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Thread: Aikido and Karate

  1. #1
    Jacob Guest


    Hello everyone!

    I've trained Okinawan Shuri-ryo Karate for about 4-5 months now, and I graduate 7. Kyo on wedensday (hopefully). My question is, can Karate and Aikido be easily combined, or even trained simultaniously without mastering at least one first? If not, are they so exclusive that they cannot be trained alongside at all, without extensive experience?

    The reason I ask, is that although I really like Karate (especially Shuri-ryo), I would really like to be able to defend myself as well without killing or maiming my assailant. I've been mugged several times; once before I even thought about training martial arts, and once just 2 months after I started with karate. The first time I was too surpriced to do anything at all when this drunk guy just walked up to me on the street and hit me in the face, then turned around and walked away. But the second time, 2 guys on mountain bikes wanted my money, but I throw some change at them, kiai'ed and ran to the nearest group of people. It worked - would have surpriced me too...

    Now I could have thown the change in the leaders face instead, and then kicked him in the stomach, but then I would have been the assailant (by Danish law, whitch often seems strange), and also what if the other guy had then decided to stab me or worse!?!

    Some I have talked to think I did the right thing (namely my parents), but some of my friends think I should have beat them up (I can defend myself againt unarmed street goons). And I must admit that I hate the idea that they got away with it and will do the same thing to someone else. But violence is not the answer i know. Just makes me mad.

    Anyways I would really like to train Aikido, so that I might just tell whatever jerk who assault me next, to get lost, and be able to defend myself without being the one on trial. But I'd hate to give up Karate.

    Any ideas or comments?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Washington State, USA
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    IMO, the centering and blending that aikido offers is valuable to improving your karate, especially if you do a Japanese or Korean style rather than an Okinawan system. (A possible exception to this rule is Kyokushin Kai.) Meanwhile (again IMO) karate classes teach better punches and kicks than do most aikido classes. So it is my opinion that the two can complement one another. However, if instructors are close-minded, then they get all mad when you do things that they don't teach. And this can lead to different problems.

  3. #3
    Jacob Guest

    Default Excellent, but how about the techniqes

    This is great! But can the techniques be combined? I don't know a lot about Aikido. Would most Aikido instructers, for example, not care if your puches were from Karate (Including wrist screws and heavy emphasis on hip movement, "sinking" into your stance) or would that be completely unacceptable, thus forcing one to use a, perhaps, inferior punch. In Wing Tsun, for example, one HAS to punch with the 3 smallest knuckles. I see a lot of broken fingers in the future of he who goes around hitting hard objects with his little finger knuckles... This is supposedly faster. I don't think so though...

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Washington State, USA
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    It is not so much that you combine the techniques -- IMO, each style should be kept comparatively pristine -- as you modify their bunkai.

    To give an example using the seiken tsuki that you mentioned, try thinking of it as an escape rather than a strike. That is, have Opponent grasp your outstretched wrist and then try to free your wrist using the seiken tsuki motion. The gross motions are identical, but the look and feel are not. Ki!

    That said, there are school solutions, and I'm here to tell you that non-standard solutions can offend Grand Poohbahs.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2000
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    While I believe it takes a while to effectively "combine" different arts seamlessly, I do see a great value in cross training. One of my biggest issues in Aikido is ukes who do not know how to attack effectively with good technique and commitment. A traditional style of Karate can be adventageous in developing good attacks, which are of great benefit for one's nage. Just make sure that you work to remain supple in your movements, and emphasise your ukemi in order to compensate for the power of your attacks. Sometimes people who come from a karate of TKD background are accustomed to rooting themselves, or may be a bit stiff.
    Work to overcome that when training Aikido, so that your ukemi is sufficiently flexible to avoid frustrating you partner unneccisarily. Have fun!
    Krzysztof M. Mathews

    Every place around the world it seemed the same
    Can't hear the rhythm for the drums
    Everybody wants to look the other way
    When something wicked this way comes

    "Jeremiah Blues, Part 1"
    Sting-The Soul Cages

  6. #6
    Darren Yeow Guest


    Hi Jacob,

    I'm currently in the sort of a post position in comparison to you in that I do two martial arts concurrently, an arrangement which you may soon find yourself. I currently learn both Aikido and Kendo, and I am far from excellent at either, but all I can say is that yes they do sometimes compliment each other and sometimes they are two totally different arts, which must be trained in seperately.

    Kendo has a much more sporting aspect to it, but many of the strikes are very similar to bokken techniques in Aikido (since Aikido is based on kenjutsu). Conversely, Aikido also helps me in my footwork for Kendo. There are of course times when they differ, and that's only natural as they are arts which emphasize different things.

    Aikido emphasizes more on self defensive techniques, as in it has very few offensive movements, and many of them are based upon an uke/opponent attacking you first, then you react accordingly - mainly through throws, iriminage, etc. There is very little if any punching technique involved, but then again in this style, you really don't need it (as landing an opponent on their head is usually painful enough). It's also a martial art which does not kick, and therefore, from a realistic combat perspective it is good as you don't need to warm up as much if you're attacked out of the blue. I trained in Moo Duk Kwan Taekwondo for seven years and I consider my kicking quite good, and my flexibility excellent because of it, and I've learned never to kick before stretching very thorougly.

    Kendo as said before has a much more sporting aspect to it, and hence the strikes with the shinai are limited to a number of areas (ie. none below the belt, etc), and there are rules which stop it from turning into a stick wacking session.

    Karate (generalizing here, sorry I'm not familiar with your style) on the other hand would emphasize all the "classical" point in martial arts, like kicking, punching, blocking, etc. There is also a lot of strength to strength techniques which really does depend on your physical size and strength. But as all martial arts it also has it's excellent points and strength (let's face it, no martial art is perfect).

