My post on Aikido vs. boxing keeps ranking as a top post. The problem is that it’s really not a very good post. Since I’ve been studying Chin Na which parallels Aikido in some ways, I thought I was ready to take another stab at it so here goes! I’m hoping that this one at least bumps pt. 1 from its popular spot.
First up I found a video that demonstrates an Aikido defense to a hook punch. The part of this demonstration that seems plausible to me is the blending deflection — this I can see work in a fluid situation. However, trying for that wrist grab at full speed (especially when the attacker’s right hand is probably on its way to your head!) could prove challenging in my opinion.
In our Chin Na curriculum we are taught that Chin Na works best against stand-up grappling attacks. It also has limited application on the ground — especially if you can get hold of a finger and snap it! Interestingly we practice several techniques off a live punch. However, almost every time we do this exercise we are cautioned that it is very difficult to apply Chin Na to a fast-moving striker (half the reason we practice on a puncher is to improve our dexterity). In fact we are taught that if our Chin Na is overwhelmed we need to fall back on Kung Fu or any other martial art that we know.
In our curriculum, dealing with a puncher goes something like this:
- Step to the outside of their center line (outside of the punch)
- Pivot in so you end up on their side
- While you do points 1&2 you are usually attempting some sort of sticking parry as you follow the punch in at an angle
- If you botch the stick which leads to Chin Na you’ve still parried/evaded the punch
- You also end up on their side which means they have to punch across their body with their free hand
- If all else fails you fall back on punching and kicking
All I know is that based on our drills it’s very challenging to get Chin Na to work against a fast moving striker. Us newbies probably have a 1 in 5 success rate while Sifu probably has a 1 in 3 chance at making it work. Personally, I still think you’re better matching your striking skills against a striker or just grapple if you are skilled at that. Our Chin Na does have take-downs but not until the advanced level. So it’s four to five years before you start learning that material which is no help at all in the early stages.
While I was perusing videos for this post I noticed that some folks commented that their Aikido school does not teach much realistic punch defense. Since I’m not an Aikido practitioner I have no idea if this is true or not. A long time ago I took boxing lessons in a dojo that offered Aikido. I don’t recall seeing much punch defense being taught but I only saw a handful of classes so I’m probably not a good source of information. Anyhow, I was able to find a series of videos that tries to apply Aikido as a defense against boxing techniques. If anything these are certainly educational.
Excerpt from the first video:
It’s very difficult to time Aikido techniques off of a boxer, so we thought this would be a fun way to get some practice in.
This first video starts with evasion, transitions to arm control, and closes with application of technique.
The second video adds MMA gloves to the Aikido practitioner so he can attempt short strikes.
The third video focuses on dealing with a jab/hook combination.
- Some of the evasions and blending deflections seem very plausible
- Some of the Aikido throws seem to work pretty good (probably even better on hard pavement)
- Turning your back on a good puncher is probably not a good idea
- The locks seem to work at a success rate that’s similar to what I see in Chin Na — ergo I agree that it’s hard to time these type of locks off a fast puncher
- I not impressed with the Aikido strikes — seems to me they are feeble at best and I doubt they’d be very effective against someone who can take a punch.
- The Aikido guy seems to take an awful lot of punches in the clinch. Sometimes he gets his technique to work before taking shots but most of the time he takes a lot of hits.
So that’s my take! What’s yours?