View Full Version : Aikido Competition???

9th January 2002, 03:34
Hello Again,

I was wondering what was going on with the formation of Aikido tournaments and competition.

I was under the impression that one of the key philosophies behind Aikido was that is is a non-competitive form of Budo.

I know that there are some who favor it.

How are matches held?

What groups support them?

Has anyone in this forum seen one? What was it like?


Jonathan Hicks


9th January 2002, 13:21
Hi Johnathan;

This topic comes up many times. I would suggest you take a look in the archives. At the moment there is the tail end of a discussion at http://www.aikiweb.com/forums in the General Section Different Schools One Aikido

What I suggest is that you go to my site below and click on the white gif. There are two links - one to Shodokan Honbu in Osaka (official site of the Japan Aikido Association) and the other to JAA(USA). They both have quite a lot of information including writting by Tomiki himself.

I of course am happy to answer any questions that might come up during your exploration.

9th January 2002, 14:11
I suggest you to visit Tomiki aikido dojos. Me and my
training mates have thought that such competition is
very ridiculous and absurd before seeing Tomiki aikidoka
in real. Randori seemed quite reasonable and his
techniques were also very nice. :)


9th January 2002, 14:28

I just noticed you are at Tsukuba University. My first introduction to Aikido was in that city. If you go to the University Budokan Centre there is Aikido practice Tuesday and Thursday at 7:30. Thursday is sort of a free practice so Tuesday would be better.

The style is Shodokan which contains competition. Ono sensei is very good - both in randori and kata. This summer at the Shodokan yudansha seminar we pounded each other into the mat. I had not seem him for two years - brought back memories.

I also understand they are opening a dojo in the city.

What is your Aikido background?

10th January 2002, 00:59
Thanks a lot for the info.

I`m beginning to understand what`s going on, but I still have a few unclear points.

From what I understand, there is an assigned attacker and defender within a time period. Most of the pages I looked at delt with tanto techniques. I have not seen any hand to hand yet.

Can the attacker hold the knife any way they wish? For example; behind the back?

Does ukemi resist after the initial contact? If so, are injuries common, especially in lower level competition?

What`s the difference between "Randori" and "Jiyu waza"?

Does Randori have a prescribed attack and Jiyu is free?

Also, I have not been able to find a discussion on Aki web yet.

Jonathan Hicks

10th January 2002, 01:16
There is both tanto and toshu randori and yes you are allowed to resist. Injuries are not that common - the rules minimize it.

I gave you a thread that currently revolves around it on aikiweb but do a search with words such as shodokan, tomiki, or competition

there are levels of randori training - full blown shiai is not expected of beginners. The lowest level is roughly equivilent to Aikikiai Jiyuwaza

I have to run so more detail I can not provide - at least today. As I remember there was no Aikikai dojo in Tsukuba (might have changed since I was there last). I would just go and train at the Budokan. They are a very friendly bunch that in fact hosted a visiting Aikikai student from Canada that I introduced to them.
Most of the training is very similar to what you find in non-competitive dojos.

10th January 2002, 01:35
I really appreciate the information Peter.

I am currently training in the Tsuchiura Budokan . The "style" is Iwama. It`s a really wonderful dojo. I have found a nice place for myself there.

I was going to the Tsukuba University Budokan to study Karate. I agree that it`s a great place to train. All of the clubs seem to be really open to visitors.

What were you doing in Tsukuba, may I ask? Research? I really enjoy living here.

Thanks again,

Jonathan Hicks

10th January 2002, 10:13
I recently saw something of a "competition" which involved one aikido team (ESPN). It was called "Synchronized Forms Championships" which was sponsored by Paul Mitchell Dojo who also had several teams in the "synchronized weapons category." (I'll let you comeup with how a sponsor was able to enter his own teams and win most of the events).

Basically, it was a karate demonstration, but in the one called "self-defense forms," an aikido team competed and won. While the announcer was describing the aikidoka as "not knowing which attack was coming" the team put on a very organized performanced, but was not very good technique at all.

I don't think this is what you had in mind, but I thought I'd mention it with a little :up: in mind.

