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Aikido as a Martial Art?

This aikido stuff is very nice but its not martial arts is it?

Its very nice to watch but its more like a dance?

We don't see aikido in the UFC its not a martial art?

A lot of people quite frankly are disbelieving of aikido as a martial art, its almost as soft and flowery as the people that do it, so what's its value?

Aikido is derived from samurai battlefield arts (big generalisation).  The founder of Aikido (who held a lineage in the battlefield art of the Daito Ryu) experienced enlightenment and said something like "Hey, we aren't on the battlefields anymore. We don't have to kill.  We have a choice."  He said all this after years of brutal training and then developed his new method and spread it to the people along with some values from a religion he was pretty interested in.

So in todays times it has become a popular pastime for many who are attracted to ethical self defence, martial arts without getting hit (ewww don't, thats not nice) and people looking for a spiritual journey together with those trying to practice a martial art. 

So in every dojo across the country and throughout the world there is the full spectrum of practitioners, most of whom a good boxer could walk straight through without a second thought. There are however many practitioners that make you sit up and think "Hang on what just happened?  Why am I on the ground and how did I get here?"

They are out there, go find them and make up your own mind.