why aikido is not in mma

why aikido is not in mma

Aikido is a traditional Japanese martial art that focuses on blending with an opponent’s energy and redirecting it. While it has gained popularity worldwide for its philosophy and self-defense techniques, it is not commonly seen in Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) competitions. This article aims to explore the reasons why Aikido is not commonly practiced or utilized in MMA.

Lack of Emphasis on Striking Techniques

One of the main reasons why Aikido is not in MMA is its lack of emphasis on striking techniques. Unlike MMA, which combines various martial arts including boxing, Muay Thai, and kickboxing, Aikido primarily focuses on joint locks, throws, and immobilization techniques. In MMA, striking is a crucial component, and fighters need to have proficient striking skills to be competitive.

Furthermore, Aikido techniques are often practiced in a cooperative environment, where practitioners work together to execute techniques smoothly. In contrast, MMA requires combatants to engage in full-contact sparring and apply their techniques against resisting opponents, making striking skills essential.

Effectiveness against Resisting Opponents

Another reason why Aikido is not commonly seen in MMA is its effectiveness against resisting opponents. Aikido techniques are designed to work against attackers who are untrained or not fully resisting. In MMA, fighters are highly trained and actively resist their opponents, making it difficult for Aikido practitioners to execute their techniques successfully.

Aikido techniques often rely on an opponent’s energy and momentum, which can be challenging to utilize against skilled MMA fighters who are trained to nullify or counter such techniques. The lack of competitive pressure and resistance in Aikido training hinders its effectiveness in the dynamic and unpredictable environment of MMA.

Focus on Self-Defense rather than Sport

Aikido is primarily focused on self-defense and personal development rather than competitive sport. Its philosophy emphasizes non-violence, harmony, and the redirection of aggression. While MMA is a sport that involves intense competition and a focus on winning, Aikido aims to resolve conflicts peacefully and without causing harm.

why aikido is not in mma

The techniques in Aikido are designed to neutralize an attack without causing significant injury to the attacker. This approach contradicts the aggressive and competitive nature of MMA, where fighters aim to defeat their opponents by any means necessary. The contrasting philosophies and objectives make it unlikely for Aikido to be integrated into the MMA framework.

Limited Ground Fighting Techniques

Aikido focuses primarily on standing techniques and has limited ground fighting techniques. In MMA, fighters need to be proficient in both standing and ground fighting, as matches often end up on the ground. Aikido practitioners may find it challenging to adapt their techniques when taken to the ground, where grappling and submission skills are crucial.

While Aikido does include some ground techniques, they are not extensively practiced or developed compared to martial arts specifically designed for ground fighting, such as Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. This limitation further hinders the integration of Aikido into MMA competitions.

Training Methods and Lack of Competitive Environment

Aikido training methods differ significantly from those in MMA. Aikido practitioners often focus on repetitive and cooperative drills, where techniques are practiced in a controlled environment. This training style contrasts with the intense, full-contact sparring and competition-focused training seen in MMA.

MMA fighters train rigorously to improve their skills, endurance, and competitive mindset. They participate in regular competitions that test their abilities against other skilled fighters. Aikido, on the other hand, lacks a similar competitive environment, which may limit the development of skills required for MMA.

Adaptability to Rule Set and Time Constraints

MMA competitions have specific rules and time constraints that Aikido techniques may not easily adapt to. Aikido techniques often require precise timing, control, and the ability to manipulate an opponent’s energy, which may not be feasible within the time limits of an MMA match.

Additionally, Aikido techniques often involve joint locks and immobilization, which may be restricted or prohibited in certain MMA competitions due to safety concerns. The rule set and time constraints in MMA make it challenging for Aikido techniques to be effectively employed within the competitive framework.


While Aikido is a respected martial art that promotes harmony and personal development, it is not commonly seen in MMA competitions. The lack of emphasis on striking techniques, limited effectiveness against resisting opponents, focus on self-defense rather than sport, limited ground fighting techniques, different training methods, and adaptability challenges to the MMA rule set and time constraints contribute to Aikido’s absence in the MMA arena.

Despite its limitations in the context of MMA, Aikido continues to have value as a martial art for self-defense, personal growth, and philosophical exploration.

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