View Full Version : Aikido as the first martial art

10th August 2000, 21:38
Hi everyone!

I'm practicing Aikido for almost two years now and I'm very satisfied with it. This is the first martial art that I've been practicing seriously (Karate experience at age 10 doesn't count :-)) However, I always knew that someday I would start doing other martial arts as well in order to complete my "education".
The path was crystal clear - don't even look at other martial arts until you get black belt in Aikido, then you could start another art; all this, of course, to avoid the mish-mash that comes from blending two arts before you get your feet planted in one. A little conversation with a dojo mate started the doubts. He claimed that Aikido isn't a good place to start your martial training because it's not combat-oriented, in his opinion you should start with something hard like Karate and then move to Aikido, this way you could benefit from both the arts.

What do you think about it?

I don't want this to become the usual "Is Aikido a combative art or no" thread. This is regarding whether Aikido should be the first art to learn.

Thank you,


11th August 2000, 04:42
I believe you might begin by determining what you hope to gain from practice of a martial art. This will help in your evaluation of Aikido as compared to other arts.

Mike Collins
11th August 2000, 14:47
It has been my experience that after a period of years in Aikido, learning other arts is fairly easy by virtue of the amount of complexity in Aikido and the attention span required to learn the arts. You basically train the eye to learn more quickly.

I did a bit of jujutsu after Aikido, and found learning the techniques pretty easy. I can't say that I "mastered" anything, but I could train along with the class. I suspect the same would hold true in other arts, up to the point that I had made my mind up that a technique or principle would not work- a mind, like a parachute, only works when it is open.

Starting hard and moving to soft is much more difficult than the other way. Once relaxed, it is much easier to add strength; once stiff it is very difficult to learn to relax (which is why Aikido is so difficult to be good at, relaxation is a hard learned skill)

[Edited by Mike Collins on 08-11-2000 at 09:50 AM]

11th August 2000, 16:26
Interesting thread. While reading this it occured to me that over the years I have met many people that began practicing aikido after practicing other martial arts, but I can't seem to recall anyone I've known that has moved on to another martial art after studying aikido for a significant length of time. Just an observation...

Anyway, I think that the choice of whether aikido should be the first martial art to study has to be specific to the individual person. People begin practicing martial arts for different reasons, and very often the reasons they continue or discontinue their practice change over time - at least I know it has for me. Basically, people are different, and people change. Each person practicing the martial arts has to find the particular art that is the best "fit" for them at that point in their lives. Just as with clothes, that "fit" can change over time, and so requires continual cycles of reassessment and adjustment (just like my waistline). My opinon is that I think "it depends" on what you want from the martial arts and life in general. :look:

I'm not sure I agree that starting hard and moving to soft is more difficult than vice-versa. If you look at a number of other martial arts, many of them start hard and then move to softer movements at the advanced levels. I think cases could be made for either approach.

Wu Wei
11th August 2000, 16:51
Interesting thread. I started practicing Karate about 10 years ago and started Aikido (at the request of my sensei) around 7 years ago to help soften me up. I was doing kata very rigidly. It took me quite a while to even get a good feel for the basics in Aikido (of which I'm still doing). I found it pretty difficult to go from a hard style to a softer one. A lot of good advice in previous posts, but my suggestion would be to stick with it. You've got two years under your belt, no need to go back now. Aikido helps in proper breathing, posture, movement, etc. that will benefit you in any other art you decide to train in next.

Tony Peters
12th August 2000, 00:04
I started with aikido first, 5 years of it earning my blackbelt and then I discovered a few Koryu arts. My aikido experience in aikido has helped in Takeuchi ryu as the human body only moves in so many directions however the intent is completely differant...this will likely end up being a problem for you (It was for me). The protecting intent of aikido is contrary to many martial art. Also Aikido's concept of Tenkan isn't common in many other arts. This has been a real stumbling block for me in SMR Jodo. That said I would trade my time in aikido for anything it laid a foundation for me which has been fairly easy to build on. Judo was the first art I tried after aikido and I found it to be the most compatable of all that I have tried. Unfortneatly I started when the club (the Guam National Team) was training for tournaments so that was their focus...it wasn't mine. I think your greatest problems will likely be philisophical rather than physical.

Gil Gillespie
12th August 2000, 02:31
My sensei has often described aikido as "a polishing art." The implication there is that a strong foundation of suburi and basic budo should be brought to one's introduction to aikido. Seemingly when O-Sensei developed his art his students were all adept at the basics one would learn in judo, karate, etc. I brought no such background to my training and I still suffer from it. Based solely on that I would suggest a background in a strong linear art such as karate, tae kwan do--------to provide not only basics of budo reality but also a point of departure. It's hard to appreciate the softness and blending of aikido unless you understand the linear and confrontational aspects of budo that O-Sensei transcended when he developed aikido.