The Problem with Aikido Students

I want to talk to y’all about the Problem with Aikido Students.

This is all based on what I observed when I visited an Aikido school back in Nashville about 5 years ago. I talked about that visit in my video, The Problem with Aikido, but I didn’t say everything I wanted to say in the video which is why I’m making a follow-up video.

So before I dive in to everything, I want to share something that Rokas said recently in his video, “Was I wrong about Aikido?”

This line about if Aikido is being trained in the right way is exactly what I was driving at as The Problem with Aikido in my last video, but before I start to unpack everything, let me backtrack, just in case you didn’t actually see the last video.

Okay, so I study an internal martial art called Zhong Xin Dao Il Liq Chuan. Just to keep things simple, I’ll say that it is very similar to Taijiquan because it’s based on the Taiji Principles.

I got my start in Chinese martial arts with Wushu while I was in the Navy because I was planning to become a stuntman after I finished my contract.

So I was looking to check out a local Aikido school in Nashville because I knew there was a lot of choreographed routines; I would get to practice learning how to fall and roll; and I was also hoping to be able to practice with a lot of people who were doing something internal.

Now if you don’t know what I mean when I say that I wanted to be able to practice with people doing something Internal, well… I’ll just say that if you study Aikido, then you just might also be a victim to what I consider to be the Problem with Aikido.
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  1. I agree with your thoughts. The peng jing, fa jing, all the energies developed from long time internal style kungfu are the goals to develop in martial art. In aikido, it is not so obvious in the usual training. I did both tai chi (since 1996) and aikido (only 6 months). And i felt it's easy to master aikido forms because i have the tai chi basics.

  2. I haven't seen anything misleading about AIKI but when the Computer Network you love is UNplugged like a new Nirvana album getting booed by everyone we'll see who will evolve into a god. Basically, they are trying to evolve into god. Because what I've seen Seagal do in movies and schools is obviously a God-level or much higher others would talk in private.

  3. None of this internal sheet is Japanese whereas all the commotion and hate comes from this common misperception which is almost everywhere here. It is a set of Korean Aiki Technniques.
    It is Japanese Shorinyu KARATE and I'm sure they have their Tanto Training as well.

  4. Right up front, thanks for the videos, keep them coming. I like how you word things in your videos. An you often bring back memories of the people I trained with and events of those days. This video reminded me of an event with two aikido students. Tammy a petite young lady tried to show me a technique that was supposed to lock an opponent. She couldn't do it. Her boyfriend Jim was actually able to make me react to his technique though I easily escaped it. Going over it her technique was nearly perfect, the only difference was he was bigger and far stronger than her.
    Don't get me wrong, I have respect for aikido the art. It's the commercial schools and hype. In my experience Internal martial arts of any kind requires more training and practice than most Americans want to put in. Even me 😉

  5. Incredible video. Rocas never did any internal training like fa jin. You showed Adam Mizner who is one of the best taiji chuan guys making videos.There are others. The honest ones say that fa jin and peng etc is not enough to be a cage fighter or effective against bjj or other effective martial arts. Its a great addition. I hope you continue to make videos like this. Hopefully you educate more ignorant martial artists. O Sensei did not teach internal stuff when he taught aikido. At least one of his students whose name i forget, became very good at the internal stuff. I do not understand why people believe whatever someone they dont know tells them without checking. Aikido is very badly presented. I will never understand the concept or why a parent would let a child learn a martial art with no sparring and no pressure testing, ever. A student never ever finds out what its like to have a street fight whers the attacker actually wants to hurt you. Aikido is dangerous because studehts have a false feeling of seof confidence when the only thing they should ever do if attacked is to run away.
    This guy has a great channel for internal taiji Mark Rasmus

  6. Great video and insights. I do think though that we have to go with Occam’s razor here regarding Ueshiba’s internal aiki skills. Ueshiba trained in Daito Ryu under Sokaku Takeda. Several (though probably not all) of Takeda’s other students—Kodo Horikawa and Yukiyoshi Sagawa to name a couple—had legit internal aiki as you’re describing it (as demonstrated by the fact that their students and students students have it as well)… thus, I think Takeda has to be considered the primary source of Ueshiba’s aiki (though Ueshiba may well have supplemented his skills with Chinese influences/sources). I’ve never been to a Dan Harden seminar, though friends of mine have and they confirm your assessment. 🙂 I have had a good amount of hands on with Howard Popkin and Joe Brogna of Daito Ryu Ginjukai who absolutely have real internal aiki… and it is definitely a paradigm shifter! (BTW, I’ve had hands on with Ashe Higgs briefly as well, and he’s also good!!!) 🙂

  7. I hope the real aikido students really understand what is real and when you fake..Much of the truth and your own intentions..overrules what is real or fake..Don't become anxious on this. Flow…

  8. Please do not waste your time with these martial arts that are not pressure tested. Have you ever seen these so called Sensei fight? These systems do not work. Bruce lee explained all this.

