Years go by but the story is always the same, again and again: that of assorted martial artists who have nothing better to do but spend their precious time criticizing every aspect of Aikido. Time to have a word!
by SIMONE CHIERCHINI
We can criticize Aikido because we know it, we have practised it for decades and our criticism – even the harshest – is always directed at improving the art and seeing it thrive.
That said, on the web there are too many non-aikidoka, people who never trained one minute in Aiki and haven’t a feckin’ clue about it, who love to be Aikido’s judge, jury and executioner. Their classic and super clicked remark: Aikido would be worth nothing as a martial art because it is not effective.
Distinguished bare-chested gentlemen in shorts, are you aware that Aikido is a do? Do you know what a do is and which are its objectives? I doubt it very much, considering the level of most of the comments on Aikido that we have the misfortune of reading on martial arts forums.
The arts of do don’t aim exclusively at being effective. We aikidoka train to achieve a different result – perhaps of some value – and we might even fail at it, but at least we are trying: we teach and practice that the best self-defence is education, one’s own first, then that of our children, our micro-community and so on.
The very idea of self-defence is the most anti-aikido of all. The concept of jutsu – which is roughly what you are busy doing when you train – in Aikido is underlying the practice and serves not to make it inconsistent and weak, but it must not emerge! If the roots of a plant emerge, it dies, and so does Aikido, which becomes something else, but it is no longer Aikido.
This doesn’t justify turning Aikido into some sort of martial-based ballet for people who do not want to work hard or wish to look bad without paying a premium, as we read in so many of your comments on the social network. To be truly a do, training in a classic Japanese art must go through jutsu. If the arts of do are ultimately spiritual disciplines, this is only possible when they clearly have jutsu as their solid foundation.
Without jutsu type of training, there is no breaking the Ego and no self-denial, which are necessary for any real personal inner growth process – this is what we are after. When the correct martial foundations are not there, there is no do in Aiki-do, and Aikido as a pure jutsu is worth little, this time we agree with our critics: it only leads to dangerous illusions in both the spiritual and self-defence domains.
On the other hand, if we use Aikido techniques by showing their roots, it is not Aikido that we are doing. For this, we have jutsu disciplines and combative sports, where the combat aspect of training is the only one taken into consideration and therefore dealt with in a coherent and structured way and with the sole declared purpose of self-defence/offence.
It might be useful to bear in mind, however, that responding to an offence with an offence, choosing the “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth” solution, does not mean being in a spiritual process of personal growth, unicuique suum, to each his own.
* warning: joke starts here *
For those who simply like to fight and that’s it, and are not satisfied with the use of pure Aikido in competitions, street-fights and pub brawls, we recommend learning from the following video, courtesy of YouTube:
* warning: joke ends here *
Aikidoka, do we want to be comfortable with those around us? Let’s train harder and then even more. Let’s use the above criticism for our own good. Then let’s smile as much and try to do something decent, in our own small way.
Copyright Simone Chierchini ©2020
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