Why Aikido is Disliked by BJJ and MMA Practitioners? • Martial Arts Journey



Aikido often has a mixed or even negative reputation, especially between practitioners of MMA and BJJ. It took me years to realize why this is actually the case. If you want to know what is the real reason why Aikido is disliked by BJJ, MMA and other combat sports practitioners, check the video.

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Aikido often has a mixed or even negative reputation, especially between practitioners of MMA and BJJ. Having practiced Aikido for more than a decade, and for years being a loyal student, in the beginning I used to misunderstand the reason for this negativity and hatred. Only years after, I realized why this is truly happening, and that dramatically changed my approach and understanding of Aikido and it’s situation.

Hi, my name is Rokas, and in this Martial Arts Journey video we’ll take a look at one of the reasons behind the negative reputation of Aikido between modern combat sports practitioners.

As we practice martial arts and combat sports, we all have our stages. We often begin by having unconscious bias of loving our practice and believing that it is the best. If lucky, we then gradually move to a conscious bias, of understanding why we prefer our practice, instead of others, and eventually the next step of maturity is being able to recognize the flaws and reality behind our practice, and appreciating it for what it is, while respecting other arts as well. Unfortunately, not everyone is able to move along these stages, even after training for years.

In my initial stage of practicing Aikido, I was told by my instructor that it is the purest martial art of them all, mainly because of it’s sophisticated and peaceful philosophy. While other martial arts were accepted in my first Dojo, there was a somewhat negative view on combat sports, as if they were meant for less “sophisticated” people, or to put it simply “meatheads” of martial arts. Looking up highly to my instructor, and having no experience in combat sports, I believed that to be true, and while I never put too much attention to this thought, part of me was proud to be “above” the “dirty and unsophisticated” practices and people. Knowing that I am “up to something better” than they are.

As I moved on to the next Dojo – a similar type of mentality in regards to combat sports was felt, although not spoken as openly. Yet cross training in combat sports was not suggested what so ever, since “it would ruin the understanding of the pure Aikido philosophy.”, thus I kept avoiding any combat sports practices, continuing to believe that Aikido is the best, that it is all that is necessary and if I would practice other, more combat oriented practices – my practice would suffer because of it.

Only when I was already running my Dojo and I met a BJJ practitioner who convinced me to try rolling with him, and eventually to train together, after many talks I started to see how vast and amazing the combat sports world is. Talking to him I saw nothing but respect and curiosity. When I met his gym buddies, I had pretty much the same impression, and I was left wondering: so where are all these combat sports meatheads that I was told about? When considering then, why Aikido was disliked by combat sports practitioners, I thought – maybe it’s because Aikido is not really as practical in the realm of fighting as their practices.

Eventually, another big exposure happened. Tired of some Aikido people believing that “Aikido is too deadly for MMA”, or that “Aikido people do not go to MMA not because it wouldn’t work, but because it’s philosophy of “not fighting” prevents them from it”, I went to prove that Aikido actually doesn’t work, by filming the “Aikido vs MMA” video. Filming it, was my first great direct exposure to mixed martial arts. I was ready to get a black eye and lose some teeth, expecting the MMA guy to be this ruthless, arrogant, disrespectful and uncaring person, as I was told about “people like him”, who would beat the hell out of me given the opportunity to prove that Aikido doesn’t work. To my great surprise, this MMA guy was one of the nicest people I’ve met, and he took great care of me during my first sparring experience!

#aikido #martialarts

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44 comments

  1. While I was hesitant whether to share this message, in the end I decided it is important to consider this possibility by sharing my story. Do you have a similar experience? Do you agree with the idea presented in the video?

  2. Love seeing this refreshing perspective. I have trained in martial arts since I was 7 years old (I trained for 25 years). I have practiced multiple styles: Judo, karate and Aikido. I also did short forays into Muay Thai and Jujutsu. I never believed any one style was 'perfect', and have walked away from numerous Aikido dojo's because of unrealistic training practices. I also grew up in a rough place, and therefore always knew that whatever combat system I trained in had to be practical. You have looked critically at your own experience and drawn realistic conclusions. Too many aikido practitioners have never had to use their skills in anger and don't appreciate what it really takes. Not just in skill, but mental attitude. I have nothing but praise for you.

