BJJ Experts Break Down Aikido Competition • Tomiki Aikido / Shodokan Aikido

In this episode my BJJ coaches break down videos of Aikido competition known as Tomiki Aikido or officially as Shodokan Aikido. Tomiki Aikido is the only well known Aikido style which includes live Aikido sparring and Aikido competition both bare hand and with one attacker with a knife.

For other Aikido break downs with my BJJ coaches check these videos:
• Break Down of Aikido Masters:
• Break Down of Lenny Sly’s Aikido pressure testing kotegaeshi:
• My BJJ coaches try to “fix” and Aikido technique:

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Check the video which started it all:

More about Shodokan / Tomiki Aikido:
Shodokan Aikido (昭道館合気道 Shōdōkan Aikidō) is the style of Aikido founded in 1967 by Kenji Tomiki (富木 謙治 Tomiki Kenji, 1900–1979).[1] Shodokan Aikido is sometimes referred to as “Sport Aikido” because of its use of regular competitions, the style also may be referred to as “Tomiki Aikido”. Shodokan places more emphasis on free-form randori sparring than most other styles of aikido. The training method requires a balance between randori and the more stylized kata training along with a well-developed set of training drills both specific for randori and for general aikido development. The participation in actual shiai (competitive randori) very much depends on the club with greater emphasis being found in the university clubs, although randori is core to all Shodokan clubs.

In 1967 Kenji Tomiki built a Shodokan hombu dojo in Osaka, Japan, to teach, train and promote his style. The style itself, could arguably have been founded with the formation of the Waseda University Aikido Club in 1958.[1] Today, Shodokan Aikido is organised with two major groups, the Japan Aikido Association (JAA) and the Shodokan Aikido Federation (SAF).

Competitions take the form of tanto randori or toshu randori, and also embu (演武) in which pairs (tori and uke) are judged on their kata. Toshu randori (徒手乱取) is barehanded, and both practitioners are expected to perform techniques on one another and attempt to resist and counter each other’s techniques. The appearance of this form is heavily influenced by judo randori with a few changes designed to enhance the use of aikido technique (for example, one is not allowed to grasp the opponent’s keikogi).

In tanto randori (短刀乱取), there is a designated attacker (tantō) and a designated empty-handed defender (toshu). The attacker attempts to stab the defender with a training knife (usually rubber or stuffed) while the defender attempts, with any of seventeen basic aikido techniques, to throw or perform joint-locks on the attacker. Tantō is expected to resist or counter with the first five techniques. In competition, the roles switch, with competitors having the same amount of time with and without the knife. In both these forms of randori, the traditional separation between the performer of technique (tori) and the receiver of technique (uke) no longer exists, as either participant may throw the opponent.

Tanto tsukiari (短刀突きあり) – 1 point – Awarded for a successful tantō strike. For the strike to count, the tantō must land on the upper half of the torso. The arm must be extended, the strike should be perpendicular to the attacker’s body, and the attacker must be moving forward, finished with good balance. Glancing hits do not count. Obviously, this does not apply to toshu randori.
Yuko (有効) – 1 point – Awarded for a balance break, or for making your opponent retreat out of the designated area.
Waza-ari (技あり) – 2 points – Awarded for a full throw or lock, but losing good posture and balance.
Ippon (一本) – 4 points – Awarded for a full throw or lock, keeping good posture and balance.
Shido – 1/2 point – Awarded to the opponent when a competitor commits minor violation. Shido are only counted in pairs. Examples of shido are:
Dogi-mochi shido – Grabbing hold of the gi.
Taisabaki shido – Failure to dodge properly, e.g. by swatting the knife away instead of moving out of its path or receiving a glancing blow.
Tanto shido – Failure to mind the knife: tanto may receive a tanto shido if he or she drops or loses control of the knife; toshu may receive a tanto shido if he or she allows the tanto to be pressed against their body for three seconds.
Chui – 1 point – Awarded to the opponent when a competitor commits a major violation. In American tournaments, 2 chui end the match.
World Championships
The Aikido World Championships are held every two years, rotating between Japan and a foreign location.



