“What Really Works,” by Nev Sagiba

People will talk at length about Aikido and how invincible someone else was using it.

You invite them to face a real fighter and suddenly they are doing Aikido for “spiritual reasons.”

Well, it either works or it does not.

The trouble is that there are all sorts of things being passed off as “aikido, ” but undefined as to what this word really means.

Recreation? Weekend pastime? Cardio? Calisthenics? Social club? A political party? and some.

Others call it a “martial-art.” Lots of things are being called “martial,” but they are not.

These dance playthings will never be used in war because they don’t work!

And yet, there are those who daily, whether in the military, police or other security, deploy very valid Aikido techniques to do their job.

So, what’s the deal? Does it work or not?

It depends on the individual.

One good method to test whether YOUR peculiar brand of aikido is real or not, simply front up to a boxing or wrestling stable and ask to try out.

99% of the time, you will find that your aikido is nothing, and you will go home nursing bruises. More on your ego than physically.

After that there are two types of people.

One will go back to pretending and bury their head in denial, fantasies waffle and all sort of unfounded theoretics and silliness.

The other will learn these other methods and find ways to aikify them. Absorb them into training.

Suddenly Aikido starts to work.

What a mystery!

Nev Sagiba


  1. Good writ Mr. Sagiba, bad analogy. Why – Boxing, Wrestling, MMA & Tae Quon Do these are Sports with Rules. AIKIDO is first & foremost a Martial Art created to bless the subject on the fence of Life & Death. I dare not compare my local Police Department with a Navy SEAL Team Bravo nor would I compare Bing Cherries to Merlot Grapes…No disrespect Mr. Sagiba but Sports have rules & AIKIDO there is but one Alive or Dead…

  2. nick lowry says:

    righteous! amen and hallelujah!

  3. This article has generated the following comments on the Aikido Journal facebook page:

    Bill Doxey what really works is having a sound mind!
    14 hours ago · LikeUnlike ·

    Chad Zoghby
    Hmmm not the best article in the world. Let’s face it, if you want to face a boxer, take on boxing. If you wanna take on a ju jutsu fighter, take on that. Aikido is not what people believe in terms of a self defense system. It’s a way of li…fe to improve your mind, body and soul. It’s not about going to take on a boxer, if you honestly start fighting to boost your ego, aikido has done nothing for you in your training.

    But the last line of the article was good, it does become effective, as a martial art, once you can incorporate different MAs into it, this is why any good instructor will encourage you to take up different MAs in your life, find what works for you and become diverse.See More

    Bill Doxey I agree Chad, if you have to fight…you have done something wrong!!!!

    Mark Wood
    Good article.
    If you are going to call Aikido a “martial” art, then it should work.
    Spiritualizing Aikido is great, but don’t go calling yourself a martial artist if you cannot back it up. That does not mean you need to make grandiose entranc…es into other MA studios and confront everybody, but if you know Aikido, both spiritually and as a martial art, then you will be able to defend the defenseless against an aggressor on the street.
    You have done nothing wrong if you “fight” to save someone from a thug. It is one thing to not fight for yourself, but if you cannot or do not intercede martially in the defense of another, using Aikido, then go back to being a pretender.See More

    Jerry Bolack Have to agree with Chad here… unfortunately a lot of ego’s get in the way of people being encouraged to learn other ma’s. A good instructor will help and encourage you along your path no matter where it leads. Or maybe I was just taught what budo is a little differently than others…

    Dario Darqberry Good writ, Bad analogy. MMA, Boxing, TaeQuonDo these are Sports with Rules. AIKIDO is a Martial Art. I dare not compare my local Police Dept to Army Ranger Unit Delta. On the fence of Life & Death AIKIDO Augments the choice for there is but One rule – Dead or Alive…

    Dario Darqberry ‎& Yes I am a Real Time Witness – It Does Work…

    Hans Hảo Hán Uhm. Aikido is not all about fighting. How can we fight boxers if our uke dont throw a punch the right way? I mean hook, uppercuts… Aikido wasnt meant for competition, fighting to see who wins. From what ive learned, its about training your mind, your body, protect yourself with minimum force required. So, of course im not gonna fight a boxer 😉

    Mark Wood
    There is no reason to compete in Aikido, yet we should train – to hone our skills. Why? Do we hone our technique so we can dance with each other better or do we polish our Aikido to protect the less fortunate, or simply to boost our ego. The folks with the biggest egos are those who think they are so good (spiritual) they do not need to test their skills. And frankly, I would rather be tested in the environs of another martial arts school than on the street. Training your skills with those who do not dance is not a competition, it can be useful to make your Aikido better.
    Have fun, be real, take care of your kohai (and don’t get hurt, don’t hurt others).

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  4. “One will go back to pretending and bury their head in denial, fantasies waffle and all sort of unfounded theoretics and silliness.”…particularly true for Aikidoka that have been doing Aikido for 48/50 years…Best answer”The other will learn these other methods and find ways to aikify them. Absorb them into training.”

  5. Tony Wagstaffe says:

    I remember some where a teacher saying….. don’t think….. do!!….. If you have never been truly challenged, you will never ever know….. Take my word for it!!

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