry for the “bad english”.


  27. Sweet, another article telling me what “real” aikido is, what a “real” fight is and what’s wrong with everyone elses aikido (except the author’s of course).

  28. Eduardo, your smilies didn’t do much for me until your most previous post. Saying, “bad english,” which yes, yours is a rare mix of elevated grammar at times, mixed with an overall nightmare for an editor. For example, “And this, folks, is far most difficult…” Your excellent use of commas surrounding “folks” followed by language that is horrible, yet comprehensible, amuses me.

    Really what I want to get across is neither anything Aikido that you discuss, nor your “bad english” per se. It’s the combination of the smilies and thoughts of the great power ballad by the music group, “Bad English,” entitled, “When I See You Smile.” I am going to YouTube it right now since I haven’t heard it in years.

    Don’t get me wrong, I do agree with many of your statements about Aikido.


  29. Eduardo J. says:


    Hello Drew.

    I must say that your comment make me do a big “smile”.

    Yes, My English is weird, I know. Some time ago, a friend of my wife told me the same thing. That time she was with a german guy and I was trying to speak English with him, because he doesn’t understood Portuguese. She told me that my English was funny sometimes, because my words choice.

    I studied English for some time many years ago, but never go too far (so, talk to someone in English is a very difficult thing to me). But since that time, I read much things in English. Novels, articles, essays, jokes, etc. Maybe this is the cause of my “Bad English” with some weird “words”.

    But know I start to study English again. I’m yet on the really basics (like, “the ball is red and is over the table”, but on day I will be able to talk to someone in English that will not make him panic! hehe

    Besides this, the most important thing to me, in life, is to learn to respect others views of life.

    Sooner in life I began to understand that there is more than one road to the mountain’s top. And more than one mountain too…

    You make me curious about this song. I’ll take a look :) (I really love music).


  30. All the pain inflicted in the cage, usually upon both entertainers, seems like it would have to be dealt with. Rick, do you receive a morphine injection right after every match? If not, are there any opium-derived substances you do ingest until the pain finally fades enough? Something tells me that pure ibuprofen, pure acetaminophen, or anything else over-the-counter would be like a mild placebo, if that. I expect powerful opiate use of some type after each punishment in the octagon by professional mixed martial artists. I haven’t seen it, but I know an even darker underworld exists beyond what the cameras offer.

    I find both correlation and causation in the rise in popularity of mixed martial arts and the decline in Aikido participation. An excellent and major outfitter for primarily Aikido and Karate, Bujin Design, has had to close after many years of creating extraordinarily fine products, while providing excellent service. A wonderful company like Bujin would only have to close if fewer practitioners exist who require equipment. Also, local martial arts stores and their venerable owners, had to switch to MMA products in order to stay in business. I have spoken with such a wise owner, asking what the most common martial art equipment sells in the store. “Mixed martial arts, unfortunately,” was the reply.

  31. Drew Gardner writes:
    Mar 22nd, 2010 at 10:25 am
    Your conclusion is, “What’s interesting is that his blog has triggered a lot of responses and if this was his intent, I applaud him.” is my sons blog. I would like to point out that my son did not add his brief article to AJ. The article was written in answer to the Aiki plonkers who were leaving stupid comments on his YouTube videos. Was that you Nev :-)???. I am always happy for you to use my articles as you well know.
    Mr Gardener, I am not sure where you think you are going with the use of drugs in MMA ? My son has had no pain in the cage but suffers more in training. He fought a 6th dan Taekwondo in a cage event and took him out in 46 seconds of the first round. My son has no interest in forums that is why he has not replied to this or any other forum. Jei Nakazono Sensei the son of my great teacher describes Rik as a true Budo warrior and follows his career. I would personally describe Cage/MMA as gladitorial and it take “real“ courage to get into the cage and fight for real.
    Henry Ellis

  32. Nev
    Sorry, I was asking if you had added Riks article ?


    • I just went on You Tube and watched some of Rik’s fights. Many of the principles of Aiki budo are fully present and clearly visible. His irimi are impressive, his atemi well aimed, his ki is strong, kime fully present, zanshin impeccable. Good ground work. The fights were won before he got into the ring.

      ‪Sun Tzu‬ who understood the principles of aiki very well wrote:

      “The general who wins the battle makes many calculations in his temple before the battle is fought. The general who loses makes but few calculations beforehand.

      Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win.

      What the ancients called a clever fighter is one who not only wins, but excels in winning with ease.”

  33. I wrote a comment on your essay, Ellis Sensei, and I think I spelled Rik’s name incorrectly by accident on these comments. If you’re going to spell mine incorrectly for some sort of juvenile retribution, that’s kind of pathetic.

    “My son has had no pain in the cage.”

    The falsehood continues.

  34. Mr Gardner
    I had not noticed that you had spelled Rik’s name incorrectly nor did I realise I had yours.
    Of course there is pain in the cage. I was really trying to say that the hard training can often be more demanding.

    Henry Ellis

  35. Bogdan Chivulescu says:

    Mr. Nev,
    I have read with great interest you articles about how Aikido training “should be”. Well, while I strongly agree with the fact that Aikido has to be real,I do not think that your “approach” is a natural one.

    Your “approach” has nothing to do with the real principle of non-resistance. Your approach conveys a message that Aikido is not so much different than the one undertook by the Spartans whose minds were like a rock. In order to develop this non resistance feeling the mind needs to be soft and gentle. I do not think that your mind has got that quality.

    It is because of some people like you, that the naive public want nowadays more and more to practice Aikido for self defense purposes. Aikido is not meant for that. It is not meant to create warriors in hakama.It seems that you like this idea of a warrior. A warrior(modern or old) has a mind like a rock, and he/she will always be full of emotional tension no matter what he pretend.

    I think that having a harsh background like yours, can make one to wrongly belief that Aikido training is meant to create this type of person, with a mind like a rock.

    To cut a long story short, I think that what Eduardo J and Drew Gardner have tried to convey has more meaning to the art of Aikido than your Spartan(army)style approach to life.

    One has to learn to be humble and to become less through his/her practice. I do not think that yours is the case.

    Posting one’s Aikido performances on You Tube shows that person is still plagued by the venom of vanity.

    Posting one’s performances on You Tube is a matter of showing off and nothing else. It is a sign of narcissism.Sadly this is trait found too often in the western mentality in general and in North American culture in particular. Showing off no matter what…

    You are part of this North American cultural mindset tainted by much arrogance and vanity. Whatever Aikido training are you pursuing it has not helped you to get rid off this defilement.

    Speaking of your clips posted on the You Tube, I strongly feel that your Bokken movements are quite unnatural and physical. The way you tend to rise the Bokken is utterly wrong and inefficient to say the least.



  36. Lamarr Wilder-Gay says:

    Rik Ellis is an amazing fighter. His father is an outstanding human being and great ambassador for Aikido. All I can say is, what we learn, we have to take on board and adapt as our own to use in life.

    I have had the pleasure of training for a while at the Bracknell dojo under the instruction of Henry Ellis. I’ve had experience, first hand of what Rik is capable of. He is quite simply an amazing athlete and person.

    I have a lot of respect for him and his father.

  37. Tony Wagstaffe says:

    I totally agree with the article ` Aikido in MMA ` by Rik Ellis, so much so, I have been following Rik Ellis and his career in Aikido and MMA. I have read an interview by his father Henry Ellis for ` MMA Prospects UK ` regarding his thoughts on Aikido in MMA. It is unusual for an MMA site to be interested in what Aikidoka have to say. I was interested to read that Rik Ellis is also doing an interview for MMAProspectsUK..I am really looking forward to reading that.
    The Henry Ellis interview is here.

  38. Natalia Livingston says:

    Been trying to find you for years.

    • Hi Natalia
      Rik and I had planned to visit Rio Rancho NM this year, we had to cancel because of my health problems. I hope to try again in 2012. Rik is now more involved in MMA than Aikido.
      There has been a great deal of interest in the transference of Aikido technique in to MMA with the involvement of Steven Segal with Anderson Silva and Machida. Rik Ellis is to make a video of these techniques in 2012.
      Rik has has a website ” Aikido in MMA” and now has a blog site dedicated to this at http://

      Take care
      Henry Ellis

  39. I have only known Rik a short time, we spent a night or two in hospital. What a great man he is. I went to watch him train and this man is a complete and utter animal.. But what a nice fella he is. I would back him all the way. Come on Rik…….. Do it!!

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