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Most Effective Martial Art - Part 1: Aikido

Updated on October 27, 2015


PART 1: Aikido-The art of using one's own momentum against himself

Why is Aikido seen as the the ultimate grappling self defence martial art?

Well to be concise, Aikido is a martial art solely based on self defence.Therefore meaning it has no attacks that can be used in a real situation.The only attacks Aikido contains, is for training purposes to study the defensive techniques.These attacks can be catergorized in 3 section: Front attacks,Rear attacks and strikes.They are the following:

Front attacks:

Katatekosadori - left hand to catch left wrist or right to right

Katate tori - left hand to catch right wrist

Ryote-mochi - two handed grab on one wrist

Ryote-tori - grab both wrists

Kata-tori - left hand to grab right shoulder

Mune-tori - grab lapels with one hand

Ryokata-tori - grab shoulders with two hands

Ryo-tori - bear hug

Grab throat -two hands

Rear attacks:

Ushiro tori - grab collar with one hand

Ushiro kubi shime - strangle hold

Ushiro katate tori kubi shime - hold arm and strangle

Ushiro kata tori - grab shoulders, both hands

Ushiro tori - bear hug

Ushiro ude tori - hold arms, hook behind elbows

Ushiro hiji tori - hold both elbows

Ushiro tekubi tori - both wrist to be held


Shomen uchi - straight stike

Yokomen uchi - round strike

Mune tsuki - punch

Step kick

Roundhouse kick

With each one of these attacks a multiple amount of defensive techniques is taught.Taking in regard the amount of possible attacks, one can see how complete Aikido is as a defensive martial art, making sure every possible attack one can launch on you, has an effective defensive manuevre.This is also the reason why Aikido is regarded as such an effective art for self defence.It is probably one of the only arts with such a comprehensive syllibus.

The number of defence tecniques in Aikido is unlimited since the same technique can be used in almost any attack.There are million variations to make each tecnique applicable in a certain scenario.The do however have the core basis of tecniques from where all these variants originate.They can be categorized in throws and locks.


Ikkyo:Refers to the control exercised using only one hand on the elbow and the other one on near the wrist that leverages "uke" to the ground. This technique uses a grip that can apply pressure into the ulnar nerve on the medial side of the person's arm.

Nikkyo:Involves the use of an adductive wristlock that loops the arm while applying painful nerve pressure.

Sankyo:Is known as a "pronating" technique that directs upward-spiraling pressure throughout the person's arm, elbow, and shoulder.

Yonkyo:Is also popular as the "fourth technique." Just like iikkyo, yonko is also a shoulder control but with requires the use of both hands in gripping the forearm. The practitioner's knucklesusually from the palm sideare applied to the opponent's radial nerve against the forearm bone.

It is a noteworthy point to make that these tecniques can be applied in this precise sequence to keep an attacker nuatralized.It is seen as a circle in which the attacker cannot escape.The techniques flows into one another...Ikkyo into Nikkyo,Nikkyo into Sankyo,Sankyo into Yonkyo and Yonkyo into Ikkyo again.Nikkyo and Yonkyo can be devestatingly painful if applied correctly.


Gokyo:This refers to a variant of ikkyo where the hand that grips the wrist is inverted.Gokyo is popular in weapon defence.

Iriminage(entering-body throw):For aikido practitioners, this is a throw where "nage" moves through the space occupied by "uke." This is considered as a classic form that resembles the "clothesline" technique.

Kokyunage(breath throw):This term is coined for various types of flowing "timing throws" in duration of any aikido session.

Kotegaeshi(wrist return):This aikido technique is a characterized by a supinating wristlock-throw, which stretches the person's extensor digitorum.

Shihonage(four-direction throw):Here, the practitioner's hand is folded back past the shoulder and locks the shoulder joint.

Tenchinage(heaven and earth throw):This technique involves the "uke" grabbing both wrists of the "nage." Moving forward, the nage sweeps one hand low (earth) and the other high (heaven), so he or she can unbalance the uke.

The term "uke" refers to attacker and the term "nage" refers to the thrower.

These are the foundation techniques.This is however not the main reason Aikido is such an effective art for self defence.The reason why this art is so effective (and why it takes so long to master) is that Aikido teaches the student how to evade an oncoming attack through body movements.It teaches the student to stay calm and sense an attacker's next move.Therefore enabling him to act quickly enough to evade or apply an appropriate technique.That is the essence of Aikido.The quick reaction of the aikidoka enables him to feel the momentum of the attacker and (almost like a parasite) manupilate the momentum to throw the opponent.This is why small people can throw big people twice their size, since powers don't clash,but is rather redirected to suit the aikidoka.After reaching 1st dan in Aikido,it is also said that one starts to form his own style of Aikido that suits his own body and form.The styles of Aikido is thus neverending

Keep in mind that,as I said in my main article,one has to find a good dojo in order to become effective in Aikido.A bad dojo = a useless art that won't be effective in real life.Another point I would like to make is that it often looks,when watching an Aikido class,as if the uke throws himself.The perception is then created that it's all fake.This is false.The reason why aikidoka's do this,is to protect themselves from the effects of the tecnique.If they did not do...they would seriously injure themselves or brake their limbs.This is what would happen if it's applied in real life.

