Hello Everyone,

I want to start out by saying that I am sorry in advance if the following topics have been addressed to the point of utter frustration, but after reading countless posts, watching numerous videos, and reading a few books I’m still a tad confused.

I am actually writing on behalf of both my and my friend as we have been talking about taking up some form of martial art for some time. You see, as the city we live in grows we are realizing more and more often that the potential for violence seems to be much more prevalent then it used to be.

As regulars to the transit system we both have seen our fair share of conflict among people and on a few occasions have been in a few ourselves, but through sheer luck avoided any real major problems. We both feel that it is time to learn a technique that will help us if any of these conflicts escalate to the point that we hope never comes.

After researching many of the martial arts techniques currently available, it seems that Aikido has the closest philosophy we are looking for in that we really would like to learn an art that is a simple and effective way of dissolving a violent situation without having to resort to an all out brawl.

Now, I mean absolutely no disrespect to anyone here, so please forgive my ignorance, but it seems that in many of the videos we have watched much of the art relies on the attacker performing predetermined techniques for it to be effective. What I mean is that it seems very convenient for the opponent to reach out and grab your wrist, or conveniently roll with your throw, but we all know this doesn’t work like this at all in the real world.

In an attempt to better understand the dynamics of real world conflict, we also watched a lot of videos on the internet featuring the most basic, and typical street flights.

In many of these typical fights it is quite noticeable that it’s nothing more than flailing fists, misplaced kicks, all leading to the inevitable on the ground, “punch until you are exhausted” scenario. This led to the inevitable question of how Aikido would work against this typical “style” of fighting.

I have read a lot of posts on this, and other forums where someone will ask. “Does Aikido work in a fight?” and while there are many schools of though on this, my question is more, “Can Aikido greatly increase your chances of quickly and effectively stopping a fight when the opponent fights in a typical street fight fashion, or does the whole technique fall apart and one is left to simply throwing punches, or getting worked over the whole time wondering why they aren’t sticking their hands out like in the Dojo?”

Our second question is, how can someone totally untrained in Aikido find out if a school is teaching an effective form of it? In our city we don’t have a lot of options for schools, so this might be a mute point anyway, but what are the questions that one must ask before knowing if the school is going to teach a real world application, or simply teach an elaborate dance?

Our third question is, what are the limits of the training when you do not have a partner to train with? When I took Karate as a kid, I could practice punches, kicks, and block techniques on my own. Does this same concept apply to Aikido?

And finally, in many of the Aikido videos we have seen, it seems that when dealing with multiple attackers (or one for that matter) there seems to be a large emphasis on throwing an attacker, and waiting for them to get back up. I remember being in two fights as a kid, and I remember the longer they went, the more opportunity there was to get really hurt.

To me personally, I don’t want to toss a guy around for 20 minutes until he finally gets too tired to get up, that will inevitably lead to getting punched…and man do I not want to get punched!

So the question is if the art itself is effective in stopping an attacker who is coming at you “street” style in the sense that you can actually stop the attacker? What I mean is, I don’t really want to be in a situation where I am walking off the subway, finding myself putting someone in an arm lock, then trying to figure out how to hold them down, get out my cell phone and call for help.

Because to me, the simple fact of the matter is that if you let that person get up, they are going to be really [censored], and I don’t want to be in a position where I push my luck that much.

I realize this post is quite long, but I wanted to explain a little more about what our thoughts were instead up just posting, “Does it work?” We both thank all of you in advance for your replies.

Thanks,

Jeff & Erling