Lv 4
Ippon asked in SportsMartial Arts · 9 years ago

6 yrs. + to use AIKIDO in SELF-DEFENSE? "?" "!" Really? Really. Really?!?

So, I have had some answers that suggested at minimum of 6 years to learn use Aikido, basically, for self-defense.

If it really takes 6 years (or more), wow, geez, that doesn't sound good.

I have taken Aiki-jiujitsu for 2 years. Aikijj was very similar to Aikido but, distinctly different. I think mainly, my guess, Aikido would be easier to learn. It has far more resources to study from, much clearer/choherent teaching, and is not into being traditional Japanese mysterious piece by piece teaching (like my Aikijj training was for sure). So, saying that, my guess was 3-5 years of that Aikijj class would be good for basic self-defense considering you had no previous Aiki training.

I based that on seeing how I was developing. Some of the moves, that were always confusing, disorganized, hard to duplicate, were "popping" up instantly as reflexes. One occasion I automatically wristlocked someone, armbared another, ukemi was highly reflexive, footwork was too, etc. I saw the "budding" of it's skills. So, I could see, 1 to 3 more years for it to basically work.

I guess for basic I mean, one on one, weaponless, attack from an attack about equal to your size +/-, that has no special training.

My guesstimate with Aikido, for me, probably 1 yr. minimum to 3 yrs. max. Am I just seeing it wrong? If so, where?

Yes, yes, I know, enjoy the journey more than the destination. I realize this is what you need to do with Aikido. I plan to supplement my self defense with self defense weapons so that I don't get overly focused on this one aspect of Aikido. I realize Aikido has a lot more aspects and things to offer than just self-defense, point understood. I'm just trying to accurately assess this thought for myself.

11 Answers

  • 9 years ago
    Best Answer

    It really is hard to quantify skill level just by the number of years you train. You could have trained for 20 years, but if you were trained improperly, you'd still get your butt handed to you in a real fight. The estimate of 6 years is not unreasonable in my opinion, this of course takes into account the fact that the student has had no prior training in any martial art and trains for 2 hours twice or three times a week on the average, which is usually the common schedule for training found in schools outside Japan nowadays. Factor that with the quality of the instructor's teaching skill and it's not unreasonable to say it might take a student 6 years of training and experience to be able to apply what he learned consistently in a self defense situation.

    The keyword here is "consistently". Because luck for the most part plays a role in most successful defense by lower ranked students, to be able to duplicate it again and again on the other hand is another story entirely.

    Your 3 year estimate is probably applicable for hardcore type dojo that train daily for the whole day and usually have students with previous training in other arts. That was the case in our dojo for example, our Sensei also was a blackbelt in Shotokan so he had a wealth of experience in teaching and training students, our seniors also had blackbelts in other arts like Karate and Tae Kwon Do so they too shared their training experience with the lower belts. When I say seniors, I mean blackbelts in Aikido, there were 8 active Shodans and 1 Nidan assisting Sensei during my time. This made it easier for Sensei to delegate training so all the lower belts were supervised properly and not just left on their own no matter how many students were in each class.

    Add to that the fact that during our time, we trained 6 days a week, with Monday to Friday open to all ranks of students and Saturday reserved for advanced training for colored belts only. Each class sessions lasted two hours, but since there were 3 sessions per day, one in the morning, one in the afternoon and one in the evening, you can attend all 3 sessions and get a maximum of 6 hours of training daily for 6 days a week and you only paid the same amount for the whole month, so you are motivated to attend all 3 sessions to get your money's worth. Fact is, Sensei would be very pleased if he consistently saw you attend all 3 sessions which he supervised daily since he taught full time. Although I could occasionally attend morning sessions if my schedule was free, I managed on the average to get 4 hours of training daily by arranging all my college classes in the morning and attending Aikido classes at the dojo in the afternoon and evening sessions.