There are 3 main schools of Aikido:

Aikikai: The main streamline form of Aikido that focuses on tecnique as well as the philosophy behind the technique.

Yoshinkan: The hardest form of Aikido that focuses mostly on the tecniques and how to apply it the most efficient way.The Tokyo Riot Police is trained in this style.If the spiritual aspect of Aikido does not interest you,this is definitely the style I would recommend

Ki Society: The softest style of Aikido that focuses on more the philoshopical and spiritual aspect of Aikido than the application of techinques.This style sort of reminds me of Tai Chi.

Part 2,3,4 will deal with Brazilian Jiu Jitsu,Mauy Thai and my conclusion







KOKYO NAGE-slow and safe clip





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    • profile image

      Young man 3 years ago

      Martial artist. How do I know what to look for in a "good" aikido dojo?? I'm looking at 2 aikido places and I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO LOOK FOR. Sorry for the caps.

    • profile image

      Pete 4 years ago

      @Malcolm Bale

      Being a Nidan Aikidoka, I agree with you, Aikido is not the martial art to take up if you want to quickly learn self defense. Because the curriculum is so broad it takes comparatively longer for any of it to become automated. For that pick up a block/strike form of Martial Art. Longer term you become fascinated by the way it subverts the attackers intentions and turns them on him.

      While Aikido technically "has no attacks", in Iwama style at least, we do indeed throw up atemi to provoke a reaction, so you could argue that we do attack, but its not considered an attack in the true sense of a proper bushido balls-out attempt to kill uke. Atemi is a strike intended to distract or provoke. I'm not saying it won't hurt a lot if it hits you, it's still a martial art after all!.

      The reaction speed comes from doing randori, you learn how to move though a group of people, choosing who to "provoke" by moving toward them and possibly throwing a strike at them to provoke a block which gives you a limb to attack.

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      navid 6 years ago

      Dear sporter: from an Iranian sporter to another sporter . I am in iran I am thr master of aikido

      And ju-jitsu . I wish that I will practice in your gyms . I want to come to your country for learn your sport. With dest wishes

      Navid mahmoodi

    • Reiben profile image

      Reiben 6 years ago

      Pretty good, those are the base techniques, though you could add a video or two presenting more spectacular, shiny and oh-so-effective looking techniques like the hiji-kime lock or koshi nage. Those always seem to get the biggest attention among viewers and newcomers.

    • arnis boy profile image

      arnis boy 7 years ago

      I like Aikido?Aikido can helps the eskrima or arnis throws?

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      arashi 7 years ago

      i love aikido and i stayed there the longest with 10 years (and counting...) of practising experience and i am blessed that i was honed by a values-laden sensei, who never let me reach a colored belt until he bent my horns (note: because there are other sensei's, not just in aikido, who'll just count attendance and let you take exams). hehehe. i came from a different martial art before i started aikido and it was the hardest and the most painful humbling experience i went through as i was bagging along with me medals from that "other" martial art.

      in aikido, our sensei required us to read books on aikido and later on, with my sensei's micromanagement, i learned to tame myself and never started fights. in fact, i was able to prevent most of them even with a mugger. in other martial arts, they would teach you how to defend yourself against a gunned person. in aikido, i was taught to let go of my possession, move on and re earn them in the future, as my life is more important than my worldly possession; thus, aikido is called the art of peace.. tried and tested. in my 10++ years of experience, there's only one aikidoka i visited in the hospital and that is due to a car accident (and he's not even the driver!) . if you are a practitioner of a certain art, it's embarrassing to see on headlines, " black belter got shot by a mugger". aikidokas had less of that shame :P

    • Martial Artist profile image

      Martial Artist 7 years ago

      Glad I could be of some help MMAZone,all the best

    • TheMMAZone profile image

      TheMMAZone 7 years ago from Kansas

      Great explanation on Aikido, I would love to learn more about this art. Thanks for explaining this.

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      IKo pantata 9 years ago

      I love aikido Many peoples says aikido is not real martial art but ther wrong

    • aikidk01 profile image

      aikidk01 9 years ago

      Nice overview of Aikido and the basic attacks and defenses. Sounds like you have a good grounding in many of the arts.

    • Curmudgeon  profile image

      Curmudgeon  10 years ago

      Your right Martial Artist, by taking the best of each art one can create an art that is ultimate for them; thus, the origin of MMA fighting styles. I've found that some arts make for better one-on-one (like for cage fighting) and others fair better against multiple attakers (Aikido being one of these arts) -- combining arts and trying them in real-time is the only logical answer.

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      Malcolm Bale 10 years ago

      It's all good training but it would take a great deal of experience and skill to react at high speed in a 'real' situation. It's not only the physical skill required but the ability to carry out in a situation of high stress, like that of an attack. It should be stressed to people that not all self defense is physical, time must be dedicated to the emotional and Psychological aspects of dealing with a situation. I also feel that certain situations require you to be pre-emptive, that is acting before the attacker strikes. You do not have to wait for the attacker to strike in order to defend yourself. by then, it could be too late.