Can anyone produce video evidence of Aikido being used effectively against a resisting opponent who is not an Aikidoka?


  1. Must display classical Aikido technique (Kote Gaeshi, Ikkyo, Sankyo, etc)
  2. The person applying the technique must be an Aikidoka. Small joint manipulation is not only an Aikido phenomenon, so this video of Jacare using a wrist lock in BJJ would not count, nor this video of Shinya Aoki applying a standing armlock. In both cases, the martial artist is not an Aikidoka, and moreover the technique is not a standard part of the Aikido curriculum.
  3. Shodokan Aikido competition footage does not count since the rules are so restrictive that even the most basic instincts (clinching) are suppressed, to the point that I cannot consider it to be a "resisting" opponent. Moreover, since it is Aikido vs. Aikido I strongly suspect they "throw themselves" unnecessarily when a technique is "close enough".

Here is a pretty good example of a video which demonstrates Karate being used effectively. If someone could find a similar video for Aikido, that would be awesome.


I did Aikido for two years before discovering more "alive" arts like BJJ, Judo, Boxing, etc. I felt pretty duped when I could use nothing of what I learned against anyone who was trying to resist me. I would like to believe that there exist some people who can use Aikido, but I have yet to see any evidence of this.

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    @Sardathrion I have ample amounts of anecdotal evidence for the effectiveness of Aikido. Somehow, people have lots of stories about Aikido, and lots of video evidence for BJJ. This question is about the video evidence for Aikido. Commented Dec 15, 2015 at 15:51
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    I agree about the culture of bailing early. Part of that is the no-clinch rule, though, because I bet it's actually hard to stay in good position when all the correct responses are illegal! Commented Dec 15, 2015 at 16:24
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    I'd like to highlight that restraint techniques, if they are applied to someone before they're already restrained, would count just fine. Tracking down a law enforcement application of a standing joint lock would seem to qualify by the points listed above....if the LEO was an aikidoka. There's a bit of ambiguity there with the blurry line between LEO tactics and aikido curriculae. Commented Dec 15, 2015 at 17:39
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    I thought we had a community standard that we wouldn't discuss the effectiveness of any given martial art.
    – MCW
    Commented Dec 15, 2015 at 19:31
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    @MarkC.Wallace I cannot find such a standard on the tour, or by browsing meta. Even if there is, my question is rather specific: it just asks for a video of a particular sort. There is the distinct possibility that someone could post a video of a beautifully executed shihonage in a street fight. Commented Dec 15, 2015 at 20:00

7 Answers 7


The exceptionally unusual Aikidoka Tetsu Yamazaki, who seems to have developed his own form of non-Shodokan helmeted aikido restricted sparring, seems to execute a throw that I've seen taught in aikido as gedan-ate (or possibly an aiki-otoshi variant) at 0:14 of this video. Note the fact that it's been taught to me in judo as sukui-nage or tani-otoshi, I've heard it described in karate contexts as the "wedge throw" (executed by Lyoto Machida in elite MMA) and as kuzushi waza, in tai chi I've heard it referred to as Parting Wild Horse's Mane, and it was taught to me as a no-name knockdown technique in Muay Thai. So this technique is certainly not found only in aikido.

Note that I did not see him ever apply a small joint manipulation in any of the three videos he is in. Part of this might be due to the fact that he only has one hand, making two-handed control of an opponent's wrist or elbow difficult.

Note also that the majority of his performance showcases techniques that I would say are a stretch to consider aikido. Is a front snap kick an aikido technique? Well, it appears on some curricula, just like it does in judo, but in fact it's not practiced in 999 out of 1000 aikido (or judo!) dojo, so it's kind of silly to say he's doing aikido when he executes a front snap kick.

I found it on a Bullshido thread where the caveats are accurate. He's quite an outlier in terms of aikido practice, but an aikidoka who regularly spars, strikes, and competes outside of aikido's extremely restrictive rulesets at least has a chance to apply aikido skills.

Another important caveat to consider is how well this aikidoka rates compared to someone trained in a sparring art of comparable training time. He's testing himself, which is commendable, but it's hard to see this as an endorsement of aikido training approaches, or even of his ramped-up approach to aikido.