  9. Id say some schools will train a more choreographed style
    Simply because in the modern world looking like you can fight is more important than being able to actually fight
    At the end of the day tho it is very helpful if you can get it down and really understand the breath techniques, which is at the core of most Japanese martial arts , aiki is just years of experience in my perspective
    And you take these experiences and form a repetuare to know exactly what to do and how to move in a fight
    I do agree that aikido will give people false hope sometimes when it is not trained properly
    Having trained both aikido and muai tai for 10+ years I definitely find a mix of both to make it work most efficient

  10. Thank You for pointing out this this training flaw. Another flaw that I haven't really heard anyone talking about either is the Budo Spirit and how it is key to not just understanding the culture it came from, but vitally important for practical combat. In my own words, I would describe it as breaking through to the superego and learning to bind and control ones demons(Jungian depth psychology). Anyone who has "it" should be breaking their students ego from day1 and forcing them to have no other side of the mind to go to but the superego. Training in the Budo Spirit is traded in order to keep a large class of paying students because the Budo Spirit is not at all the nice good-sport environment. It is the heart that you are leaving tomorrow on a military campaign and if you don't get this today, your chances of returning alive are slim. Any teacher who has "it", will likely have only a handful of hard dedicated students who always have that look in the eyes like "daddy just sent brother to hell for eternity and I'm next". Pressure training your Spirit is the true heart of this Entire thing and for a student to come out and still have their head in their ass thinking about technical mechanics as being apart from hell training has missed everything and nothing will work for them in "the street".

  11. Advance levels of judo should have pong jing in it also… Tai chi is really a grappling art but, that’s another kept secret….😁 so is bagua…

  12. There are as many forms of Aikido as there are teachers. Aikido is not a combat form. It is not meant to be competitive or to teach specific techniques to defeat an opponent. Training Aikido is a process of learning how to work with fellow human beings who are out of balance and need to be returned to a state of balance. This is not a practice for individuals who are obsessed with winning and losing. Aikido when practiced well is a study in how we can help a conflict to be resolved through the process of creating situations where those who are on an unbalanced path can reassess their prerogatives. The sword is the basis of Aikido. It is the soul of the true warrior. Competition with live swords would quickly result in a scarcity of participants. The practice of Iaido through Aikitoho allows the blade to show the student the way. Knowledge of a combat form can greatly increase one’s appreciation of the practice. A closed mind and an obsession with winning and losing can prohibit a useful experience.

  13. Hi Prince. Another nice video, mahalo. I got the gist of this before I saw your video and reading comments below. There are similar videos and what is "wrong" per say with every art is that most people only want to learn the gross motor skills and once they do and think they have enough, they quit. The other problem is that most schools are in business and need to sell belts and teach kids as a bit of a day care center in order to be in business and make a living. But it's probably not the school/instructors fault as much as meeting public expectations, especially for parents having their kids learn some sort of martial arts.

    Getting into the art and the internals comes much later. Then the light bulb moment happens! Now it goes beyond gross motor skills. But with the evolution of anything that involves movement like basketball, football, tennis, skiing, chopping wood, driving a car (you get it), etc, everything starts with gross motor skills. The "touch" and respect of the spirit of the art comes later.

    In my 20's when I taught windsurfing, I could feel the water, the board, the slightest amount of wind and could control my sailing with very minute movements and use of energy. Students would ask me how I could sail so effortlessly. That is something that I couldn't teach as that comes with time after the gross motor movements. So today, the same principles apply to when I teach JKD/Wing Chun or even when I'm teaching downhill skiing in the winter. It's all so subtle.

    I cracked up at 09:04 when you shared the story of the woman's friend not being a good uke because he wouldn't comply. Comply!? Man, if peeps would just comply when in conflict! LOL. We both know that she would have needed to show what to do when somebody is non compliant because after all, isn't that what the training and techniques are all about!? LOL.

    The other thing to consider as well, and it's good you practiced good wu dei……. To resist, as you were thinking could have been disrespectful and could lead to an altercation and injury to you and the sensei. If anything, you might have been able to talk to the sensei first and asked if you could do a bit more real in the streets type movements and apply resistance and ask how they would handle that in real life. I'll do that with my students. And granted, sometimes we get a pulled ligament or deep bruise. For us, we need to go back to our regular jobs the next day. I hope you don't mind my perspective and approach.

  14. listen pungchi or aki or whatever bullshit term u wanna call it is basically asain witch craft…I have done it before and I strongly suggest that you stop doing martial arts in general.because to a certian extent u are right if u cant master chi or aki or whatever u wanna call it ur martial arts is in nothing.but the chi practice is itself has demonic roots that will drive u crazy in the end when u master it

  15. Bro you are going down a very stupid and demonic road when it comes to internal arts.studding internal arts hours a day only leads to demonic possesion…

  16. in real time fighting akido can never be effective no matter who your teacher is, it all bassed on an attacker that totally commits him self like the striking with a samurai sword, no one fights like that in real life lol akido does not stand a chance in actual combat

  17. So long story short, aikido only works on opponents that follow along with the choreography. In other words, it doesn't work on someone random, let alone someone who knows how to fight. Great presentation. Thank you sooooo much.

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