    Our dojo's ranking system had 6 kyu or belts before Shodan. If you consistently trained without absence 6 days a week, it usually took 6 months of consistent training to become eligible for promotion(Sensei was strict when it came to attendance and mat time, you're ineligible for promotion if you skipped a lot of classes), so by this count, counting your first 6 months as a white belt(7th kyu), it is possible to be eligible for the Shodan or 1st degree blackbelt test in three and a half years. This doesn't mean you can automatically use Aikido to defend yourself effectively nor is it a guarantee that you will pass the exam either, it just means you have learned the basics and are now eligible to take the yearly exams for Shodan conducted by a Japanese examiner sent to the capital annually by the Hombu.

    All instructors of accredited dojos in the country can only promote up to 1st kyu. Only a Japanese representative sent by the Hombu Dojo in Japan can conduct tests for Yudansha. This ensures the quality of the test. But passing this test and achieving Shodan does not necessarily mean you can consistently use the techniques for self defense, that would have to depend on your experience and skill, but it does indicate proficiency in the basics. So an additional 3 years of applying and pressure testing the basics you've learned would mean you would have achieved eligibility for Nidan or 2nd degree by then if you continued training, so saying 6 years to be able to consistently use Aikido for self defense is a valid estimate in my opinion.

  • 9 years ago

    Primarily using Aikido as self-defense is not what Morihei Ueshiba had in mind.

    If you did learn ONLY the self-defense aspect and practiced it twice a week for three hours, it might take you a couple of months. As stated, you'd be practicing techniques. You wouldn't get the sensitivity training in, you wouldn't learn tai-sabaki, none of the health benefits. Nothing else.

    All martial arts are padded with ethical and spiritual (not religious) training to forge you into a better human being.

    That's the difference between -Do and -Jutsu. Aikido, Judo, Karatedo, Iaido all contain principles to make you a better human being.

    Aikijujutsu, on the other hand, seems pretty esoteric and unrealistic. Why? Because it is only techniques designed to teach principles of dealing with an attack, whether armed or unarmed.

    Aikijujutsu was developed for Samurai facing swords and spears, refined to handle unarmed attacks.

    But Aikijujutsu contains less spiritual fluff and more visceral physical training than Aikido.

    Source(s): 5 years traditional Okinawan and Japanese martial arts
  • 9 years ago

    Three years sounds realistic if you learn easily and already have a good background in Aiki and have good instruction. You have to remember not everyone does and that in itself really is key to some of this. Also what do you mean by using it for self-defense? There are certainly some aspects that you can probably learn and employ pretty quickly but other, more difficult aspects could take 3-5 years or even longer I think.

    I have several friends that do Aikido and one is known in the US for being quite good. He has studied since he was 15 and he actually hitch-hiked halfway across the US to California to attend a seminar at 17 when one of the real masters was visiting and putting on a series of seminars during his visit. His dedication and raw talent endeared him to those people and now in his 40s he is recognized as one of the top Aikidoists in the US and is always invited to attend when they hold training seminars and have masters from Japan come over.

    Skill like that is not learned in just 3-4 years generally speaking but I think that's what many of us have in mind when you say Aikido for self-defense. They make it look easy and can do it usually just that easily as well but skill and experience like that is not acquired quickly but instead over years of training and practice.

  • Anonymous
    9 years ago

    I personally disagree. From my own experience with it, joint locking is not something that easy to pull off. It's also no easier to learn aikido than the to learn aikijujitsu. You have to remember that in real life it's not just knowing the moves, but also being able to apply them as a reaction and against a resisting opponent from almost any position. The techniques become much harder to do when placed in a real life situation with stress and someone pounding at your face.

    I also think that while 3 years may be enough to grasp general motor movement, it is in no way good enough with that alone. I say 5 years to learn and comprehend enough of aikido to grasp the smallest level of movement and really be able to use it proficiently against an attacker in the street. Maybe 3 years if the attacker is untrained, which is most likely.

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  • 9 years ago

    I think it depends on how you train.

