West Huntspill Aikido club

Traditional Aikido practised with an open mind and heart.

'Action is eloquence.' - William Shakespeare

Aikido as self defence training

As an overstatement, anyone that believes in learning physical defence techniques as PRIMARY training for self defence are probably a few sheep short in the top paddock. 

Good self defence training should emphasize learning to recognize, anticipate, prevent and avoid dangerous or compromising situations.  The greatest strengths that we have for personal self defence are our intelligence and awareness of our surroundings, not our muscles.  

A reactive responsive art, Aikido does not start trouble nor does it escalate it.  In the course of many classes and many techniques the Aikido student learns to move and react automatically to a variety of confrontational situations, and though Aikido is not taught as self defence, the experience gained through consistent training can serve a person well if necessary. 

We would strongly recommend reading this essay by Toby Threadgill Kaicho on the realities of the martial arts self defence myth.  Whilst we ourselves practise in a realistic and practical way, fundamentally we do Aikido because we love to practise Aikido.

Other thoughts and future directions

In 2005 and 2012, I was extremely fortunate to attend seminars with Tobin Threadgill Kaicho, menkyo kaiden holder for Takamura ha Shindo Yoshin ryu Jujutsu, a koryu art. Tobin was a featured instructor at both aiki expo 2003 and 2005 . His attitude towards his arts and breadth of his knowledge is remarkable, his understanding of the human body and mind subtle.

The patience shown in his teachings and his generosity with explanations over a two day course allowed a huge leap forward in our understanding of our own art. We felt that his jujutsu was more 'Aikido' in feeling and understanding than 95% of the 'real' Aikido we have observed over the years.

In regard to the Aikido vs self defence debate, His views on training and adrenaline effects lay bare many dojos pontification about teaching workable self defence within a martial art. We would reccomend any serious student of any art to familiarise themselves with Threadgill Kaicho articles on this subject.

We feel that his approach to the martial arts is one that could not fail to further benefit our understanding of Aikido.