Defending yourself for real is nothing like what you do in training, at most dojos anyhow.
Neutralizing a violent person’s attack on you may look exciting in the movies, but it is quite difficult to do in real life. And doubly so if you’re trying not to hurt your attacker.
Every street-fighter knows it’s a lot easier to pick up a gun or a baseball bat and stop the guy who’s running at you… but that’s unskilled brute force.
It is also combating violence with more violence, and that is something Aikido’s founder, O-Sensei, Morihei Ueshiba, preached against doing.
In his later years, O-Sensei saw violence as a form of temporary insanity.
Aikido techniques are mostly defensive, and they certainly can be but, think about it, some Aikido throw can be completely devastating to some attacker who does not know how to breakfall safely.
You aren’t hitting them with your fist, you are effectively hitting them with the whole planet!
The Aikido techniques put together by Morihei Ueshiba came mainly from a Samurai combat system of Jujitsu called Daito Ryu.
Those ancient Japanese warriors used weapons like swords, spears and bows and arrows during combat, but learned their grappling techniques as their “ace in the hole” for desperate situations, such as having lost or broken their weapons in the middle of a raging battle.
It is no different for police officers and soldiers today, in the 21st century. Their weapons come first, but they are safer if they have unarmed fighting skills as well.
Bu do and Aiki do
Come the 20th Century, those Bu do* techniques were mastered and then refined by Morihei Ueshiba, who first coined the name Ai Ki Do, which loosely translates as “Way of Spiritual Harmony”. (*Bu-do just means Martial Arts, and Bushi-do means Way of the Warrior.)
They became Aiki-do techniques, designed to subdue but no longer to cripple or kill.