I always thought of Aikido as a beautifully choreographed yoga/meditation rather than MA. Is it wrong to think that all this choreography fails in street fights or in MA? All the wrist manipulation which plays a dramatic role will only work on relaxed or unsuspecting target imo. This makes it obsolete versus a "ready to go" boxer or kick-boxer etc.

I have seen a video where an aikido practitioner tries to lock a student of MA with no luck, since the opponent was tense.

I have watched a 3 round fight with aikido practitioner vs a thai boxer, and after 2 rounds the aikido practitioner just resorted to open palm type strikes and "flailing jeet kune do type kicks" with no avail, instead of trying to catch/lock/throw his opponent.

I've been searching to no end for material or video where true aikido techniques are used in a full on sparring contest, to how it's shown to us during presentations.

So the question is : Is Aikido effective outside of the "Aikido realm"? (no hate, just my personal opinion and views)

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    -1, vote to close. First, anecdotal evidence is utterly worthless so three examples of bad Aikido videos (with no references) mean nothing whatsoever. Second, your question reads like you have made up your mind and are just fishing for justifications. Thirdly, what is a "street fight"? A car full of gang bangers shooting automatic weapons while driving? A drunk guy in a bar thinking you called his pint ugly? Feb 9, 2015 at 15:09
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    We do not do debate as this is a question and answer site. Please find a forum such as aikiweb which will be happy to host debates. I said that your question reads like and if I have mistaken your question, maybe it could be better worded. Feb 9, 2015 at 15:53
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    I attempted to analyze Aikido's self-defense strategy, strengths, and weaknesses in another answer. Please see this: martialarts.stackexchange.com/questions/4732/… Feb 9, 2015 at 17:27
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    Incidentally, the idea that anyone is going to catch the hand or wrist of someone in a fight is flawed. Hands move faster than any other body part. They flail. You won't be able to target a hand and grab one. Try it, and you'll be KO'd before you can. So, that is not how you apply an aikido hand technique. Allowing someone to square up and start to punch and kick? Not gonna work. You have to take him by surprise, before the fight even begins. What you described as a muay thai vs. aikido fight is, therefore, ridiculous. Aikido isn't meant for that purpose. Feb 9, 2015 at 20:17
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    @Steve I disagree with your assertion about catching a hand during a fight. Most practitioners learn how to parry, and a catch starts with a parry. For someone trained a catch isn't that hard - especially as the punch usually has to travel further than the hand doing the trap/catch.
    – slugster
    Feb 11, 2015 at 0:21

3 Answers 3


My Sensei once told me that aikido looks different that it feels. In other words you see a choreographed routine, I see someone practicing a potentially nasty joint lock that would make it difficult and painful for resisting opponent to continue. Now aikido is not without weakness, but to assume it an obsolete because it doesn't do as well as you would like in a cage match is a mistake. I find plenty of videos of aikido holding its own (personal bias admitted) but I get the impression that 90% of martial arts videos on Youtube have a predetermined outcome, so basing judgment on that is about as wise as thinking everything on the internet is true.


I believe your question can be answered by considering the following variables:

  1. Your level of skill
  2. The number and skill of your opponents
  3. The circumstances in which the fight takes place

Of course, if you pit two martial artists with the same amount of experience against each other, the one with most practical experience will most probably win. Notice the emphasized practical experience: competition fights against martial artists of different martial arts, street fights, etc.

If you want something that will give you practical knowledge quickly, I suggest you try one of the styles that Juann Strauss submitted. If you want a more developed martial art that will also work your mind, or wish to learn fighting tactics and strategies, you can choose any martial art, including the violent ones, but give it time.