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    Thanks. This does look like something approaching a "real" demonstration of Aikido. Still not very impressive, though, as I would expect a 3 month Judoka to be as effective against this particular opponent... Commented Dec 15, 2015 at 16:43
  • I would also like to see named Aikido techniques. I am not sure the throw you mention is really part of the standard Aikido curriculum. Commented Dec 15, 2015 at 16:54
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    I really do not get why this was downvoted... Commented Dec 18, 2015 at 10:07
  • @Sardathrion Voting is anonymous so I can't see who down voted, but having said that people are also not required to justify a down vote. It's just part of the risk of answering a more contentious question - somebody may disagree with the answer, and that somebody doesn't necessarily have the knowledge or wisdom to fully appreciate the answer.
    – slugster
    Commented Dec 20, 2015 at 23:28
  • I have accepted this answer because activity has petered out on it. If anyone can produce a more compelling video, I will gladly switch. It is disheartening to me that this seems to be the only real example, and the level of technique demonstrated is so poor. I am beginning to feel that I should try to see if I can get Aikido to work. A russian grip --> kotegaeshi combo seems like it might be viable, and I will start training it. Commented Dec 30, 2015 at 17:19


This shows a karate/aikido student in a fight against an untrained opponent:

a self taught jeet kune do & karate [sic], he is also trained in aikido (white belt)

He manages to "throw" his opponent with an Aikido style movement at 1:13. He loses his own balance in the process, and the fight immediately becomes a scramble on the ground.

I am not convinced that a fight between two untrained fighters would have looked much different.

  • How do you know he's an aikidoka? Is that quick clip him in an aikido dojo? Commented Dec 22, 2015 at 11:45
  • The description of the video claims that. It seems like the uploader knew him somehow. Commented Dec 22, 2015 at 14:31
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    The "quick clip" at 1:12 is Joe Thambu Shihan, 8th Dan Yoshinkan Aikido, who weighs 55kg and worked as a bouncer for many years. He is the chief instructor at Aikido Shudokan in Melbourne, where I train. Needless to say, not the same person as was fighting in the video (or the fight would have been much shorter!). Commented Dec 23, 2015 at 15:12
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    @SamWatkins If you believe that your sensei can apply Aikido technique to resisting opponents, I would welcome you to ask him if you could film such training. It would be immensely valuable to public perception of the art. Commented Dec 24, 2015 at 1:18


This shows a cop using a kote-gaeshi type movement to disarm someone. Notice that he does need to follow up with a hip bump / leg sweep to complete the throw, however.

  • That is actually a chinese police officer I believe. I Have seen a longer clip which names her as such. Its more likely to be qi na than aikido for this reason.
    – Huw Evans
    Commented Dec 5, 2016 at 18:44
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    404 Not Found :-( Commented Jul 1, 2019 at 15:55

I will say that no martial art - including Aikido - corners the market on a technique. Techniques generally exist in many styles, so it is not proper to label something as "aikido", except in cases where a technique simply does not exist anywhere else, and isn't martial in nature. For example, Taekwondo has a dazzling array of useless spinning aerial kicks, which are impressive on their own merit - but they are relegated to the nuances of the niche that Taekwondo has made for itself. Aikido's techniques are largely based on jujitsu, and you'll find most aikido techniques also featured in jujitsu, judo, karate, and other styles - and not all Japanese styles, either, such as kung fu, hapkido, wrestling, etc.

Having said that, some will look at one or two of these throws and say that the uke did not resist (eg, hostage situations) or that nage used a lot of strength (some of the "judo throws"). Know that Aikido does not forbid the use of force, nor does it require uke to be aware of what is about to happen to him. It capitalizes on uke's intent and movement, but how that breaks down IRL requires careful study and practice, and not to relegate one's training to the vacuum of a clean dojo. One must train hard and realistic if one is to test one's learning. If uke is unaware of nage's presence, as is the case in a few hostage stand-offs, nage has advantage and can stage any technique it wants. You don't get that option in sport, but that doesn't mean you cannot capitalize on your environment - and that is exactly what we try to teach in any self-defense situation.

As to the ones issuing the techniques, I cannot state their martial arts background, although I fail to see any reason why that would be important. If we as an audience are aware of someone's martial art background, that increases the likelihood that the video is staged.

Anyway, you wanted footage, here's a few clips. I duplicated one or two clips in attempt to mitigate link decay. Also, some clips are compilations, and so I used the same video under different categories, in order to focus on the technique, rather than the style.





Yonkyo and Ikkyo

Various examples of Aikido used in MMA

This video is spectacular in its analysis and comparison to Aikido, MMA, and Karate

Some interesting takedowns (sorry, not Aikido, but impressive or funny nevertheless)