    If you do randori I think you will develop practical skill at a much faster pace. If you concentrate solely on the kata/partner assisted exercises, then yes it will take a lot of time not only for it to become instinctive, but to be good enough at the technique that it will work on a resisting person. Especially in regards to multi-step techniques that require flowing through multiple directions, that takes timing and feeling, and that in itself has to be developed.

    So it is not outside the realm of possiblity to say it would take that long.

    However I find if you train more realistically the learning curve is much quicker, however some of that definitely takes away from the harmonious principles of Aikido. But styles such as Tomiki Aikido heavily do Randori and as such develop practical techniques quicker in my honest opinion.

    Just my two cents.

  • 9 years ago

    Six plus years, IMO, is a safe guesstimate when it comes to mainstream aikido dojos and the average aikido practitioner. But in, say, the more ki-oriented sub-styles of aikido, practical application for self-defense will take even longer; while on the other end we have the Senshusei course, where you'll get your shodan within a year - provided that you can endure the intense training.

    There's this one guy in one of the dojos I train in; he's physically weak, doesn't really train all that seriously, and is one of the very few people to have failed a kyu test. He's also one of the few who has survived a no-nonsense knife attack. A thug, easily twice his size, and one who apparently took the 'stab first, rummage for possessions later' approach attacked him with a knife, and he responded -instinctively- with a textbook kotegaeshi.

    On another occasion, my little brother, just a few months into aikido training, was riding his bike practically half-asleep and while swerving to avoid a minibus he hit the sidewalk. His newly-found ukemi skills suddenly kicked in and saved his neck - literally.

    Then there's another friend of mine, a total anime- and video game-nerd (which is what I also am, by the way), who was caught in the middle of a school brawl (Yeah, we get those a lot over here... ) and managed to pick off a couple of people from the opposing school and throw them around (It was self-defense, he swears! Although he did seem extremely happy about it... ) He had been training for just over a year, and he was in the middle of extreme chaos with rocks and bricks flying around, and people waving machetes, sickles, and bike gears attached on lengths of bike chains (kind of like a medieval flail... a popular choice for the discerning school-brawler in Indonesia) around.

    What I'm trying to say here is that how soon your aikido training can translate into real world situations can't be quantified that easily. It depends (as others have already pointed out) on the way you are trained, the amount of effort you put in, and various other factors such as previous experience in other styles, your innate fight-or-flight response, your tendency to stay calm or panic under pressure, etc., etc.

    But when somebody asks me how long it takes (and won't take "it depends" as an answer... *wink*wink*) I'd go the safe route and say "Let's say, 6 years or so."

    As I explained in a previous answer, within 6 years you've probably been introduced to every basic technique/concept, you've learned most of the major variations, and jiyu-waza and randori should now be a staple of your training regimen. Plus, the weapon training (including weapon defense techniques) should also help instill an added level of seriousness to your training.

    Six years is also the minimum required time for an aikidoka to receive his shodan (in most organizations AFAIK). I believe it's safe to say that this number wasn't randomly picked out of a hat, but was deliberated by the higher-ups of aikido based on decades of experience in instructing, and represents the average time a practitioner would need to grasp the basics of aikido and (hopefully) become proficient enough to translate his/her skills into non-formal situations outside the dojo.

    Is 1-to-3 years possible? Of course it is! But, again, "it depends"....

  • 9 years ago

    Aikido is a much better defensive style than offensive style. It does not have any hard punches or kicks like many full contact fighting systems. If practical self defense is what you're looking for, Aikido is a great system.

  • 9 years ago

    personally ive done about 3 and a half years of aikido (trying for my 4th kyu in june) and in the last few months i finally felt competent enough to be able to use it.

    but if you are about to be attacked/fight just don't be there,

    walk away run shout scream

    these are taught to you at your first lesson so by walking away from a fight your aikido is effective after 1 lesson

  • CTC
    Lv 7
    9 years ago

    It takes as long as it takes...

  • 9 years ago

    check out this video on martial arts.... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NHMNJlZ8e0k

    Youtube thumbnail

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