Take the 2-minute tour ×
Martial Arts Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for students and teachers of all martial arts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Aikido training does not have kicks. They have of course one-two techniques to avoid and lock kicks, but do not have any. They have strike techniques called "atemi", but did not use kicks in general, and they avoid them.

Do you know why is that?

share|improve this question
    
Some aikido derivatives have put them back in. Yoseikan Budo does some kicking, though I find that you have to be fast to kick aikido people and get away with it. As one of the answers suggests: better for disruption than big guns. –  dmckee Feb 23 '12 at 21:11
add comment

8 Answers

up vote 9 down vote accepted

You will rarely, if ever, find a martial art that truly uses kicks above the knee*, unless that art is centered around kicks. Most art are very concerned about their balance, and use kicks for disruption, not necessarily for damage. Aikido mostly uses the feet and legs for footwork. Kicks would just take time away from footwork.

By the same token, because you don't see it doesn't mean it isn't there. If there are kicks in aikido, they may just not show up in your average self-defense application, but they might be very useful, as explained in the other answers.

* [Uh-oh, I should specify that kicks during practice can be higher, of course, without any loss of face from the art.]

share|improve this answer
1  
Sweeps (which are kicks) above the knee, but I don't think that's part of conventional Aikido. –  Ho-Sheng Hsiao Feb 23 '12 at 22:10
    
Does this mean that san shou, karate, savate and muay Thai are all "centered around kicks"? I'd agree for muay Thai, but the others...? –  Dave Liepmann Jun 1 '12 at 18:23
1  
Except for taekwondo. I used to spar with a friend of mine who achieved a black belt in taekwondo. He rarely kicked below the knee. –  Ben Richards Jun 4 '12 at 20:35
1  
Modern sport TKD's excessive emphasis on kicks is from their scoring system. Very traditional TKD uses kicks more than any other art that I know of, but rarely even 50%. –  William B Swift Aug 24 '12 at 1:35
1  
I don't think truly is the right word to be using to convey what you mean. It's hard to argue that a Muay Thai fighter might not rely entirely on kicks to the thigh, which is above the knee. –  Robin Ashe Aug 24 '12 at 10:28
show 5 more comments

simply because high kicks cause unbalence, which is very bad in aikido, because the tori may take adventage of it (as aikidokas are quick)

share|improve this answer
1  
Notice that the question says nothing about "high kicks". My Yoseikan club practiced with kicks up to roughly the waist as technique, but only went higher than that to allow practice of responses. –  dmckee Jan 12 '13 at 20:48
    
I know, I know. I talked about high kicks because I had an argument only for that. –  Mahboubi Salim Apr 15 at 20:37
    
for low kicks and kicks in general I think it's because it causes a moving that gets you uselessly in the atemi range if you don't score on it and hurt the uke enough to pu him down. You can see that in Combat Sports like kick boxing, most of counter-attacks happen after a bad/missed kick, and aikido is very good at counter-attacks. Kicking a real experimented aikidoka is risking the health of your leg. –  Mahboubi Salim Apr 15 at 20:45
add comment

We're looking for long answers that provide some explanation and context. Don't just give a one-line answer; explain why your answer is right, ideally with citations. Answers that don't include explanations may be removed.

I believe their are historical reasons for the lack of kicks, most of which have been mentioned in other answers including:

  • Aikido is partially descended from sword technique where it is less relevant
  • Aikido is descended from arts that were expected to be performed in classical Japanese armor, where kicking was less relevant
  • The ground work is a palace art, where standing up for anyone other than the daimyo and their guard could be a major infraction leading to punishment up to death--kicking is hard while kneeling
  • Aikido is partially desceneded from spear techniques, again where kicking is less relevant

So the question that seems to beg to be asked is: why hasn't aikido adopted kicking in all the years and all the styles?

I would propose the real answer is that any kick above about the ankles is far, far too easy to counter, and the counters are very, very devastating.

High kicks are the realm of sport styles with rules preventing the devestating counters that are possible to a well trained martial artist.

No one in their right mind (okay, why are we martial artists, then, but that is another question) would want to take the ukemi from kick defense practice!

share|improve this answer
2  
You had me on the history...and lost me with the idea that kicks aren't useful for fighting. –  Dave Liepmann Nov 30 '12 at 2:29
add comment

Aikido aims to protect yourself from injury, as well as your attacker (if possible). It aims to use very little, if any, force by itself, but instead redirect the attacker's force back onto the attacker.

A kick is pretty much the opposite. A kick intends to apply a great amount of force onto the target, trying to directly damage it, by force.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Stokman Sensei covers defenses against kicks in his book. I haven't consulted it in several months, but if I recall correctly, he was also puzzled.

As a young student I was told a teaching story - that part of the genesis of aikijutsu was when a Samurai lost his sword on the battlefield and had to take the sword away from an opponent. Most of the kicking and punching arts were limited by the opponents armor, but joint locks worked just fine. I doubt that has any authenticity as other than a legend, but I like the concept.

share|improve this answer
1  
It'd be interesting to fit someone in full Samurai armour and see if they're actually capable of throwing kicks. Might not just be a belief that kicks against armour are ineffective, but also that kicks in armour are ineffective. –  Robin Ashe Aug 24 '12 at 10:31
add comment

Aikido does not expressively have attacking kicks. Several techniques do open uke to receive a kick but those kicks are not practices. It is assumed that the practitioner knows how to kick from a different art or uses a knee strike, or punches or does not bother with the strike and does the throw/pin directly.