  1. Aikido is like paired Tai Chi or a meditative dance. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. I actually find it kinda cool. I have no idea why anyone expects more from it than that.🤷🏻‍♂️

  2. My like for this vid. is based on the analysis and forum discussion. RE: the competition, I have always enjoyed competing in various combative sports (the more exotic the better) and this one looks like it would be a fun and interesting challenge. I also thought chess boxing would be interesting, but I think I would pass on the arm wrestling/MMA.

  3. I’m no expert in the field but my thoughts is that Aikido is a self defense art that is meant to be used against the average joe on the streets. It isn’t a art intended nor will it be effective against martial arts professionals in tournaments. That’s for MMA fighters. Steven Seagal is the most famous Aikido practitioner in modern times and he is about 80% Aikido and 20% a mixture of other martial arts. You learn the basics from your particular art, take the most effective techniques from that art, and dabble in other arts to make your particular art more effective in real life scenarios.

  4. It’s great to see my art recognized. Pretty good analysis on what must look odd when seeing it for the first time. My two cents:
    1. There’s a whole lot more in the curriculum than just the sport.
    2. The sport aspect is extremely fun and is a great way to meet practitioners from all over (we have national and international tournaments.)
    3. A big aspect about the sport that hasn’t been mentioned is we don’t have weight classes. I’m unsure if that’s by design or necessity, but that’s how it is. This must be somewhat unique in competition sparring. Yes the larger competitors have an advantage, but Ive seen many impressively handled by smaller opponents also.

  5. Why are the BJJ black belts saying "if it looks like another style, why train it"? That argument can be applied to literally any style including BJJ (which looks like Judo newaza), dutch kickboxing which looks like muay thai, sambo which looks like Judo, etc.
    Other than the knife rule gimmick, I think this is an excellent competition ruleset to foster a specific skill set that can be combat effective in niche/specific situations.

  6. i have done aikido and my teacher also thought stuff he referred to as aiki-jitsu which was more real life situation oriented and was very 'dirty' compared to the official aikdo. it was generally only shown to people who had more experience.

  7. I consider aikido more art than martial if that makes any sense lol. It's definitely a beautiful art of the body. Just like some people box for sport some people could use aikido for art and entertainment.

  8. It seems, that the point of this competition is to pull off a technique at the right time, that is, as the opponents arms and body are where they come find the perfect application of the technique… and this is the right direction for Aikido to go. This is a type of sparring and an aikidoka can get very much out of it when it comes to applying their self defense moves in a real fight. They did not remove grabs and striking because those Aikido moves would not work then, but on the contrary, to help those moves become stronger, faster, better without hindrance. It's a method for improving one's ability.
    Now if they can add 1-2 strikes to the body without them being points but just a mandatory additiion without which they may loose a point, then this would even make it more educating, more realistic!

  9. You can never get around the fact that fighting is up close, dirty, dangerous, rough, and painful. It's fighting not dancing. A lot of people want some magic way to avoid actually having to fight but if that's what you are looking for there is a way it's called running.

  10. While I have heard that many martial art styles struggle when a large tournament organization or ruleset is established as they change to fit whatever ruleset their tournament rules give and becomes over centralized on that ruleset. but perhaps having more tournaments (with good rulesets) could push aikido to becoming more effective and pressure test it. so perhaps that is actually exactly what it needs to change and get rid of things that just aren't gonna work if both people are competing with active resistance.

  11. So, lets make a video in which Aikido-experts analyse a BJJ-Competition…Oh, we dont do that, because Aikidoka are not so arrogant and overconfidence to talk public about something, which they dont understand.

  12. It seems so pathetic, how tense Rokas tries to show, that BJJ is "better" than Aikido – to legetimate his abandon of Aikido. But they are talking about something which they dont understand, they even didnt not check up the rules of this competition. Iam not able to see any awareness in this video – so in fact there is no breakdown – even somekind of claptrap.

  13. Kenji Tomiki fused Judo competition with Aikido. High-level judoka actually do resemble this in some ways, as their understanding of balance and footwork and body mechanics are so fine-tuned, they use very little strength to toss their opponent.

  14. Just because the host is a poor fighter who can’t apply aikido does not mean it isn’t effective. One must understand how to apply the techniques. Aikido requires true skill.

