self-defense training is the heart of aikido. through structured self-defense classes you will learn traditional aikido as it is studied world-wide.
but do realize that aikido is pure self-defense training. we do not spend precious practice time studying strikes or punches. we do, however, practice defenses all types of attacks, strikes and punches included. so, because aikido is a pure self-defense and because aikido students do not spend much time perfecting punches and chokes, there will always be questions of how effective aikido would be in a fight.
so consider for yourself … is self-defense the same as fighting? do you want to learn to fight or do you want to learn to defend yourself. if you want to learn to fight, there are other ‘self-defense’ classes for you.
but if you want to learn self-dense, true self-defense, consider again … how do you imagine a typical attacker? are they likely to be trained fighters – trained boxers or trained martial artists? or is it more likely that the attackers just know thuggery – ugly brute force and intimidation.
the fact is that aikido is perfectly suited as a self-defense against a brute force of attack. we have no formal stances, we do not ‘stand our ground’, we easily turn and move and twist and unbalance the attacker and they hit the ground. in a certain sense it’s quite simple – the ground is hard and hurts a lot and takes a lot out of an attack and an attacker. and because we never directly confront an attack, aikido is the perfect self-defense for both men and women of all ages.
as a self-defense art, all aikido students generally study about 15 different attacks (some schools study a few more, some a few less). as you first start in our unarmed self-defense classes, you will study the ten basic attacks outlined in the classes listed below. as you progress, you will study an extra six attacks as advanced techniques. there are also about twenty acknowledged defenses (depending on how you group them). and like aikido students world-wide, here in albuquerque you will learn and practice these same self-defense techniques.
it’s challenging, but that’s why aikido is the premier ‘pure self-defense training’ in the world!
the unarmed self-defense classes
we teach basic unarmed self-defense as 10 separate 13 week-long classes. for each class session, there are nine weeks of instruction in self-defense techniques, followed by three weeks of free-style practice, capped by one week of ‘lessons learned’. we adapt each class to the students taking that class and will include basic instruction in warm ups and rolling as necessary.
while each 13-week self-defense training session specifies the attack we will be studying, it’s the skill level of the individual students that really determines the number and complexity of the defenses that are actually studied. this means that every class session will be completely different!
- wrist grabs (grab and punch)
- both wrists grabbed (grab and kick)
- straight punch
- cross-wrist grab (grab and choke)
- strong-arm grab (grab and kick)
- overhead strike (as with a bottle)
- shoulder grabs (grab and choke)
- both shoulders grabbed (grab to intimidate)
- slashing strike (as with a knife)
- rear wrist grab
as ‘pure self-defense training’, there is nothing that beats aikido – it is natural and i i’s intuitive. i heard a story of an albuquerque tae-kwon-do student who was accidentally surprised by her husband and almost instinctively dropped into a semi-crouch, hands clenched, ready to pounce … not sure who was more scared, the student or the husband. when i heard that story, i was taken back to a time backpacking in Utah, startled by a noise in the bush behind me. i turned to see the fuss, standing naturally, hands at my sides, and yet fully alert. from a self-defense training aspect, i call it the startle response … after years of self-defense training, if someone unexpectedly tapped you on the shoulder, what would you hope that your response would be?