  3. As someone who has trained with the shodokan director tetsuro nariyama, all the people saying that aikido does not work are wrong. I do agree that it is best to learn more than just aikido, but saying it is a martial yoga is incorrect, and I'm sorry to say but if it doesnt work for you, then you are doing it wrong. Like all martial arts, it is used for certain situations, that does not include fighting a master at grappling. It is like saying a saw is useless because you can't hammer nails with it.

  4. I had almost the opposite. My grandfather was crazy about boxing and my uncle was a boxer. Some guys picked up on me when I was a kid and I trained boxing for self defense. It worked, but I was fascinated with the world of the “more elevated” martial arts. I idealized it. When I had the chance to practice traditional MA I was 18 and I had quite a bit of fighting experience. I tried a lot of them but I was very disappointed. I quickly realized what I was told would not work, because I had the concept of non cooperative training. I actually learned something in some of these places that I could use in boxing or kickboxing, but I think only because of the real fight training. I spent lot of time trying to find a true good TMA dojo, but I arrived at the same conclusion as you. I also think the majority of TMA practitioners know that deep inside. When I went to these gyms I noticed a huge lack of confidence (not always but often) that I did not expect. Somehow I felt they knew that my boxing did not have all these kick the groin or poke in the eye, but I could still punch them unconscious. However, most people were respectful. I tried some Krav Maga in different places for curiosity, and my experience was even more negative.

  5. first, what we must all understand, all martial arts are the best, with all their uniqueness, second, martial arts is self-management in order to increase alertness, third all martial arts present steps and upper body movements and must have the ability of imagination and innovation in the development of the latest threats, if we understand the foot steps in each martial arts science, you will almost be able to apply it in a fight, regard frm indonesia to all teacher, trainer n sensei all over the world🙏

  6. Sir aikido is only a part of jujitsu. Jujitsu is a military art and it is complete martial arts. When you study aikido it is only the basic in jujitsu and when reach a Dan belt you will learn more Technics like throw, grappling, striking and weapons Technics.

  7. Stephen Seagal style in the movies is the true aikido. Aikido actualy means "to avoid". To build super fast evasion speed. It was combat proven fight style. Black belt, blue belt etc means nothing. Original version of aikido was designed to kill the oponent with minimum efforts. Or at very least cause heavy damage. In modern days russian spetsnaz fight system is almost identical to what you see in Stephen Seagal movies. Its designed to break bones and cause heavy injures to the oponent. And ultimately its all about speed. You can outperform MMA fighter or BJJ. Simply grab his/her attacking hand. There are ways to break his/her arm in split second. Just a quick twist.

  8. People look for ways to intimidate others, not in defensive way.
    Judo, for example created as a defensive skill, utilizing the force of the offender.
    it all changed when it had become a sports and Olympic event.
    Aikido, Judo both are never meant to be a contest of deciding who's stronger.

  9. Oddly and by accident, the way my training began was first with high school wrestling, Tae Kwon Do, Mui Thai, JKD, Eskrima and finally Aikido. I believe the way it worked out was very progressive and in a very nice order where each new style complemented the one before. Aikido was like the doctorate level of my martial arts training. Aikido combined with any applicable technique works real well if your attackers well being is of no concern. Namaste 🙏🏼

  10. Because it doesn't work pressure tested. It only works in demonstrations with a compliant opponent offering themselves up for attack without put up a defence or any real challenge or threat. It is just good choreography.

  11. Your story would be a really amazing story… 70 years ago when nobody had youtube and UFC. It is good you realized your art can make you kill in the street but spending 20 years do get to that point with all information around you is puzzling and shows more like a faith-based approach…. however, when I look at the number of aikido, wing chun and other 'traditional' schools – these are not decreasing at all. Sad. And dangerous. One of the reasons you spend x years is to maybe safe your life. Good luck anyway!

  12. Well, whenever you compare apples to oranges, you're a) making a fool out of yourself and b) wasting your time. Aikido has nothing to do with combat sports like BJJ or MMA, so comparing them is quite absurd.