  • This seems like a general answer that does not answer the specific question. Feb 13, 2015 at 13:40
  • If it is a specific answer you 're looking for: Practice aikido three times a week for three to five years to be able to defeat a low level opponent(no martial arts experience) 5 or more to defeat a mid-level opponent (little or medium experience of martial arts - that is 2-3 years in a "practical experience" kind martial art) and if we assume that two masters of martial arts are fighting, one of the "practical" kind and one aikidoka, imo the aikido master WILL lose.
    – George
    Feb 15, 2015 at 20:53

No, it isn't. But then neither are many other martial arts, especially the "defensive" or "soft" ones. As others have rightly said, it's probably because it's taught wrong. But I've never seen it taught right either. Watch that reality show with Steven Segal, arguably the most famous Aikido practitioner on earth: he hardly ever applies Aikido outside of the dojo. You never see him apprehend a suspect the way he does in his movies. He usually just jogs behind everyone else and provides live updates. And the cops he "trains" usually fall back to the stuff they learned at the academy because they know that an aggravated suspect is too tense to allow you to do fancy joint locks on him.

Aikido is great for when you're play-fighting with your girlfriend or picking on your younger brother. But if you're looking for an effective "soft" martial art, you should probably check out judo or jiujitsu.

Pro tip: If you want to learn how to survive a real fight, try one or more of the following martial arts

  • Kyukushin
  • Greco-roman wrestling
  • Boxing
  • Jiujitsu
  • Muai Thai
  • Judo*
  • Taekwondo**

You'll want to stay away from:

  • Any karate that focuses on points-based stop-start fighting
  • Aikido
  • Olympic or semi-contact Taekwondo
  • Any Kung Fu taught by a suspiciously young white man with glasses
  • Ninjitsu
  • Wing Chun
  • Anything that teaches you how to throw fireballs from your hands and/or utilise Qi/Reishi/Spirit Energy (that counts as excessive force and will get you arrested)
  • Stuff you learn on youtube from a guy who claims to be a navy SEAL/Green Beret/SAS/etc

*Judo You'll want to be a black belt before you're ready to apply judo to a crazy drunk guy with an attitude.

**Taekwondo You'll want to be training in full-contact Taekwondo, not the olympic or american variants. It looks and is scored a lot like Kyukushin.

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    add Russian Systema into the list there as well of things to avoid. It falls under contact-less fireballs knockouts. I myself practiced Kyokushin, which was my first MA. I wouldn't call it the ultimate form, but it gives a very strong basis on what to build on. Not forgetting the discipline and respect.
    – ibimon
    Feb 10, 2015 at 12:18
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    -1. sigh Shodokan Aikido is taught at the Osaka Police Academy, Yoshinkan Aikido via the Senshisei course is taught to the Tokyo riot police. Your personal experience of Aikido might be different but it certainly is not only for play fighting girlfriends and picking on little brothers... I personally know and trained with military personal, police officers, and prison wardens that all effectively used Aikido in the field as part of their jobs. Feb 10, 2015 at 13:11
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    I would attribute the relative effectiveness of the Senshisei course more to the 33 hours of intensive training they undergo per week than the fact that they're training Aikido. Though I will concede that 33 hours of training per week for 11 months could get you to a point where Aikido (or a subset of it) is effective. Feb 10, 2015 at 13:51
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    While I agree with the idea that there are more immediately practical martial arts than aikido, I don't like to see people completely write it off like you've done here, and in a way that's condescending and arrogant ("great for when you're play fighting with your girlfriend"). Truth is, practicality is determined entirely by how you train. Train with non-compliant, fully resisting, live partners, and you'll be far better off than training by punching to the air. It's why the martial arts you list seem to do better. Knowing that, you can make Aikido work for you. Or anything for that matter. Feb 10, 2015 at 18:48
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    You're right of course. I won't deny it. But I feel it is my duty to lead the next generation in the right direction. There are only a handful of students who will ever have the time, money and will to undergo the Senshisei course, or go to train with the Shaolin monks. So for the rest of them to try Aikido or Kung Fu is a waste of time. They would be much better off trying one of the proven arts. Feb 11, 2015 at 7:08

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