  15. Using this is a supplemental art seems like it would really round out any martial artist Arsenal (that came out way more cringe than it was intended). On another note I think Aikidos biggest issue as a martial art in practical sense (Minus every other issue everyone’s already mentioned) is that it’s an art that takes such a small facet of combat (using an opponents inertia/momentum/energy and redirecting it) and ramping its whole move set around it. The issue is that all martial arts especially grappling ones (my first thought was catching someone with a sweep when they try and take side control to quickly and throwing them off you in bjj) already do this and at high levels everyone does it pretty well. I wonder if someone who is already pretty advanced at one martial art could take some of this and seriously use it to improve there own style? My melatonan induced half-sleep is putting to much thought into this

  16. ueshiba took out all the functional effective stuff of aikido for some reason. something about how the war changed his mind about lethal strikes. but there are dojos that are beginning to teach pre-war aikido again. ponytail is right, i'm in UK and here aikido is much different to what he seems to have been taught/thought was aikido. weird how that happens

  17. Tomiki is a senior student of Kano and an 8th dan Judoka. Kano asked him to study Aikido under Ushiba and became a 9th dan in Aikido.
    BTW Tomiki was actually teaching Aikidi at the Kudokan Humbodojo.
    I enjoy your videoes but can not see Aikido eye for an eye with you.

  18. At 18:05 he hits it on the spot! Looks like old judo throws. The reality, and disaster of Aikido is that at some point Ueshiba lost his fookin mind and went into outer-space. Must have been something he was growing in his garden or something.
    But kidding aside, if we consider the origins of Aikido, i.e. it came from "jujutsu", Daito-ryu to be precise. You should start to wonder where did it go all wrong.
    Tomiki was actually trying to rescue his teacher from his delusions and the pseudo religious status he was glorifying himself in. Not only that but the throngs of camp followers that were basking in the glow of this new religion. Side historical note, Morehei Ueshiba used to get his ass kick all the time…
    If Aikido had continued to evolve in the path that it was originally intended for it would have been one of the most effective forms of Jujutsu. The combat philosophy of Aikido doesn't vary that much from the one in JuDo.
    Let me explain: In judo the concept is that if you are being pulled, you should push. If you're being pushed then you should pull, simple right?
    In Aikido it changes slightly, if you're being pushed you should turn, and if you're being pulled then you should enter. The concept of entering in Aikido refers to the idea in the law of physics which states that two objects cannot occupied the same space. Therefore if you enter into the other person's space forcefully while he's trying to pull you, you will unbalance him easily. Turning is just one of the many ways in which you just redirect energy away from you.
    All the techniques found in Aikido, although with many change different names, are the same techniques found in jujutsu/judo. Judo is nothing more than the modern sport of battlefield jujutsu adapted for physical fitness and sport competition development. That was the original intention of Jigoro Kano when he created it, in order to rescue and preserve jujutsu.
    BJJ on the other hand, was and is the improvement by the Gracie family of judo and jujutsu techniques and methods, so even a weaker person could easily and rapidly improve the application of said techniques.
    By the way is nothing new, Kosen Judo was already putting more emphasis on ground fighting already, way before the Brazilians had reached the same conclusions.
    If Aikido was to reevaluate itself and go back to its original roots, yes it would look like another form of judo/jujutsu. But in all honesty that's what they all are. Just different methods of over specialization in particular techniques and approach.
    On that subject karate-do has done the same thing. When it originally, and although from a different country, was a method of wrestling with strikes. The modernization and specialization of karate led it to become just another form of boxing which could rival western boxing and represent Japan in a unique way. Let it be known that the modern kicks in karate-do were adopted from savate. Which is a French kickboxing art, that might have its roots in ancient Greek pygmachia and pyx-lax. These were specializations of ancient Greek pankration, that supposedly was adopted from ancient Egyptian fighting methods.
    And that's that!

  19. I should comment on the first part of the video – the toshu (grappling) segment. It was quite rare to see it done that way – possibly because of the skill level. Often it does look like bad judo – where one grabs an opponent and presents fake openings to an opponent to invite a throw – then tries to counter throw at just the right moment in their throw. Countering a good throw takes exquisite timing and technique. It is not too hard if one is large and skilled practitioner to do a 3 minute round and no one throws anyone – by blocking everyone's throws immediately – but it makes for a very boring, unscored match. The trick is a bit like poker – you have to fool your opponent into believing you have left too much of an opening so that they attempt a real throw on a resisting opponent.

