“Aikijujutsu vs. Aikido: The Transition From Deadly Combat to Gentle Self-Defense,” by Gail E. Nelson” from

“The drunk, upon seeing the officers, cursed them but really didn’t feel like fighting. A simple hold was all that was required to subdue him. The prostitute wanted to get away more than anything else, and taking her into custody was no problem. The lumberjack, however, was an entirely different situation. Besides being a skillful street fighter, he possessed the willingness to fight. This made him a very dangerous individual.”

Click here to read entire article.


  1. Taser became the answer for most Dept’s

  2. Mitchell Gaucher says:

    Can’t say I agree with much (if any) of this, but an interesting read nonetheless.

  3. bruce baker says:

    Every tool in your toolbox of martial arts … has a purpose for a particular situation.

    Not everyone can be a great fighter, so we resort to Taser, or gun with bullets, or some other weapon that is appropriate for each situation.

    One must see the “BIG PICTURE” or become a zombie entranced in the spell of their own fantasy world, and for some … that is that Aikido contains everything you need as a martial art. It, Aikido alone, doesn’t doesn’t contain everything you need, but it does contain some very important elements for your foundation.

    You MUST learn to punch, to kick, to find the weaknesses of the human body, and … begin to understand not just the structural weaknesses of the human body but how the nervous system and human brain sends signals to the human body to cause operational failure of that body, or you efforts cause extreme pain that break the mental resistance.

    In the big picture, at least my big picture, there is something gained from every type of martial art, but it just so happens that I like Aikido because its transition and safe practice techniques enhance anything you have learned from other martial arts.

    Your most dangerous enemy is not the person with a greater desire and greater skills than yourself who intends to harm you … but your own narrow-minded opinion, should you believe that Aikido has everything in it’s training you will ever need to know for every situation that you might come across.

    In my opinion, even if you choose not to practice violent techniques, you MUST study them and understand them to understand the true nature of Aikido which is not strength but the accessing of pressure points and weak-points of the human body that will cause pain or injury. You must learn many techniques to break the mental strength of the mind of your opponent so they are receptive to your consideration for their physical well-being as you TRY not to harm them while their true intent is to harm you or those around you.

    I sometimes wonder if it hurt me more to injure someone, or to be ineffective as those intent on violence harm others as I was helpless to stop violence at certain times in my life?

    YOU will never truly appreciate Aikido until you train, if only for a short period of months or weeks, in other disciplines of different martial arts. In my opinion, you are living in a fantasy world if you only train in Aikido, or any other martial art singly, your entire life.

    STUDY! STUDY ALL MARTIAL ARTS! You might choose to only practice Aikido, but at least you will have SOME knowledge of what is before you when GENTLE Aikido fails you in a particular situation.

  4. kseniya says:

    I have been practicing martial arts for a long time and I have learned one quiet simple point during all those years: being open minded. This article raises valid points and yet, in my opinion, fails at one point- remaining open minded. I agree with Bruce in this case as exposure to many martial arts have given me an opportunity to make a conscious choice among immense variety of various practices. I chose Aikido and, although in author’s opinion, it is not practical for police work, I respectfully disagree. It is about mastery of the art and approach to it while working with police departments. There is an article here, posted not so long ago, which explains this view, so I am not going to repeat it. However, this article is interesting as well as useful.

  5. Kit Leblanc says:

    Wow, all sorts of stuff coming up here to weigh in on.

    First off, I would say that NO martial art is practical for police work. We don’t go barefoot, we don’t get in fights on a mat, wearing pajamas. We carry handguns, rifles, knives, Tasers and other less lethal weapons with varying degrees of correspondence to traditional weaponry: some great, some not so much, some depending on the application.

    Pieces of martial arts – from Aikido to koryu to BJJ to MMA – apply under particular circumstances. Put those together properly and you have a valid arrest and control and hand to hand combat system. Cops need both.

    A martial art, and a police combat system, are two different things and even police officers that are martial artists have a tendency to forget that because of their preference for their particular system.

    I think the author is exactly correct, but the discussion is a nuanced one.

    Aikido is actually quite good for law enforcement in exactly the situations described – low end of the spectrum use of force, against people who may not be cooperative but are not interested in actually fighting with the police.Its locks and holds begin to control the hands, they may forestall a fight if the bad guy is “on the fence,” and the control of a hand can prevent him from going to a weapon if he changes his mind.

    This is the vast majority of arrest and control situations. It is also where a great deal of liability resides – the non-violent arrest, because if things get tweaked too hard or people get hurt, and indignant, they sue.

    Aikido for LE suffers, as does for instance ground fighting, in the main because the average officer is not committed to getting any good at it.

    With aggravated resistors, or with resistors under the influence of things like meth where they don’t care how much pain you may apply, aikido and traditional jujutsu type arm locking and controlling moves tend to fall by the wayside.
    It becomes much more about clinch-based with ballistic throwing and striking components added in. The joint locking and control holds coming in once the guy has been put down and controlled positionally.

  6. JD Pearce says:

    When confronted with an aggressive attacker, an individual must be willing to be as aggressive or even more so than the bad guy or opponent if he intends to survive the attack. Whether you use Aikido techniques or some other martial way to put down the adversary you must be willing to use any and all methods possible to win. I agree with many of the comments here that say Aikido is not always effective in every situation. A well placed kick or punch can be the most effective way or dealing with a certain attacker, then use your Aikido once he has been made vulnerable. Also, a weapon such as a taser or night stick would make a lot of sense when dealing with a 250 lb guy who is obviously an experienced street fighter. These kinds of people cannot be taken lightly no matter what your skill level may be.

