Well, some of them did, anyway. One reader posted this amusing retort:
“I hereby motion for more examples of self-defense where at least one punch was thrown at the author.”
For those who don’t already know, Aikido practitioners are the starry-eyed idealists of the martial arts world. They tend to talk of harmony rather than victory, and ethics before power. In theory at least, they are among the noblest of warriors and pugilists.
In practice, Aikido training is almost exclusively dedicated to ending a fight in progress–as marked by attempts to grab, punch or tackle–rather than terminating it before it can manifest as violent physical action. Since no punches were thrown in my story, this reader deemed it “unrelated to the martial art of Aikido.”
To which I ask, as defined by whom?
Morihei Ueshiba reportedly said that 99% of Aikido is striking. But you’ll never see evidence for this in the average Aikido dojo today; most strikes are only assumed or implied. If they aren’t performed, but are merely kept in mind, are they still a relevant part of the art?
Ueshiba also said that:
True Budo is practiced not only to destroy an enemy, it must also make him gladly lose his spirit to oppose you.
Every day, thousands of Aikido students step onto the mat, and launch symbolic attacks against a training partner. The result is preordained: the attacker will fail and fall down, in a show of harmonious ukemi. No spirit of opposition is really present.
But on the street, I am told, it is better to keep up appearances. Apparently, there is no room for a bloodless victory in modern self-defense.