Getting people to pass out with no touch has long been the province of money-grubbing televangelists and the lowest form of dullard martial arts instructors, with students so needy and credulous one’s heart goes out to them. The founder of Aikido, Morihei Ueshiba, practiced identical fraud. He’s the Benny Hinn or maybe the Benny Hill of martial arts founders – preaching piously about peace and integrity while teaching bunk to generations.
This was far from an isolated incident. It was in fact characteristic of his teachings. Set aside a supposed apostle of peace following fascists.
Consider instead the widely retold story of his dodging bullets. This account comes from one of his leading students, Gozo Shioda. According to this telling, six trained army officers with ‘Olympic-level shooting ability’ were unable to shoot O’Sensei.
The six men then positioned themselves, aiming at Ueshiba Sensei. While staring at him, I kept thinking helplessly that twenty-five meters is a considerable distance, and was wondering what on earth Sensei could do from there.
One, two, three. The six revolvers fired at the same time and a cloud of dust whirled around us. Then, suddenly, one of the six marksmen was flying through the air! What had happened? Before we could figure it out, Sensei was standing behind the six men, laughing into his beard.
We all were bewildered. I really and truly could not understand what had happened. Not just me, but everyone present was so stunned that we could not find words to express our shock. The six inspectors were not yet convinced and asked if Sensei could do it again. “All right” he answered indifferently.
Once again, the six barrels were aimed at Ueshiba Sensei and were fired. This time the inspector at the edge of the group flew into the air. In exactly the same way as before, Ueshiba Sensei was standing behind the six inspectors before we knew what was happening. I was dumbfounded. That time I had promised myself to watch carefully in order to see exactly what Sensei was doing. But even though I had tried very hard, I was completely unable to see how he had moved.
No Touch knockdowns don’t work. It’s fraud. Dodging bullets from half a dozen military marksmen doesn’t work. It’s fraud. And Aikido itself doesn’t work. While there are moves in it that have practical aspects, the cooperative nature of the practice ensures that no practical ability is earned.
The center of martial arts practice is active resistance, in countless forms. Without it, you cannot defend yourself.
Aikido is an extraordinary example of the human capacity for self-delusion. In the 100 year history of the style, no one has actually tried it, verifiably. There are thousands of mixed martial arts gyms worldwide. Any Aikido expert can try his art against actual resistance that includes competently executed punches. Go to any reputable fight gym, explain that you want to test your art.
Then test it. If you have a phone that can record video, record it. If successful, you will become a pioneer, a giant even – the first in your field to verifiably try Aikido successfully against active resistance that includes competently executed strikes.
Please don’t do this experiment on the street, either by choice or by chance. Failing in the gym leaves you at worst with a few bruises. Failure on the street can leave you without a life. If an art has zero value in the safe, careful confines of a gym, it is far, far worse than worthless on the street. Believing otherwise is yet another example of delusion.
The simple, sad fact is that Aikido, in fact, makes people worse at self-defense, as it stifles innate defensive responses, like keeping your hands up and digging for an underhook. Aikido, unfortunately, attracts a type of person whose sense of self gets unhealthily caught up in the art, which makes it extremely hard for them to see the simple truths about the style.
Tai Chi is not a fraud. It is, in fact, one of the world’s most popular and beneficial martial arts. It purports to offer adherents increased health and well being, and delivers. Yoga too is a warrior art, but conducts itself with dignity and integrity, promising increased health and well being, and delivering.
Aikido is, in fact, a beautiful art, of great cultural significance. But it is based on lies, which ruins all that it could be.
If you walk into an Aikido dojo and pick up that little trifold flyer, you will find the words “self-defense” and that is fraud. Rather than argue here, the time would be better spent verifiably trying Aikido against active resistance that includes strikes.