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  • I. Cem Onur

Why do People say Aikido is not Effective on the Street?

Because when you start practicing Aikido you learn that you must grab your partner to make the technique work.


Because people who watch Aikido videos on youtube think that Aikido is all about grabbing the opponent and then not letting go and everything about it is fake and don’t apply on streets because nobody will grab your wrist and not let go.


Also, O’Sensei never intended Aikido to be a self-defense system. His final iteration, as laid out clearly by his last uchideshi one final time is that it’s meant to be a thought system, a way of life - not a way of fight.


Having said all this, AikiDo has saved my ass many times in my life, not just on the streets, but in bars, in dark alleys, in the office, during work, in college, in marriage, with friends - the essence of AikiDo, the most important and the hardest part to learn, that The Art of Peace Begins With You is an invaluable lesson and applies to everything.


I am an AikiJitsu-Ka. Have been for the past 25+ years. I studied many close quarter styles. I practice and instruct Siljun Dobup (korean version of Iaido) I have embraced the Bujitsu and BushiDo as a way of life.


When people say AikiDo is not effective in the streets they say that they have no idea what AikiDo is about and what it is not and how it is supposed to be studied and practiced.


A true AikiDo-Ka is unbeatable, not because he/she will fight every single person and is better than all and there’s nobody faster, stronger, better. Life on the streets is not about who’s stronger, who’s bigger, who’s faster - because guess what, there is always, always somebody better, bigger, faster, stronger. Life on the streets is about survival and that’s what AikiDo teaches in its essence. To learn, to evolve, to revolve, to observe, to see, to welcome and to let go; not to get tackled, not to be lost, be centered, be peaceful, be honest.


People who say AikiDo is not effective in the streets have no idea what a firefight is about. When ambushed, which technique is the best? When mortar fire is raining which sidearm is the best? When there is a tank in front of you which rifle is the best? When in a narrow alley, which sniper rifle is the best? What is a weapon? What is a tactic? What is a battle? What is war and how do I survive it?


So, there. A true AikiKa knows things that elude most other martial arts practitioners. Not because AikiDo is better or the others are not as good - only because AikiDo approaches from a different angle. It is tough to teach and tougher to learn AikiDo, and even tougher to master - but this has nothing to do with the techniques of it. And it sure has nothing to do with the martial side of it.


Remember: the best firefight is the one you were not in; the next better thing is the one you find yourself in and survive; the next better thing is knowing your weapon and being able to use it appropriately in the appropriate setting - the weapon decides the fight you pick; life decides the ambush you find yourself in.


Nobody wins in a fight. The only way to win is to see it coming, steer it away, dissolve it, resolve it, fight if you must - but I say “if I have to fight that means I already lost: I didn’t see it coming, I couldn’t control the situation, I have no idea what the outcome is going to be, if I win it will be because he/she is not better than me and that’s pure lucky draw.” A true victory is awareness and control.


Martial arts gives you options. And don’t forget, not all options fit the situation at hand (remember the weapons and the fights examples) Violence happens to you, you find yourself in it - if you are lucky enough you will have time to react, to adopt and survive. Most won’t.

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