Is Aikido a Martial Art?

Harmonising

Kenshiro Abbe Sensei always taught that Uke would only “go” if the technique was effective. I often hear and have seen some of these people who say they can throw an opponent without touching them and sometimes by breathing and projecting their “Ki”.
You cannot do that if someone is attacking on balance, I have never seen anyone do that to a student of mine. Of course if you do attack on balance you will then be accused of “Not harmonizing”.

Aikido for real

I have read various accounts of the first Americans to practice Aikido in the early 60’s. There were Americans practicing Aikido in the UK in the late 1950’s at “The Hut” The Abbe School of Budo.
The Americans were members of the USAF stationed in the UK. they were always questioning ” How would that work in the street?” and we would often finish up in the car park of The Hut after class and engage in some real Aikido.
Afterwards everyone would be in good spirits and have a few beers.

Sunday mornings were always the best practice sessions with the dojo doors being locked to all but the Dan grades. It was then that the Dan grades would fight each other for real. This was the only way to truly evaluate your technique.
On one occasion I was fighting with Sensei Ken Williams (The British National Coach) he hit me hard and I went down clutching my chest and moaning loudly in agony.
It was known that I didn’t go down and I never made a fuss, so now everyone was concerned for me and as Sensei Williams leaned over me asking “Harry, are you OK” I lashed out with my fist at his head, just making a glancing contact, he then stepped back and kicked me in the head putting an end to my cunning.

The smallest of all the Dan grades was Eric Dollimore, he was only about 5ft-6in in height and around 130 lbs.I always felt that Eric was avoiding me on these Sunday morning sessions, as he was about to leave the mat I said to him “Eric, would you like to try against me” he just turned and said “Sorry Harry, I have to be at my girlfriends home for lunch”. As he left the mat I smiled to myself and thought “That’s what I expected” the smugness did not last long as I heard a voice behind me say “OK then Harry, can we make it quick as I must get away”.
It was Eric; for a moment I was surprised then I thought to myself if you want it quick I will accommodate you.  I moved in to take him out with the one punch and the next thing I knew I had gone through the dojo office partition wall and I was still lying stunned the office floor when I heard Eric’s voice call out “See you Monday Harry, gotta go”. That was a very important lesson to me, I have never underestimated anyone since the little guy taught me a lesson.