    Any real throw has a very small moment when balance is channeled down a very specific path – which means the throw can be countered by a specific technique at just the right counter angle and precise timing. Knowing this one has to wonder if your opponent is inviting you to throw them just so they can counterstrike your throw at precisely the right time – and they are hoping you won't be able to counter their counter and so on. The throw and counter throw timing is really tenth of a second timing or less.

    When I practice with the Australian champion he goes really soft. Peter lets me get any hold I want and generally just before I manage to throw him is exactly when he dumps me on the ground. If I manage to throw him even once I have had a really good night – and this is with him giving me a really big head start in terms of offering any hold I want anywhere on his body. I can do the same with most brown belts – from being stiff and rigid and powering down any throw they want to do instantly – to letting them almost think they've won and countering them about 80% of the time. You both learn a lot more if you are grappling if you start softly at say 20% – 30% power to probe and test each others balance and response and only go above 80% power very briefly and exactly when its needed. The Toshu also teaches connection – if my partner keeps me away from walls I could do Toshu against most brown belts with my eyes closed – and if I follow or mirror their movements I can be very soft but still give them almost no openings to throw me – so it teaches staying in balance by quick repositioning of hips and feet at a very early level. Very light toshu is a great way of warming up a class of experienced students.

    With beginners we often introduce them to toshu by going really soft with senior belts and tell the juniors stop the technique just before you throw a senior who isn't attempting not to be thrown – then have the seniors slowly demonstrate the counter – then stop before they throw the beginner, then have the beginner find an escape and launch a counter to the new throw. This teaches every throw has a counter and how to flow from one throw to the next to the next to the next. Once they can do this well we slowly speed it up. In the end it all comes down to timing and technique!

  20. I think that if you revolutionise Aikido all over the world with competition it might just become the new Judo, and Aikido people don't have to feel offended when it's said that Aikido doesn't work 🤨😉

  21. Tomiki was I believe an 8th Dan in judo. Sent to learn aikido because Kano was impressed by aikido as a budo. O sensei gave permission for kenji tomiki to develop his ideas separately from the aikikai. The randori style is encapsulated in the randori no kata. Later students learn more traditional techniques in the form of koyryu no kata. I apologise for the poor spelling of some of the Japanese terms it’s been 45 years since I practiced tomiki style ( tomiki was the name used by the aikido association in the uk back then)

  22. Edit: this looks really suspect. Maybe it’s just the level of athletes.

    Why don’t we ask the “dangerous techniques” guys: what are you going to do if the bad guys eye gouge, groin strike, groin grab and twist, throat punch you? Isn’t our point that those are not guaranteed to end a fight, even if we have success in initiating them?

  23. It's a nice discussion but there is a lot they don't understand about what they are watching. I really can't work out why they didn't bring a tomiki guy preferably with a good ground in competition into the fold just to help them understand what's going on with rules But any tomiki practitioner would have been better than nothing. It would have made it a better more rounded discussion.

  24. People say that Tomiki Aikido isn't as valid as other forms. Tomiki was a pre-war student of O-Sensei, so I think his interpretation of Aikido is just as valid, if not more valid, than everyone else's.

  25. You know that random number generator is a very nice idea for an actual sport. Like you have a tournament and every match there is a random set of rules that allow for or forbid certain things drawn out of a box. Then you would have to be prepared for anything.

  26. As far as I know, the knife gives one Fighter the ability to score (1 point per Hit) to stop the knife carrier from scoring you have to throw him (with a valid technique). Then the other one gets the knife and the ability to score.

  27. I was thinking about joining a tomiki aikido gym not far from me but after I watching this video I am a little underwhelmed It looks like judo light. These guys have good footwork and They did exhibit one really good throw but a lot of it was very non commited without your opponent really wanting to commit to a grab and really throw you a lot of the effectiveness seems to be gone. I think any high level judo guys would make very light work of them.
    Which is fair I guess. I wanted to join because I done judo for a year and then got a bad knee injury because somebody was being an idiot so I thought I would consider it but I guess I was wanting to have my cake and eat it too lol.
    Nonetheless Im not here to shit on it. I would still consider practicing it and joining the gym.

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