That's Not Aikido!

Something I learned from a systema instructor, who was describing an overview of the art, provided an interesting perspective to our martial arts (and all of them).

Systema is a Russian martial art. Russia, in particular what used to be the Soviet Union) is geographically huge. As such, it shares borders with many diverse cultures each of whom have their own fighting styles and flavors.

Systema has different traits and characteristics because it needed to adapt to different martial influences. For example, Northern systema which was influenced by bare knuckle pugilism popular in England and Northern Europe developed to deal with this influence effectively. Similar adjustments were needed to deal with diverse fighting styles of the Middle East, India, China, Mongolia, and Japan.

Like any war weapon, it works best when tuned to deal with a particular threat.

How about we look at aikido the same way? How would/should it change to adapt to a boxer, a wrestler, a kicker, etc. Of course it will look significantly different when dealing with each of these types of attackers.

How best to do that? Each of these arts has built very reliable and proven ways of dealing with their best attacks. We should be learning those as a starting point. We can go further and target techniques which are not allowed or used in their realms. For example, Muay Thai is a powerful art but does not allow body locks which is an effective counter to a Thai clinch. A good martial artist will know this and use it when necessary.

This is how I view my aikido. It's not the cup, it's the water in the cup. Different cup, different shape.

I think the idea that aikido is the cup and things either fit or they don't is the exact opposite way to be looking at aikido (or any art for that matter).