Aikido – Martial Art or a Ballet Dance?

Aikido, Martial Art or Ballet Dance – I’m not sure if it should be a question or an accusation. Certainly some real martial artists and some ‘armchair warriors’ watch these Aikidoka in their black hakamas turning around and their attackers spinning off in all directions and it looks staged. That’s what I though back in the 1960s when I first saw Virginia Mayhew do a demonstration of Aikido at the Chinese YMCA in Hong Kong, where I used to live. I was fortunate to became one of her students, for she had learned her Aikido from O-Sensei himself and from the head of the Master’s dojo in Japan, Koichi Tohei sensei.

Later on I was privileged to watch her give another demo with her (more senior) students to the sensei of the local Judo school. He was called Iwami-san, and he ran a dojo named the Hong Kong Judokan. Just like me, Iwami-san was also seeing Aikido for the first time and he thought it was a put up job as well. All his junior students left at the end of the Aikido demonstration, and when they were out of the room, Iwami-san challenged Virginia Mayhew to a match… to test her skills.

I was one of the students permitted to watch this competition, match or fight. I am kind of unsure what to call it even to this day. Certainly it didn’t last long.

Iwami-san and Virgina bowed to each other from opposite sides of the mat. He was the big man (for an Asian) who I was told also used to do wrestling in Japan. He smild and advanced upon this quiet, confident American woman, and he reached out to grab at her keiko-gi.

If he had connected, he would have hurled her across the mat, but his hands grabbed for thin air as she dropped down, out of sight, just in front of his shins.

Iwami-san stumbled and fell over her crouching body. The big Judo teacher, actually landed badly on the tatami and hurt his hip.

End of match.

One very humbled Iwami-san limped home that evening, but the two of them became very good friends afterwards.

Later on, Virginia explained something to me that I had missed completely. As she ducked down, she gently flicked at his testicles with her fingerips. It wasn’t enough to hurt him in any way but it broke his concentration, or as Virgina put it to me, she destroyed his Ki.

That’s why the man fell.

Imagine if you had just challenged someone to a fight and if they got right through your defenses and touched your groin. You would know right away that they could have struck you there and done severe damage. But this was a gentle touch. In the middle of a challenge!

Yes, Aikido is a real martial art and it does work. But yes, some aikidoka do seem to be dancing when they do their thing. The only way you are going to know if it is real or if it is rubbish is to be on the receiving end of what they are doing. Then you will know for sure.

Oh and please don’t pooh pooh ballet dancers either. Male or female professional dancers have chosen a life which is so physically and emotionally demanding, I think it makes martial arts look easy. Ballet dancers are expected to train hard like Olympic athletes and yet eat so litttle food that a Biafran orphan could hardly live on it. (I know, I used to live next door to a professional ballerina when I last lived in London, UK.)

And don’t forget that the late David Carradine (Kung Fu’s Kwai Chang Caine) was a professional dancer, too, before he ever got into being a martial arts movie star.

Here are some other Aikido Martial Art pages that should interest you:

  • Steven Segal Kicking real life ASS! Aikido Martial Art | Aikido Basics – Martial Arts – Steven Segal Old Footage – Aikido Throwing Techniques, who new he could really kick ass. *I have been asked.

  • Ami Niv The Founder Of Aiki Krav Maga – The answer to Ami’s quest was discovered after participating in various martial art seminars in Europe, in the form of the Aikido martial art (a ‘soft’ martial art that flows with the force of an opponent’s attack and uses this force …

  • Aikido and the New Warrior: Essays | Aikido Basics – Aikido Martial Art (25); March 14, 2010 — Karate vs. Aikido (25); February 28, 2010 — Aikido From A to Z Volume #3 basic techniques (0); February 27, 2010 — Aikido’s M.Saito Jo (3); February 26, 2010 — Aikido: The Way of Harmony (5) …

  • What is the difference between Tai Chi and Aikido? | Aikido Basics – Aikido Martial Art (25). This entry was posted on Saturday, February 13th, 2010 at 12:31 am and is filed under Aikido Faq. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from …

  • Martial Art of Aikido-Concepts Explained 2 | Gedanate – Blaine Feyen Sensei explaining an Aikido concept during a martial arts class. Aikido classes at the Toyoda Aikido and MMA Center are filled with dynamic.

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