Level of Pain in Aikido

by Vladimir

I have one more question about Aikido. I trained Aikido for about 2 years and changed schools. First school wasn't rough and it made me feel good in the sense of spirituality, the techniques were painful put not too painful.

The second school there wasn't much spirituality but the techniques seemed more effective in a real life situation. But the pain that I felt in this Aikido school was quite big compared to the first one.

It's more rough in the sense when they do the techniques they do it more painfully. Is it supposed to be THAT painful? The pain doesn't last long, by the time I get home it's like nothing happened but still is it supposed to hurt THAT much during the training? Is that level of pain necessary?

I'm a peaceful kind of guy, and when I do a technique I do it in a way that they feel pain but not too much because they are my partners, not enemies, I know that I can hurt them if I want to but I don't think it's necessary.They are kind of rough even though their movements are more fluid than mine and are more flexible.

All that unnecessary joint pain, I think it's bad for the body. I would rather do yoga and exercise instead of feeling that pain every time. So what level of pain is it supposed to be in Aikido? Thank you. I hope you reply :)


Thanks for your excellent question Vladimir. You have answered it very well yourself. Pain is a good incentive to ensure your training 'partner' moves to an unbalanced position in order to control them.

But what level of pain is reasonable? Can techniques be effective with little or no pain? Yes of course! Often extreme pain comes from either...

1 - Resisting a technique. A good uke, only resists to the level that helps tori/nage to improve their skill... and not because they can (ego)

2 - If tori/nage intends on causing extreme pain. This is an ego problem that they have to deal with... with the 'help' of a good instructor.

A good way of knowing if it is excessive, is by asking yourself how it makes you feel. If you feel abused then inform your instructor (if open to feedback). If not, find a more reasonable group to train with.

In our dojo we use pain to help uke move away from it. If you are a very responsive uke, it becomes difficult for tori/nage to cause much pain. But don't end up falling before a technique is applied :)

I hope this helps... many thanks!


Tony J. Wilden
Aikido Health Centre

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