American Football

Parking Meter Take Down

Vulcan Nerve Pinch

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    You have very loose standards for what you consider the same technique. I don't want to go through them one-by-one and explain why they are different techniques, but out of those that I watched the only technique that I would consider the same as an aikido technique is the first one in the "Aikido used in MMA" video, kokyu nage (or sokumen irimi nage depening on naming scheme). An aside: there's lots of unforced violence in those police videos. When I see that kind of stuff I'm always happy that I don't live in the states.
    – tobi_s
    Commented Jul 8, 2019 at 1:45
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    @tobi_s You have a very strict view of what is a technique. All of them are applications of aikido techniques. If you expect a perfect kata-like application, you fundamentally misunderstands the purpose of kata. Randori should teach you to apply kata if nothing else. Commented Jul 8, 2019 at 12:08
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    @Sardathrion I looked at the "shiho nage" again. Labelling it "kote gaeshi" would name a similar aikido technique. But looking at a few "irimi nage"s again, I can't help but wonder if you call everyhing where someone goes for the face "irimi nage." (Mostly I see brutal cops, though.) If we take the premise of the question seriously, there should at least be something that resembles the basics. Look at the third video in my answer. That's a totally clean application of kote geashi.
    – tobi_s
    Commented Jul 8, 2019 at 15:57
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    I've seen differences in naming between schools. Iriminage, tenchinage, and even sumi otoshi are distinct in some schools, not others. When you enter into uke's space, that is generally the idea behind iriminage, and to facilitate that movement, an atemi to the face is often used, lending to the appearance we are going for the face. I didn't want to get bogged down in the naming, though. The techniques, whatever their names, are used in aikido.
    – Andrew Jay
    Commented Jul 8, 2019 at 22:55

I just remembered this video I saw a while back. It claims to be a genuine fight. https://youtu.be/rs4gTZjSqJc?t=2m31s

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    This is quite clearly not a real fight, and is a staged demonstration. Sigh. Commented Dec 20, 2015 at 23:14
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    @HuwEvans It should be painfully obvious that these are staged. If you really want me to catalogue everything that shows me that, I guess I could. But it would feel like explaining the difference between a head of lettuce and a head of cabbage. They look somewhat similar, but everyone who has had both can tell the difference. Commented Dec 21, 2015 at 13:25
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    @HuwEvans It may not have been "choreographed" (although it may have), but the two attackers knew they would never strike the Aikidoka for real, and they knew that they should go along with his techniques, and fall for them. Commented Dec 21, 2015 at 13:58
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    The attackers don't land a punch, nor do they rush at him, nor do they establish any clinch. The single thrown punch is soft, slow, telegraphed, without power, and doesn't seem to be aimed at the aikidoka. They attack one at a time (see 4:54). They don't resist his techniques. They let him grab their wrist without countering in any way. They are timid and tentative. After falling to the ground they act like stuntmen killed in an action flick. For all these reasons, it is clear that this is an example of a semi-scripted compliant demonstration. Commented Dec 21, 2015 at 14:09
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    First green shirt tries to punch Aikidoka, and does not retract his arm after the punch, allowing the Aikidoka arm control. While Aikidoka is applying his technique to green shirt, green is no longer between green and blue which should allow blue to move around and attack. But blue is watching the technique. When technique is finished he turns to deliver a haymaker. Note that blue leaves his right leg back as he punches with his right fist, generating no power, and off balancing himself. He also leaves his arm extended and goes with the Shihonage (no resistance). Commented Dec 21, 2015 at 14:13


This is not an aikidoka, but the technique "feels like" aikido, in that wrist control and impeccable timing only leads to a throw.


Here are three videos showing aikido techniques performed against non-cooperating non-aikidokas, ordered from friendliest to least friendly:

1) Watch here from 7:00: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZYA6q0gRYOY&t=420s This showcases a set of clean techniques against (apparently) defined attacks. A Karateka TV host wanted to know if aikido works, and found that it does. You'll see a variety of kokyu nage techniques, shomen irimi nage, shiho nage, ikkajo, and some playful stuff.

2) A bunch of comedians went to a dojo and tried to take on sensei. This includes a few fun things, including atemi waza and defense against sucker punches. I don't think there are many other TV shows where the hosts end up taking high backfalls on a wooden floor. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sQoDqPAKvB8

3) and finally, if you want something where there's a ring, where the guy doesn't do a proper breakfall and where there's Kote Gaeshi, watch 2:54 in this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aj8xH_aiCtg

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    This is not a live opponent:. It is a made for TV demonstration. I cannot speak the language, but Uke is wearing a black belt as well. He is being a "good Uke". I don't think this counts. Commented Jul 1, 2019 at 16:08
  • He's a Karate black belt. That's disqualifying as well? If that is a good uke to you, look closer. Sensei is having fun, but that guy definitely doesn't have a clue what's happening to him.
    – tobi_s
    Commented Jul 1, 2019 at 23:34
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    We will have to agree to disagree here. From my vantage point this is a compliant demonstration. Uke is not resisting. Commented Jul 1, 2019 at 23:44
  • I believe the kind of resistance you're looking for would imply that the technique didn't work. I see the TV host trying to resist, and I see sensei adjusting for that, but sure, let's disagree.
    – tobi_s
    Commented Jul 2, 2019 at 6:51
  • Have you watched the videos in the other answers to this question? Dave's video is "alive". Each of the videos I posted are alive. The video Huw posted is not, and yours is not either. The last video (currently at -1) which I posted especially shows what it looks like for someone to be resisting and then caught completely unaware. Commented Jul 2, 2019 at 12:35

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