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Why Karateka Should Practice Aikido

It has been suggested that those who practice Karate and other striking martial arts should consider practicing Aikido also.  This is not because Aikido is a superior art to karate.  Bruce Lee said, “My way is not your way.”  That is also true of karate and Aikido as we do not expect those who practice karate to do things the aikido way. However, there is one benefit that a Karateka can obtain from Aikido and that is in the area of pain management.

Those who have practiced karate and other striking arts for any period of time have suffered pain and injuries.  You have learned to take pain from being struck by an opponent and made parts of you bodies such as shins, arms, abdomen hard against attacks. You have had your share of bruises.  However, as Dave Lowry suggests in Black Belt Magazine (July 2005 Issue), the injuries sustained in karate tend to come suddenly and unexpectedly (such as fist to face).  The kind of pain encountered in karate does not include the type of pain that you inflict slowly and deliberately, in gradually increasing degrees.  Aikido specializes in this type of pain.

Aikido teaches the manipulation of the joints and the infliction of pain that joint manipulation can create.  The joint locks cause intense pain but when done correctly, do not inflict any injury.  Many people are skeptical about the effects of the joint lock until it is applied.  The reaction to the joint lock is uncontrolled and unexpected in many cases.  The same Karateka that does not flinch to receiving a split lip may lose his balance and collapse when a wrist lock is applied. In some cases, beginners may even wet their pants. This is not because the Karateka is weaker but because he has not experienced the pain from the technique and not yet developed the self control necessary to manage that pain.

By practicing Aikido techniques in conjunction with karate, the Karateka can learn the pain management of joint locking techniques.  The training is gradual and once the Karateka learns to do the techniques themselves, they can practice executing the techniques. Aikido uses a series of wrist exercises to strengthen the wrists and teaches postures that can used to reduce the amount of pain being received. Thus, it might be beneficial for a Karateka to learn joint pain management as well as the overall body conditioning necessary for the striking arts.  This helps to make you a more rounded martial artist.

Jim Eggleston, Sandan

Tenchin Budo Kai