RECOGNIZE THE DIFFERENCES — AND THE SIMILARITIES
Two things distinguish one art from another and one school from another. First, all arts favor certain distances between partners. Aikido’s focus is primarily throws from a middle distance or close up. Judo’s throws begin from a close-in position, as does the groundwork that follows. Karate and several styles of kung fu typically train at a middle distance, emphasizing kicks and strikes. Tai chi emphasizes off-balancing at a close to middle distance.
But that’s where it begins, not where it ends. The karate expert may use a judo-like foot sweep once distance is diminished. The aikido throw is also a strike done close in after the opponent is tightly held and off-balance. The tai chi stylist may use an aikido-like wrist lock, while the kung fu practitioner ends an encoun-