  7. kseniya says:

    Honestly, when put this way, I agree with Kit.

  8. …classifying and categorizing is a level of skill. but just because YOU’VE classified and categorized something doesn’t mean that the object of your scrutiny agrees. or maybe he changes his mind. flexibility and fluidity. open mind? if your mind has time to think, you’re already behind the curve. never omit atemi, but neither emphasize them. pain? yes, as a beginner techniques work by inflicting pain, but at a truer level they work because they are applied where the skeleto-muscular system has no strength, maybe even anti-strength (as balance has unbalance)…

    for distances beyond mae but under 10 feet, i like pepper. sort of assumes early and correct identification of the problem. for distances over 10 feet, if necessary and available, firearms reign. that said, firearms are a martial art all their own. extension will help in their mastery. eight direction movement and all the normal aikido footwork will help in their deployment/employment.

    of course, the main thing here is that none of these things work without practice. “the way is in training”.

    unfortunately police have a lot on their plate. shift work. fatigue. “do i get paid for that? overtime?” (no & no) there is also a sort of insularity in many police forces, a sort of strange “esprit” that combines group identity, the reality of immediate availability of deadly force, and the consciousness of mortal vulnerability. it’s a bit like Musashi on the bandit ‘holed up’ in the house – ‘to the outside world he is fortified against all comers, but to himself, he is alone and the whole world is against him…’ net effect is that few police officers go beyond the basic techniques they are taught. few even become more than “qualified” with their firearms. so we have situations like the meth-head who is beaten by a dozen officers until his body just doesn’t work, in the process defeating any number of poorly mastered restraint techniques they seek to apply, or the typical shootout where 90% of the rounds fired by the police miss their targets (why high capacity magazines, and so many of them?)…

  9. Kit Leblanc says:

    Taser is far preferable to pepper under 10 feet. It has about the same effectiveness, and you don’t have cross contamination issues.

    The problem is that cops can’t usually shoot people, and even when they can, there is a natural hesitation for most, and an imposed one from fear of acting out of policy and of discipline. The law is actually less restrictive in many cases than department policy. I can have an absolutely legal shooting that could get me fired for violating policy.

    Back to aikido-cops. Here’s the thing, presupposing an officer who has committed to developing a high level of skill, it really has some positive benefits: control of hands, a focus on blending with the person’s resistance without going overboard, and at a skilled level, it will be less injurious and allow for a more humane way of control.

    That is exactly what you want with law enforcement in the majority of their encounters. You simply can’t break the wrists of people or body slam people who aren’t violently resisting.

    Taser has received an undeserved reputation due to the ignorance of the public and the media (and, I might add, the majority of administrators who have never used them in the field and can’t therefore explain them well to same media and public).

    Officers with a level of skill beyond basic in methods as taught in aikido would at times be better served using them instead of the Taser.

    The problem is officers don’t have that skill, it takes a long time to train to that level of skill, and the Taser is an easier answer to address it, despite the negative hype.

    I think this lack of skill is also the reason “wristy twisty’s” get a bad rap – people continue to try to use them when they aren’t working because of a) lack of skill b) the encounter has evolved past that point where that type of technique will be effective, or c) a combination of both.

    Someone with skill can recognize and transition from one technique to another when things aren’t working. Unskilled people can’t do that well.

  10. kseniya says:

    open mind meant being open to learning and assimilating a technique, making it your own. once you stop learning- that’s where problem would start.

  11. Sorry…but I will keep my Taser and forget my sankyo…Taser works 99% of the time…Sankyo maybe.

  12. Marius Vl says:

    Well, how can anybody say that aikido doesnt work? For example, somebody wrecked a car in a highway, so it is only your own fault because you weren’t good enough ,not skillfull enough to avoid what’s coming. How could anybody say that skill of driving a car doesn’t work? I mean every skill of doing something is personal, it is your own. So in this case aikido mister Bernie Lau was training in hasn’t prepared him for handling tougher situations. It is simple as that. Aikido O sensei have practiced was real budo, and it was meant to be practical. Non ability to defend against this lumberjack means only that your aikido is lacking some important components. In other words, some important skill is missing from your training. What makes techniques really work is that every single detail of the technique has to be correct, or in accordance with the real world principles. And besides, aikido is designed for pure self defence situations, using the element of surprise. It’s not meant for fighting. For successful integration into police daily work it has to be slightly modified i believe.The essence of successful aikiwaza is adaptation, constant change according to situation. That’s the takemusu aiki that Ueshiba sensei used to talk about. So please consider all this. Thank you

  13. Kit Leblanc says:

    There is no way that a Taser works 99% of the time, even accounting for regional differences in thickness of clothing, etc.

  14. Kit Leblanc says:

    And you post Taser’s training page…..

    Have you ever actually used a Taser? Been hit with one?

    Taser’s do not work 99% of the time, regardless of Taser’s hype.

    I distinctly remember a cartridge malfunction that one of my partner’s had, and Taser’s response to that was “Oh, that couldn’t happen.” It can, and it did.

    Taser is a wonderful tool, but it has its downsides.

  15. What % would you suggest?….And have Taser’s saved Perp and LEO lives?

  16. Kit Leblanc says:

    I think I already did…

    And of course Tasers have saved lives, of suspects. I love them. I am also acutely aware of their limitations from direct personal experience.

    Many officers are needlessly putting themselves at risk by using Tasers on subjects – including suspects with guns – when they should be engaging at higher levels of force. This needs to stop.

    What I suggest is common sense and sound tactical decision making commensurate with the threat.

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