is aikido effective

Is Aikido effective?

Aikido, a modern style of Japanese martial arts, consists of numerous striking, throwing, and joint-locking techniques.

Even with the techniques you can learn, is aikido effective in providing actual self-defense skills?

Anyone wanting to learn to defend themselves should focus on studying practical martial arts, but if you're unsure whether aikido falls under that umbrella, we'll break down the pros and cons of aikido to determine if it can teach useful skills.

Pros and Cons of Aikido


  • Control: One of the most talked about benefits of aikido is the control it offers over yourself and your strength.

    If you're in a situation where you need to subdue without hurting them like an unruly patient in a hospital, aikido has techniques that can restrain them yet keep them from actual harm.
  • Good on Defense: There are many joint-locking and pinning techniques taught in aikido that can be useful to keep yourself safe if someone attacks you.

    You can neutralize an escalating situation long enough for help to arrive or to remove yourself entirely from the fight.
  • Increases Awareness: Aikido can help you gain greater balance, relax the mind and body, improve your coordination, and grant you better reaction time.

    These skills improve—both physically and psychologically—the awareness you have of your own body. At the same time, you become aware of your surroundings as well as any potential danger that may come.
  • Made for Just About Anyone: Another highly praised aspect of aikido is that almost anyone can do it. You can be young, old, healthy, disabled, etc.

    No matter your situation, there are techniques you can pull off in aikido, some that don't even require you to hear or see. This highlights skills that one who may be handicapped can find useful or children being bullied in school can put to good use.


  • Time Consuming: Actually mastering aikido or gaining enough skill to effectively use the techniques can take years.

    It isn't the martial art to go into if you're looking to apply what you learn within a few months or so of studying mainly because many of the techniques are overly complicated.
  • Minimal Offense: Many people trained in aikido nowadays focuses more on the defense and less on the offense.

    This means that many wait for an opponent to make the first move rather than initiating anything. In a real life situation, this may place you at a disadvantage.
  • Can be Watered Down: One of the main issues with aikido lies in its training. Not every instructor is truly proficient, and finding one is difficult at times.

    Many aikidoka simply don't learn useful techniques to know how to utilize them in real life situations that can occur. Instead, they may learn the aesthetically pleasing side of aikido rather than the physically useful side.
  • Lacks Resistance: When you spar with someone else in aikido, you won't generally have a resisting partner. If you're practicing joint-locking techniques, for instance, it's standard for your partner not to fight back once you're holding them.

    It's difficult, if not impossible, to effectively use that in real life as someone who comes at you isn't going to let you hold them in a joint-lock without fighting back.


If you compare aikido to other martial arts, you may discover more advantages and disadvantages in terms of how effective the art really is.

For example, in judo vs aikido, oftentimes, people resort to judo in terms of gaining physical strength, fitness, and training against actual resistant partners.

However, you are more likely to get hurt in judo. Whereas in aikido, the art teaches you how to fall better so that you reduce any injury you may sustain. It's also less physically exhausting on your body so that you're not completely tired out doing it.

So, is aikido effective for real life situations? It depends on the training you receive as well as your proficiency. In the end, aikido can be a great supplement to additional martial art skills to keep yourself and others safe.

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