  13. As compared to striking Martial arts, aikido is really useless. Taekwondo is more useful in streetfight than aikido. But, really, mma and muaythai are the best self defense arts.

  14. Most martials arts are made for fighting untrained or unsuspecting opponents and it can work well, if you manage your adrenaline rush (stress, brain freeze that cuts all your abilities to do complext thinking thus techniques)… however as soon you get into a fight with a real fighter… this real fighter will NEVER get you an opening which the techniques needs for you to do them. The real fighter will never play on your field, he will seek to make you play on his field

  15. There are a lot of facets to this. I practiced aikido for about 5 years while young. Had 2 senseis, one 4dan (1.95, 100+kg), one 3dan (small guy, lacked 1 finger from fighting in the french legion). We had the only gym in romania that required the students to pass 2 exams, one physical and one technical(normal). At the times when we went to national/international meeting (there are more than 1 international organizations in aikido…it`s..rough..) we had the best physical training. I was awarded the blue belt in one of these meetings by the head of the organization (metre brun) but my senseis asked me to still wear the orange one till i pass the physical exam (awarded 2 belts , green+blue) and i didnt. When it comes to aikido, it can be the most efficient, but also the most unefficient, depending on the situation. In a real tough situation it can be a life saver (you have a knife pointed at you and you cant run, a mad attacker that`s very impulsive) but against a trained fighter that pulls back his arms after swinging it`s very had to do anything. Then again, aikido has no attacks…but Morihei Ueshiba did say that "aikido is 90% atemi". You cant apply aikido techniques on attackers that are not (easily) unbalanced. He said that as a "you need to hit, push, pull, bite, trip the guy until he is in the position that makes your technique work in the purest form". Can you apply leverage using force if you are big enough, but that is not what is taught. Can you learn how to apply aikido more direct? Probably, but you dont have so many aikido ukes available for broken limbs. What this means: when you put in a cage an aikidoka and an mma fighter you actually have: a person that knows what he can leverage to provoke pain, but with 0 practice and a fighter that knows how to HIT and not to attack carelessly. When/if you apply it on the street, it will be the 1st time they hear about aikido. Aikido is extremely good: against aikidokas that want to grab your hand or chest area, against knife wilding opponents or when you have and want to take the opportunity to truly DISABLE an assailant having to know that there`s a possibility to cripple him for life. The latter is the weakest part of aikido: you cant and shouldnt train to apply it the most efficient way to ruin someones life.Saw it in the dojo, it only takes a small quick move and a judoka opponent that does not want to jump over the hand when receiving a technique called kote gaeshi to get a broken wrist

  16. I have a theory about these supposed deadly parts about martial arts:
    1. I think there is truth to martial arts having deadly moves, especially when the people who created those arts have smaller frames. Attacking the weakest points in the hardest way may be their only chance of defeating a bigger opponent. If the art is created for opponents of similar size, then there may be a bigger body of moves that are not so deadly. The reason the so-called deadly moves become stupid is because back in the day there may be more occasions to use it but over a century or more there has been drastic decrease of its usage and so it became so theoretical that its proper usage passes into legend. People then practice it for the legend but nothing more.

    2. For more wrestling oriented martial arts, one can go from engaging the opponent to a takedown without really inflicting too much pain or injury, whereas the more punching/kicking oriented ones cannot really. So the former one can be practiced at perhaps 90% of its power most of the time while the latter can be practiced at a lower level, say 50%, most of the time.

    Some arts just so happen to stand the test of time and social circumstances with respect to passing on the art more than others, rather than the art form in its original form being better or worse than others.

  17. Aikidokda in Japan include entire Tokyo Police Departments. They have literally killed students in practice. O Sensei said techniques started with a strike to the face.

    Put an MMA fighter on an earth pit against a Central Asian kuresh fighter wearing oiled jeans and covered in oil. Most techniques won't work and the rules are different. Or put a Judoka in a Glima tournament where only belt throws are allowed.

    The Wu Ssu school I trained in switched rules and limitations every session. Seated/no arms/kicks/holds/mixed weapon/multi pwrson sparring and analysis taught flexibility. Doubt is the root of learning. Or it is for me.

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