I think aikido is a valuable martial art. It has so much to offer — techniques, balance, principles of direction and redirection of force, and philosophy.
My one complaint with some of the aikido schools is the cooperation that fellow students offer each other while practicing. They seem to go along with the technique, whether it be throw, wrist lock, joint lock, or some type of aikido arm bar…
You don’t find this happening in all aikido schools — just some.
Beyond the Learning Stage
I believe they are helping each other succeed with their aikido techniques too much for their own good.
I am in favor of cooperation, but only in the learning stage.
When you first start practicing an aikido move, you need to take it slowly. And it helps to have a cooperative partner, to help you learn the intricacies of the movement.
At a certain point, you have to add the element of realism back into the practice session.
Unfortunately, I often see this helpful attitude to the degree that the attacker almost falls over before being touched (don’t you dare us the proper ‘energy’ argument).
This lacks realism — especially during some of the aikido demonstrations.
So, How Do We Fix the Problem?
When you practice, add the element of a shove.
Call it an interruption of technique. Agree with your partenr who is going to do the pushing. The attacker is also the person who does the shoving.
So, your partner attacks you. You respond with one of your beautiful aikido techniques — maybe something that leads into an aikido wrist lock.
Suddenly, midway through your motion, your attacker shoves into you. Maybe he or she shoves using outstretched hands. More likely, a good body slam, a shove with the shoulder, will be what interrupts your technique.
All you are looking for is a break in your ‘normal’ pattern. It could be an unexpected kick or punch. You want a change in the equation, so to speak.
OK, your partner shoves you mid-technique:
The main point is that interrupting your practiced norm adds realism to your practice session. In real life, fights and self defense situations rarely go as planned.
Are you prepared to go with the flow — bend in the wind?
Always look to add realism back into yourmartial arts training sessions.