Synchronized forms, the aikido team won the self-defense *forms* competition, but they had no idea of what attack (and defense) was going to be employed? Hmmm.:rolleyes:


10th January 2002, 14:39
Hi Jonathan;

Near Tsuchira there is a small out of the way private dojo run by an old man with wrists I could barely hold on to. His students were all young and extremely tough. I remember there was a lot of pain involved. It was my first introduction to Aikikia ( a few months after I started Aikido) and I can not remember the sensei's name. Knowing what I know now I am sure it was Iwama style. It remains the most impressive Aikikai dojo I have visited and one of the very few sensei's that has left a lasting impression.

I was doing research in Tsukuba first at the National Laboratory for High Energy Physics and later at the AIST campus. Tsukuba was a great place to live, great social life.

11th January 2002, 00:12

I do believe that the old man you are refering to is my teacher. You mentioned his wrists. They are like tree trunks. I think he`s a great instructor.

So, you resaerched at KEK. I have known many of the Aussys that have worked there.

Thanks to you too Mark.

So, the competition you saw was not teams pitted against other teams, but teams being judged on appearence. Is that kind of correct?
Anyway, I don`t really understand what an Aikido team is. Is it like a gang fight or something? I mean no disrespect to those who participate.

Finally, I am still wondering what kind of attacks are allowed and not allowed. Are all the attacks prescribed in an Aikido competition?

Maybe these questions have been dicussed many times, but I am still researching it.

Thanks for listening.

Jonathan Hicks

11th January 2002, 00:39
Jonathon - please pass me your sensei's name privately if you wish. I think I might remember if told although it was a long time ago.

Please take a look at

Ono sensei speaks very good english - I am sure he would welcome you to one of his classes and could anser your questions far better than I could in text.

Specifically the attacks in both tanto and toshu are limited but the intent is not to mimick exactly a street confrontation (WWF this is not). Shiai provides a training framework where the lessons learnt are applied to all your Aikido.

Team events are actually quite interesting since they combine members of different levels. For example a first year Aikidoist would do the taisabaki portion, ikkyu the junanahon, shodan the koryu goshin no kata, and randori, etc. They have their own purpose fostering a sense of team spirit and belonging - its not just about you. A raw beginner feels he or she is contributing, a mpore advanced student must concern themselves with the others.

I really would read the articles by Tomiki found on the two sites I mentioned.

11th January 2002, 01:17
Thanks again,

I have read the pages you suggested. I feel that I understand a lot more about Shodokan Randori. Intro level of course.

I have also read about it on Aiki web. But it was mostly people putting down or defending it.

I believe that a lot of people don`t really understand the format of the competitions. I initially thought you just put two people in a ring and said go.

In Japan, we have a couple of Enbutaikai or exhibitions every year. And in many circumstances, there are awards given to those who show good technique.

Personally, I left Karate because of the focus on competition.Plus I am a bad loser. I don`t think Shodokan is for me, but that doesn`t mean I condem it either. It is what it is, and I am what I am. But I do find the training to be exciting. I would like to experience the Randori, but not in competition.

Thank you greatly for opening my eyes to what you study. I think a lot of people should attempt to understand before they judge.

I hope to see you on the mat sometime.

Oh yeah. Do Shodokan not wear hakama because they tend to block the view of stances?

Jonathan Hicks:toast:

11th January 2002, 14:25
Originally posted by hix
I would like to experience the Randori, but not in competition.
Truth be told I personally do not like to compete. I have on occaision but mostly when we do randori its after class with a partner. Its fun, its a great training tool, and when the few competitions role around some of us join in - many don't. Its not a requirement.

Oh yeah. Do Shodokan not wear hakama because they tend to block the view of stances?
One of the central tenants of Shodokan Aikido is the phrase Mushin Mugamae - no mind no stance. Most of what we do is from shizentai (natural stance). The reliance on stances is the one thing that continues to give me trouble when I visit many Aikikai dojos. The hakama is considered dangerous during randori. It is sometimes worn for embu demonstrations but as Shihan has let know it is formal wear - if you put it on you better be very good. I have never seen Nariyama Shihan in a hakama except one or two photos.