    So as you can see, studying multiple martial arts will increase your overall martial art prowess, and creates a more complete exponent. I've personally done Taekwondo, Wing Chun, Kendo and Aikido, and I see each as excellent developement opportunities (never be a die hard advocate of any one martial art - it creates mental blinkers). I'm still far from a complete martial artist, so I still intend to pursue (albeit later on) jujitsu, iaido, and hopefully perform tameshigiri on a regular basis.

    To finish off a long winded reply, I say go for it, if it's what your heart desires. The only problems I see may be training clashes, time constraints and/or financial constraints (it's not the cheapest thing in the world to learn two martial arts and hold a gym membership).

    Supportively, DY

    PS. About the punching with three knuckles in Wing Chun, I personally thnk that they are actually more solid on impact with hitting solid objects, than the traditional two larger knuckles. And in Wing Chun, because of the way the hands are held (both hands guarding forward), there is no twisting motion from the waist and hence they are also a lot faster when relaxed before impact. But as said before, each MA style should be recognised on it's own merit, and each is very good for the soul, ciao!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2000
    Ottawa, ON, Canada
    Likes (received)

    Default Improve your Karate to improve your Aikido

    I don't have much exposure to other styles of Aikido, but I do know that in my style of Yoseikan Budo Aikido we constantly try to improve our Karate attacks in an attempt to improve our defenses against them. I think the two go hand in hand like Yin & Yang.
    Please keep in mind that true Budo is practiced in making every attempt possible to avoid putting yourself into a dangerous situation or place.
    In a conversation that Master Mochizuki once had with a foreign student, the student asked "Sensei what would you do if I brought a knife to battle?" Master Mochizuki responded, "I would bring a gun". The student replied, "then I too would bring a gun". To which Master Mochizuki responded, "then I would bring a canon". The student replied in anguish, "but Sensei this is hardly fair, every time I bring one type of weapon you bring something more powerful and destructive". Master Mochizuki explained, "war has no specific rules, always beware that an enemy will try to win using more force than they perceive you to have, one must anticipate".

    In essence this applies to modern day conflict situations, and one must keep in mind that if they engage in battle, be prepared. You may defeat someone in combat using one type of force, but when your opponents comrads attempt to avenge your act, be certain that they will arm themselves with more powerful weapons than you had used previously.

    In all it is best to anticipate the situation and avoid it altogether.

    Thank you for your attention!
    Jeff Jodoin
    "Think during practice" - Master Minoru Mochizuki

  8. #8
    Daniel Pokorny Guest

    Default Karate and Aikido

    We have several higher ranked (3rd dan and above) karate folks from various styles doing Aikido in our dojo. All report they feel better rounded in their martial arts when doing both. Maintaining balance, posture and centering are the benefits they talk about the most. They find koshi real fun as well......

    A little clarification here though,

    Darren made the remark: Please excuse the paraphrase here.

    "Aikido emphasizes more on self defensive techniques, as in it has very few offensive movements"

    This is a standard misconception of this art. While it is true that we are taught not to initiate the contact (simple rule - don't fight), every technique I've been taught actually starts prior to the attack and in certain situations we are also actually taught TO initiate the contact.

    An Example?:
    If I'm involved in a situation with someone and the butt-head's buddies are on their way to assist him, I'm not waiting for this guy to start the show. I'll initiate in an effort to control the situation. If you wait, you're bait!

    Self Defense does not mean I'm going to wait till you try hitting me before I move! That has more to do with common sense than martial arts!

    Train hard, Play hard, Live easy.

    Dan P. - Mongo

  9. #9
    kusanku Guest


    I believe you hae been given very good advice here, Jacob.

    Karate and aikido can be trained at the same time with mutual benefits.

    Karate can give you better attacks to practice your Aikido with, Aikido can give you fluidity, locking throwing and self defense techniques using much tai sabaki(body turning and evasion), and at a certain point you can combine the two.

    Judo can also be combined with karate or aikido, as can jiu jitsu of whatever type.

    What I really like from Aikido is the footwork and stepping, body turning and evasion tha can take you into a whole different dimension physically, relatively to your attacker.

    Like, behind him, and away.:-)

  10. #10
    Darren Yeow Guest


    One thing you might want to keep in mind though Jacob, you should not try to mix up the techniques in either martial arts too much.

    Through this I mean that some sensei may be sensitive to the techniques being performed in the dojo, ie. only Aikido techniques in the Aikido dojo, and only Karate techniques in the Karate dojo. It may even be stated in the club policy that this is not allowed, as it may be seen as bastardizing the art to a degree.

    Thought I might just give you some advice on that.

    Hi Daniel,

    I guess I didn't make myself very clear, sorry about that, but what I meant was that there is definitely fewer attacking techniques in comparision to the defensive ones. There are still offensive techniques, but mostly they are used by the uke so that we may practice the defensive techniques (which are very effective). I'm still relatively new to Aikido, but as yet, I personally haven't seen any techniques where it begins with an attack. I'm interested to hear other wise though, thanks.

    regards, DY

  11. #11
    Jacob Guest

    Smile Thanks everybody!

    Thanks a lot everybody. I'm overwhelmed by your helpfullnes. I've now joined an Aikido dojo: "Århus Aikido Klub" Which has just been opened. As a matter of fact I was there on the first day of training, as well as for the first meeting of the members (don't know the english term for it). We don't have an url. just yet, but when we do I'll post it...

    Anyways, thanks again everybody. I'll follow your advice.

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