I trained in a boxing gym for three years in Dunedin, New Zealand. I enjoyed it immensely but had trouble finding a gym that would train me (a female) when I moved to Brisbane, so I took up kickboxing for three years. I had never heard of aikido until a friend invited me to check it out. Five years later I have a black belt
My boxing and kickboxing experience was a great help in the beginning of my aikido training. The stances are very similar. In boxing the stance is side on to give the opponent the smallest possible target, in aikido the hanmi or stance is much the same with the front foot pointing forward and the rear foot on a 45 degree angle. The weight is on the balls of your feet as with boxing, I’ve noticed in my aikido training that this does not come naturally to the general population and that my experience in keeping my weight on the balls of my feet kept me solid during attacks. Finally my boxing experience meant that I was used to having fists coming towards my face and therefore I was able to concentrate on what I needed to learn rather than flinching.
The reason that I enjoy aikido is that I had found in my other martial arts training that being a small female was a disadvantage. I could be beaten by people even if I was the technically better boxer. This was mainly due to my shorter reach; I’d have to take more risks to get in close. Aikido blends with the other person’s power, giving credence to the old term, the bigger they are, the harder they fall. Falling is another benefit of aikido, learning to take a fall in such a way that you can immediately get up again is a great skill to have. Finally, there is never any reason to get bored. With boxing I found that once you had sorted out the punches, all you could really work on was timing, ducking and weaving. With aikido, after five years in the dojo, I can still go to class and learn something new.
While the art of aikido perhaps has little in common with boxing, it can offer the boxer some complementary skills. Aikido as a martial art is not confined to the rules or space of a boxing arena. In aikido you can expect to learn to deal with many different attacks (that are the precursor to punches) such as grabbing and grappling, as well as how to subdue an opponent without causing them injury. Aikido practice also focuses on weapons training with the sword and staff. Skills such as distancing and timing learnt in boxing would be an advantage to anyone seeking to learn aikido.