Many people have never heard of Aikido.
Even some in the martial arts world who have heard of it do not know or understand how it works. At the dojo last night we were talking with a student who is about to earn her 2nd Kyu and she told us when she decided to learn Aikido, she did not really understand the art even though she had read about the blending with energy from your attacker. She of course had no idea of the many drills for hand and foot movements that we do over and over again.
For those of you who are unfamiliar Aikdo is a Japanese art founded by Morihei Ueshiba, December 14, 1883 - April 26, 1969. The founder also known as "O'Sensei", (pictured above) was a man of small stature, it is said he was just under 5 feet tall but was of a strong muscular build after he left the Japanese army. He understood that smaller people needed something extra when confronted by larger and stronger attackers.
In my humble opinion, this is the essence of Aikido.
My Sensei has taught me that I do not need to use my strength when applying these techniques, especially the joint locks. I am one who has built my upper body for many years to be stronger and capable of using my strength to my advantage, so I have had to train myself NOT to be strong when using these techniques. It is still a struggle at times for me but I am moving in that direction. In fact, this concept of applying Aikido techniques softly is probably the hardest part of my training. Now don't misunderstand, Aikido can be used very forcefully! When it is applied this way it is no less than devastating. Bones will be broken and opponents can be maimed. No doubt Aikido can be very dangerous when applied with violence of action. Yet we are trained to be able to control our use of force and treat our training partners and even our opponents with respect and not injure them if the situation calls for that.
Now let's move on to Hapkido which is a Korean martial art developed by Choi Yong-Sool, it is said the Hapkido was heavily influenced by "Daito ryu aiki jujutsu" as was Aikido. Much like Aikido, Hapkido has many joint locks, throws and pins. Yet it is different in that there are many more strikes and even kicks which are not taught in Aikido. That leads me to Combat Hapkido. This system is heavliy influenced by the Korean form of Hapkido but is not a traditional martial art.
My training in Combat Hapkido has also been useful in applying this concept as we learn to use our entire body to manipulate our attacker with many techniques to injure, control or throw our attackers. Combat Hapkido is a blending if you will of many arts, including Korean Hapkido, Aikido, Judo, JuJutsu/JuJitsu, Taekwondo, Jeet Kune Do and others. Grand Master John Pellegrini, (pictured above) took what he felt was useful from each art and combined it all to make a form of Close Combat Self Defense. He calls it the Science of Self-Defense. I am trained to use it at 10%, 50% or 100% depending on what technique I am doing and what the situation calls for. Always remember there are legal and moral ramifications to an encounter. You must be wise when defending yourself or wind up in court. Of course if your life is in danger you have to do what it takes to survive and Combat Hapkido will teach you those lethal skills. So it is obvious that this is an art that when applied with full violence of action is devastating and can maim or kill an attacker.
Yet I digress.
My original intent here is to explain the kido arts in a way to make it more approachable and understandable to those who have never experienced it. There are universal principles involved that span many martial arts.
1. Balance Disruption
2. Circular Movement
3. Non Resistance (Harmony)
4. Water Principle
These are critical! In order to take control of an attacker you must gain control of his/her balance. Once you have this you can manipulate the opportunity, often by using circular movement. If you use the energy coming at you and do not resist it, it makes taking the balance easier. You see, all principles at play here, working together in harmony to allow you to gain control over your attacker and find a suitable outcome. As you work, you flow in, around, over and under, like water. How it ends is up to you!
Now before I conclude this essay let me explain the OODA loop!
Observe, Orient, Decide and Act! I must explain that I was taught this by Master Doyle a 4th Dan in Combat Hapkido who is a Special Forces Veteran. This is a simple decision cycle our minds use every moment as we live. When it comes to martial arts these are critical seconds that tick by as we determine how dangerous the situation is (Situational Awareness) and decide how to respond. Here's what I found online:
The phrase OODA loop refers to the decision cycle of observe, orient, decide, and act, developed by military strategist and USAFColonel John Boyd. Boyd applied the concept to the combat operations process, often at the strategic level in military operations. It is now also often applied to understand commercial operations and learning processes.