Um, guys, even amidst the nuthuggery that takes place in the book the author clearly states that the riot police have to do a TMA to cultivate "martial spirit", the way I read it it sounded like most of the training, especially in the police courses, is largely conditioning and mad pain tolerance, with a healthy dose of the abuse that so often comes with Aikido. (watch Gozo Shioda on youtube, he was a total bastard to his minions).
Its quite clear, even in that book, that Yoshinkan Aikido is not THE OMG SUPERIOR POLICE MA WOWZ. But that they train it to cultivate "spirit" whatever the hell that means.
PS: I once spent an entire Aikido class having my nuts slapped everytime I got thrown, I wonder how much spirit I have?
That has to be one of the best posts I've ever heard.
Originally Posted by EternalRage
As to the OP. The fact is, a lot of the techniques in Akido and Japanese JJ (which Akido has its basis in) are used a lot for compliance reasons. It has also found some uses in social situations requiring restraint such as a party where your drunk friend gets out of hand or some idiot who thinks he's too bad for his own good. As said earlier, with regards to the police, you still use your weapons, but once you require compliance for come-alongs and restraint, they can come in handy. Mind you, this is usually after all your buddies have come along to help you out. And as for the social situations, it usually works when the other person isn't putting up enough of a fight for it to work and not enough for it not to work...if that makes any sense.
Its actually quite a good book (I read it about 10 years ago).
Aikido still sucks though.
Originally Posted by Fuzzy
The book also makes it clear that the Riot Police train in Yoshinkan Aikido because Shioda supported certain ultra-conservative political causes that allowed him to make solid connections with senior police officials at the right time.
"Japanese spirit" in this sense is kind of a code-word for a combination of physical toughness, unquestioning obedience to instructions and "there is no 'I' in team." IIRC (haven't read the book for a long time), when one of the riot cops is asked about whether he was planning on using Aikido in the field, he looked at the questioner like he was crazy and pointed to his weapons belt.
All of that said, the Senshusei course is by all accounts extremely grueling, bordering on sadistically hard physical training with few pulled punches, and it seems to attract some pretty extreme personalities as well. At one point, the author mentions that he didn't know whether he could make Aikido work in a real fight, but he knew that he could take a hell of a beating before going down. There's a mini-documentary about the course at YouTube - Yoshinkan Aikido Senshusei Training Program .
The author also described a bar-brawl involving a large number of top-ranking Yoshinkan instructors who were in Tokyo for Shioda's funeral. When he asked one of them what he used in the fight, the instructor demonstrated what was basically a standing RNC (not orthodox Aikido) but said that his ability to relax and "sink" his weight into the hold while maintaining balance was the result of Aikido training.
On the topic of Aikido and riots, there was a video clip floating round the Net a few years back that showed a tall, middle aged Japanese man using what appeared to be Aikido very effectively against several opponents in some sort of riot or street protest. IIRC he was basically keeping a high guard and took at least two people down using shomen ate (palm thrust to the jaw.) Can't find it on YouTube, though.
I'd recommend "Angry White Pyjamas," it's well-written, entertaining and informative.
Having read the book (which is indeed well-written and entertaining), I believe that it isn't because aikido is so street-effective, but more because the political ties between Shioda, and the gruelling character of this particular curriculum that made it so attractive to the riot police.
I think it was the 'japanese spirit' yamato damashi (sp?) from the pre-War period that was so appealing to some high ranking officials, and the idea that it was hard to be found anywhere else in present day Japan, except i.a. in Shioda's dojo.