Is Aikido useless?

Everyone that watched the Floyd Mayweather fight against Conor McGregor knows that MMA fighting is useless against a boxer.
I wonder what would have happened if the fight had taken place in the Octagon?  Would Floyd still have won? This question leads us into the realm of rules.  What are the rules of Boxing? What are the rules of MMA fighting? What are the rules of Street Fighting?  And, taking a huge step forward, what are the rules of the universe?

I guess what I’m trying to get at here is that there are rules, rules for everything, how to punch, where to punch, when to punch…rules, strategy, hummm, what’s the difference!?  Did Floyd win because he strategically place the fight within a set of rules that he had mastered? Or, is boxing actually more effective than MMA fighting. We can debate that subject forever, but the fact remains the same, MMA fighting was useless against Boxing that night.

Aikido is also based on rules and strategies.  These rule and strategies are very different than boxing and mma fighting.  They’re different than karate and judo.

I’ll never forget the day I was in a judo match with a judoka.  He threw me and I instinctively used my aikido technique, used his energy and threw him as I fell.  I lost the match because my back hit the ground before his back did. I was so disappointed in the “rules” that I never did judo again.  Because of my training, I felt like I had won the match…

The conversation about which art is effective will never end.  There’s actually a thread on aikiweb.com started on  10-17-2000 at 03:14 PM by joeysola:

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Aikido does not work at all in a fight.



I have competed in both boxing and wrestling and I am now training in brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. I have watched many No Holds Barred competitions, like the UFC, and it is clear to me that Aikido and it’s techniques and it’s way of training do not prepare anyone to actually fight. I know that Aikido practitioners talk a lot about concepts like spirituality, harmony…etc. but I also hear people talk about how it is a practical means of self defense. Aikido does not have practical striking techniques or any REAL matwork at all. I would like to know how Aikido can be used as self defense if you cannot grapple or strike.

This thread is still active.  It’s been active for 19 years…  I actually wrote a few posts recently to add and fuel the argument even more.

I’ve actually used Aikido for self defense several times in my life.  So was Aikido useless to me? I had been taking Aikido for almost a year and one night, I was in a parking lot and five guys were messing with people.  In my drunken state, I decided to stand up to them. One of the guys decided to punch me in the face. He connected. I snapped back and decided to fight all five of them.  Two of them rushed me at the same time, one with a punch to the face. I went straight in and turned; right through both of them. They crashed and fell to the ground. The third guy, I karate kicked right in the gut, picked him up off his feet and he fell to the ground.  The fourth guy thought he could knock me out with a right hook. I blended in with his punch and threw him to the ground. The last guy was standing there. He was a pretty big guy; looked like a football player. In that split second, it was all about ego. I looked at him and decided I was gonna go, one on one and show him who’s boss.  

Can you see where this is going?  My ego took over. I totally forgot about the other 4 guys that I threw to the ground.  

I walked up to this big guy, and someone grabbed me from behind and threw me to the floor.

By the way, did I mention that I wore glasses that flew off my face when the first guy punched me…

Down on the ground three of the guys were kicking me, or actually, trying to kick me.  Somehow I blocked and deflected every single kick. I heard someone yelling, POLICE… and all five guys ran away.  

I got up like nothing had happened and the only scar I had was a small scratch to my lower lip, where the first guys finger nail cut me when he made contact with my face.

Was Aikido useless that night?  Where did I go wrong? Why did I lose that fight against five guys?  I spend years thinking about it as I continued to train everyday. Working on my technique, trying to get stronger and trying to close up any openings I might have.

I’ve always been a firm believer of the fact that we are not created by an art, we create the art.  Aikido for me is the most effective art there is, because I make it effective, not because of the art itself.  I personally love Aikido and it’s philosophy, so I choose to continue learning and building on it. If the art truly is useless, then I choose to make it useful.  I take full responsibility for its effectiveness or ineffectiveness.

It’s an outlook.  If I would have chosen to study Karate, or Judo, or MMA, or Boxing, I’d have the same outlook.  I would look to make it an effective art.

Don’t compare arts.  Don’t say one is better than the other.  Instead chose to say that you will make your art effective.  Don’t compete against others, but instead grow, build and perfect what you are doing.  Make sure that you are better today, than you were yesterday. If you get in the ring with an opponent.  Use that experience to better yourself, win or lose, walk away a better fighter, a better person.

Is Aikido useless?  That’s your choice to make, if and only if, you are the one learning Aikido.  

Is Aikido better than Karate or Judo…; Are apples better than oranges?  Or, are hamburgers better and hotdogs? Not sure about you, but I don’t eat either hamburgers or hotdogs.  And some days I eat apples for desert and some days I eat oranges…

The art doesn’t make the man, than man makes the art.

– Erik Sasha Calderon

6 thoughts on “Is Aikido useless?”

  1. If any martial art is effective or useless is just not the right question. Any Style is just a vessel or a tool that you have to bring to it`s use. If it doesn’t work, make it work and stop complaining. I had enough “self defense situations” in my life to learn that you wan`t always win doesn`t matter how badass you are. If you’re just thinking about self defense than maybe just buy a gun. If you want to be a fighter, maybe you should work on your self awareness more. If you enjoy the way Budo offers there is nothing more Budo than Aikido.

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