Aikido does have a wide range of techniques that can be applied against a kick. Generally speaking, any kick is best avoided and not soaked.

share|improve this answer
    
The only kick that I remember is one on the face when you have the uke face down, or lower, but never make up/high kicks. Kicks that you upper your leg more than your knee. –  Aristos Feb 23 '12 at 19:05
add comment

Not sure if I understand this right: Your asking why Aikido has no kick attacks and not why Aikido has no techniques against kicks, correct?

Aikido, as it is today (at least the Aikido I have seen so far), has no attacks at all. It's principle is avoiding conflict on all levels. Attacking means conflict. Even the defensive techniques of Aikido are not about disabling the opponent. Instead they focus on harmonizing your energy with the attacking force and transforming the attack in something else. So praticed right there will be no fight and no opponent.

This is why Aikido has no attacks in any form.

share|improve this answer
    
aikido no have kick attacks. Have all the rest attacks and when you do the techniques you learn to strike together with the technique. Just this strikes are come with time and is not the first think that you learn, how ever have strikes. (called atemi). Says that atemi are 80% of the technique ! and with our some times you can not make technique work in real world –  Aristos Feb 23 '12 at 12:16
3  
-1 Aikido does have atemi and attacks. For example, ikyo/ikajo/oshi taoshi (same techniques, different names) can be initiated by tori as a shomen uchi strike that uke blocks. Tori then can apply the technique on uke's elbow which is now in the "right" place. –  Sardathrion Feb 23 '12 at 12:20
    
I was taught that those atemi are not supposed to be real attacks (any more). Instead they are used to distract the attacker while completing the technique. I know aikido schools that use a knee-kick-atemi with kaitennage throws –  jan Feb 23 '12 at 12:30
2  
Well, there are different styles so saying "aikido has no attacks" is not correct in general. For example, the way I was taught atemi should be a real strike in order to either force the opponent to defend and thus lose the balance and enable your technique, or if he fails to defend - well, he gets punched in the face, that works too :) after that, his balance probably won't be that good either. Of course, compared to strike-oriented disciplines aikido gives much less attention to strikes, but that does not mean no attacks at all. –  StasM Feb 26 '12 at 11:19
    
Tomiki and Shotokan school use limited attacks. I believe Tomiki-sensei was once quoted as saying that 50% of your techniques should be shomen ate, and that the rest of the curriculum was only to be used if that didn't work. Yoshinkan uses atemi as a distraction to maintain kuzushi. Although I don't challenge Aristos' assertion, I think that the situation is more complicated. –  Mark C. Wallace Aug 23 '12 at 19:20
show 1 more comment

First, you have to understand what Aikido is, and what it is not.

Aikido is the final culmination of Ueshiba Morihei's training in:

  • Daito-ryu Aiki-jujutsu
  • Tenjin Shin'yo-ryu Jujutsu
  • Goto-ha Yagyu Shingan-ryu Taijutsu (Goto Family Branch of Edo Line of Yagyu Shingan-ryu)
  • Numerous other forms of jujutsu (Ueshiba Morihei was a dabbler in his youth)
  • Omoto-kyo (A religious sect originating from Shinto, sharing many similarities to the American Spiritualism movements of the Victorian era)
  • Training of Military Personnel.

All of these were important aspects in the development of Aikido, though the two largest influences were undoubtedly Daito-ryu Aiki-jujutsu (in which he trained the longest), and Omoto-kyo which preached harmony and world peace.

It's this latter element that led away from teachings of atemi; the later aikido becoming much more about a "way of life" and harmony with ones attacker. This is not to say by any means that it's a weak art (as my old aikido instructor used to say, "There's a reason we say harm-ony"). In this way, aikido became much more about the aiki techniques/approach of Daito-ryu, which clearly was more inline with the Omoto-kyo teachings, as well as the fostering relationship between Ueshiba and Deguchi Onisaburo (the second spiritual leader of Omoto-kyo).

Prior to this time, Aikido was known as Aikibudo, and was being taught to military personnel. At this time, there was a great deal of atemi, both punching and kicking. Still, however, it's important to note that this was derived from Daito-ryu Aiki-jujutsu most heavily, and much of the movement in Daito-ryu is derived from sword work (kenjutsu).

In (if I recall correctly) Morihei Ueshiba & Aikido: Aiki Budo, some of the early clips of Aikibudo showed kicking that I felt were similar to that done in Yagyu Shingan-ryu (and many other forms of jujutsu, of course – The human body can only move so many ways). There are many schools, also, that have gone back to an older, more aikibudo feel, and incorporate kicks in their modern training. This has more to do with the instructor and his background than the art specifically.

Often times, when you're questioning the absence of something, it's best to track back through the history of the development of the art; Ueshiba Morihei did not invent anything profoundly new, but rather, like aikido teaches, redirected the energy of his art in a new direction.

share|improve this answer
    
harmony, is a greek word, come from αρμονία -> αρμός, armos -> means the connection, the joint, the point that you connect/join more than one thinks together in a way that they can not split/seperate. Eg when you dock the ship with cord, the point of connection called armos, when you connect the music notes together -> harmonia. (The harm-ony is false). –  Aristos Feb 23 '12 at 18:54
5  
@Aristos: The "harm-ony" was a pun. It was not meant with any seriousness, but as a bit of humor to illustrate a point. This is simply lost in translation. As for your second comment, I'm afraid I don't understand your point. The reason for the "love and harmony" was not to spread the art, but because of a series of epiphanies he had during misogi. –  stslavik Feb 23 '12 at 19:05
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.