Aikido competitions - pros and cons

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Aikido competitions – pros and cons

Many parents and adults who come to us to practice ask: “Why is there no competition in Aikido?”. The answer is very simple – they are not provided from the beginning. Although some federations and clubs still hold them, but about this later.

What is a competition?

First, let’s understand what a competition really is. It is a rivalry for superiority over another. Trying to find out who is faster, more skillful, more enduring. It all depends on what to compete in. Then the criteria will be their own, because somewhere the speed is estimated, somewhere the strength. In swimming or running competitions, the main thing is to get to the right point first. Powerlifting or hammer throwing, in fact, reveal the strongest. Undoubtedly, important techniques, correctness of execution, dexterity. But, without a doubt, first of all it is an opportunity to find the strongest in one or another direction.

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Competitions differ by type:

  • control, preliminary, selection, official and unofficial;
  • personal, team and personal-team;
  • club, section, federal;
  • qualifying and non-qualifying.

And also differ in their method of conducting:

  • circular way of competitions;
  • Olympic or cup competition system (also called the method of direct elimination);
  • a mixed method that combines the first two points;
  • according to the handicap rule, when the weaker participant is given a handicap.

There is also competition in martial arts. Karate, sambo, judo, taekwondo and more. Many types of martial arts are even included in the Olympic program. But they are united by the presence of rules, often quite strict, that regulate most of the actions of the athlete. This leads to a division into competitive and non-competitive parts of the disciplines. And very often the representatives of martial arts themselves admit that the classic technique is very different from the competitive – precisely because of the large number of rules and restrictions.

Self-defense: effectiveness or efficiency?

And how to determine the strongest in self-defense? What criteria to apply? How to assess who is better? After all, the task is to be able to protect yourself or those around you from possible aggression in a critical situation. And here all methods will be appropriate. Even if the reception will be “ugly”, but it will bring the desired result, then, in fact, it will be a success and achievement of the desired goal. Here, in fact, lies the answer to the question of why there are no competitions in Aikido.

It all depends on the goal you set for yourself. Professional athletes prepare for competitions, gain shape and at the peak of form go to the carpet, ring, field or track. After that, the recovery period begins, which can also last quite a long time. In the case of self-defense, you must always be ready. The critical situation does not happen as planned. There are no schedules or warnings. After all, there are no rules by which conflict can occur. The goal is one – to protect. And then it’s a victory. Although not beautiful, but effective.

Aikido competitions: rules and restrictions

Some clubs and federations still hold competitions in aikido. Obviously – not to differ from other areas. Or to give extra motivation to students. It is difficult for us to judge the goals and reasons, but let’s look at the rules of aikido competitions.

In aikido competitions it is forbidden:

  • to attack before the defender becomes in the appropriate rack;
  • to attack without warning;
  • strike blows that are not on the whitelist. Including, “forbidden” “dirty” blows;
  • strike several blows one after the other (beat a bunch of blows);
  • resist the execution of technology.

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From this it can be concluded that the attacker is obliged to warn about his intention to strike, say exactly what and where he will be directed, wait until the person gets up in the appropriate rack and then give the opportunity to conduct a pre-planned technique. This is the situation on the part of the “attacker”. From the point of view of the person “defending”, the picture looks simpler:

  • The list of techniques for competitions is determined in advance.
  • The blow is known before the attack and is inflicted only on the team.
  • The attacker must give the opportunity to make a conditional reception.

Ideal conditions. Especially considering that the set of techniques for competition is limited to a small list depending on the level of the practitioner, but at the same time the athlete is subject to a list of restrictions and mandatory actions. Some of them relate to appearance and behavior:

  • Any action can be taken after the appropriate command of the judge.
  • Suffocating and athems (blows from the defender) in the process of performing techniques are prohibited.
  • Receptions should be carried out only in a certain way.
  • Throws are counted depending on how they were performed and executed, not depending on the result achieved (if the attacker came off the floor only one leg, not two, but the throw was made, you will be awarded a lower score).

Thus, aikido competition is a strictly regulated “fight”, which is held in the format of a “demonstration” (specified in the rules). This fight is estimated on the following parameters:

  • cleanliness of equipment;
  • speed and continuity of reception;
  • effectiveness (not efficiency).

Be sure to evaluate the appearance of the speaker. In some federations, the rules of aikido competitions set out the requirements for appearance:

  • kimono condition (must be washed and ironed);
  • the length of the jacket (it should cover the buttocks by a certain number of centimeters);
  • the height of trousers and length of sleeves are considered;
  • the presence or absence of a hakama for higher belts can also be a reason for not being allowed to compete.

As a result, in a competitive approach, the “fight” takes place according to a pre-prepared scenario, begins as a team and is governed by rules. How they will beat – we know where they will beat – we know what to do – it has already been decided. No resistance will be provided. In our opinion, it is more correct to call it demonstration performances. But they have a completely different goal and task: to present the direction and show the features of the style.

A street fight or a prepared performance?

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But how will the approach of resistance help a person if he faces aggression on the street? After all, in a fight, no one warns that he will beat. Do not wait until the defender is in the right position. They will beat absolutely not on the team. And they don’t always strike only honest blows. Accordingly, to get used to such an approach and to develop it, to be honest, does not seem quite right and appropriate. After all, we return to the fact that the purpose of self-defense is to protect oneself at any time from an attack that will not be planned and worked out in advance.

Undoubtedly, at the initial stage of learning and in mastering new techniques, we always remind students that it is not necessary to resist and resist, so as not to get injured. But in the future, after a sufficient period of training, when the joints become stronger, and there is an understanding of what will be the reception, we give the opportunity to resist and try to resist, in order to understand that no one will play giveaways on the street. And then it is possible to “overwhelm” the partner only in case of correct performance of equipment and use of biomechanics of a body.

Who to compete in aikido

However, it is worth noting that we, for our part, support the desire to be better than. But only if it is a desire to be better than yourself in the last, last training or a month or a year ago. These are the only competitions that really make sense in aikido. Become better than yourself. It is an endless movement forward and a desire for self-improvement. These are competitions that cultivate endurance, aspiration, perseverance, the ability to achieve goals and set new ones. And this is the most difficult competition. Which last a lifetime, not a short period of time. And in which there are no restrictions. There is a desire to grow. No matter what a person does.

If you have a desire to grow with us in Applied Aikido – welcome to our training. Schedule and addresses of dojos can be found here.